Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I imagine many of the screencaps I’ll use to illustrate Department S will feature Peter Wyngarde and a pretty guest star, in this case Juliet Harmer from Adam Adamant Lives!.
So anyway, we started a few days ago with the first episode that is typically broadcast, but “The Man in the Elegant Room,” written by Terry Nation, was the first one they produced, and it’s a somewhat better introduction to the characters. It’s not perfect on that front, because this was made in an era when TV series were made to be shown in any order whatsoever, so I still ended up pausing the episode to explain to our son that this Mark Caine dude they keep mentioning is the fictional superspy who stars in Jason King’s celebrated paperbacks.
But overall, he agreed that this was far less confusing, even though the plot is, delightfully, a real headscratcher. A real estate agent shows off one of his warehouse properties, only to find that in the five months since he last inspected it, somebody has built a full-size mockup of an elegant room inside. And trapped behind bars in this room, there’s a dead woman and a young man who is so disturbed he can barely speak anymore. Jason reasons that the room must be a replica of a room in a real home somewhere in London, and it’s been designed to plan a robbery. But they find the home and the owner, played by Stratford Johns, shows them that the only thing in his room worth stealing is a small amount of jewelry in the wall safe.
Overall, I thought this was much better than “Six Days” and should have been the first one shown. It kept us guessing for a good while and ends with a satisfactory shootout. I was amused to see Stratford Johns in this because I believe this was made in April of 1968, meaning he was at work on “Legacy of Death”, another Terry Nation script, this time for The Avengers, just a few weeks later.