Pepper Leveau

The criminal Pepper Leveau

Pepper Leveau, played by Paula Kelly, is one of the criminals tracked down by Jim Phelps and his team of Mission: Impossible (the series) in the episode "Bayou" (1.19). She is the accomplice of this episode’s main villain, Jake Morgan, a New Orlean’s jazz club owner, who secretly runs a white slavery ring together with his right hand, Pepper. Both are responsible for the abduction of more than 100 white girls who are to be sold as pleasure slaves to rich perverts worldwide with Pepper as second-in-command of all operations.

While Mr. Morgan represents the cliché of a fat, sadistic southern “gentleman”, living in a pre-civil war plantation villa, Pepper forms a strong contrast to her boss since she is an athletic, strong and very independent black woman.  However, she has one major weakness: her superstitions and, especially, her belief in the existence of zombies and other aspects of a (stereotyped) Voodoo cult. This is what the team around Jim Phelps uses against her: In order to turn her against her boss, they introduce one female team member (Jane Badler) as a prophesizing voodoo priestess and convince Pepper that Mr. Morgan tries to get rid of her. They sedate the villainess and leave her near to the plantation house. As Pepper awakes, she thinks she was killed by an explosion arranged by Morgan. Convinced she was brought back to "life" as a zombie, she hurrys back to Morgans villa to take her revenge. There, even a zombie “resurrection” is staged for Mr. Morgan and Pepper to show them that the prophecy comes true. Morgan tries to shoot both the "zombie" (a male member of Phelps's team) and Pepper, but as we already know the bullets in his gun have been replaced, so he is unable to harm Pepper (whom he takes for undead, too). Now totally convinced of Mr. Morgan’s responsibility for her “death”, she goes after him with a machete, forcing him to flee in the direction of a swamp infested with crocodiles where he meets an ugly end.

As Pepper watches her boss fall to be ripped apart by the reptiles, flashlights suddenly point at her: the police have just arrived telling a blinded villainess to lay down her weapon and surrender. The next we see of her is how handcuffs snap shut around her wrists. Pepper is then taken away by two policemen while Jim Phelps watches how she is led to a waiting police car.

It is kind of ironic that Pepper is captured by the police while she still believes to be a zombie and therefore (at least) unvulnerable. It is clear, however, that she does not resist her arrest although she is probably convinced that bullets cannot harm her. It can be assumed that Pepper slowly realizes afterwards (locked up in jail) that she was tricked and trapped. Superfluous to say that all white slave girls have already been rescued while Mr. Morgan is killed and his henchwoman arrested.


Pepper's arrestEdit

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