Last updated : 15th November 2015
|Episode 'Dead Reckoning'|
|Story Synopsis||The extradition of a spy to Britain is to be kept secret, but the Bulgarians who sent him seem to be doing everything to make his arrival public. When the man is murdered, CI5 suspect his daughter.||Writer||Robin Estridge (under the pen-name "Philip Loraine")|
|Guest Stars||Carol Royle||Director||Denis Lewiston|
& Filming Dates
Block 3, Episode 4
|Original UK Transmission||Season 3, Episode 4
17 November 1979
Another espionage plot but some clever twists make this a strong episode. Despite its relative complexity the plot is very solid and keeps you guessing all the way through.
Fave scenes include the first shoot-out when the lads are transporting Batak across town. I'm not quite sure how Doyley sensed the danger, though, and given the truck driver was part of the caper, why didn't the lads pay any attention to him?
I enjoyed the fight sequence with Doyle and the Bulgarian heavies, too. Despite his hammering, Cowley shows no mercy and criticises him over the quality of the camera footage. But Doyle fires right back: "What did you expect - Cecil Beaton?!".
And there's the occasional burst of humour, too. For example Doyle's comment that Bodie looking after the lovely concert pianist Anna ("good with her hands") is "probably takin' piano lessons!"
Bodie's "Bulgarian Mojo" joke is a reference to the real-life 1978 assassination of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov in London, murdered by the use of an umbrella which had had its ferrule dipped in ricin.
The shoot-out at the end is a little routine and how does Bodie know Anna is in danger?
Overall, though, terrific episode!
Good espionage story. Mostly, the plot works.
Other good things:
Bodie in black again. Too bad he has to spoil it with the Awful Plaid and the Awful Grey Jackets.
Doyle in glasses as "John Hare". A tiger disguised as a pussy cat. Notice the tiny sneer on his upper lip as he does the "Burke and..." put-down to Michael. (I had to have that explained to me: apparently B & H were graverobbers.)
The marvelous line Doyle delivers to Bodie: "You know your trouble don't you? Underneath that hard shell you're just a... great big softie.' <G> Watch their expressions.
Doyle, naked to the waist, holding in his tummy while the doctor examines him. Jeans are a bit tight? Also notice that he winces nicely when prodded. Not stoic, our Doyle.
Bodie does his disgusted tough-guy expression when Anna starts screaming after Michael is shot. He also uses the same "caressing" gesture on her hair that he used on Kathie Mason ('Hunter/Hunted') when he still believes she is a killer.
Carol Royle (as Anna) does an excellent job here and looks quite lovely.
Not so good things:
Bodie is taken by the bad guys far too easily. Big plot flaw given Bodie's history and nature.
Otherwise, I have no complaints.
Bodie, following an assassination attempt by Paul on Batak, over the R/T : "Doyle!"
Doyle: "Yeah? What's 'appenin'?!"
Bodie: "He's got away. What about 'Superspy'?"
Doyle: "Oh, he's alright."
Bodie hears a police siren: "Oh, hello, what's that?"
Doyle: "The sound of a D-notice biting the dust!"
Doyle: "The way you play that piano, you don't need publicity."
Anna: "You think so?"
Doyle, clearly admiring her appearance: "You don't even need a piano!"
Doyle after using the cover of a wedding party to escape Bulgarian heavies : "4-5 to Alpha One."
Cowley: "Come in, 4-5."
Doyle: " 'To love, honour and obey!' "
Cowley, puzzled: "4-5 ?!"
Doyle, shouting: " 'Til death us do part!"
Cowley: "4-5, you're not making any sense!"
Doyle: "I've just found out I'm married to my country!"
Anna, cynically: "Are you another journalist, like him? [Doyle]"
Bodie: "He's the music reporter."
Anna: "Oh. And what are you?"
Bodie, in the Awful Grey Leather Jacket: "FASHION!! Haute Couture."
Bodie, referring to Anna and Batak: "She clearly doesn't know much about her father. Makes my flesh crawl."
Doyle: "Josef Stalin was a family man!"
Bodie: "Yeah and look what happened to his daughter!"
Doyle laughs: "You know your trouble, don't you? Underneath that hard shell... you're just a great big softie!"
Bodie: "Maybe so... but it's the outside that slays 'em!"
Cowley, having sent Bodie to bring Anna in: "Something's happened to Bodie, I can't reach him."
Doyle, recalling the suggestion that Anna is good with her hands : "Probably takin' piano lessons!"
While transporting they spy across town, Bodie's jacket appears to change. However I don't think this is the case and he's actually wearing his infamous grey one throughout - the lighting conditions on certain camera angles merely make it appear to be a dark colour in certain shots.
A debatable one: despite the Bulgarian involvement in the story, Paul and Michael frequently converse in Russian (eg "Spasiba" - "Thank you"), though there is a suggestion that Batak has KGB connections. (Thanks to Annie Routley).
|Sidenotes||Carole Royle appears again as the unfortunate daughter of a double-agent! She played a similar role in 'A Stirring of Dust'. Typecasting or what??!!|
In the scene where Michael is driven away from the college in a taxi (with Doyle tailing), the footage "jumps" ever so slightly, indicating that a few frames of the film were cut out at some stage, perhaps because they were damaged. This problem also afflicts Network's BluRay (and future DVD) release, so the problem must lie with the original film negative.
In Contender's video and DVD versions from the late 1990s to mid-2000s, the scenes in the back of the van (with Batak being taken to the press conference) seem to be lit by a small torch! However Network's 2014 BluRay release (having gone back to the original film negative) is far better. Either way, it further underlines how poor some of the episode prints were when transferred to digital tape by London Weekend Television in 1992.
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