Synopsis by Mark Deming
Based on the first of Dorothy Gilman's popular novels about a senior citizen who joins the CIA, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax stars Angela Lansbury as Emily Polifax, an elderly woman who feels out of sorts and unsure of what to do with herself after the death of her husband. Her doctor tries to cheer her up by telling her this is a perfect time to try new things and fulfill ambitions set aside earlier in life. Emily decides this is fine advice and takes a shot at the career of her dreams -- she writes a letter to her congressman asking how one goes about becoming a CIA agent. The letter is passed along and the CIA agrees to an interview. However, Emily is mistakenly sent on a mission to Morocco before anyone realizes she isn't actually an agent, and operative Jack Farrell (Thomas Ian Griffith) is sent out to keep an eye on her. When Emily and Jack are unexpectedly taken hostage, Jack discovers Mrs. Pollifax is far more clever and resourceful than anyone expected. The first in a proposed series of TV movies aimed to appeal to the large and loyal audience Lansbury attracted with the show Murder, She Wrote, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax was produced for CBS television, which first aired it in May 1999.