• title card: white all caps text reading ‘THE WRINGER’ superimposed on Hal anxiously holding his hand to his mouth as he sits in the train
  • Steed in the foreground wearing a pinned and chalk-marked jacket as Lovell measures him for a suit
  • Charles sits between Hal and Steed, all three in suit and tie, as Hal outlines the allegations against Steed. A reel to reel tape, out of focus in the extreme foreground, records the conversation
  • Steed stares at one of the brainwashing images, a hypnotising spiral, projected onto the wall outside his wire cage
  • The Wringers bites his thumb as he grins fiendishly down on Hal and Steed in the fire tower
  • Cathy sits on Steed’s sofa, her right arm in a black sling (to match her outfit) as he pours them both a cup of coffee

Series 3 — Episode 19
The Wringer

by Martin Woodhouse
Designed by Philip Harrison
Directed by Don Leaver

Plot summary

While investigating deaths on Carinthia Pipeline, an escape route for spies on the Austro-Hungarian border, Anderson is brainwashed into thinking Steed is the traitor and he is arrested. Interrogated by ‘The Wringer’, Steed is nearly brainwashed and only Cathy’s intervention stops Steed becoming the next victim. To prove Steed’s innocence, Mrs Gale deconditions Anderson by surrounding him with familiar memories and ‘The Wringer’ is unmasked.

show full synopsis

show plot summary

On a dark and stormy night, Hal Anderson (Peter Sallis) is travelling by train, and flashes back to events in Eastern Europe. He wakes with a start as he imagines gun shots, and drops Steed’s photo...

Charles (Paul Whitsun-Jones) and Oliver (Barry Letts) await John Steed (Patrick Macnee), to discuss the Carinthia Pipeline, an escape route for spies on the Austro-Hungarian border; it has just been closed as 6 of the last 7 agents to use it have been lost. Anderson is the only one to have survived, but is now missing and Steed is assigned to find him.
Steed visits a tailor called Lovell (Gerald Sim), another operative who put him onto Anderson’s trail, not in Austria, but in Scotland. Steed goes to the hideout - a fire spotting tower in the middle of a forest - and finds Anderson has no memory of the last two months. He is more amazed when Anderson, after finding his forgotten dossier in the sleeping bag he had brought out, accuses Steed of being the traitor.

Charles chairs an enquiry into Anderson’s allegation and finds Steed guilty; he advises him to cooperate as he is led away for interrogation by one of Charles’ men, Bethune (Neil Robinson) to the Ministry’s top interrogator and swinging hep cat ‘The Wringer’ (Terence Lodge). Steed is locked in a steel cage by the guard, Murdo (Douglas Cummings). Bethune and The Wringer discuss what went wrong with their brainwashing of Anderson. The Wringer starts Steed’s brainwashing with projected images and sounds, and drugs.
Meanwhile, Catherine Gale (Honor Blackman) doesn’t believe the allegations Steed has been arrested on and appeals to Charles to let her investigate and to see Steed. She is sent, blindfolded and drugged so she won’t discover its location, to the unit, where The Wringer lets slip it’s in the Highlands. Steed has apparently been broken when Cathy visits and he orders her away, and out of his time, smashing his wristwatch as he says it.

Cathy knocks out Murdo and rescues Steed. They escape into the air ducts, exchanging gunfire with Bethune with Cathy being hit in the arm. Steed goes to Anderson’s fire tower and sends a telegram to The Wringer in Anderson’s name, while Cathy returns to London, telling Charles and Oliver what’s happened. Steed finds Anderson at the fire tower and tells him about the brainwashing, starting the deconditioning process so when The Wringer turns up and calls Anderson by name, his suspicion is raised and he turns The Wringer’s gun on him.

Back at Steed’s apartment, Lovell has delivered a new suit while Cathy one-handedly prepares some coffee, Steed fussing over her ability to prepare it with only one useful hand, but it’s he who sends it flying when he runs into her.

Support this site via Paypal Join us on Facebook Become a Patreon! Fan forum