"Thriller" Not Guilty! (TV Episode 1974) Poster

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Competent but....
Paul English4 September 2005
'The Next Scream Your Hear' brings Thriller's outstanding third series to a close. Almost inevitably it fails to continue the impressive momentum created by the previous five stories in the series and is somewhat of an anti-climax.

Nevertheless there is much to recommend here and the storyline unfolds nicely with a couple of interesting plot diversions which keep the viewer's interest from waning. As always, Dinsdale Landen excels as Matthew Earp, the flamboyant private investigator hired by businessman Bernard Peel who has been accused of murdering his wife Jennifer.

Christopher George gives a good performance as the accused while the supporting cast is enjoyable especially Suzanne Neve as the alluring blonde. Earp manages to ruffle a few police feathers as he goes about proving his client's innocence.

The final fight scenes are somewhat contrived, albeit surprising and the twist is reasonably plausible.

Overall a competent, if disappointing finish to an excellent third series.
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The only way is Earp
all-briscoe29 October 2004
This installment of "Thriller" aired at the end of its brilliant third series. Unfortunately it is way below the standard of the five preceding episodes but it is still very sound and profits from further watching.

Bernard Peel (Christopher George) is an American businessman living in England, married to an exceptional corporate lawyer. He returns home from a party one evening, has a drink and falls asleep. He is woken by the doorbell and is alarmed to find the police. They tell him they have been tipped-off about an incident involving him and his wife. He is utterly incredulous. An inspection of the house shows evidence of a violent incident and of a female visitor, but Bernard denies all knowledge. Matters get far worse when the boot of his car is opened and his wife's body is found.

Bernard is arrested by the police for the murder of his wife. He strenuously denies responsibility and calls in the services of the foppish but remarkably skilled private investigator Matthew Earp (Dinsdale Landen). Earp approaches the case with typical incisiveness and is true to his word that he will prove who killed Jennifer Peel.

On screen this is a rather pedestrian outing, never generating the tension and edge of many other stories. However it is very professional, and doesn't embody some of the glaring weaknesses of some other lesser episodes. Its great virtue is the return of the marvelous Matthew Earp. Earp is a deliciously witty and entertaining figure but never just a comic presence or a caricature. There is also a very sharp brain, and he is a brave and skilled fighter as the climax demonstrates. Dinsdale Landen's performance, as in Earp's other appearance in "An Echo Of Theresa", is perfect. There are also some neat exchanges with Gifford (Edward Hardwicke) the detective who quietly resents Earp's involvement as well as his enormous fees.

Christopher George does a fair job as Bernard Peel. Hans Meyer has a nice part as a director of Peel's business who is clearly suspicious of him and unhappy about being down the pecking order. There is a note-worthy appearance by Richard Todd as Tulliver, one of Bernard's colleagues.

1974 was a big year for the martial arts and they make an appearance here, with karate being employed by one unlikely assassin. Unfortunately they also make for a very silly piece of art-work on the American end-titles in which a fist above Peel's head appears to be pulling his hair! These "artistic" end-titles were almost always appalling and are best avoided.

The climax features an extraordinary twist that is a great bonus - one of the most striking in the show. Maybe if the preceding hour had been more memorable this could have been one of the better installments of a great programme.
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Dinsdale Landen is a hoot!
Khun Kru Mark21 August 2017
"Not Guilty' (or 'The Next Scream You Hear') is another episode of the unusual anthology 'Thriller'. A production of ATV and ITC, it bears all the hallmarks of both companies. The budget conscious ATV and the lofty overly-ambitious ideas of ITC.

This episode is very theatrical. Because of the limited run-time (50 minutes), there's a lot of heavy-handed exposition played out at the office party at the beginning. The characters are introduced, the red herrings are well and truly tossed out there and the scene is set...

Bernard Pell is woken up after the office party by two detectives hammering on his front door. His wife turns up dead in the boot of his car and the poor bloke is marched off to the slammer. Of course, the police consider the case closed but a poncy private detective, Matthew Earp, shows up and starts uncovering the truth.

The heavyweight cast of British acting talent makes it all bearable. You can say what you like about the plausibility of this series of programs, but there's no doubt that it attracted some terrific actors.

