McGill (Man in a Suitcase)

Created by Richard Harris and Dennis Spooner

Distraught woman: “Ah! You’re a detective! A cheap, prying flat-footed peephole specialist!”
McGill: “I’m not cheap.”

Imagine Richard Kimball of The Fugitive with a P.I. ticket.

Or maybe Burn Notice (the first few seasons, anyway) set in the swinging sixties.

Or maybe even Jack Reacher, but with luggage…

McGILL (aka “Mac”) was the infamous “man in a suitcase,” a discredited former American CIA agent, who had been charged (falsely, of course) with treason and forced to resign from the agency. Persona non-grata in the States, he wandered England and Europe, making a living accepting odd — some of them very odd — jobs; a sort of itinerant private eye and trouble shooter. Meanwhile, he worked at clearing his name.

His cases ranged from wandering daughter jobs and the recovery of stolen loot to bounty hunting, and bodyguard work. At one point he even accepts work (reluctantly) from British Intelligence. At times it was difficult to figure out whether the producers at the time were trying to channel Peter Gunn or The Saint.

It must be because he was good at what he did — it certainly couldn’t be the big front he put up. McGill’s only possessions were his battered brown suitcase of clothes, and a gun. Although not actually wanted by the authorities (because he was forced to resign, there was never a trial), he kept on the move, using a string of different cars, often tiny Hillman Imps, and lived in a series of rented rooms mostly in London, although he accepted work all over, venturing to Lisbon, Paris, Rome, the Greek Islands, Africa and East Germany, where a strange assignment landed him back in the shadowy world of international espionage.

A well-liked show, that had a huge following among boys of the time. And what wasn’t to love? No bosses, no parents, and McGill was so cool — despite the prematurely gray hair — that he could fight with a cigarette in his mouth, and never lose it. Even McGill’s low-mumble channelling of James Dean worked.

This show was filmed at England’s Pinewood Studios and on location, and starred American actor Richard Bradford. In fact, he was the only regular cast member. The show was produced by Britain’s Incorporated Television Company, and broadcast in the States by ABC, where it developed a cult following. In fact, the two-part episode “Variation On A Million Bucks” was re-edited and released as an American TV movie called To Chase A Million in 1967.


  • MAN IN A SUITCASE | Buy Set One on DVD Buy Set Two on DVD
    (1967-68, ITV)
    30 60-minute episodes
    Executive story consultant: Stanley R. Greenberg
    Created by Richard Harris and Dennis Spooner
    Writers: Francis Megahy, Bernie Cooper, Edmund Ward, Philip Broadley, Stanley R. Greenberg, Roger Parkes, Victor Canning, Jan Read, Reed De Rouen, Kevin B. Laffan
    Directors: Charles Crichton, Gerry O’Hara, Pat Jackson, Robert Tronson, Don Chaffey, Peter Duffell, Freddie Francis, Charles Frend, John Glen, Jeremy Summers, Robert Tronson,  Herbert Wise
    Produced by Sidney Cole
    Starring Richard Bradford as McGILL
    Guest stars: Colin Blakely, George Sewell, Donald Sutherland, Edward Fox, Bernard Lee, Mike Pratt, Penny Spencer, Terence Alexander, Simon Williams, Ed Bishop, Garfield Morgan, Mark Eden

    • “Brainwash” (September 27, 1967)
    • “The Sitting Pigeon” (October 4 , 1967)
    • “Day of Execution” (October 11, 1967)
    • “Variation on a Million Bucks, Part One” (October 18, 1967)
      This episode and part two were syndicated and made into a tv movie entitled “To Chase a Million” which aired in the States
    • “Variation on a Million Bucks, Part Two” (October 25, 1967)
    • “Man from the Dead” (November1, 1967)
    • “Sweet Sue” (November 8, 1967)
    • “Essay in Evil” (November 15, 1967)
    • “The Girl Who Never Was” (November 22, 1967)
    • “All That Glitters” (November 29, 1967)
    • “Dead Man’s Shoes” (December 6, 1967)
    • “Find the Lady” (December 13, 1967)
    • “The Bridge” (December 20, 1967)
    • “The Man Who Stood Still” (December 27, 1967)
    • “Burden of Proof” (January 3, 1968)
    • “The Whisper” (January 10, 1968)
    • “Why They Killed Nolan17 January 17, 1968)
    • “The Boston Square” (January 24, 1968)
    • “Somebody Loses, Somebody… Wins?31 January 31, 1968)
    • “Blind Spot” (February 7, 1968)
    • “No Friend of Mine” (February 14, 1968)
    • “Jigsaw Man” (February 21, 1968)
    • “Web with Four Spiders” (February 28, 1968)
    • “Which Way Did He Go, McGill?” (March 6, 1968)
    • “The Property of a Gentleman” (March 13, 1968)
    • “The Revolutionaries” (March 20, 1968)
    • “Who’s Mad Now?” (March 27, 1968)
    • “Three Blinks of the Eye” (April 3, 1968)
    • “Castle in the Clouds” (April 10, 1968)
    • “Night Flight to Andorra” (April 17, 1968)


  • “The Sleeping Cupid” (1967; by E. G. Whitney)


  • Man In a Suitcase
    Coral Gillepsie’s site dedicated to the show, a classy labour of love.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply