After an assassin's bullet fails to kill tycoon David Garick, eccentric husband and wife detective team, Arden and Suzy Buckley, are hired to protect the millionaire. The pair have to ... See full summary »
After an assassin's bullet fails to kill tycoon David Garick, eccentric husband and wife detective team, Arden and Suzy Buckley, are hired to protect the millionaire. The pair have to discover the identity of the would-be-killer before he or she's next attempt at murder succeeds... Written by
Another episode of Brian Clemens's "Thriller". It is a highly atypical offering from that very austere, dark series. It has had a mixed reception from fans. However to me it is just as brilliant and even if it might not work for everyone as a thriller it would not disappoint anyone looking for comedy.
Tycoon David Garrick narrowly escapes an assassination attempt. He is fairly unruffled by this but his playboy son, Sunny, is very concerned. He recruits unconventional private detectives Arden and Suzy Buckley to investigate. David Garrick is pretty unpopular so there is no shortage of suspects. It becomes evident that the prospective killer has hired professionals to do the job who will ruthlessly eliminate those who frustrate their plans. Who wants David Garrick dead - and why?
The story outline is actually remarkably conventional and certainly this could have been handled straight with minor adjustment. A straight adaptation would certainly have been interesting to see. However the execution is an inspired comedy-thriller. As his work on "The Avengers" showed, Clemens (though writing here with Terry Nation) could write drama with wit and fine comic touches. In this story the Buckleys, as a duo, bear a passing resemblance to Steed and his ladies but them being a married couple provides a new twist. Their banter is marvellously funny but they are also pretty effective at what they do. Their unflappability makes a nice contrast with the otherwise intense "Thriller" heroes. They are truly likeable, lacking the arrogance and vindictiveness of the usual screen detectives.
They are backed by a superb set of supporting characters: David Garrick - a man with little time for his son, literally or metaphorically; Sunny, his effortlessly suave, charming son; refined criminal broker Shelby Grafton and his silent bimbo girlfriend; nervous informer Charley Wilson; Mrs. Gale, David Garrick's elegant but unfaithful girlfriend; and a young Northern hit-man. Most noteworthy is Garrick's estranged, demented wife who swings between childish innocence and disturbing, aggressive outbursts. Her character is more in the "Thriller" tradition and provides fine contrast with the more comic figures.
The acting is excellent. Stephen Rea (in an early role) and Gayle Hunnicutt are splendid in their central roles. Gayle employs an impeccable English accent, although her character is American.Christopher Cazenove, also making one of his first appearances, exudes charm through his voice and demeanour and was just made for these roles. It is great to see Peter Dyneley in the flesh - best known as the voice of Jeff Tracy in "Thunderbirds". Derek Francis is exceptional as the unscrupulous Grafton.
All the other roles mentioned above are beautifully-handled. The true honours must go though to Jean Kent who is utterly convincing as the shattered Mrs. Garrick.
There are many splendid scenes, stylish dialogue and sharp direction. All rests though, as always on the superb script of Clemens and Nation. One wonders whether there could have been more mileage in this format and the characters of the Buckleys - a show was mooted but never got off the ground. It may have been hard to sustain such quality in the long-term. Maybe it was best to have this one example. It certainly is an absolute pearl and deserves to be seen!
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