Last updated : 1st August 2016
|Story Synopsis||As part of attempting to capture members of Italian terrorist organisation the People's Liberation Army, Bodie and SAS-man Keller go undercover to carry out a hit on their behalf, with the opportunity of faking the killing. But Keller has an ulterior motive...||Writer||Stephen Lister|
|Guest Stars||Norman Eshley||Director||Ian Sharp|
& Filming Dates
|Block 4, Episode 8
|Original UK Transmission||Season 4, Episode 14
20th December 1980
For an episode that doesn't have much by way of actual storyline, it is admirably fast-paced and intricately plotted. But with little by way of humour or daffy banter, it's a rather 'empty' piece.
The opening is heightened by a quick burst of a remixed New Avengers theme tune!!
The story works well, even if it's not particularly inspiring. However there's a huge plot hole at the end: without giving too much away for those who have yet to see this ep, Keller's plan only works because Travaioli manages to escape from Doyle. How could Keller count on this?
Some great action scenes here such as Spelman being sprung, Doyle pelting after him, the rigged assassination and Bodie's helicopter jaunt.
Norman Eshley's intense but dry performance as Keller is the ep's best aspect. Watch his expressionless, emotionless eyes as he viciously chloroforms Travaioli - not even looking at his victim as he does it. Very effective little scene, that. Difficult to believe that Eshley was appearing in the sitcom George and Mildred at the same time!
The final shoot-out and punch-up sequence - the latter being particularly violent - are well-choreographed, probably helped by PLA henchaman Valerii being played by stuntman Val Musetti.
Ah, Kickback. Wetsuits, guns and betrayal. Bodie just doesn't have much luck with his old mates, does he? Doyle aside, look at the roster: Krivas, Benny, Williams (from 'Wild Justice': dead SAS man), Marikka and now Jimmy Keller.
The wetsuits are a rare treat. Thanks ever so much to all responsible and involved! Note, by the way, the slight "Jaws" sound in the music at the very first water shot. My only problem with the opening scene is the flashbacks which are distracting and weird. Once the story begins to unfold they make sense but by then they're over and past and this episode was shown long before most viewers had VCRs. If we're supposed to be seeing the flashbacks from Bodie's point of view it's even more odd Ė he ought to be concentrating on the present operation, not thinking of past ones.
We can only wish that Bodie had been as warm in his suit as Doyle - tunic removed and longies unzipped to mid-chest. Nice bare arms. Ah.
Once out of the wetsuits both men are well-dressed throughout this episode. Bodie tends to wear black, always a treat. And Doyle wears the lovely white sweater for the first part, a sports coat for the rest, although he does have on the same yellow shirt for what seems to be a period of several days. They both look very good no matter what they're wearing. They're moving well and looking quite sharp.
Murphy has several tiny appearances.
Loved Keller's description of Bodie as "not too bright but a damned good marksman."
Bodie does quite a bit of shooting and it is a lovely sight to behold. Some major pouting views in this episode. And when he's dumped by Keller, he suffers in what must be described as a cute manner! Rather like a little boy who's been hurt by a friend.
During the RT conversation between Bodie and Doyle we get another of those odd and unexplained "real life" elements when Doyle returns to his car to catch Bodie's call and says he was "just out for some air". Or answering another call of nature? In any event it's an example of those "you're really there" moments sprinkled liberally throughout Pros. Nice, nice work. Good touch of humor with Bodie whinging about being in the country while cheerfully sucking down booze.
The story's a good one though there are loose ends unexplained. The girl Keller has at the farm seems extraneous unless she's supposed to indicate that he is not as straight-arrow as he seems. Also why does Keller put himself in harm's way for Bodie at the final gunfight? Is his loyalty to his old mate so strong he's willing to die? Motivation?
Nevertheless my only criticism of this episode is that The Lads aren't together enough. Fun when they are, however. I liked it.
Cowley, musing over who would target Richardson: "Used to be Principal Inspector of Taxes."
Doyle: "Well we'd all like to put a bomb under them!"
Major Nairn: "Bodie?! Is he toeing the line, these days?"
Cowley: "Pretty well. Gets a bit 'exhuberent' now and again."
Bodie, on Richardson: "Wouldn't have thought he rated a terrorist hit."
Keller: "The PLA move into Mafia territory once in a while. Matter of finance. Easier than robbing banks. That's what I was arranging when you so nicely cocked it up. I'm gonna need a replacement. One man should do it but he'd have to be pretty good."
Bodie: "Got anyone in mind?"
Keller: "Yeah... YOU! Welcome to the PLA!"
Major Nairn on Richardson: "Who on Earth would want to put out a contract on a man like that? He's hardly a public figure. One of the faceless..."
Cowley anticipates with the answer: "... wielders of power and influence!"
Bodie, on Keller's girlfriend: "What is this? I mean you're really something aren't you?!"
Keller: "Now, listen..."
Bodie: "'Don't overreact', he says, 'I've got someone with me, just play it nice and cool'. She's wanted by Interpol on a load of dope charges and association with known terrorists!"
Keller: "OK, great, so you've done your homework. Now here's something you might not have read: she was only marginally involved."
Bodie: "Ha! She's managed to convince you then, has she?"
Keller: "Bodie, I know her - you don't"
Bodie: "Oh, wonderful, isn't it? I leave you alone for a couple of years and you get shacked up with some half-baked terrorist groupie!"
When Doyle arrives in the Granada outside the safe-house, Cowley and Richardson are supposed to be in the car with him but they clearly aren't.
In the scene where Doyle is photographing the exchange of money between Travaioli and Sutherland, our hero actually appears to be angling his camera away from the villains?? (Thanks to Neil Ward).
In the scene where Bodie uses the helicopter to attack the guy in the blue Ford Cortina, you can tell by the tyre tracks that the scene was filmed out-of-sequence. Also watch for various decals on the car disappearing and reappearing. (Thanks to Mark Gibbon)
|Sidenotes||Another ep penned by 18-year-old Stephen Lister.|
Norman Eshley (Jimmy Keller) will always be remembered for his role as Jeffrey Fourmile, the long-suffering neighbour to the Roper couple in the classic sitcom George and Mildred, though he actually played a completely different character in that show's forerunner, Man About the House. I think he was a regular in Warship, the naval drama in which Lewis Collins guested in one episode. He also starred in a fantastic episode of The Sweeney in which he played a schizophrenic cop. He played Sue Johnston's university tutor in Brookside for several episodes, ending up being suspected of her rape. He won the part of a police inspector in the 1997 Christmas Special for the sitcom One Foot in the Grave - apparently Lewis Collins was second choice for the role. Tragically he is not seen much on television these days as head injuries sustained in a car accident in 1993 ultimately left him struggling to learn lines of dialogue.
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