Mission: Impossible (1966)

Main Characters (8)

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Listing all characters in the group Main Characters (8)

Daniel Briggs [Season 1], played by Steven Hill (1)

Dan Briggs is the original IMF team leader during its first (televised) year. Dan has apparently been away from the IMF for a while, as in the first episode the Tape Voice welcomes him back. Less is know about Briggs than any other IMF operative, since a dossier of him is never seen and he doesn't get the development of his successor Jim Phelps. He is known to have one close friend, George Forrester, and is willing to risk everything to save Forrester's daughter. Briggs tends to favor elaborate psychological plans over gimmickry but can improvise on extremely short notice. He is the most ruthless of IMF agents, locking an enemy agent in with his own virus bombs to force him to confess, or shoot a gangster in the head if he doesn't play along. Briggs is a master of disguise and an expert at voice impersonation, and a crack shot. His greatest skill is his ability to blend inconspicuously into any setting, whether it be a depressed defense attorney or a bland hotel manager. His near-emotionless demeanor make him an expert at bluffing: he convinces a dictator that he will try to disarm a nuclear bomb and blow himself and his enemy up rather then let the bomb detonate on American soil.
Rollin Hand [Season 1 - 3], played by Martin Landau

First disguise expert of the IMF, Rollin Hand's background is classified. According to actor Martin Landau, Rollin "...was a nightclub performer who was liked, was loyal, and was an adventurer, a soldier of fortune in a sense. He wanted to enliven his life and was basically willing to take on any challenge with a certain panache and style. He was a guy who liked performing, actually enjoyed it. So the ultimate performance would be when your life was on the line. Rollin... likes the moment when the crunch is on and he's being tested."

Rollin's primary skill is with disguises, and he has mastered theatrical make-up and concealment. He is also a skilled voice mimic, competent with a number of accents. As a magician, Rollin is knowledgeable in stage magic, sleight of hand, escapology, forgery, cardsharping, and pickpocketing. He knows a number of actors and crew in the business who are willing to help him on short notice. Rollin also has a strong force of will, and is capable of bluffing his way out of most situations simply by running roughshod over any opposition. Part of his training in stage magic includes hypnosis, and he is skillful enough to put teammates into a hypnotic trance to resist extended drug-enhanced interrogation.

Finally, Rollin is a competent leader of men and if he didn't enjoy the limelight so much, would make an excellent team leader. He often asks as the team's leader in the field when Dan or Jim are otherwise occupied or restricted. When Jim is taken captive by enemy agents while on vacation, it is Rollin who brings the team together and organizes an improvised rescue.
Cinnamon Carter [Season 1 - 3], played by Barbara Bain

First femme fatale of the IMF, Cinnamon Carter was a former model for Elite. As with almost all IMF members, her background is classified but she is a skilled seductress, able to model clothing and make herself appealing to any man after determining his weakness. She possesses a highly-developed memory and is a capable pickpocket, although she relies as much on distraction as physical dexterity. She is also an adequate cabaret singer. Despite her glamor, Cinnamon is able to bury herself in roles as varied as an elderly blind princess to a drug addict.

Cinnamon's only known weakness is claustrophobia, which enemy agents used to try and break her during one mission where she was captured.
Barney Collier [Season 1 - 7], played by Greg Morris

Barney Collier is the core of the IMF in any incarnation, appearing on more missions than any other member. Barney is the team's mechanical and electronics genius, joining the group after founding his own company, Collier Electronics. To quote actor Greg Morris, Barney "came from a middle or upper-class background. His parents were teachers... He was exposed to cultural things, but never so much that he was not aware of life. All these things made Barney a thinking person. He was president of Collier Electronics, bright enough to have multiple contracts, was independently wealthy."

Why did Barney join the IMF? Again, to quote Greg Morris, "There were things that nobody else could do better than Barney. He received a quiet satisfaction from being part of the fall of someone corrupt or on the wrong side of society."

Barney served in the Navy, and was a boxing champion in the Sixth Fleet.

Barney Collier is a true renaissance man, and the man of a thousand talents. Besides electronics and computers his talents throughout the series include demolitions, construction, counterfeiting, metallurgy, special effects, puzzle solving, safecracking, lock pickings, robot technology, criminology, and codes. He acted as a pilot, singer, boxer, sharpshooter, vocal mimic, and con man.

In the course of seven years, Barney infiltrated dozens of bases, tunnels, and buildings. He was exposed to the most danger of any member and was shot three times, beaten, blinded, poisoned, brainwashed, stranded in a mine field, and caught in a fire trap.

Barney has at least one documented brother, incorruptible newspaperman Larry Collier, who died in the fifth season episode "Cat's Paw." Despite his unswerving dedication to his double professions, Collier found time to marry and raise at least one son, Grant, who would go on to join a later incarnation of the IMF (in the 1980s series). As documented in that series, Barney not only worked in the field but helped develop a number of the IMF's technical innovations in the lab.
Willy Armitage [Season 1 - 7], played by Peter Lupus

Little is known of this enigmatic strongman, other then his primary dossier photo where he is shown lifting weights and billed as "The World's Strongest Man." Willy's primary asset is his strength, and he often ended up carrying in luggage that was far heavier than it looked due to the hidden presence of Barney Collier. He has extraordinary endurance, capable of withstanding multiple doses of pain drugs used as truth serum.

Willy is also a skilled construction worker, but serves primarily as the team's "utility man," carrying gear and backing up Barney. He also can drive almost any vehicle, often acting as the team's driver.

After the team's disguise experts left, Willy often works as a secondary infiltrator, assuming the role of an ex-convict as the team goes after gangsters on American soil. He is a skilled hand-to-hand fighter although the team's reliance on intellectual solutions meant he rarely has to use his fighting abilities. He has some knowledge of judo and received a crash course in jujutsu for one mission, but his boxing skills are sufficient to take out a trained marital artist in seconds and a single one of his massive blows have dropped many an unsuspecting guard.

Willy seems to have a soft touch for women in distress and on occasion goes out of his way to rescue one during the course of a mission, although never if it would keep them from achieving their objective. Equally, Willy's strong silent demeanor seems to attract such women, leading them to take risks for him that they wouldn't normally. While not a commonly used talent, this has saved Willy's life on a couple of occasions.
James Phelps [Season 2 - 7], played by Peter Graves

Second team leader of the IMF.
The Amazing Paris [Season 4 - 5], played by Leonard Nimoy

Second disguise master of the IMF. Paris was apparently an only child and his father drove away his mother at an early age, an incident for which he never forgave his father. Later, Paris wandered Europe and met with Meerghan, a famous magician. Paris fell in love with Meerghan's assistant Inga and the jealous magician killed her during a performance. Unlike his predecessor Rollin Hand, Paris is low-key and possesses a dry wit, perhaps to disguise his emotional issues. He has a soft spot for women in distress, and tends to be unlucky in love. Paris is an experienced magician, pickpocket, and disguise expert, capable of undetectable voice mimicry. He is also a competent hand-to-hand fighter and marksman.
Dr. Doug Robert [Season 5], played by Sam Elliott

Dr. Doug Robert (he used the alias Dr. Lang once) is a young highly qualified physician who served regularly on the IMF for about a year. Unfortunately his medical skills proved redundant since the IMF was already skilled with administering drugs, conducting fake operations, etc., and in the past had brought in a specialist when they need some particular expertise. Dr. Robert often served as vehicle driver and Barney's assistant during infiltration missions. Presumably someone in the IMF determined that his skills were wasted as a field agent as he was presumably reassigned after a year and was never seen again.
Classification: Scripted
Genre: Spy/Espionage | Thriller
Status: Canceled/Ended
Network: CBS ( USA)
Runtime: 60 Minutes
Premiere: September 17, 1966
Ended: September 07, 1973
This guide is currently edited by:
Gadfly (Challenge)