The Fifth Corner/NBC/1992 (Amnesia)
Richard Braun (Alex McArthur), a man who wakes up next to a dead woman in bed. He has no recollection of his identity. And when he returns home, he discovers such items as designer clothes, weapons, fake IDs and passports, which leads him to believe that he is a deep-undercover spy.
Aided by Boone (J.E. Freeman), a comic book reading sidekick/driver, Braun sets out to learn his real identity. On their trail is a red-headed reporter named Erica Fontaine (Kim Delaney). who seeks to learn more about who Braun is.
“He woke up and couldn’t remember who he was. Where he’d been or what he’d done. Then he discovered he was not just one man, but many. A spy with many talents. An operative for a billionaire’s secret organization that wants him back. His only chance to survive lies with a woman who holds the key to his past and knows the secrets of his soul. So he’s running for his life. Trying to discover who he is and why we call him…The Fifth Corner.”
Braun was formerly employed by The Corporation headed by Dr. Granwell (James Coburn), an evil billionaire who hopes to bring Alex back into the fold so he can retrieve a mysterious diary (a laptop with details of all his assignments).
Braun is called “George” by his nefarious co-workers and that he is a man of many names. One of those is a nickname “The Fifth Corner” because when there was no way out he would find one.
Granwell is assisted by a beautiful, blind, female companion (Julia Nickson-Soul) and his second in command “The Hat” (Anthony Valentine) who commands a minion of assassins and psychopaths who were all at the disposal of Granwell’s wishes.
The Fifth Corner was a short-lived television series (6 episodes) which aired on NBC in 1992. The two-hour pilot aired on April 17, 1992.
Coronet Blue/CBS/1967 (Amnesia)
Michael Alden (Frank Converse), a man suffering from amnesia who was fished out of the East River on the mystery adventure CORONET BLUE/CBS/1967). The only thing that he remembered was the phrase “Coronet Blue.”
The series was not renewed after it filled as the summer replacement for THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW/CBS/ABC/1967-79, so the viewers never discovered what the cryptic phrase “coronet blue” really meant. Frank Converse resurfaced on the crime drama NYPD the following fall season.
Theme Song Lyrics
Coronet Blue… Coronet Blue…
Deep down inside my brain I keep hearing that wild refrain.
Coronet Blue… No other clue…
I know that this must be the key that can set me free.
For I was born just yesterday lonely as a misty river
Always a’ moving like the river. If I linger I will die…
And so I go my lonely way every journey filled with danger
Even to myself a stranger. Wonderin’ who am I?
Note: Years later, writer and creator of the series Larry Cohen revealed the secret to the “Coronet Blue” mystery in his 1996 biography, “The Radical Allegories of an Independent Filmmaker.”
“The actual secret is that Converse was not really an American at all. He was a Russian who had been trained to appear like an American and was sent to the U.S. as a spy. He belonged to a spy unit called ‘Coronet Blue.’ He decided to defect, so the Russians tried to kill him before he can give away the identities of the other Soviet agents. And nobody can really identify him because he doesn’t exist as an American. Coronet Blue was actually an outgrowth of ‘The Traitor’ episode of THE DEFENDERS.” (that aired February 16, 1963)
Delilah Fielding (Margo Harshman), disabled Department of Defense employee based in Washington, DC who is a specialist in web and information computer security. She was paralyzed when a bomb from an aerial drone controlled by Pakistani terrorist Benham Parsa killed six and wounded 22 guests at a black-tie gala held in her honor.
Rushed to emergency surgery, doctors tried to remove schrapnel in her spine. A second surgical intervention, resulted in her not being able to walk again. Despite her disability, Delilah was offered a job with the task force in Dubai as the senior intelligence analyst, targeting cyber-terrorists on social media.
A year later, Delilah returned to Washington, D.C. to bring down a digital terrorist and killer and to be with her fiancee, Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), Senior Special Agent and second-in command of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
See also: NCIS: New Orleans
Homeland/SHO/2011-2017+ (Bipolar Disorder)
Carrie Anne Mathison (Claire Danes), an ambitious, high-ranking CIA operative in charge of recruiting and managing assets. She is assigned to the Counter-terrorism Center in Langely, Virginia.
Carrie lives with the stigma of bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness) and tries to hide it from her coworkers for fear of being fired. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder while an Arabic language student at Princeton University. Carrie’s illness manifests itself by rapid thoughts and a surplus of ideas.
Carrie is exceptionally intelligent. Her long-time mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), calls her the “smartest and the dumbest fucking person he’s ever known.”
When we first meet Carrie, she is obsessed with Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis), a recently returned POW whom the country believes is a hero (like The Manchurian Candidate) but, Carrie’s spider senses believes him to be a terrorist sleeper agent. And, in the end, Carrie’s suspicions were right.
“Carrie Mathison: crazy or brilliant? Or both?”
Carrie’s bipolar disorder causes flights of excitement and euphoria, and, alternately, crushing feelings of sadness and hopelessness, even delusions and hallucinations. She exhibits risk inhibition, the elusiveness of sleep, promiscuity, and alienation of friends and family. When Carrie is depressed, she sleeps for days, waking to darkness and then in a catatonic state, she drinks.
Carrie’s psychiatrist older sister, Maggie (Amy Hargreaves) prescribed drugs like clozapine, lithium, nortriptyline, clonazepam to control her condition, but sometimes Carrie goes off her meds because she feels the need to clear her head and focus on her problems.
