Man in a Suitcase: Set One
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A rogue agent for hire in 1960s Europe
"Stylish action-adventure series" --The Independent (U.K.)
Accused of treason, a former American agent turns private eye
"Mac" McGill (Richard Bradford, The Untouchables) is an ex-spy with a murky past and an uncertain future. Wrongfully dismissed by his bosses in U.S. intelligence, he decides to freelance as a private detective based out of London. McGill’s work takes him far and wide, yet seemingly always on a collision course with the British authorities, the Soviets, and his old colleagues in American espionage. Beset by enemies on all sides, he strives to clear his name and restore his reputation. But until he does, he remains on the run, taking jobs in the dark and dangerous corners of European society.
This action-packed Cold War drama aired on ABC in the late 1960s and features savvy writing and a host of superb guest stars, including Donald Sutherland (Pride & Prejudice), James Grout (Inspector Morse), Anton Rodgers (Lillie), Nicola Pagett (Upstairs, Downstairs), Peter Vaughan (The Remains of the Day), Stuart Damon (General Hospital), and Judy Geeson (Mad About You).
A silver-haired chain smoker, McGill escapes by virtue of his fists and his smarts. Though he carries a gun, he prefers to use a well-placed karate chop. While Bradford's Method mumble adds to McGill's veneer of insouciant cool, his beach attire--tube socks!--is another matter. During the first season, the PI keeps an eye on an informer (George Sewell) in "The Sitting Pigeon," searches for the boss (John Barrie) who can clear his name in "Man from the Dead," and looks out for an old college buddy (a lanky young Donald Sutherland) in "Day of Execution." If he has time for a few girlfriends, a long-term commitment is out of the question.
Created by Richard Harris and Dennis Spooner (The Avengers), Man in a Suitcase ran for one 30-episode season. Other notable participants include actor Peter Vaughn and Room at the Top cinematographer Freddie Francis. McGill may be less sympathetic than Patrick McGoohan's John Drake, but the combination of visceral action and subtle humor makes for an enjoyable addition to the small-screen spy genre. This boxed set includes the first 15 episodes in the series plus four photo galleries, one for each disc. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Top Customer Reviews
McGill will take any job, no matter how dirty it is, as long as he gets paid. This guy ain't Simon Pure. Money is his motivation. Wherever McGill goes he is a pariah. Nobody wants him around. Even his clients don't want him around. They just want him to do his job and get lost. He gets double-crossed by everyone, including his clients, and is punched senseless more times than he is able to smoke a cigarette. In fact, in one scene he trades punches in a brutal fistfight while he is smoking a cigarette. Somehow he manages to keep the cigarette in his mouth throughout the entire fight.
My favorite episode is the one called "Mariocki." A lot of the episodes are forgettable. Several of them are cut-and-dried. Some very good actors appeared in this series, including Donald Sutherland. American actor Richard Bradford is good as the sullen and explosive McGill, the man with a past. He's a sixties TV antihero who seems much more contemporary than other TV spies of the sixties such as the heroes Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
"Man in a Suitcase" isn't as good as "Secret Agent Man," Patrick McGoohan's TV spy series in the sixties, but it's close. Even the theme song of "Man in a Suitcase" is catchy. And that old beat-up leather suitcase McGill carries with him wherever he goes. Who can forget that? It's a shame the series lasted only one season.
--Bryan Cassiday, author of "The Kill Option"
The series concerns an American secret agent bounced from the CIA for something he did not do. He now travels around Europe as a roving private-eye. (The series is sort of a great grandfather to the current "Burn Notice," shown on the USA network.) The main character with the tough-guy name of McGill is played by an American, Richard Bradford (who 21 years later would become more famous for his rough fight scene with Sean Connery in "The Untouchables.)
Bradford, who seems to have been influenced by the Brando school of method acting and walks with the kind of "I don't give a crap" gait that Vic Morrow had on "Combat," seems to smoke a cigarette in every scene, most of which he smokes down to the butt.
The thing I remember about this series is the cool theme music, which I have never forgotten and which I looked forward to hearing again.
The plots are, for the most part, interesting although many of the episodes end rather abruptly. The show is in color and like the color of most 1960's tv series far nicer and preferable to me than the color today. The disc quality is good.
As stated, I never expected to see this series again as it was not particularly successful and did not run long. However I am happy that it has been released and have enjoyed making McGill's acquaintance again.
Another fine series from the ITC Television Network, responsible for shows like "The Prisoner" and "Gideon's Way," this is a gritty, realistic and exciting set of episodes well-written with fast-moving plots and never short on action.
Bradford plays McGill with a degree of toughness and a laconic ease so well that he seems to be perfectly cast for the role. Trained at the NY Actor's Studio, Bradford was a Method actor and claimed Brando as his inspiration; in fact, Bradford had a supporting role with the Academy Award winning actor in the controversial film, "The Chase" (1966), directed by Arthur Penn. Supporting players, all fine character actors from ITC's stable, like Donald Houston, Angela Browne, and Judy Geeson, raise the bar of this rarely seen, but popular, detective series.
Compared to 'Danger Man's" John Drake, McGill is the antihero--a man for hire, keen and distrustful of others, with an eye for the ladies, but a man not without scruples. Shot in color, the series is markedly violent and in the fisticuffs McGill often finds himself in, the blood flows freely. But there is more: the stories and assignments McGill takes on are interesting as they are unusual at times. The international locales also add a bit of flair in contrast to the typical "Mannix" episode that was limited to that metropolis called Los Angeles.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not your typical ITV fare... These stories don't have happy endings per se. Nevertheless, they ooze that 1960s style, which makes all the difference to me. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Number 6
Excellent" burned" TV spy show. Just that he gets hit in the head too much. lolPublished 11 months ago by john caesar
Only watched part of the first episode -- just couldn't get into it. Traded it with a friend for another DVD set he had.Published 16 months ago by Mark Hammons
The product arrived quickly and worked fine .... The show looks good on DVD.... You can really tell the difference between studio
shots and actual location shots, not to... Read more
This is a gem of a series from the late sixties, appropriately dark as befit that era, and it's a shame Richard Bradford didn't return for a second season. Read morePublished 19 months ago by RLM
I bought this because I remember it from 1967, I always liked Richard Bradford, the series was better than I remembered it, great color, great actors and actresses. Read morePublished 23 months ago by jeff moser
While typical of the styles of many movies and TV shows of the 1960s era this series had an all too common theme aimed at intrigue with some extremely poor acting of a poorly... Read morePublished on October 31, 2013 by James M. K. Reid