Thriller (1973–1976)
6.8/10
41
3 user

A Midsummer Nightmare 

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Jody Baxter
...
Det Sgt George Briggs
...
Arnold Tully
Norman Rodway ...
Peter Ingram
Anthony Pedley ...
Charley Spencer
Elsie Randolph ...
Mrs. Fitch
...
Johnny Baxter
John Ruddock ...
Williams
Alison Glennie ...
Annabella Tully
Thom Delaney ...
Detective
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Unrated
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17 September 1975 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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This episode is also known as "Appointment with a Killer". See more »

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A Midsummer Mess
4 July 2004 | by (Lancashire, England) – See all my reviews

The penultimate outing for "Thriller" is in my opinion its worst, rivaled by "Kiss Me and Die" and "Murder Motel". It was a sign that this splendid series had run its course, at least at that point.

The action opens with the fatal stabbing of a teenage girl in a forest. The murder is unsolved after five years so her uncle and guardian, Arnold Tully, visits the office of J. Baxter, a private eye. When he gets there he meets J. Baxter's wife, Jody. and assumes she is the private eye before she can explain. She takes on the job anyway. She finds that everyone assumes the killer is a local actor called Peter Ingram, but there has been insufficient evidence to charge him. While Ingram is an unpleasant figure with an unhealthy interest in women, Jody is not convinced of his guilt. Jody makes good use of some apparently trivial details but her search for the killer leads her into danger.

Although this story outline could have led to a good episode the actual results are very disappointing. Almost all the characters are dislikeable, with only Jody attracting any positive feeling. While Tully has clearly had a tragic past his obsessive attitude towards his niece is rather creepy and, if not pedophile, is certainly too close. Ingram is one of several characters, including Tully with a tiresome preoccupation with the theatre. The detective George, played by Brian Blessed, is rather boorish. Mrs. Fitch, Tully's Cockney housekeeper, is dismally deferential in a way more suited to the Victorian age. Jody's semi-estranged husband Johnny has nothing useful to contribute.

The acting performances are sound but fail to give a mediocre offering a necessary lift. This is despite the presence of renowned actors such as Blessed and Freddie Jones as Tully, although neither is a favourite of mine with their expansive styles. Joanna Pettet as Jody is quite effective and certainly makes an attractive sight for the male viewer.

Attitudes to women in "Thriller" were frequently patronizing and predatory but here these tendencies become overbearing - the treatment of both the murdered girl and Jody demonstrate this. Given the grim murder storyline the presence of some supposed humour in the interchanges between Jody and Johnny is quite out-of-place. The final scene is a sickly piece of nonsense that would better suit "Hart To Hart".

That last scene is a shame because the climax to the murder story was quite well done. It ends in a fairly low-key but quite poignant fashion. It breaks from the often-clichéd dramatic confrontations that ended many episodes, although a little more "bite" wouldn't have gone amiss.

This is really for "Thriller" completists only but hopefully it makes more impact if you do encounter it.


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