The New Avengers fly to Toronto, Canada to learn the identity of KGB assassin X-41, aka Scapina. Unfortunately all their contacts end up dead before they are able to spill the beans. Also, ... See full summary »

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Gareth Hunt ...
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Karavitch
Rudy Lipp ...
Koschev
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Patlenko
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Berisford Holt
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The New Avengers fly to Toronto, Canada to learn the identity of KGB assassin X-41, aka Scapina. Unfortunately all their contacts end up dead before they are able to spill the beans. Also, Gambit keeps getting arrested by the Canadian police and Purdey finds herself trapped in a ultra modern building. Written by The TV Archaeologist

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5 January 1979 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The letter 'z' is pronounced 'zed' in Canada, not 'zee' as the show assumed. See more »

Quotes

Mike Gambit: For the last time I'm a British agent!
Sgt. Talbot: I think I'm beginning to recognize you. You're... no don't tell me... 008.
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Scapina
10 May 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Agents Purdey, Gambit and John Steed travel to Toronto in search of an elusive spy named Scapina.

Inside a high security building, a nervous snitch with information about a breach in security awakens from a clobbering. The only ones in the room are Steed and a few others with top clearance but the fellow throws a fit claiming that Scapina is present. Terrified, he backs up against a window which opens sending the guy plunging to his death. So the question is: who is the mole and how is he stealing information from within this maximum security facility? Quite easily it turns out. For the culprit is actually the building's mainframe computer (code name: "Scapina"), and it monitors everyone within the building via security cameras. When it spots anyone coming too close to the truth, the computer takes steps to end their snooping permanently.

In Dennis Spooner's script, the super computer becomes quite an efficient assassin employing various means within the building to kill those who threaten it's security. As stated above, one opportunity comes when it simply opens a window at the right moment. Later, another opportunity arises when with shocking speed a guy is flipped into an incinerator chute. One second you see the man walking down a hallway into the path of an electric eye, the next you see a section of floor tilting up into the wall like a draw bridge. The poor guy isn't even seen tumbling inside, just muffled screams coming from within the wall. When the now empty panel flips back over, the readout on Scapina's monitor lists him as "Terminated- and Incinerated". Quite chilling, so to speak.

In another scene, Purdey is about to enter an elevator with a Canadian agent when in the blink of an eye the floor beneath him opens up and he, too vanishes.

Aware that Purdey knows of it's activities, Scapina locks down the otherwise empty building to keep her inside as it begins looking for other methods to kill her. At one point, Purdey walks past a metal grill when the air conditioning suddenly reverses catching her skirt and ripping it off her legs.

A neat touch: the sound of the computer at work is a rhythmic heartbeat-like pounding that adds a pervasive feeling of menace, and the towering skyscraper in which most of the story takes place proves an effective setting.

There have actually been a number of stories like this done for television over the years. Shows like "The X-Files", "The New Outer Limits", "Probe" and the lousy TV-movie "The Tower" have all featured computers usually in control of a building that go haywire and start killing people. Having said that, with the only complaint being the now dated look of the super-computer of 1976, this effectively told story of man against machine may just be the best told of the bunch. It's certainly a fine entry to the uneven "New Avengers" series.


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