"The Heart of New York" is the 11th instalment of the Supermarionation television series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. First transmitted in the UK on 8th December 1967 on ATV Midlands, it was written by Tony Barwick and directed by Alan Perry.
In this instalment, a group of perfectly human bank robbers try to outwit Spectrum as the Mysterons declare that they will destroy "The Heart Of New York."
"The Heart of New York" was one of at least three instalments containing a plot whose similarity to the 11 September attacks upon, and eventual destruction of, the World Trade Centre in New York City caused it to be held back from transmission when Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons was repeated on BBC Two in 2001. (The other two were "Winged Assassin" and "Big Ben Strikes Again!")
When two criminals, identified only as Kruger and Doig, attempt to rob the Spectrum Security Vaults of the gold they mistakenly believe is contained within these, acting upon intelligence collected by their associate, identified as Carl, all they instead discover is documentation and microfilm which, though their contents are classified, have no material value. Nonetheless, Kruger is fascinated by the documents detailing Earth's conflict with Mars, and plans to "get the Mysterons to work for us." Meanwhile, the Mysterons announce that they have studied human greed and corruption, and they announce that they intend to destroy "The Heart of New York." While the civilian population is evacuated and the perimeter roadblocked, Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue search the city for concealed explosive devices. Kruger, Doig, and Carl annoy a wildfire lookout by feigning drunkenness. They then falsify their own deaths, placing replicas of themselves inside their car and then sending it crashing down a hillside. The lookout cannot help believing that the three supposedly intoxicated men have been killed. Kruger, Doig, and Carl then return, now claiming to be Mysteron likenesses of their own original selves. In so claiming, they announce that they intend to destroy the New York Second National Bank. Though Colonel White suspects that this bank's actual destruction may indeed be the genuine Mysterons's real intent, he refuses to risk any Spectrum lives merely to protect a bank. He hence orders all Spectrum personnel to withdraw to the roadblocks.
Kruger, Doig, and Carl appear at Captain Magenta's roadblock and present FBI identification. After a Mysteron detector check which Captain Ochre runs comes back negative, Captain Magenta reluctantly grants them access. Arriving at the Second National Bank with a crate of plastic explosive, the men are confident about escaping with the East Coast gold reserve. However, no sooner is the vault blown open than they are caught unawares by Captain Black, who traps them inside and reveals that the bank will indeed soon be destroyed. At Captain Magenta's roadblock, Captain Scarlet seizes on the discrepancy that the men knew that the Mysterons had narrowed their target to the Second National Bank when only Spectrum personnel had been informed of this. Realising that the bank will be robbed, Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue rush to apprehend them in their Spectrum Saloon Car (SSC), but they turn around upon noticing Captain Black driving the grey saloon that the men had used. Even so, the Mysterons use their powers to teleport Captain Black away from the scene. The Second National Bank is obliterated, exactly as Colonel White had suspected it might be, by the explosives planted at the site, killing Kruger, Doig, and Carl. However, Colonel White refuses to accept that the three men were the typical greedy and corrupt humans cited by the Mysterons and feels sure that the good of humanity will ultimately prevail over the vindictiveness of the enemy.
This instalment contains a number of continuity errors.
- In the puppet shots of Captain Scarlet, Captain Blue, and Captain Black driving through New York, trees and bushes are seen in the background. But in the miniature model shots, no vegetation lines the streets.
- During the scene in which Kruger, Doig and Carl tell the fire lookout that they are Mysteron reconstructions, Kruger's jacket changes colours between the puppet shots and the live-action close-ups.
- In the scene where Kruger, Doig, and Carl convince the lookout that they are Mysteron agents, the colour of Kruger's jacket changes from mauve to magenta between the puppet shots and the close-up shot in which he sprays the lookout with knockout gas.
- A different puppet is used for Captain Black for the first few minutes of his appearance, but from the scene in which he speeds off in the grey saloon, the normal puppet is used. The reason for this is unknown.
- The Mysterons' vanishing power is seen for the first time in this episode. It is also featured in "Model Spy", "Expo 2068", and "Inferno!" Captain Black is seemingly able to control this power himself, allowing him to make inanimate objects appear and disappear. The miniature model of the Second National Bank was built to 1⁄12 scale.
- The puppet used as Kruger was one of the most frequently used puppets of the late-1960s Supermarionation programmes; its other appearances in Captain Scarlet alone include "Winged Assassin," "Big Ben Strikes Again!", "Point 783," "Avalanche," "The Trap," and "Special Assignment." It would subsequently appear as Commander Kavoc in the Joe 90 episode "Arctic Adventure" and the Dreisenberg ambassador in The Secret Service episode "A Case For The Bishop." The Carl puppet was previously seen as Lieutenant Belmont in "White As Snow" and the fire lookout as Major Brooks in "Point 783" and Air Commodore Goddard in "The Trap." A modified version of the puppet that plays the Spectrum Security Vaults guard would later appear in the regular role of Shane Weston in Joe 90. By contrast, the puppet playing Doig is never seen again after this episode.
When a digitally-remastered re-run of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons began in the United Kingdom in September 2001, "The Heart of New York" was originally due to be transmitted as the eleventh instalment in the re-run. But it was postponed from its intended BBC Two transmission date due to the parallels between its plot, with New York City as the Mysterons's latest threat, and the 11 September attacks upon, and destruction of, the World Trade Centre in New York City, which occurred in the same month. The instalment was eventually transmitted later in the line-up, along with the other two instalments with similar plots, "Winged Assassin" and "Big Ben Strikes Again!"