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Thread: S10-"Deep Cover"

  1. #1
    Just watched this. Stylistically, I enjoy this episode from late in the run thanks to its espionage plot and the presence of two-time Bond girl Maud Adams to elevate it. I'm also intrigued how elements of it freely borrow from the 1956 novel "Forbidden Area" by Pat Frank which was adapted into the first ever episode of "Playhouse 90" (teleplay by Rod Serling) and starred Charlton Heston, Vincent Price and Tab Hunter. That story was about a Russian spy (Hunter) infiltrated into the US on a beach (just like the doppelganger in "Deep Cover") with a "Deep Cover" identity to infiltrate the US military (though for higher stakes). The critical plot point of "Deep Cover" about stainless steel fillings leading to the murder of a dentist also comes out of "Forbidden Area" where Hunter does in the too-talkative, too-inquisitive dentist (Jackie Coogan).

    But I do agree with Mike that the episode itself has a number of problems structurally and that parts of it don't hold up well compared to other great "espionage" episodes of the series.

  2. #2
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
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    The Playhouse 90 "Forbidden Area" is viewable on YouTube:

    I wonder if CBS or someone kept rebroadcasting these shows for years? At the beginning of this video after a big pause, there is a thing at the bottom which says "TRACKING," suggesting it was recorded with a home VCR. These devices didn't become popular until the late 70's/early 80's.

  3. #3
    I think this was drawn from a commercial or a privately licensed VHS release of the episode from either the 80s or early 90s in the pre-DVD era. Thus the tracking would simply be the playback of a VHS release taken from the kinescope master.

  4. #4
    Just watched this episode again for the first time in over 20 years.

    I agree with both epaddon's comments and Mike's review. There were too many plot holes and gimmicks which were tough to swallow.

    It's too bad, because this was an okay episode which could have been very good, with just some more careful writing.

    My biggest problem with the episode was the poor usage of the Trikonis/Harner switch. I was able to get past the super-lookalike Russian double for Harner, even with as far-fetched as it was. However, the second half of the episode went into the weeds with this gimmick, and didn't make much sense. Somehow they were able to brainwash the real Harner into doing their dirty work, after the military dentist became suspicious about fake Harmer's Moscow-like dental work. So presumably they took fake Harner off the job at that point, fearing this would get exposed, and replaced him with brainwashed real Harner. But if such a thing was so easy to do, why not just kidnap the real Harner and brainwash him in the first place? Why all the risky plans for the double to take Harner's place? They also never explained exactly how they brainwashed Harner, which kinda bothered me.

    I think it would have been a lot better if they caught fake Harner after he completed his mission, and then he made a deal to give up his comrades in exchange for some kind of lesser sentence. Then he could have told McGarrett where to find them, and agreed to pretend to show up and meet them there, with Five-O ambushing and arresting everyone. Real Harner could have also been there, with the (foiled) plan to kill him right before escaping onto the sub. This modification could have avoided the need to use the brainwashing plot device.

    The Maria Robles (Maud Adams) character was one of the more ruthless female villains. While she was very beautiful, unfortunately her character's beauty wasn't really necessary for the Russian plot to succeed, and in fact hindered it, as it made her quite memorable everywhere. (Notice witnesses kept describing the "beautiful woman" they kept seeing in places of interest for Five-O.) Her looks didn't figure into any of the plans, except to seduce the dentist, who presumably could have been killed without having to set up that whole ruse at the bar! Russia would have been better off sending an average looking woman to run the plan, as she would have been less memorable. Of course, then the male audience of 1977 wouldn't have gotten to ogle her in a bikini, which was the main reason Adams was cast.

    Adams, by the way, is 75 years old, and still alive.

    Commander Chris Nolan (Geoffrey Lewis) spent a lot of time with McGarrett in the episode. Lewis died in 2015 at age 79, and was a somewhat memorable character acted. However, much more famous is his daughter, Juliette Lewis. He had nine other children (!!), and a few others attempted acting, with some limited success.

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