Series 6 — Episode 16
Teleplay by Tony Williamson
Directed by Cliff Owen
Production No E.67.9.17
Production completed: October 14 1968. First UK transmission: January 22 1969. First transmission (USA): December 30 1968
TV Times summary
The Avengers are up against a deadly killer, whose assignment is to eliminate Steed and every one of his fellow-agents. The assassin is REMAK (standing for Remote Electro-Matic Agent Killer), a computer, programmed for murder.
Steed is puzzling over an enemy assassin called Remak, but Tara seems uninterested; she’s off on holidays!
An engineer is found in a graveyard, killed in multiple ways and wrapped in plastic. A contact is shot and links the corpse with Remak by saying “Polly”, which Mother interprets to mean ’polyethylene’.
Steed sets out, accompanied by the haughty Lady Diana, as his fellow agents are lured one by one into Remak’s lair. Remak is literally a killing machine - a huge computer inside a factory, automated to kill anyone who enters its rooms. Steed and Lady Diana track it, and the human operators, down and put them out of circulation.
Steed returns home to find a mountain of postcards from Tara, and Tara returns with a bandaged wrist - not a ski-ing accident, but writer’s cramp!
Wilkington (James Bree) presents his plans for a building to Merridon (Grant Taylor), pointing out that it meets the security requirements and is fully operational. Brinstead (William Franklyn) interjects that Remak will need lots of cool air inside the building and the engineer declares this is done. They go to investigate the work, Trancer (Michael McStay) idly glancing at the plans as they leave. Wilkington is horrified when they decide Remak will determine the suitability - Wilkington’s shoved through a doorway which locks behind him and another opens, pouring dazzling light into the vestibule.
John Steed (Patrick Macnee) is waiting for Trancer, who is making an excuse to check the main gates. Brinstead stops him leaving, pulls a gun and says Remak has discovered Trancer is an undercover agent. Merridon orders his death but Trancer escapes, leaping into the back of a passing removals van. Steed is giving Tara King (Linda Thorson) a list of instructions when she interrupts him to learn the time - it’s exactly 11:30, so she hands him a pink-and-purple leave pass, valid for a week, and flounces out, promising to send a postcard every hour on the hour. Brinstead and Merridon arrive in time to intercept Trancer, who is shot by Brinstead. He makes it to Steed’s flat and dies, saying, “Remak... killer... polly, polly - tell Mother”. Mother (Patrick Newell), installed by Rhonda (Rhonda Parker) in a vintner’s tasting room, makes a connection to polythene and sends him to investigate a corpse found in a graveyard, wrapped in plastic and tied up with ribbon. He’s assigned a stand-in partner, Lady Diana Forbes-Blakeney (Jennifer Croxton), recently returned from the Orient.
At the graveyard, the pathologist Clarke (Richard Wattis) is already examining the body and tells him he was - in alphabetical order - clubbed, poisoned, shot, spiked, stabbed, strangled, suffocated, and his ear drums were damaged. Steed points out his neck was broken as well. Lady Diana finds a watch inscribed to Arthur Wilkington in his pocket - the watch Merridon had hoped they could recover but is too late. Steed sends her to check his house while he investigates the ribbon. Brinstead is already ransacking the house and burning Wilkington’s papers; she douses the flames and sends him packing when she grabs a katana from the wall.
Steed visits Fancy Frills Ltd and shows Freddie (Michael Ward) the pink ribbon - “Oh, pink. Gorgeous. You know I have a passion for pink myself.” Mother and Lady Diana are sifting through the burnt papers - mostly overdue accounts - except for one note proving a connection. Gillars (Charles Houston) arrives and informs Mother he has a lead on Remak - he’s meeting a contact at an old film set near Starbridge.
