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Dangerous Assignment: The Complete Television Collection

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2008

One of the very best things about the existence of DVD technology is the unearthing of none-too-shabby television shows you never knew existed. Case in point: 1952's "Dangerous Assignment," starring cult actor Brian Donlevy, perhaps best known for his film gigs in "Kiss of Death" and "The Quatermass Xperiment."

Here, he dons a snazzy fedora and cleanly pressed trench coat to essay the role of cucumber-cool secret agent Steve Mitchell. In each of the 39 episodes contained in this five-disc set, Mitchell receives his orders from the commissioner at home base, and off he goes on missions of old-fashioned, globetrotting espionage.

Whether by land, sea or air, Mitchell investigates in the first-person narrative style that "Police Squad!" so royally spoofed. Gunrunners, assassins, even African voodoo practitioners "? he takes them all on, impeccably dressed and rarely ruffled. The plots are more ambitious than the series' budget allowed, but the results are nonetheless reasonably captivating. This spy stuff's credit sequence is priceless.

"?Rod Lott

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