"Dead Ringer"

(Original air date 2/13/78)

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Following a car accident, Steve begins having hallucinations

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Teleplay: Robert I. Holt

Story: Charles Mitchell & Robert I. Holt

Director: Arnold Laven



On his way to the OSI, Steve is forced off the road by an oncoming car and crashes against a tree. Dizzy, he staggers out of his car. Standing fifty feet in front of him is a mirror-image haloed figure staring at him. He tries to establish focus but feeling faint, he falls unconscious.

           

Steve is rushed to the hospital where Rudy tends to him. Oscar shows up and finds that Steve suffered a serious concussion but that he should fully recover within two or three days.

When Steve describes his ordeal, Oscar believes the accident might have been intentional. The OSI is on manhunt for two enemy agents who have done extensive research on bionics and who may be after Steve to learn more on its human functions. Oscar shows their pictures to Steve who is positive it wasn't one of them, that the man he saw could have been his twin.

As Rudy administers Steve a mild sedative, the groggy patient looks out the window and discerns the mysterious figure standing on the roof of a building across the street. The glowing form disappears just as Oscar and Rudy cast a glance in that direction. Both believe Steve is hallucinating, which, according to Rudy, is common with traumatized victims.

           

The next day, Oscar inquires about Steve's condition. Rudy tells him that he's fine physically but that he had another hallucination last night. Steve insists the man is real. Rudy considers the possibility of a mental problem.

Rudy visits Steve at the hospital who informs the doctor that he's seen the apparition again. Rudy proposes that he have a consult with Dr. Margaret Winslow (Linda Dano), a parapsychologist. Steve is insulted by the insinuation that he's crazy, but agrees that he has to make sense of his eerie visions.

     

In Dr. Winslow's office, Steve discusses his haunting visions that he keeps experiencing long after the accident. She tells him that he might be seeing spirits, but Steve doesn't believe in them. She delves deeper into his personal life and when he tells her about his tragic plane crash four years ago, she calls Rudy to ask if Steve was declared clinically dead at any time after the accident. Rudy informs her that his death lasted 52 seconds.

The importance of knowing that detail allows her to believe that Steve might have seen his own spirit. She explains that when a person dies, the spirit leaves the body. But that when the shell is revived, the soul is sucked back into what he now considers a prison. Later, it tries to provoke that person's demise in order to claim back its freedom and live in peace. To lend credence to her theory, she describes two documented cases of revived patients who later, in perfect physical health, died under mysterious circumstances.

Steve is having a hard time swallowing Dr Winslow's theories, but promises to mull it over. As they say goodbye, the office door is blown off its hinges, knocking Margaret out. A fire rages in. Steve carries her to the window where he jumps down to the street below.

           

He sits her on a park bench where she regains her senses. Steve spots the spectre standing in the middle of the park, only difference that this time, she sees it too. She warns Steve not to go after it, that physical contact can be dangerous.

     

After conversing with the delivery man (Melvin F. Allen) who mistakenly left the explosive package by the office door, they return to her apartment where she convinces Steve to take part in an hypnotic sťance in order to contact his spirit. She takes him back minutes before the fatal crash. During the regression, Margaret is suddenly taken over by a strange force that compels her to pick up a fire poke and strike Steve with it. He opens his eyes just as she brandishes the weapon. He wrestles with her and she regains her composure. Steve believes that it was merely power of suggestion.

           

Looking out the window, he notices the figure in the street. He hurries out the apartment and outside, a car starts and drives down the street. Steve stops it and both are surprised to see no driver at the wheel.

Oscar is convinced Steve is subjected to a cleaver machination engineered by the two enemy agents out to catch him, dead or alive.

           

Steve and Margaret drive to the scene of the accident where she attempts to establish contact with the spirit. He keeps an eye on her but a windstorm blurs his vision. He blinks for a few seconds just enough to lose sight of Margaret.

Soon, Steve discovers the tiny camera hidden under leaves that projects his famous twin. He notices a car drive by with Margaret in the back and follows it to a cabin in the woods.

           

There, the two enemy agents (Leonard Stone and George Peter Wilber) tie her up and rig the door with a poisonous gas. Steve spots Margaret inside the cabin, breaks the door down and gets her out before they are both intoxicated by the fumes.

Back at Oscar's office, all mysteries find a logical explanation. Although this whole adventure was a hoax, Margaret believes that there are higher forces at work. Despite Steve's shyness in believing in such paranormal experiences, he assures her that he will always have confidence in her work.

           

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