Synopsis by Bruce Eder
Man in a Suitcase, co-created by writers Richard Harris and Dennis Spooner, was one of the more clever series to come out of Lew Grade's ITC organization, which was also the source for Secret Agent and The Saint. Texas-born actor Richard Bradford played McGill, a former CIA agent forced out of his job by a cloud of suspicion around the defection of a key scientist who was under his protection. McGill's defense was that he was ordered to permit the man to defect, but the agency official who issued the order went missing in a plane crash and turned up dead soon after, leaving McGill with no proof of his story, just an intelligence scandal that the agency wanted buried. Left on his own and unable to return to the United States, McGill lives in London, almost a stateless person, his only possessions: his car, his suitcase, and his gun. He uses the skills he acquired as an agent; even those who suspect him of treason acknowledge that he was one of the best. He lived as a troubleshooter, investigator, and bounty hunter, and handled cases that were too hot or too dirty for any ordinary investigator. Filmed in London at Pinewood Studios, the series was aimed more at the international audience than specifically at the American market (in those days, the idea of an American agent even suspected of treason would have been a tough sell as a hero in America), and it barely made a dent in the United States. Man in a Suitcase was much more dour and grim than The Saint, but it looked great and Bradford made a convincingly embittered hero with a dark side to his personality and a chip on his shoulder. McGill also looked like he could go 15 rounds with Sean Connery and as if his spit could kill Roger Moore. A total of 30 episodes were filmed, most running an hour each, and the series even managed to develop a cult following in America, where -- even in New York City -- it was usually relegated to secondary syndicated channels and time slots.