But, the lack of meds only exasperate Carries problems to the point she has to go to the hospital. While recuperating, she was obsessed with getting a green pen and in a manic state shouted at the attending staff, “I mean, my kingdom for a fucking green pen!” Besides her medications, Carrie undergoes modern electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) to attain some semblance of stability and responsibility.
Once, Carrie’s adversaries used her illness to undermine her by sabotaging her medication and causing her to relapse.
Luckily, Carrie had a strong support network to help her though her spurts of mental illness. They included her family (her father is also bipolar), her mentor Saul, her understanding colleague Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), and her longtime friend Virgil (David Marciano).
Even U.S. Marine Corps Scout Sniper Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis), an al-Qaeda compromised Prisoner of war who plotted to kill the Vice President had a kind word for Carrie (Brody was hanged in Iran after he assassinated Iranian intelligence chief Akbari).
Note: Meredith Stiehm, one of the show’s lead writers, has a sister Jamie with bipolar disorder. She wrote an op-ed about it in the New York Times.
Other instances of bipolar characters on TV include Jeremy Sisto’s Billy Chenowith on SIX FEET UNDER, 90210’s Erin Silver (Jessica Stroup), ER’s Maggie Wyczenski (Sally Field), FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS’ Waverly Grady (Aasha Davis), Chloe Webb’s Monica Gallagher on SHAMELESS, and NYPD BLUE’s Dr. Jennifer Devlin (Chandra West)
Joseph “Joe” Tyson (Ken Page), a blind, black computer whiz who provides information to Jon Sable, a children’s author and vigilante.
Joe’s nickname is “Cheesecake” because Sable sends a strawberry cheesecake to Joe when he needs information (the flap of the cake box hold instructions in Braille).
“Cheesecake” imagines himself to be a stand up comedian and provides his own recorded laugh track for such occasions.
- On episode No.3 “Evangelist” Sable gives a child he found at the apartment of a murdered orphanage worker to Cheesecake to look after, while he discovers a baby selling scheme is going on at the orphanage.
- On episode No. 6 “Watchdogs” A reunion between Sable and his critically ill stepmother is interrupted when Cheesecake needs his help against a racist neighborhood watch group.
Peter Thornton (Dana Elcar/costar), the Director of Field Operations for the Phoenix Foundation who supervised Angus MacGyver, a genius troubleshooter for the firm.
A few years into the program, actor Dana Elcar discovered he was going blind. However, with a little help from his friends and crew of the show, he continued to work on the series.
“The fact that you are losing your eyesight does not mean you have forgotten how to act.” – Dana Elcar
After Dana Elcar went blind from Glaucoma in 1991 he had to use special computer equipment to read printed text.
On the episode “Hind-sight” (05/06/1991) Peter Thornton is in the hospital waiting for the doctors to perform surgery on his eye condition. His sight and field of vision has been fading. His friend and colleague MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) visits and reminisces about their many adventures before it is time for surgery.
Born Ibson Dana Elcar on October 10, 1927 in Ferndale, Michigan, actor Dana Elcar died on June 6, 2005 in Ventura, California.
COVERT AFFAIRS/USA/2010-2014 (Blind)
August “Auggie” Anderson (Christopher Gorham), a quirky, blind CIA military intelligence/special ops officer who used to be a field agent until he was blinded during a mission in Iraq.
He now works from behind a desk and guides Annie Walker (Piper Parabo), a rookie CIA agent through her missions from the safety of Langley.
Auggie’s computer is fitted with braille interfaces on the keyboards.
A MAN CALLED SLOANE/NBC/1979-80 (Prosthetic Hand)
Torque (Ji-Tu Cumbuka) is a 6-foot 5-inch black spy with a bone-crushing stainless steel (in reality aluminum) bionic hand equipped with drills, saws, lock pick, laser beam and even a radio transmitter whose antenna doubled as a spear.
Torque worked for UNIT, a counter-intelligence agency located behind “The Toy Boutique.” His partner was Thomas Remington Sloane, III (Robert Conrad).
EFFIE, the organization’s main computer (short for the E.F.I. Model 3000), supplied information to its agents via a sexy female voice (Michele Carey).
Torque and Thomas fought the criminals of KARTEL, a sinister organization.
Note: In the pilot episode “Death Ray 2000” the character of Torque was a villain who stole a heat ray that dehydrated victims. Robert Logan played the role of Thomas Remington Sloane III.
GET SMART/NBC/CBS/1965-70 (Prosthetic hand)
The Claw (Leonard Strong), Asian criminal working for KAOS, an international organization of evil. The Claw was the head of their Chinese branch.
The Claw’s left arm has a tuning-fork shaped magnet for a hand. He operates from the Shanghai a-Go-Go and a Chinese laundry in San Francisco. His name is pronounced “Craw, not Craw.”
THE AVENGERS/ABC/1966-69 (Crippled)
Mother (Patrick Newell), the crippled supervisor of special British secret service agents John Steed and Ms. Emma Peel.Mother first appeared as a cameo character on the January 1969 episode “The Forget-Me-Knot.”
Crippled in his early days of service to the crown, Mother was unable to walk without the aid of special strap and ladder suspended from the ceiling.
In constant pain, the rotund man was not the kindest person to work with. Frequently seen in a wheelchair, he chided “Mother knows best.”