The lost (or at least misplaced) episode of The FBI

UPDATE (Sept. 16, 2015) — It turns out the book 2003 book Quinn Martin, Producer has the answer. The episode was not broadcast by ABC because sponsor Ford Motor Co. feared a boycott by Asian Americans (as detailed on page 75 of the book).

ORIGINAL POST: We were checking out Volume II of season 1 of The FBI and got a surprise: there are *16* episodes in the four-disc set, meaning there were 32 total first-season shows of the Quinn Martin-produced series.

Why is that a surprise? Well, a few years ago, when AOL was streaming episodes of The FBI, it only provided 31 episodes from the first season. And only lists 31 first-season episodes as well, at least as of Aug. 16.

It turns out there was one more and it has an espionage theme. In “The Hiding Place,” Inspector Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) is dispatched to a small, predominantly Asian-American town in Oregon. One of its residents is a traitor, having served as a military officer for Japan in World War II without ever having renounced his citizenship. That man, in turn, committed war crimes during the war — and has just tried to kill a young man following a hit-and-run accident.

“The Hiding Place” apparently was produced during the middle of The FBI’s first season. It still makes a reference to Erskine having a college-age daughter and the inspector being a widower. Lynn Loring, who played the daughter in early episodes, is listed in the end titles while not appearing in the episode itself. Loring was dropped from the show by mid-season. “The Hiding Place” may be the final episode the character of Barbara Erskine is even mentioned.

Evidently, ABC didn’t care for the episode and dropped it in at the very end of the season. In any case, it has surfaced again with Warner Bros.’s release of the DVD set. We plugged in a few details for (including credits for writer Robert Leslie Bellem, director Don Medford and for executive producer Quinn Martin and his producers).

The FBI, season 1, part II now on sale

The rest of The FBI’s first season is now on sale through Warner Bros.’s online store. Included among the 15 episodes of the Quinn Martin/Warner Bros. series are these espionage-theme tales:

The Sacrifice: A defecting Soviet diplot informs the bureau that a key U.S. military contractor has been infilatrated by a spy ring. Inspector Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and his partner Jim Rhodes (Stephen Brooks) are assigned the case.

The Spy Master: Erskine impersonates a U.S. diplomat who has been approached by China about turning over a valuable document known as the Forsythe Memo. Erskine’s assignment is to identify members of a Chinese spy ring. The episode was directed by future feature-film director Richard Donner.

The Defector: Two-part story has the bureau seeking an intelligence operative of an unnamed Eastern European country who wants to defect. The agent’s home country wants to prevent that. Meanwhile, a cagey chess player (John Van Dreelen) attempts to play both sides against the middle.

Non-espionage stories include Charles Bronson as a murderous criminal (The Animal), Colleen Dewhurst as a mentally unbalanced woman who has abducted a baby (The Baby Sitter) and Kurt Russell as a boy kidnapped by Wayne Rogers and Edward Asner (The Tormentors).

Season 1 (well, part of it) of The FBI coming out on DVD

The first half of season one of The FBI is coming out on DVD, according to the TV Shows on DVD Web site.

TV Shows on DVD says the set is a “manufacture on demand,” or MOD, release. So don’t expect to see it on stores. For information on pre-ordering YOU CAN CLICK HERE. Warner Bros. will start shipping in May.

The show ran from 1965 to 1974 and was producer Quinn Martin’s longest-running series. Some time back, on our parent HMSS site, we ran an article about some of the espionage themed stories from the series.

This first DVD release only has one spy-themed episode, The Problem of the Honorable Wife.

But it does have other highlights, including one of the rare “personal” episodes for Efrem Zimbalist Jr.’s FBI Inspector Lewis Erskine (Slow March Up a Steep Hill), Jeffrey Hunter as a killer with sexual identity problems, a subject not that common for 1965 television (The Monster) and Robert Duvall as a mentally unbalanced man out to sabotage a U.S. missile launch (The Giant Killer).

To read brief descriptions of all 31 season 1 episodes, YOU CAN CLICK HERE.

UPDATE: No telling hard long it’ll stay up, but here’s the start of the first episode on YouTube: