Last updated : 23rd May 1999

Episode 'Tusk Force'
Story SynopsisWhen a South African minister seeks CI5's help in stopping the increasing activities of ivory poachers, Keel and Curtis are sent in undercover as potential ivory buyers.
WriterBrian Clemens DirectorRay Austin Sweden Tx Date17th September 1998
Dave's Comment

Nice idea (if rather outdated) but the execution is dull and slow-moving. As we'll see with many of the overseas episodes, it all becomes standard action-show fare.

In fact I would even say that the action scenes themselves are below par, anyway.

Backus gets no role at all here apart from trying out various "worried" facial expressions.

Just what on earth causes Jaeger's huge helicopter to crash? Do K & C shoot it down? I don't know. And, to be honest, I don't care. In fact I don't know why I bothered to ask!

Ann's Comment

For some reason I love this episode. The locations (and animals) are beautiful, and I really like the music, in particular the string-dominated tune in the beginning. The combination of seeing that small plane sweep over that vast country accompanied by those tones really sets my imagination going. This episode also has enjoyable aerial scenes, some cleverly made photos, and a car chase which ends in the most inexplicable manner!

While I also like the basic concept of this plot, there's much left unexplained. Keel's and Curtis' behaviour and reasoning throughout is pending between fairly logical and downright odd, all things considered, for example regarding the 'unforeseen' reaction by the opposition and the non-working radio. And don't CI5 have any kind of emergency code?

But don't get me wrong: I really do enjoy this episode. Though Curtis and Keel function somewhat so-so as a team here, there are some inspiring moments. I do in particular like the way Curtis takes care of his injured partner, even by carrying him on his back at one point all quite convincing (most of the time, anyway! ;-)

Curtis also does a sort of Bodie-like impersonation la 'Where the Jungle Ends' (think of the scene in Sinclair's house). I only wish he'd put a little more spontaneous feeling and less conscious effort into that scene. As it is, it's not as funny (or, alternatively, threatening) as it should've been. But then in my view Curtis is by far better in the second half of this episode, when his 'controlled' personality thankfully seems as ruffled as his outer appearance.

On the personal front we witness the skills of Keel as a pilot, though Curtis seems at times more scared than reassured! (I have to agree with Curtis here not about Keel's skills per se, but his strategy!) Keel also takes the opportunity to flirt with some pretty young women by the pool (he himself looking pretty nifty in trunks ;-) , while Curtis proves he's quite deft in handling a deck of cards, amongst other things.

This is a caper more involved with aerial combat and explosions than fist fights. Funny thing, though: when Curtis at one point restrains his partner from kicking some well-deserved ass, his reward is a nasty kick in the back! Doesn't quite speak for the "cool, thinking things through first" approach, now does it? ;-)

Jack's Comment

Another illogical episode continuing the downward trend of Brian Clemens' scripts, and about as related to the original series as the Bond movies are to the books. This episode packs around half an hour's worth of plot into an hour.

The start is all right and the South African locations make for a nice change from London. The poker game is fine; a nice change from Bodie's losing streak in 'The Untouchables' episode. But after Keel and Curtis' cover is blown, Malone announces they are on their own something uncharacteristic of his predecessor, who would have fought tooth and nail for the lives of his men.

Almost the next half-hour is spent with the villains chasing the two CI5 agents across barren African landscapes. Still not much from Tina Backus who now seems relegated to office girl, staring occasionally into the computers at CI5's HQ.

Wide angle shots are used too frequently, as are helicopters Ray Austin seems to have taken too much from his director's post at American series JAG, and its navy- and marine-inspired storylines. Worst episode yet and the score is, again, inappropriate. Shows how good Laurie Johnson was.

Rating: 2/10.

CI5 cars: BMW Z3 (South Africa)

PS: If the Ford Explorer was in Washington, DC, why are the windscreen wipers set to right-hand drive? :)

We also see a Mercury Grand Marquis in the credits. Yank and Euro cars I can spot, but Jap cars all look the same! (How can you tell one fridge from another?)

Cast List

Spencer Adrian Irvine
Mr Ndaka Don Warrington
John Mavoy Brian O'Shaughnessy
Willy Jaeger Danny Keogh
Geary Jonathan Pienaar
Laura Olga Du Toit
Procow Nicholas Ellenbogen
Neboi Zaa Nkweta
The Cap'n Sello Sebotsane
Mugger Kelly Fiddick
Jock Wilson Roger Lucey
Peter Pembridge Graham Clarke
Max Graham Press
Mwali Patrick Lavisa

LocationsFilmed on location in Cape Town and the Shamwari Game Reserve.

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