Opening from Man in a Suitcase. Theme by Ron Grainer.
It’s funny how one’s curiosity about a subject can sometimes be quickly and serendipitously fulfilled.
Just the other day, I mentioned on this page that Mysterical-E columnist Jim Doherty had included in his recent rundown of the “10 best private eyes created specifically for TV” a disgraced U.S. Intelligence agent turned P.I. by the name of McGill, who was played by American actor Richard Bradford in the UK drama Man in a Suitcase. Of Doherty’s 10 picks, McGill was the only one with whom I had no experience. In fact, I knew little about Bradford’s 1967-1968 series.
I was therefore well primed to notice a new post in the blog Classic Film and TV Café titled “Man in a Suitcase: The Best Spy TV Series You May Have Never Heard Of.” Contributor Rick29 acquaints us with the series’ premise:
Branded a traitor by U.S. intelligence, McGill makes a living doing free-lance work in Europe and Africa--dealing with blackmailers, protecting stool pigeons, finding kidnapped victims, recovering lost art treasures, etc. He charges $300 to $500 a week, depending on the job, plus expenses. When a potential client gripes about the high fee for a “disgraced American agent with a gun for hire,” McGill quips: “I’m expensive ... I call it my self-respect bonus.”You can read Rick29’s full article here. And it appears that Man in a Suitcase can be purchased in two DVD sets (here and here).
McGill's back story is revealed in the series’ sixth episode (originally intended as the first and best viewed that way). It explains that his government superiors framed him as a traitor to protect a mole behind the Iron Curtain. Proving his innocence is not an option--McGill recognizes that his false disgrace is a price that must be paid. These kinds of difficult decisions and realistic conclusions elevate Man in a Suitcase above its more conventional rivals. It’s not unusual for clients being guarded by McGill to be murdered anyway. And in one episode, after McGill fails to secure blackmail evidence, the victim sacrifices his ethics to protect his reputation.
So now I come before The Rap Sheet’s highly discriminating audience with a simple question: Is it worth buying or else renting Man in a Suitcase on DVD? Comments are welcomed below.
READ MORE: “TV on DVD: Man in a Suitcase: Set 1, by Scott Malchus (Pop Dose); “Man in a Suitcase,” by Jason Whiton (SpyVibe); “Man in a Suitcase,” by Johnny Swoonara (Fanderson Forum); “Scorpio Rooms: Victor Canning on TV,” by Tise Vahimagi (Mystery*File).