I'll give this only four stars, as i found the reconversion of the IMF into a domestic crime-fighting machine a little too one-dimensional. The "beyond the reach of conventional law enforcement agencies" setting became a little tiring and i found myself crying out for one of those ridiculous missions in a country like "Luxania" or "Povia". However, there are plenty of good episodes. There's even room for one, as Thomas Rucki quite rightly states, veritable masterpiece. Oddly, we revert to the original theme tune for the opening titles. We even have one of those extreme oddities: Jim's mission briefing being done on an LP, for the first time since season three. Kenyon Hopkins does many of the music scores and his edgy, jazzy work serves to embellish.
This is a stripped-down IMF team of three men plus a "beautiful make-up artist" called Casey (Lynda Day George). If truth be told, the magnificently-maned LDG is actually very good in her role. She has some juicy parts to play ("moll", grifter, French redhead, Irish bride, psychiatrist, Corsican, singer), is always convincing and very easy on the eye. (Dressed far more modestly than Lesley Warren in season five.) Jim Phelps is doing even more of the heavy-lifting, as there's no Rollin Hand/Paris accomplice, and seems to be having great fun. Barney gets to play a few parts which need more than technical expertise and Willy is restored after his stop/start season five.
High points would be "Encore", with William Shatner. (One i remember from its ORIGINAL airing.) Utterly ridiculous, but great fun. "The Tram" is a brisk episode with Felice Orlandi. "Mindbend" is moderately disturbing. Shame it has such a very cheesy wrap-up. A "young" Donald Moffat and Bill Fletcher are good villains. "Encounter" is another taut episode, with Elizabeth Ashley really excelling in a guest role. William Smith looks as mean as usual, and then some. "Invasion" is THE piece de resistance. (The first episode with a different hand lighting the fuse, in the opening credits.) Utterly preposterous, but SO very well done. Kevin McCarthy is a slimy nasty, without hamming it. Casey is both lovely and quite excellent in this. "Nerves" has Lynda's hubby, Christopher George, playing a syndicate enforcer. Anthony Zerbe is back for more punishment, in "The Connection". "The Bride" has a mildly shocking lift-shaft liquidation and delicious Woodrow Parfrey cameo. "Stone Pillow" features Bradford Dillman. "Committed" sees Geoffrey Lewis co-starring as a rather nasty hitman. Again, shame about the cheesy ending. "Bag Woman" has a good suspense, like "Casino". "Trapped" is a great season-ender, in spite of using a ridiculously wiggy stunt double for Jim.
The season has a few relative disappointers, but not actually too many. Watch out for appearances by Billy Dee Williams and Tyne Daly. Also the Hill Street Bluesers "Dan Travanty", James Sikking and Jon Cypher. Overall, very much better than i thought it would be.