Matlock Police: Season 1, Episode 70

Will-O-The Wisp (3 Aug. 1972)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Grigor Taylor ...
Vic Gordon ...
Paul Cronin ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Suzy Cato-Gashler ...
Geraldine Gibbs (as Suzy Gashler)
Margaret Cody ...
Annie O'Connor
George Cunningham ...
Pat O'Connor
Gerry Duggan ...
Delhunty
Carmen Duncan ...
Lisa King
Ben Gabriel ...
Neville King
Margot Harper ...
Mrs. Gibbs
Les James ...
Alf Devlin
Keith Kaye ...
Evans
Edward Ogden ...
Mason
John Orcsik ...
Const. Greg Barker
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3 August 1972 (Australia)  »

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A man on the Run
1 November 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

MATLOCK POLICE – Will-o-Wisp – 1972 This is episode 70 from the Australian Cop series, MATLOCK POLICE. This series ran for 229 episodes between 1971 – 76.

In this episode, the Police are on the lookout for an escaped prisoner. The man, Ben Gabriel, had been sent up for stealing cars. He has managed to avoid recapture for 3 months, and is now somewhat of a local folk hero.

An accomplished hunter and bushman, he is always one step ahead of the local Law. The Police have his wife, Carmen Duncan, and his backwoods house under constant watch. This never stops Gabriel from slipping in to see Duncan. He brings her small amounts of cash he gets from pulling break and enters.

These cozy meetings with Duncan, end, when Gabriel is spotted leaving the house one morning. The Policeman on house watch fires several shots but misses Gabriel.

Detectives Michael Pate and Grigor Taylor pay Duncan a visit. She refuses to cooperate with their inquiries about her husband. She tells Pate that Gabriel would rather die than spent another day locked up.

Gabriel decides things are a might too hot in Matlock, and it is time for a change of scenery. He heads deeper into bush country to lay low for a while.

Pate, Taylor and the rest of the Police are rather annoyed with the turn of recent events. They are becoming the butt of jokes, etc among the locals.

5-6 days later, they catch a big break. Gabriel has been captured. An old back-woods gold prospector, Greg Duggan, caught the escapee going through his cabin. He is holding Gabriel at the point of a shotgun.

Pate grabs the station Land Rover and heads out to collect their man. The prospectors cabin is a hard 50 miles through brush and hills.

Pate reaches the cabin late that afternoon. He decides to stay the night and leave in the morning. Next day, he cuffs Gabriel inside the Land Rover and heads for town.

Half way there, the beast gives up the ghost and peters to a stop. Gabriel, who is handy with a wrench, offers to fix the vehicle if Pate will leave him un-cuffed for the rest of the trip. Pate agrees.

15 minutes later they are up and running. As they drive along a high hillside, Gabriel gives Pate a solid punch to the side of the head and leaps out. Pate and the Land Rover go over the side with Pate just getting out before the vehicle rolls over, and heads for the bottom of the ravine.

Pate yanks his piece and holds it on Gabriel, who, instead of hotfooting away, had stupidly stayed to admire the wreck he caused. The now cuffed Gabriel is led to the wrecked Land Rover. Pate wants to recover the food, first aid kit and see if the radio still works.

No joy on that front, so the two start hiking the 25 miles to the highway. Pate knows the Police station will send people after him when he fails to make his regular radio contact.

The two stop to cook up a meal. Gabriel jumps Pate when the later sets his automatic down to grab a drink of water. He gives Pate an extra whack with a rock, unlocks his cuffs and this time, hotfoots it into the bush.

2-3 hours later, Gabriel reappears, and walks up to the still unconscious Pate. He grabs the first aid kit and dresses Pate's head wound. He also tosses the Detective's automatic in the creek. Pate regains his senses and asks Gabriel why he returned. "I'm a thief, but I'm no murderer." He responds. "And I have no intention of going back to jail. That place is worth than death for me."

Gabriel props Pate up against a tree and starts back to the woods. Pate sees the grip of his pistol sticking out of the creek and grabs it. He shouts to Gabriel to stop. Gabriel halts, looks at Pate, smiles, then turns and starts again for the bush.

Pate fires once hitting Gabriel in the leg. Gabriel keeps going and Pate fires again, with Gabriel going down for keeps. The Police rescue party finds Pate several hours later. (b/w)


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