The Impossible Missions Force, also known as the IMF, is an independent espionage agency commonly employed by the United States government.
- 1 Background
- 2 Methods
- 3 History
- 4 Members
- 5 Teams
- 6 Behind The Scenes
- 7 Appearances
Founded in 1945 after World War II, the IMF bears the brunt of today's international attacks, now focused on concealed entry and espionage. The missions keep getting harder and harder - but so do the agents.
The IMF operates primarily by executing confidence tricks on its mission targets, sometimes with the aid of high-tech gadgetry. The agents are able to deceive their targets into cooperating with them without detecting a set-up until the mission is accomplished; by that time, the IMF personnel have already vanished from the scene.
In a worst-case scenario during such undercover missions in which their presence becomes known, the IMF can become subject to disavowal under order from the President's failsafe initiative, "Ghost Protocol". With this initiative in place, the IMF is rendered defunct, and any and all agents in the field are hereby unable to access specific safehouses or extraction points in their specific location.
The IMF operated primarily by using confidence tricks, infiltration, and high technology devices on its targets. The agents of the IMF were able to deceive their targets into cooperating with them without detecting any kind of deception until the "impossible mission" was carried out. By that time, the IMF team members had all vanished from the scene and/or left the target country. In some cases, especially involving organized crime, the mission targets were actually killed as a direct result of the IMF's work, though never actually by any IMF agents themselves.
The organization's job was to infiltrate secure installations, seize critical intelligence, destroy dangerous data or equipment, and neutralize the enemy as needed, without leaving a trace. The IMF is different than most intelligence organizations in that, once their orders have been given, there are no required procedures for the fulfillment of the mission.
The IMF agents were anonymously sent on covert missions to tackle the dangerous world of counter-terrorism, espionage, political subversion, international crime, and American organized crime. Their international missions tended to undermine communist governments, dictatorships, and other opponents of democracy. The TV series never directly specified exactly who oversaw the IMF, though it was some agency of the United States government. All of the team members were Americans. They acted under nonofficial cover status, and if they were ever caught or killed, “the Secretary” (presumably the U.S. Secretary of State) would “disavow” any knowledge of their actions.
In secret tape messages issued to the team leaders, references were made to "the Secretary," and whenever these were foreign operations, this Secretary is understood to be the Secretary of State, as stated above. The IMF team leader was also given the option to reject a mission which he did not find to be suitable, or if he believed that it was truly impossible to accomplish.
The Impossible Missions Force was originally founded during World War II by former US army Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Briggs, as a wartime unit, unofficiallly known as Briggs's Squad. The squad performed complex missions for the United States armed forces. The team's other personnel were Barnard Collier, Rollin Hand, and several others.
After World War II, Briggs rounded up members of his former team (some of whose personnel were believed to have turned to crime) and pulled them together to perform missions for the US Government. This new team became an independent covert-operations agency and was renamed the Impossible Mission Force, "IMF" for short, and Briggs was named as both its founding Director and the team captain of the mission team called the I.M. Force.
In 1963, Briggs recruited Jim Phelps, a fomer US Marine member, into the organization and trained him as an IMF agent for three years.
In 1966, Jim Phelps, along with Cinnamon Carter, Barney Collier and Rollin Hand, was sent by Briggs to stop a terrorist plot in Germamy by Soviets to start a nuclear war by infiltrating the submarine pen where the missiles were stored and destroying it. During the mission, Briggs was murdered by the Soviets. Afterwards, Jim was appointed as the IMF team leader.
Jim Phelps' term
As the IMF team leader, Jim would partake in many missions along with his team during the 1960's and the 1970's, such as stopping Kurt Hendricks, saving defecting Soviet scientest Vladimir Nekhorvich and confronting the Mafia.
On May 1996, while attempting to recover stolen files containing information on all IMF's field agents during a mission in Prague, the entire team, barring Hunt, is supposedly killed and the files are stolen, leaving Hunt the only suspect as he learns that the mission was a set-up to expose a mole who had been selling secrets to a Czech arms dealer. Hunt decides to steal the genuine list himself, demanding that the genuine mole be present at the exchange.
Hunt sets up a rogue team of other disavowed agents, including computer expert Luther Stickell, pilot Franz Krieger, and Claire Phelps, Jim's wife and the only other apparent survivor of the mission. After recovering the list, Hunt is shocked to learn that the true traitor is actually Jim Phelps himself, who was completely unhinged and had become disillusioned with his career after feeling that he had become irrelevant. Phelps faked his own death in order to frame Hunt and was working with Krieger and Claire to eliminate the team's other members.
Setting up a situation where Jim's continued survival and his criminal activity is exposed to the head of IMF, Hunt kills Krieger and apparently kills Jim as they attempt to escape from the train where Hunt had arranged to make the exchange, with Claire being killed in the crossfire. Afterwards, Hunt meets briefly with Stickell and is taking over Jim's position.
In 1999, three years after recovering the NOC list, Hunt is tasked with retrieving a deadly genetically engineered virus, known as "Chimera", from a rogue IMF agent, Sean Ambrose, who intends to release the virus after acquiring a controlling influence on the company that created it so that he can profit from sales of the cure. Hunt attempts to infiltrate Ambrose's inner circle through Ambrose's former girlfriend, Nyah Nordoff-Hall, an accomplished thief. During their mission, Hunt and Nordoff-Hall start a romantic relationship that complicates the mission and that would change his life forever.
Nyah is forced to infect herself with the last virus in order to save Hunt; with Hunt having destroyed the only other traces of the virus, she was thus able to shield Hunt until he could escape. Subsequently racing against time, Hunt manages to acquire the cure and kill Ambrose.
