It turns out, reading round on the internet about this episode, that not only is it one of my favourite Avengers episodes, it also seems to be everyone else's, to the extent that I'm going to find it difficult to say anything that hasn't already been said repeatedly! I had already spotted the bloopers, & my favourite line is everyone ese's favourite line as well.
Brian Clemens wrote the script, & it shows, because actually this episode - to me at least - does feel like a later episode rather than a standard Series 2 episode. It has the characteristic Avengers theme of corruption & greed among the great & the good, in this case the Lakin brothers. I have read criticisms that the act is slightly overdone - I agree that they are fabulously over the top considering they are supposed to be solicitors, but that is exactly the later Avengers feel I mean. I even love the way that after Steed & Mrs Gale double cross them, they still look for legal precedents to try to get themselves off the hook. There is even the comedy of Steed putting on a bowler, supposedly his, but far too big in the Old Bailey.
It would be difficult to break the Lakins' seemingly faultless scheme any other way than it is broken in this episode, but the resolution seems to me a little more straightforward than it could be. This is my only criticism of this episode.
What I didn't know was that this episode was featured in the TV Times: this article forms the illustration for this post. I looove the fictional background given to Steed in that article, it makes him seem much more of a mountebank than he usually comes across. It demonstrates the development of Steed's personality through the sixties, starting off as a well dodgy character & ending up the respectable gentleman whom Tara King looks up to. It also suggests shady origins for his money, although it is hard to see how he could ever be anything other than a younger son! I suspect in series 1 he wasn't really the son of anybody, if you see what I mean.
The biography of Mrs Gale brings into sharp relief her multifaceted personality - adventurer as well as academic. I had somehow managed to miss that she fought with Castro, but have added that to my mental list of her achievements!