Last updated : 30th July 2004
|Story Synopsis||When a CIA agent is murdered in London, CI5 attempt to set up a fake arms deal with the terrorists responsible. But the group uncover the ploy and events turn nasty for Bodie.|
|Writer||Gerry O'Hara, from a story by Anthony Read|
|UK Episode #||D03|
|UK Tx Date||21 September 1980|
|Production #||Block 3, Ep 8|
|Approx Filming Dates||27th August - 7th September 1979|
|Guest Stars||Michael Byrne, Brigitte Kahn|
Average stuff - but better than most from the fourth season.
Great opening scene and plenty of action most of the way through.
The interrogation scenes are well-scripted and the entire plot works very well, though it's never explained how the lads knew which arms dealer Werner would go to.
The lads giving Slater a thumping was a bit gratuitous and didn't add anything to the story. I can see Mr Shaw being most unhappy with that part of the script!
The episode then becomes rather pedestrian and doesn't really pick up until the final showdown at the airfield. Lack of humour in the story doesn't help. However a quick mention for the rather wonderful reggae-like theme (which was NOT by Laurie, I should add - see the BTW section) in the scene where Christina retrieves the guns from her flat - sometimes I just can't get that little tune out of my head!
An interesting side to the story is that CI5 (and us) never do learn whether Christina was serious about giving up her terrorist life. Despite protesting her desire to start of new life, she seems very pleased to be handed over to Werner... then again it was either that or be handed over to the German authorities. The final shot being freeze-framed makes it all the more effective.
"They hold all the cards." / "And aces!"
First: the plot doesn't quite work. What I found a bit uncomfortable was the dismissal of the terrorists' original plan and the entire focus toward the end on rescuing Bodie. Not that I had any objections about that. It's just a sense that the script lost direction along the way. Not really a problem since there are other far more compelling reasons to enjoy watching this episode again and again.
The patter between The Lads is great. Lots of terrific throwaway lines.
Doyle (MS) has his "look" together, Big Time. He is utterly gorgeous throughout. I believe this is the first episode in which he has longer softer permed hair and wears a sports coat, open shirt and sunglasses. That magenta shirt draws the eye to him instantly no matter what else is going on.
And let us not overlook Bodie in black leather jacket and tight jeans! Very pleasant viewing.
This is, in addition to everything else, a Save My Partner episode. (compare with 'The Ojuka Situation' later on) First Bodie shoots one of the baddies when Doyle is exposed on the stairs in the library. And of course the finest moment comes at the finale when Bodie tries to run away and die to keep from harming Doyle. More on that later.
The entire bit at the hairdresser-gun dealer is great fun. "Fancy a quick blow-dry?" "Oh, very droll." The one-upsmanship between Bodie and Slater is classic military guy talk. "My old outfit is tougher than your old outfit..." Again here are some of the best "small" lines in Pros. It's done with an off-handedness that makes it very, very real. Good work by all involved.
This is an episode with something for almost everyone. I'll mention a few of my favorite details. Doyle up against the wall, watching, during the interrogation. Then the closeups. He's very sensual and seductive in voice and body language. Also watch the lighting and camera angles used on Doyle throughout. Sensitive and artistic work. Bodie, beaten up and defiantly sullen, is terrific. This is a man who would delight in dying if it meant taking out a bunch of nasty villains. He's the quintessential soldier here. And Doyle is a cop. Their past roles have never been clearer.
But the finest moment comes during the "save Bodie" scene when Doyle, suddenly realizing what his partner is up to, runs off from the gun fight to chase down Bodie, rip the bomb from his neck and throw it away with a mere fraction of a second to spare. Play all of this in slo-mo. It's wonderful.
I love this episode and rewatch it regularly. The American woman terrorist annoys me, but she's the only one.
Karen escapes from Bodie at Wembley Park Underground station.
The library at which Christina works is located along Islington's Highbury Park.
There is some debate as to which airfield is used. Jo Davison thinks it may be White Waltham near Maidenhead, while Steve Sharpe thinks it is more likely to be Fairoaks between Chobham and Ottershaw in Surrey.
There is an audio dubbing error in the scene where Christina returns to her flat to retrieve the guns. The pretty black girl outside hitches up with a couple of guys and says "You waiting for me?" - yet her mouth doesn't move. (Thanks to Alice Hunter)
On the second day of the debriefing, Cowley intones "Interrogation of Christina Hertzog resumed at nineteen a.m." - perhaps Gordon meant "nine-ten a.m." as in ten minutes past nine? (Thanks to Mike Morgan")
While waiting for the kidnapped Bodie to emerge from the villains' van, keep an eye on Doyle's shades. (Thanks to Chris Swindells)
The villains strap a bag of explosives to Bodie's chest but it disappears briefly as the villains approach the airstrip in the van. (Thanks to Susan Parsley).
In one of the final shots we see Doyle place his Cowboy-boot shod foot on Karen's gun. Yet he had been wearing Kickers a few seconds previously!
Christina's story may have been inspired by that of Baader-Meinhof member Astrid Proll. She had escaped West Germany and, apparently determined to start a new life, had adopted a false identity to take up a job in a small garage in Camden Town, London. When arrested in September 1978, she claimed she was no longer connected with the group nor its successor, the Red Army Faction.
The jaunty reggae music (which I absolutely adore!) playing outside Christina's flat when she retrieves the guns is not a Laurie Johnson track - it's Alan Parker's "Hip Swing" (very apt considering the way the black girl skips up the stairs!) and can be found on the De Wolfe LP "Hot Nights". (Sadly it's a mono recording - it would have sounded wonderful in stereo!)
Michael Byrne (Werner Dreisinger) was rather typecast playing German officers in several well-known wartime films such as The Eagle Has Landed, A Bridge Too Far, Force 10 From Navarone, The Plot to Kill Hitler and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Managed to break away from this in a couple of Strangers episodes as a corrupt police sergeant and then on to the classic espionage mini-series Smiley's People (in which he was a German spy instead!). Most recently seen in ITV's adaptation of Horatio Hornblower.
Brigitte Kahn (Christina) played Dagmar in the classic 1980s comedy drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (of which a third "reunion" series is about to be transmitted). Surprisingly has done very little other TV/film work apart from occasional bit parts.
Paul Antrim (Slater) played Sergeant Maguire during the final season of Special Branch. Later starred in the first season of the BBC series "Gangsters". Sadly passed away in 1990.
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