Phelps takes the tape from the recorder's right-hand spindle. When he opens the acid vat, we can see the tape he just removed back on the recorder - but on the left spindle. The tape he then drops into the acid doesn't remotely resemble the one he pulled, and when he drops it, the recorder's left spindle, where the full tape was in the last shot and where the empty reel should be, now has nothing on it at all.
Throughout season one, the stack of photographs Briggs peruses in selecting his mission team includes one of a man in black-rimmed glasses. It's a shot of the show's creator/producer, Bruce Geller.