The 'Yank' in this outing is cool Christopher George. All the stories had an American guest actor. It was (wrongly in my view) thought that this would help the marketing value across the pond. You'll almost certainly recognize his face if you have seen enough American TV from the 60s and 70s, but his most notable role was probably Sgt. Sam Troy in 'The Rat Patrol' in the late sixties.

The comedy fight scene in the gym at the end makes this very difficult not to laugh out loud at! But we shouldn't look back at this and take it too seriously. The familiar organ grindings of the 'Thriller' theme music indicate right away that this is going to be a lot more style than substance.

I can understand the negative reviews this has gotten but I enjoyed it despite its flaws.
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Pompous Earp Actually Grows on You!!!
kidboots26 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Apparently, in an interview Brian Clemens gave, he particularly liked the private detective he created, Matthew Earp, played by Dinsdale Landen and he also liked the actor. He had hopes of developing a series around him but I don't know how that would have gone. Matthew Earp struck me as pretty smug and pompous - much was made of his name and how unlike the famous western gunfighter he was - "they hear Earp but they get me". In fact in this episode, when Peel is first introduced to Earp he mistakenly hails a guest in a wild west outfit and of course Earp gives a wry smile. It was a novelty but a whole series would have been a bit tedious.

Bernard Peel (Christopher George) appears to have been framed. He awakes one morning to two policemen who have been tipped off that he killed his wife, Jennifer. She was not expected home until that evening but when he opens the living room door it is clear a fight has taken place - Peel is completely oblivious to events, having had a nightcap in his bedroom that has obviously been tampered with. He also offers an outlandish story about a tree on the road and changing cars with a driver on the other side of the tree who just happens to have the same make, model and colour car as he does - sound believable???

The police eventually find her body in his boot and things look pretty hopeless but Peel remembers Matthew Earp, the private detective he met at a party on that fateful night. There are the usual cracks about his name verses his very upper class manner, not to mention the sparring between him and the detective in charge of the case - "I'd earn more than you make in a year? make that three!!!" and other smug comebacks. Once he gets on the case he realises that there are many persons of interest from Peel's firm. Jennifer was a lawyer and had a secret dossier which named businessmen who needed to be closely watched. There is Voster, a German, who dislikes Peel and tries to start a rumour that Peel was having an affair, after all everyone at the party saw a beautiful woman give him a passionate kiss, although Peel denies knowing her. Then there is George Tulliver (Richard Todd) whose protégé just happens to be wearing an unusual ring that George suddenly remembers the driver of the car wearing and who just happens to turn up dead when Earp finally gets a chance to talk to him.

There is a twist at the end that viewers familiar with the series will not be floored by. While I don't agree it is the "best episode ever", it is definitely one of the better ones where the mandatory "American star" was not as intrusive as they later became.
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This is Best Thriller Ever These People Are In Left Field Looking at Right!
GmalkinSr25 February 2006
After reading the comments on Thriller I've come to the conclusion that people outside the USA are threatened by anything written with imagination and surprise endings which results in them giving poor reviews to anything with creativity & instead they seem to love the absolute boring mundane because I imagine that does not threaten their dull, boring, unimaginative lives in which they are threatened by independent thought. These people live lives as followers.

Anyway, this was the most awesome surprise drama I've ever seen & the writing is simply brilliant. I have never seen this plot device used in any movie or TV show before. I wish I could go into details but because they don't want you to give spoilers, I can't. Needless to say this episode is a total mindfunk & the best episode of the entire Thriller series.
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Waste of time!!!
pdr_ehh17 June 2008
Sorry, but in my opinion this was a complete load of rubbish! I have struggled a bit with this series having bought the box set and being a fan of other British thriller series from the 70s/80s, such as Tales of the Unexpected & Hammer House of Horror.

I have to say my first impressions weren't great but I was pleased to see a run of better episodes (Coffin for the Bride, I'm the girl he wants to kill, In the steps of a dead man). However this particular episode was one of the worst so far - a total waste of an hour's viewing, without a single redeeming feature! Wooden acting, inconsistent plotting, and a ridiculous, implausible twist. The plot also gets needlessly complicated and without giving away any plot details, the way that Matthew Earp finally rumbles the killer has to be seen to be believed. To be avoided!!
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