Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Professionals - The Female Factor s1e2

Does anyone remember that whole Cold War thing? Russians as the bad guys (well, some things don't change), the Berlin Wall, NATO vs The Warsaw Pact, spheres of influence, Moscow rules...

Spies. Lots of them. In the UK, subverting, snooping, the Red menace. CI5 move seamlessly from terrorism to counter-espionage to investigate the murder of a prostitute, linked to a Soviet plot to blackmail a senior politician. Who has great hair.

A pretty young girl named Sara, is lured into a cocaine addiction by general all-round nasty piece of work Simon Culver (played by the brilliantly-named Barry Justice). The Russians must give the drug extra menace by pronouncing it Ko-Ka-Een while Sara irritatingly refers to it as 'stuff' the entire way through the episode.

Spot on
Simon's mistake is letting one of his other prostitutes see a photograph of Sara. For her own reasons, she decides enough is enough and desperately tries to tell Doyle what is going on, but ends up drowned in the shadow of Hammersmith Bridge.

Bodie and Doyle, entertaining some lady friends after a black-tie do, are rudely interrupted by a call which rapidly turns into a personal vendetta for Doyle. No-one murders one of his ex-contacts and gets away with it! After riding roughshod over the local plod, Cowley gets involved and a lovely plot device of a number doodled on a pad means it's now a CI5 investigation. A bit of lip from the boys and Cowley reminds them who's boss.

Spot the alpha male
What does Doyle think he's wearing? Bri-nylon translucent long-point shirt, grey belted trousers with a black jacket as evening-wear? He may not say much, but at least Bodie looks the part.

Back at the ranch, Bodie's attitude to prostitutes is pretty Stone Age (not the last time he exhibits some surprisingly old-fashioned views ***EUPHEMISM ALERT***) and Doyle's tension and disgust is well-played, especially when Bodie makes a pretty offensive joke. Bodie and, to a lesser extent, Cowley, seem genuinely surprised that Doyle cares about a 'hooker' and you can imagine Doyle's viewpoint being very much in the minority.

Back to the baddies. It's a veritable James Bond I-Spy with Walter Gotell (better known as General Gogol), Stefan Kalipha (light aircraft pilot who murders the Havelocks in For Your Eyes Only) and Patrick Durkin playing the fixer, the pimp and the KGB agent respectively.

Spot the Bond villain
Actually, Durkin doesn't appear in any Bond film, but the guy who is dubbing the Russian accent does. For Your Eyes Only again, only this time the voice of wheelchair-bound Blofeld remote-flying Bond's helicopter*. I like to think that this Blofeld meets his end falling down the chimney of what is now Ikea Croydon.

Bodie and Doyle eventually track down the villains via a vice bar, where Bodie holds his pint effortlessly while fighting the bouncer one-handed, which is notable as it's pretty much the only thing he has done in the first two episodes.

Then a prostitute's flat (where Doyle engages in some terrible drunk-acting) leading them to a denouement around the Albert Hall, with Sara, still in search of some 'stuff', being pursued by the Russians, in turn pursued by Bodie, Doyle and Cowley. Only after they're shot at does Cowley think it worth mentioning that Durkin's character, Terkoff, is a KGB agent and a 'pro'.

Russians get shot (both get very into their unique getting-shot acting), Doyle gets shot, the girl is traumatised and the politician retires from public life due to ill health. Cowley's delivery of the pre-written and pre-endorsed resignation letter is a beautiful fait accompli. Second episode, and we're seeing that nobody ever wins.

Except Patrick Durkin. He comes back from the dead to appear in a later episode.

*Sir Robert Rietty was the voice I have confirmed through some judicious searching.

1 comment:

  1. Very good stuff. Rietty, along with Charles Gray, ended up dubbing Jack Hawkins once he lost his larynx to cancer. Rietty later dubbing a part once played by Gray is starting to get very complicated.