Last updated : 27th March 2013
|Episode Title||Killer with a Long Arm|
|Story Synopsis||CI5 become aware of an assassination plot involving a rifle with a range of over two miles. But where is the gunman and who is his target?|
|UK Episode #||A04|
|Production #||Block 1, Ep 4|
|Approx Filming Dates||2nd - 15th August 1977|
|UK Tx Date||20 January 1978|
|Guest Stars||Michael Latimer, Diane Keen|
An overly-violent and daft episode, really - no professional hitman would use innocent members of the public for target practice. In fairness to Brian Clemens, though, this ep - like so many others in the first season - was written amid the crisis that blighted the production schedule. Doubtless had more time been available, the script would have been refined considerably.
Some interesting character traits emerge here: Doyle being unnecessarily brutal with the restaurant owner yet obviously caring about the murdered golfer and even rebuking the forensics man: "Nobody's a nobody!". Towards the end we see Bodie knowing he can rely on the skills of his partner in an extremely dangerous situation - see Sharon's notes on this.
Apart from that, though, there's little I can find to recommend this episode. And the tag sequence is cheesey beyond belief as the lads use the rifle's telescopic sight to spy on the half-naked girl. Nice scene to look at <G> but play it with the sound off!...
Fave dialogue is a classic of the show's viciously camp repertoire: "What do you know about Greeks, Bodie?" / "Well the fellas all dance together and the cops shave their 'eads!". Then later, having brutally interrogated Tarkos: "Now he didn't ask you to dance!"
"So you and me are a mobile ghetto, eh?" Bodie asks of Doyle.
This story is not about foreign assassins. It's about two men learning they are bonded by a partnership unlike any other - one in which they stand alone against the rest of the world and in which their very lives depend on one another's skill and split-second judgment.
By this episode the writer and actors have a better focus on the characters. Doyle shows up dressed scruffily and Bodie is clad in suits or polo and jacket. Doyle behaves badly (the plate breaking scene), even brutally, and Bodie backs him up without question. Bodie's military expertise is shown to advantage, as are his hands (!) as he indicates details of the rifle. Martin and/or the writers have Doyle's syntax and diction just right for most of the dialogue, and the "Patter in The Car" theme is established - something that will be ongoing throughout the rest of the show. The Lads' teamwork gets star billing here - first in the scene where Tommy is captured and then at the last when the killer is stopped.
The actual plot is... well, okay.... but secondary to the fine relationship material that emerges between B and D and Cowley. Cowley has some wonderful interrogation moments here. Good acting by "Tommy" and excellent timing by GJ!
Technicals: good use of camera angles in this one. I particularly liked the "swimming pool ladder" frame of The Lads and the shot up toward Bodie as he swings over the barrier to drop into the lower flat. I appreciated that no "mood" music was used in the final segment until the very end – kept the tension going.
Lovely (adorable?) scene in the CI5 rest room with Bodie clad in bathrobe and towel claiming to have romanced Betty. Another nice moment with a bare-chested Doyle!
Doyle needs restraining in several scenes - capturing Tommy and dealing with the forensic guy at the golf course - and Bodie provides it: another theme that occurs regularly from now on: Doyle's hot temper modified by Bodie's cool one.
The finest moment, however, was the exchange just after the shooting when it's clear Doyle's foremost concern was to not harm Bodie: "And if I'd fired...." his voice breaks wonderfully, indicating he's imagining his own bullet taking out his partner! And Bodie looks stunned, then comes back with: "Since when did you ever miss...?"
The epilogue with the "Lads will be lads" scene was dumb. <G>
Not so much a blooper as a cheat: Georgi appears to arrive in England at Dover port yet the Hovercraft stock footage was actually shot at Ramsgate. (Thanks to James Hall).
The (fake) roadsign on which Costa sprays an 'X' is installed on the right-hand side of the road - not much good for UK roads! (Thanks to John Hammond)
When the motorcycle cop is shot, there is initially no blood on the car door - we don't see this until we cut to a close-up. (Thanks to Patrick Beerhorst)
A camera problem rather than an accidental blooper, the angle at which we see the close-up of the scarecrow through Georgi's telescopic sight seems to indicate he is positioned much lower than he actually is. (Thanks to Martina Klein).
In the scarecrow scene, Bodie says that the villains hadn't had time to check the accuracy of their shooting, yet of course Doyle has just found a Greek cigarette next to the scarecrow! Also, given that Georgi clearly hit the scarecrow accurately, it makes no sense that he later needs a second rifle test (on the golf course). Thanks to "Tavaran")
The assassination attempt takes place on Wimbledon Finals Day, yet there seem to be other matches going on at the same time! (Thanks to Ben Gilby)
In several shots of the tower block, Cowley can see the business end of the rifle jutting out through the balcony, yet from Bodie's angle it is clearly housed completely inside the apartment. (Thanks to John Webb)
Apparently there is a version of this episode that not only has the original title sequence but also the voiceover. Hmmm....
Fan Donald Gresko kindly advises that the super-rifle used in this story is actually a real weapon - a Russian-made Vostov model.
Michael Latimer (Georgi) popped up in all sorts of stuff like The Avengers and The Sweeney and re-appeared in The Professionals second-season ep 'Fall Girl'. He recently contacted me to confirm that he moved on from acting shortly afterwards:
"I became a director/writer/producer, went to Australia for six years [contributing scripts for a number of Reg Grundy soaps and the feature film Ginger Meggs] and then when I came back to England, I started directing for the stage. I have been doing that ever since... I have very fond memories of working [on The Avengers and New Avengers] with Patrick Macnee. He is the most charming man and a delight to work with and also to be with (we met up several times socially) and coincidentally one of other most delightful people I ever worked with as an actor was Gordon Jackson (four or five times, I think). One thing he and Patrick had in common was that they always had time for people and treated everyone with absolute respect. I have directed over 50 plays for the stage - In London, Sheffield, Germany, UK national tours and also in OZ and the USA. I have had a great time doing it and haven't missed acting at all. I have also written 70 tv scripts. I am now writing stage plays and I hope the first one is to be produced in UK soonish(?!)".
Sadly Michael passed away in 2011.
Diane Keen (Hilda) starred alongside Lewis in The Cuckoo Waltz, got her kit off in the first Sweeney movie and then spent most of the 1980s promoting Nescafe coffee. For a long time in 1980s and 90s she practically disappeared from our screens but can now be seen in the BBCs afternoon soap Doctors. Yes, another medical drama!!!. (Thanks to Debbie Gibson)
Suzanne Danielle (girl in the kimono) was a popular actress during the 1980s, though apart from presenting the entertainment show That's Amazing, never really landed any major roles. Gave up acting in the late 80s. Now married to professional golfer Sam Torrance. (Thanks to Andrew Houghton)
Click for the complete List of Episodes