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The Bionic Wiki
“Just a Matter of Time”

S5 E13

Production 47314
Original Airdate: 8 January 1978
Trouble in the capsule
Produced by
Fred Freiberger
Teleplay by
Gregory S. Dinallo
Neal J. Sperling
Story by
Neal J. Sperling
Directed by
Don McDougall
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Charles Cioffi as Edward Barris
Leigh Christian as Donna Huffman
Paul Carr as Rev. Michael Essex
John Milford as General Winston Hayden
John de Lancie as Sergeant Chapman
Blake Marion as Lab Technician
Broadcast Order
Season 5
← Previous Next →
"Walk a Deadly Wing" "Return of Deathprobe"


Bewildered Steve Austin returns from an orbital test flight to learn six years have elapsed and that he's under arrest for treason. Steve attempts to establish his innocence by proving that his space capsule had been caught in a time warp. But the authorities still maintain he defected to the Soviet Union and has been brainwashed.



Steve: NASA test.

Donna: That completes our agenda. Anything else on yours?

Steve: Re-entry. You have to get me back down there or have you got a better offer for the weekend?

Donna: Standing by Colonel. You're stuck with me.

Steve: [laughs] That's a copy.

Rudy: Let's hope it is just the telemetry equipment.

Oscar: [removes his glasses] If it isn't?

Rudy: If it isn't Steve is in an infinite journey into deep space.

Rev. Essex: Obviously you missed your recovery zone.

Steve: Yeah, by a couple of oceans.

Rev. Essex: I was ordained in '78. That's 6 years ago.

Edward: Colonel Austin, I've been ordered to inform you you're being placed under arrest.

Steve: Arrest?

Edward: You're charged with theft of government property, desertion of duty and treason.

Steve: Treason? Wait a minute what is this?

Edward: That's all I can tell you now.

Steve: I was flying an orbital space test flight.

Winston: We know all about that. How you arranged in advance for the Soviets to fish your capsule out of the drink. Neat. We thought it failed to re-enter, skipped off into space. Until these showed up a couple of years later. Red Square, May Day 1979. You remember that day Colonel?

Steve: [viewing photos handed him] These look like me. I've never been to Moscow, General.

Edward: He's a highly trained agent, General. I'm sure he's had intensive schooling in amnesia techniques.

Winston: C'mon Barris, that stunt's older than Eisenhower jackets.

Steve: Who are you talking to?

Edward: Mrs. Wells. You can talk to her if you like.

Steve: Mrs. Wells? Rudy isn't married.

Edward: Now's your chance to tell it to his wife.

Steve: Oscar. How did he ...

Donna: So unnecessary. So young.

Steve: How did it happen?

Donna: Car accident, late at night. He was exhausted and he shouldn't have been driving. After you ... what happened, he worked all the time, compulsively and Dr. Wells thought he blamed himself.

Edward: How is he? [referring to Steve]

Lab technician: Sleeping like a baby, but he doesn't have skin like one. I have got to get a new needle.

Steve: Wait a minute.

Donna: What is it?

Steve: I'm not sure but something isn't right. [Goes to the window] Venus. Its at the same position as it was during my flight. If the date is August, 1984 its orbit would have carried it below the horizon. I mean, we shouldn't even be able to see Venus.

Steve: Colonel Austin calling Oscar Goldman.

Oscar: Steve!

Steve: Well Oscar thank God you're alive.

Oscar: Well I'm supposed to say that to you!


  • This story has commonality with the comic adventure, "Second Chances", the feature of October 1976's The Six Million Dollar Man #3.
  • Steve gives his OSI identification number as 384172.
Real World[]
  • The date on Steve's wrist chronometer reads February 6, 1978. This means that, in keeping with the episode's theme, the story is set in the future (albeit one month) from the date the episode originally aired.
  • John de Lancie makes his second guest appearance of the season, playing a different character than he played in "Sharks".


  • When Steve checks one of the packing boxes on his way to detention, he pulls out a crumpled copy of the Los Angeles Times. The year on the paper is pasted onto the page. This sort of error probably wasn't detectable on older TV sets in 1978. Thanks to DVD and HD, this "prop fudge" becomes visible.
    • This was a great catch. And it is funny too that August 14th didn't fall on a Friday in 1984. It was a Friday in 1975 though.
    • Another note - This scene isn't shown in some syndicated versions. They show Steve being led out of the room and then suddenly he is in his jail cell. I had to go to the DVD's to capture the screen shot below.