five_fingers_tv_ff five_fingers_bk_iwc five_fingers_bk_oc
Full Name: Victor Sebastian
Nationality: American
Organization: American Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Unknown
Time Span: 1950 - 2015


       Victor Sebastian, codenamed Five Fingers, is an agent with American Counter-Espionage.

       "This is the dossier of an American; his name, Victor Sebastian. Only one out of every three people in his line of work survives. His occupation - counter-espionage for the government of the United States. I know these fact because I am Victor Sebastian. My codename is 'Five Fingers'."
       With this introduction comes the Morse code for "5FINGERS" ( '..... ..-. .. -. --. . .-. ...' for those of you curious).

       At the time of its premiere, a synopsis blurb released said that Sebastian was "America's top counter-intelligence agent, master of espionage and split-second action. In the shadowy world of international intrigue, he stalks and is stalked by his country's enemies in chilling undercover battles of a grim Cold War."

       One of the episodes starts with Sebastian entering late at night into his office located at Room 2318 of an unspecified building, the door to those offices showing the company name of "Wembley and Sebastian, Ltd" with offices in Paris, New York, and London. As Sebastian, dressed in top coat with hat and gloves, turns on the light and sits at his desk, he tells us, "To the entertainment world on two continents, I am Victor Sebastian, theatrical agent. These are my offices. But the business I am about to conduct can never appear on the company's books. Not if I am about to survive. Because, as it happens, I am also another kind of agent; counter-espionage. My employer - the Unites States government. Although sometimes I pose as its enemy. My codename - 'Five Fingers'."

       Sebastian's activities takes him all around Europe where his reputation as a theatrical booking agent is well established, making him at home in clubs and restaurants in all major cities. As the explanation above mentions, sometimes his real job is to ferret out intelligence from others while on occasion he appears to be a double agent in order to infiltrate an enemy operation.
       When we first meet him he has but on person who knows his true occupation, that being his contact/handler known to us only as Robertson.
       We also are able to meet the young gorgeous fashion model and would-be singing star, Simone Genet, who is clearly enamored with Sebastian but is unaware of his true vocation. She is, though, smart enough to start realizing there is more to Sebastian than he lets on.


Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1950
Last Appearance:1962

       As I mention in the comments to the Television section, the adventures of Victor Sebastian were "loosely" (and I really mean loose) based on a James Mason film of the same name.
       That movie was loosely based on a book listed below called Operation Cicero, albeit closer to the book than then tv show was to the movie. The only things I can see that the tv show took from the movie was it was based on espionage and it had a neat and unusual name.
       The book is mentioned below not because it has the least bit to do with Victor Sebastian but because it was the loose basis for the movie which was the loose basis for the television show.

       The second book is mentioned here only because a couple of years after the television show came out, the real agent Cicero released his own autobiography which from what I was told had some significant changes to the one put out by his handler.

1 Operation Cicero Operation Cicero
Written by Ludwig Carl Moyzisch
Copyright: 1950

Story about Elyesa Bazna, hired as a valet by the British ambassador to Turkey. Bazna. codenamed Cicero, was really a German secret agent who photographed a good number of top secret documents the ambassador had custody of and passed them on to his handler. The author was that handler.

2 I Was Cicero I Was Cicero
Written by Elyesa Bazna
Copyright: 1962

Autobiography about the time he worked as a valet for the British ambassador to Turkey and stole top-secret documents for German Intelligence.


Number of Movies:1
First Appearance:1952
Last Appearance:1952

       As I mention in comments both above and below here, the James Mason movie shown below was very loosely based on the book Operation Cicero. Why the writer or producer threw out what I thought was a cool codename is unknown but the one they replaced it with, "5 Fingers" is cool all on its own for its uniqueness.
       Other than the name, there is little to connect the movie and the television series.


Number of Episodes:16
First Appearance:1959
Last Appearance:1960

David (Al) HedisonVictor Sebastian [ 1 ]
Luciana PaluzziSimone Genet [ 1 ]
Paul BurkeRobertson [ 1 ]

       In 1952, a movie starring the terrific James Mason came out based on a non-fiction book names Operation Cicero. The film, though fictionalized and changed in numerous ways, still told the tale of a man working for German Intelligence during World War II who got a job, under a false identity of course, as the valet for the British ambassador to Turkey. In that capacity he was able to get hold of a good amount of highly classified intelligence and pass it back to his handler. While in the book the agent's codename was Cicero, in the movie it was 'Five Fingers".

       Jump ahead 7 years and that movie, or at least the interesting codename of the agent, was used as the basis for a one-hour television drama about a secret agent. And there the similarity ends.

       In the television show, the agent was American, not German. He was countering Communist agents, not Allied ones. He operated in the shadowy period of the Cold War, not the shadow period of a real War.
       And he was not a subservient acting valet trying to operate beneath his British employer's notice but was instead a well-known and popular talent agent.
       He still did have the cool and unusual codename which we got to see and hear spelled out in Morse Code at the beginning of each episode.

       David Hedison was the lead actor. The pilot (of sorts) had him billed as Al Hedison (his real name was Albert David Hedison) but the network pushed to have the name changed so he went with his middle name and we knew him as that for the rest of his impressive career.
       The show shot 16 episodes but the last two were not aired by the network and only available in limited syndication.

[Note: the synopses are mine but are based on intel from the really enjoyable Five Fingers.


Number of Books:1
First Appearance:2015
Last Appearance:2015

1 Five Fingers Five Fingers
Written by Diane Kachmar
Copyright: 2015

An in-depth look at the 16-episode series about Victor Sebastian, starring David Hedison, written by a woman who was his personal assistant for some time. Discusses at length the actors and the episodes.
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       I wish I could say more about this series, most specifically what I thought of the episodes but I have not yet found any. I am very interested in the reference book about the series released only a few years ago.
       I was a huge fan of David Hedison from his Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea back when I was a whole lot younger. He was the epitome of calm and control no matter how odd the adversaries were; mermen, aliens, giant monsters, and so on. He seemed virtually unflappable. Then years later I was reminded how cool he was as Felix Leiter in two of my favorite James Bond movies.
       Therefore, I will keep looking for an inexpensive way to watch any of these 16 episodes.


My Grade: -


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