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THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS

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Full Name: Peter Murphy
Nationality: American
Organization: American Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: John Newland
Time Span: 1966 - 1967

ABOUT THE SERIES

Peter Murphy is an agent with American Intelligence.

Marc Wainwright is a multi-millionaire playboy.

They are two very different people until, in a case of tragic mistaken identity, Wainwright is killed in the street coming out of a bar in Berlin after a night of revelry, shot because though he was totally ignorant of the existence of Murphy, the two were virtual identical twins.

This is shown in the first recorded adventure and explained again in a commentary at the beginning of each subsequent drama with, "A man on the run...Peter Murphy, American agent, a spy has been exposed, who steps into the shoes of his exact double, multi-millionaire Marc Wainwright, when the millionaire accidentally takes the bullet meant for the spy. Thus for Peter Murphy begins a bizarre new life both public and private, a life of double jeopardy as the man who never was."

The adoption of the Wainwright identity by Murphy came about after Wainwright was shot (apparently on one exit from the bar) and Murphy left by another door and, suffering from exhaustion from fleeing his pursuers, passed out within sight of Wainwright's chauffeur. That driver, not knowing the difference, brought him back to his hotel suite where he was put to bed. It is the next morning when Wainwright's wife comes to check on him that the substitution happens.

We discover, along with Murphy, that the relationship between the now dead Wainwright and his wife is less than cordial, undoubtedly due to the deceased's repeated escapades and drunken brawls. This ice-cold attitude is shown in their first "meeting" when his stony attitude, brought about because Murphy has no idea what is going on, is treated by the wife as 'situation normal'. "Must you be such a pig about everything?" she asks him as she walks out of the room disgusted. That likely plays a major part in her decision, once the switch is revealed, to go along with the 'replacement'.

The actual switching idea was not Murphy's; it came from his handler, Colonel Jack Forbes who, examining the body he thought was Murphy only to discover it was Wainwright, tracked the confused agent to Wainwright's hotel and told Murphy he had the best new cover he could ever hope for. "Look, Peter, Mark Wainwright was one of the richest men in the world. He controlled at least a dozen different companies. He could travel anywhere. He knew influential people. It's perfect." When even then Murphy demurred at the idea, Forbes leveled with him saying, "As Peter Murphy you're finished, unless you want to end up behind a desk somewhere in Omaha for the rest of your life."

The continued adventures for Murphy then are two-fold. His position as the faux-Wainwright affords him a lot of privileges and since the man is in charge of an international corporation, his travels all over Europe are easily explained. Therefore, his work with Intelligence is enhanced.

On the downside is the need to pretend to be someone/something he is not. He is not a businessman so acting like one who is good at it will proved challenging. Add to that the fact that though he looks just like Wainwright, he has no knowledge of who his friends are and who his extended family members are. Is he on good footing with them or not? Will a wrong answer here or there give away his deception?

Helping him will be Eva, Mrs. Wainwright, and as she spends more time with Murphy, she begins to find the man that apparently she had always hoped Wainwright would be. Plus she reveals from the beginning that the real Wainwright and his less-than-trustworthy lawyer were up to something very nasty which would devastate her family so she puts it to Murphy quite simply when she asks right after learning her husband was dead, "I don't know who you are or why you're posing as my husband. The most important thing right now is that Mark Wainwright must not be dead. Will you stay ... be my husband!"

His choices at that point are to either go sit behind a desk writing reports in Omaha or be a mega-rich corporate leader married to a gorgeous wife who is begging for his help. It is not hard to guess which one he chooses.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:2
First Appearance:1967
Last Appearance:1967

     Of primary importance is to state here that the renowned Clifton Webb movie with the same name as this entry, The Spy Who Never Was, from 1956 is NOT connected with the television series in any way whatsoever, except having the same name. That movie dealt with a plot by British Intelligence during WWII to convince that the planned invasion of Sicily was going to take place somewhere else in the Med.



     There were two "movies" made for the television series. Both are compilations of episodes from the actual TV show though each one had different episodes. These episodes were spliced into movie lengths to distribute in foreign theaters and then to offer as tv-movies in syndication in the States.

1 Danger Has Two Faces Danger Has Two Faces
Director: John Newland
Actors: Robert Lansing as Peter Murphy/Marc Wainwright, Dana Wynter as Eva Wainwright
Released: 1967

A compilation of 4 episodes from the television show (which ones not known here)/

2 The Spy With The Perfect Cover The Spy With The Perfect Cover
Director: John Newland
Actors: Robert Lansing as Peter Murphy/Marc Wainwright, Dana Wynter as Eva Wainwright
Released: 1967

A compilation of 5 episodes from the television series, numbers 4, 7, 8, 15, and 18.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:1
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1967
Network:ABC

REGULAR CAST
Robert LansingPeter Murphy/Mark Wainwright [ 1 ]
Dana WynterEva Wainwright [ 1 ]
Murray HamiltonCol. Jack Forbes [ 1 ]

     For a half season on the American television network ABC in 1966, the adventures of operative Peter Murphy taking over the life of slain multi-millionaire Mark Wainwright entertained, well, obviously a few million people but not enough to make it the complete season.

     According to Wikipedia's entry, the original drama had as Murphy/Wainwright a Canadian actor named Don Harron but "a change in sponsor led to the new sponsor requesting Robert Lansing in the role".
     FYI, Harron, a pretty popular character actor, would create a half decade later a very memorable and adorable fellow named Charlie Farquharson, sometime television and radio news anchor and full time funny, funny guy. He would write several books about the antics of the man and play him brilliantly on a whole lot of episodes of Hee Haw.
1 One Plus One - Equals One
Episode S1-1, first aired 09/07/1966
Director: John Newland
Writers: Merwin Gerard, Teddi Sherman, Judith Plowden

Fleeing an East German spy-hunter who have just killed the woman he loved, Peter Murphy stumbles into a bar and is shocked to see a nicely dressed man who looks just like him. As that man leaves the bar, he is mistaken for Murphy and shot by the pursuer. Murphy sees a chance to take the rich man's life as a cover.

2 The Last of Peter Murphy
Episode S1-2, first aired 09/14/1966
Director: John Newland
Writer: Merwin Gerard

Peter puts his `cover' in jeopardy when he reveals the identity of an East German double agent to American intelligence.

3 Search for a Bent Twig
Episode S1-3, first aired 09/21/1966
Director: John Newland
Writers: Judith Barrows, Robert Guy Barrows

In Vienna, Peter discovers that the leak responsible for the loss of two agents was their superior's stepson.

4 All That Lia Ever Wanted
Episode S1-4, first aired 09/28/1966
Director: John Newland
Writer: William Bast

In Rome, Peter's `cover' risks exposure when he runs into Mark's former mistress.

5 Escape
Episode S1-5, first aired 10/05/1966
Director: John Newland
Writer: Robert C. Dennis

Peter goes behind the Iron Curtain to rescue a priest who was lured away from the U.S. Embassy where he had been given asylum.

6 Death in Vienna
Episode S1-6, first aired 10/12/1966
Director: John Newland
Writer: Frank Moss

While on holiday in Vienna, Peter is confronted by a woman fleeing from the communists who claims that Mark is the father of her son.

7 A Little Ignorance
Episode S1-7, first aired 10/19/1966
Director: John Newland
Writer: Merwin Gerard

Peter goes on a dangerous wild boar hunt with a suspicious Roger and a former flame of Mark's.

8 Target: Eva
Episode S1-8, first aired 10/26/1966
Director: Walter Doniger
Writers: Edmund Morris, William Bast, Edmund Morris

"Eva gets an anonymous death threat while she and Peter are on holiday in Rome.

9 The Big Fish
Episode S1-9, first aired 11/02/1966
Director: John Newland
Writer: Donald James

Peter agrees to help a communist official defect to the west despite his feelings of a possible trap.

10 Pay Now, Pray Later
Episode S1-10, first aired 11/09/1966
Director: John Newland
Writer: Dick Carr

Peter runs up against the daughter of a German Field Marshall while searching for art treasures her father stole during WWII.

11 Games of Death
Episode S1-11, first aired 11/16/1966
Director: John Newland
Writers: Lewis Pine, Robert C. Dennis

Peter is unsure of the motives of a voluptuous female agent whose help he needs in recovering stolen microfilm.

12 If This Be Treason
Episode S1-12, first aired 11/23/1966
Director: John Newland
Writers: Judith Barrows, Robert Guy Barrows

In Vienna, Peter tries to free a captive U.S. Army Lieutenant who was being held by the communists to blackmail his father- an important U.S. General.

13 To Kill an Albatross
Episode S1-13, first aired 11/30/1966
Director: John Newland
Writers: Donald James, Judith Barrows, Robert Guy Barrows

Peter and Eva become trapped aboard a schooner commanded by an exiled general who intends on killing all who stand in the way of his return to power.

14 Things Dead and Done
Episode S1-14, first aired 12/07/1966
Director: John Newland
Writer: Frank Moss

Peter is in a race with enemy agents to steal a Spanish millionaire's painting that contains top secret information.

15 The Perfect Crime
Episode S1-15, first aired 12/14/1966
Director: John Newland
Writer: Cliff Todd

In Spain, Peter engages an East German Secret police officer in a deadly game of double cross.

16 In Memory of Davos
Episode S1-16, first aired 12/21/1966
Director: John Newland
Writers: Judith Barrows, Robert Guy Barrows

Peter comes to the aid of a former colleague who is drinking himself to death.

17 Drop by Drop
Episode S1-17, first aired 12/28/1966
Director: John Newland
Writers: William Bast, Robert C. Dennis

Peter sneaks on to a crimelord's private island to destroy an experimental airplane before it falls into enemy hands.

18 I Take This Woman
Episode S1-18, first aired 01/04/1967
Director: John Newland
Writer: Patricia Falken Smith

Peter feels his relationship with Eva has become more than professional when he lets it interfere in his dealings with a banana republic dictator.

MY COMMENTS

I was 14 when the show came and went so quickly. I tried hard to recall whether I had ever seen it back then and part of me vaguely remembers something but then again ...

The concept is great and I am sorry, watching the show now via the Web, that there are not more available. There was lots of room for great action, being a spy adventure, and for great drama, being a Great Impersonation concept, and for great romance because, well, Eva Wainwright was a looker! Not sure what did not gel back then but something obviously did because the series did not last a full season.

And it had Robert Lansing!! Man, I liked that actor. I watched him with my father on 12 O'Clock High. I wanted his Gary Seven character from that Star Trek TOS to get his own show. Years later he was Control to Robert McCall's The Equalizer! And lots of great guest spots in between.

Alas, there but a handful of adventures here. I liked 'em.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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