After the events in Sydney, Ethan retired from the IMF and settled down with Nyah, now his girlfriend, in San Francisco. However, in 2002, Ethan went back home and entered the bedroom, only to find her dead. The bed was covered in blood and Ethan griefed for her death. Because of this, he began suffering nightmares about Nyah's death.
A few months later, Ethan went to Lake Wanaka for a vaction, hoping to move on with life. It was there that he met and fell in love with his future wife, a Virginia Regional Hospital nurse named Julia Meade, while on a "heli-boarding" trip at the lake. They would eventually start dating and move to Norfolk, Virgina.
Two years later, Ethan started training recruits for the IMF. It was there that he met the new IMF Director and his future boss Theodore Brassel and field agent William Brandt. One of the recruits he trained was Lindsey Farris.
On May 2006, Ethan is called back into service to rescue a former student captured during a mission in Germany, and recovers confidential information via stolen laptop. He is forced to once again go rogue in an attempt to track down the sadistic arms dealer, Owen Davian and secure a dangerous mystery item known as the 'Rabbit's Foot'.
After an impromptu ceremony, Hunt and Julia are married, only for Owen, who has a double agent working within IMF, to kidnap Julia. With the help of his IMF team, Hunt finds the Rabbit's foot, saves his wife, and kills Owen Davian in Shanghai.
Shortly after Ethan and Julia left to Croatia, Brassel contacted with Jim Phelps, where Brassel informed him about the operation and the people who made a deal with Davian; the Syndicate. He also told him that Ethan dosen't know the truth about Phelps and that the Syndicate will find him.
Brandt's Mission in Croatia
Shortly after Davian's death, Ethan and Julia were both on their honeymoon together until Hunt realized that the only way to protect her from death was to fake it, as he didn't want to lose her the same way as he lost Nyah in 2002. Brandt was assigned by Brassel to watch the family, following Ethan one day as he went for a jog. Brandt assigned two men to watch Julia before he left and after returning, he found them both unconscious and Julia gone. Days later, Brandt was told that what was left of Julia's body had been found. In apparent retaliation for his wife's murder, Hunt killed six Serbian nationalists linked to the crime, and as a result was sent to Rankow Prison. In reality, the IMF invented this cover to allow Hunt to inflitrate the prison, in the hope of gaining information in regards to a terrorist named Cobalt. Julia, now safe, was kept a secret by Ethan, who had to keep his distance from her. He would only return to her after he's done working with the IMF.
Ghost Protocol Incident
On late November 2010, Hunt—having just escaped from a deep-cover mission in prison—and his IMF team are blamed for an attack that destroys the Kremlin, resulting in the disavowal of the entire IMF. Despite lacking their usual resources, connections, technology, and backup, their mission is to find and stop Kurt Hendricks, a former Soviet nuclear strategist who is intent on starting a nuclear war to usher in the next era of human evolution. As they chase Hendricks to Dubai and on to India, they themselves are pursued by a team of Russian agents trying to apprehend them. The team becomes increasingly fractured as individual members fight their own demons while trying to trust the others. Hunt manages to pull the team together, stop a nuclear bomb and clear the IMF of any involvement in the Kremlin attack.
A few weeks later, during Chrismas Eve, Ethan and the team meet up with Luther in Seattle. It is also revealed that Hunt had Julia's death faked to protect her. Ethan later listens to a new mission; track down the Syndicate, essentially an 'anti-IMF' with all of the organisation's training and skills but used for criminal purposes.
Rogue Nation Incident
On Feburary 19th, 2014, Hunt is assigned a mission by Brassel to recover a package that contained VX nerve gas contained in an A400M millitary aircraft in Belarus. Although this mission succeeds, when he learns that the thieves responsible for stealing the gas lacked the connections to do so, Hunt begins to uncover evidence at the existence of the Syndicate, the same organization he has been tracking down for four years.
After Hunt is forced to go off-the-grid when he is saved by Syndicate operative Ilsa Faust and the IMF is disbanded and absorbed into the CIA due to its controversial and destructive methods, he spends the next six months trying to track the Syndicate. On August 21st, 2014, Hunt reunited with Dunn and they tried to stop the assasination of the Austrian Chancellor, but they failed.
Eventually, with the help of Brassel and Faust, Hunt learns that the Syndicate was actually originally an MI6 program to perform missions without oversight, but British agent Solomon Lane took the plans and went rogue, now seeking to steal files that would grant him access to various established bank accounts to finance future Syndicate operations. Refusing to allow the Syndicate to continue, Hunt and his team are able to capture Lane, with CIA Director Alan Hunley was subsequently forced to claim that the disbanding of IMF was a cover to allow them to track the Syndicate.
Afterwards, Ethan travels to San Francisco and heads to Nyah's grave, where he runs into his former mentor, Jim Phelps, revealed to be alive and have survived the event in 1996.
- Director: Thoedore Brassel (currently), Swanbeck (formerly), Eugene Kittridge (formerly)
- Team leader: Ethan Hunt (currently), Jim Phelps (formerly), Tom Copperfield (formerly), Dan Briggs (formerly)
- Secretary: Alan Hunley (currently)
- Jim Phelps
- Claire Williams-Phelps
- Ethan Hunt
- Franz Krieger
- Luther Stickell
- Jack Harmon
- Sarah Davies
- Hannah Williams
- Ethan Hunt
- Benji Dunn
- Jane Carter
- William Brandt
- Trevor Hanaway
- IMF Secretary
- Theodore Brassel
- Ethan Hunt
- Benji Dunn
- Luther Stickell
- William Brandt
- Ilsa Faust
- Alan Hunley
- Alp Keskin
- Demir Derin Bostancı
Behind The Scenes
- The IMF is shown as a government agency as it was shown in the actual film series by Paramount Pictures.
- Mission: Impossible (First appearance)