Agent Danvers dies in Steed's flat before he can give the exact location of a valuable dispatch that he has hidden. The flat is bugged and the avengers are pursued by a number of people taking part in a treasure hunt car rally organized by car-mad George Benstead to find the missing dispatch - the end result being truly shocking in the literal sense.
The hunt for a murdered courier's despatch leads Steed and Emma to a deadly car race with a "shocking" surprise at the finish line. It takes The Avengers to flag down the murderers and apply the brakes to their plans.
"Dead Man's Treasure" moves at a brisk pace, racing to the finish line, all for 1000 guineas. In Steed's case, the hidden treasure also contains a box of important documents that cost the life of fellow agent Bobby Danvers (Rio Fanning, "False Witness"). Crashing the party in pursuit of the same goal are villains Alex (Edwin Richfield, in his fifth appearance on the show) and Carl (Neil McCarthy, "Brought to Book" and "The Interrogators"), who engage in a little cheating along the route, directed from one location to another, before Mrs. Peel winds up in the same death trap that proved fatal for Sir George Benstead (Arthur Lowe), the sponsor of the auto rally. Ivor Dean ("The Removal Men" and "Super Secret Cypher Snatch") plays Bates, dedicated manservant to Sir George, but it's Valerie Van Ost, previously seen in the promo short "The Strange Case of the Missing Corpse," who steals the show as Penny Blaine, the perpetual 'bridesmaid, never a bride,' whose succession of fiancees all come to a sad end (prompting Steed to suggest they remain good friends!) More delightful repartee, with Steed distracted by Penny's shapely legs while taking a turn off the road- "it's a short skirt, I mean a short cut!" plus Emma's introduction to an enamored Sir George, who can't take his eyes off of her while Steed comments on the car- Steed: "what a beauty!" Sir George: "oh, I do agree!" Steed: "marvelous chassis!" Sir George: "well, I wouldn't be quite so bold as to say that but uh..." Steed: "her suspension's pretty complex too!" Sir George: "eh? oh that!" The final gag with Steed's razor is a glorious ending to another beloved episode.
In the opening scene we see an injured man driving for his life pursued by two other men; he briefly gives them the slip and breaks in to a nearby house. Here he places a small box in a red 'treasure chest' then takes an invitation to a motor race and posts it to Steed. He then drives to Steed's house but dies before he can give full details. Outside the two enemy agents listen in as Steed and Mrs Peel try to make sense of what the man said. When the invitation arrives Steed and Mrs Peel head to the house but are told they can't have access to the chest; it contains the prize money for the race; if they want it they will have to win. Steed tries to explain the importance but Sir George Benstead, the man organising the event, is killed before he can tell Steed anything. The race takes the form of a treasure hunt and to make things more interesting driver's racing partners are selected at random. Steed is paired with Penny Blaine; a woman who has lost countless fiancées and Mrs Peel acts as navigator to a man who will cheat to win. Meanwhile the two enemy agents have managed to get into the race. To confuse matters it becomes apparent that they didn't kill Sir George; there is another dangerous person involved in the race and we don't know who it is.
This episode was a lot of fun; while it is ostensibly about retrieving the box before the bad guys get it in reality this is all just a set up to give us an enjoyable car race/treasure hunt. Arthur Lowe makes a welcome if short appearance as Sir George and Valerie Van Ost is a lot of fun as Penny; just about everything that happened reminded her of one of her many fiancées who'd died in some dramatic manner. The race was fun with some amusing moments, classic cars and some lovely rural scenery. This all leads up to a very tense scene where the previously unknown killer has Mrs Peel in a racing simulator which will electrocute her is she goes off the track! While the identity of the killer isn't a total surprise there are a decent number of suspects to choose from; Both Steed and Mrs Peel's driving partners as well as Sir George's Butler who is driving around to ensure fair play. There are a couple of minor, and easy to overlook, plot holes; what happened to all the other competitors in the race and why did Sir George build a simulator that could deliver a fatal shock? Overall a lot of fun and to my mind a classic Avengers episode. 646f9e108c
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