Gillars meets Paxton (Harry Towb) at the film set but Paxton tumbles down some stairs, a dagger protruding from his back. He gasps, “Lower Storpington, the pirate” and collapses. Steed and Lady Diana discover Freddie has been murdered with the pink ribbon while Gillars encounters Brinstead at the bar of The Pirate. They move away from the barman (Oliver MacGreevey) for some privacy and when Gillars asks where Remak is, Brinstead nods at the factory out the window. Gillars slips in when a works bus departs and enters the empty factory. He enters a door and the chattering of computers fills the air. Merridon watches a helicopter depart from the pub and toast another good agent, “a dead one”. Gillars is later found dumped in a tree, just like Wilkington except he’d been crushed to death. Steed informs Mother who, brushing aside an excited Calvin (Anthony Valentine), orders Diana to Wilkington’s. He sees Calvin’s written a note saying he’s onto Remak at the film set and sends Steed in pursuit. Calvin meets Paxton, this time dying of a crossbow bolt in the chest and is sent to The Pirate. Steed arrives a moment later and is knocked out by Paxton when he investigates his supposedly dead body.
Calvin is sent to the factory while Lady Diana encounters Ralph Bleech (John Bailey) at Wilkington’s. Bleech was his business partner and reveals that Wilkington had gone all mysterious on a project six months ago and once called from Lower Storpington. He clams up, realising she’s asking a lot of questions. Calvin meanwhile has entered the factory, to his doom, while the villains take tea in the pub. Calvin’s body is found, garrotted, in the churchyard. Bleech meanwhile has put two and two together and enters the factory, holding Merridon and Brinstead at gunpoint and demands to be a financial partner. Merridon offers to introduce him to Remak... Mother contacts all agents, telling them not to follow leads to Remak but Lawson has already gone to the film set. Paxton leaps backwards through a window and holds a sword to his chest while he tells Lawson (Clive Graham) about Brinstead. By the time Steed and Lady Diana arrive, Lawson is facing bright lights in the factory.
Lawson is dumped in the graveyard, his heart pierced with a sharp instrument. Steed notes that the agents hadn’t put up any sort of struggle - they were all executed - as Clarke wheels in another cadaver. Mother is furious, thinking an agent had disobeyed his orders, but when the plastic is peeled away Lady Diana recognises Bleech. She remembers him mentioning the pub in Lower Storpington and she and Steed set off. Inside, Chattell (Jonathan Elsom) is having a pint while waiting for his contact. Steed warns him not follow up the lead, they’ll follow him instead. Merridon and Brinstead arrive and blanche when they see Steed and Lady Diana. Brinstead goes in so that he’s recognised by Lady Diana and lures them away while Merridon contacts Chattell.
Brinstead shoots at them in the woods and pins them down behind a cart until Lady Diana tricks him into revealing himself, upon which Steed launches the cart down the hill, running him down. Chattell has left the pub when they return. They see the helicopter leaving the factory and are reminded the bodies all showed signs of being dropped from a height. The works bus leaves and Lady Diana follows it while Steed investigates the factory. She discovered the bus to be full of plastic dummies - except Paxton, who leaps from his seat when she enters to investigate but is easily defeated. Steed meanwhile has entered the factory and been detected by Remak. He stops his ears with plugs and evades the arsenal directed at him by the computer. He finds Lady Diana inside - she followed the agents’ manual and entered through a skylight. She points out an automated gun at the end of the corridor and he decides to convince Remak he’s dead - he throws out his jacket and screams when the gun fires. They follow the jacket when it’s dragged away and Steed retrieves it, cleaned and mended before they enter the inner sanctum. Lady Diana is programming the computer to shut down when Merridon enters, brandishing a pistol. He declares Remak cost him £1,000,000, the perfect killer to decimate British Intelligence. Steed smiles and says computers have no loyalty, they take orders from anybody. Merridon approaches and sees to his horror the last order -
"REMAK SELF DESTRUCT IN SIXTY SECONDS".
He tries to stop the computer while Steed and Lady Diana escape and is killed by the blast.
Steed returns home to find a mountain of postcards clogging his doorway. Tara is there as well and she’s brought him a present in a little box. She’s dismayed when he opens it - it’s a full size inflatable life raft and the instructions on how to deflate it are buried underneath it in the box.