When a case proves too baffling for the minds of Interpol, they turn to the talents of Department S.
(From the ITC trailer)
Department S is an elite branch of Interpol, headquartered in Paris. They are called in when a case has no logic or solution and the "regular" police investigations have run into dead ends. Sample cases include a jet landing in London with no passengers or crew aboard, a man in a space suit found dead in Soho, and an assassination of a wax dummy.
is a best-selling novelist. His books depicting the adventures of his fictional creation, Mark Caine, have sold "60 million books in 15 languages" according to Sir Curtis. Jason's approach to a case is completely different: he theorizes the most outlandish scenario imaginable, then treats the solution the way his fictional hero would. He is a playboy who is easily distracted by a pretty face.
is the field leader of Department S. A former FBI agent, he knows every seemingly ridiculous case has a logical explanation, and he uses his intelligence to sort through the clues to find it. While he relies primarily on his brains, his fists are also useful weapons when he has to fight. He and Annabelle obviously had (or are continuing) a romance (although it is never shown or directly referenced).
is a computer expert. Much like her computer, nicknamed "Auntie", Annabelle sees cases strictly in black and white. She has little patience for Jason's wild theories (although Stewart reminded her once that Jason "has a nasty habit of scoring near-misses" with his outlandish ideas). The sole woman of the Department is not confined to the office: she works the field, and occasionally finds herself successfully escaping from criminals.
Sir Curtis Seretse
, a high-ranking diplomat from an unnamed African country, is the official head of Department S. He decides which cases will be handled by the Department (which occasionally finds him butting heads with Stewart). Because of his status he is able to avoid red tape and get top secret information that would otherwise be out of the Department's reach. His diplomatic position causes him on more than on instance to become part of the case the Department is trying to solve, and he even helps out in the field.
was a frequent guest star on other ITC programs (including such classics as The Prisoner
and The Avengers
). He has had a long career in film, TV, and theater. His official fanclub is called The Hellfire Club
, named after an organization in the memorable episode A Touch of Brimstone
from The Avengers
that featured Wyngarde as the club's leader.
possessed handsome leading man looks, yet he made a career as a character actor, which spanned about 50 years. He guest starred in many TV shows, such as The F.B.I.
, The Streets of San Francisco
and Starsky & Hutch
, and television movies. He also appeared in feature films, including Looking for Mr. Goodbar
and Reuben, Reuben
, as well as in theater.
has appeared in plays such as the London production of Fiddler on the Roof
. She had a few roles after Department S
, including an episode of The Persuaders
, before retiring from the acting profession.
Dennis Alaba Peters
was a native of Gambia and, according to Peter Wyngarde's audio commentary on the Umbrella Entertainment Department S
box set, quite an accomplished operatic singer. He moved to England in 1950 to study when he became interested in acting. After Department S
he returned to his native country to start a production company. He passed away in 1996.
was syndicated world-wide, earning fans everywhere it played. A region code-free 7-DVD box set is available from Umbrella Entertainment in Australia. There is a US as well as a UK DVD box set available, and even a special 40-year-anniversary DVD box edition with lots of bonus material, including a 'making-of'-documentary ("Wanna Watch a Television Series? - Variations on a Theme"
The theme music was composed by Edwin Astley, who created the music for a number of ITC shows. He was also Who guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend's father-in-law.
The opening credits can be viewed here
* After initial screen tests, Kate O'Mara was supposed to play the role of Annabelle Hurst, but then the American backers of the show refused her as being 'too exotic'.
* For more Trivia, see section on 'Show Tidbits'