"My Partner the Ghost" The Smile Behind the Veil (TV Episode 1970) Poster

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The final episode of a cult classic sees the series bow out in style.
jamesraeburn200310 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Marty Hopkirk sees the funeral of racing car driver Caroline Seaton taking place beside his grave where he notices that one of the mourners is smiling behind her veil. His suspicions are aroused further when one of the other mourners says "...you can smile when they have read the will." Marty tries to persuade Jeff to take on the case since he now believes that the crash which killed Caroline was fixed. However, Jeff is not interested because he needs a job that pays. By coincidence, Jeff's potential client lives in Gouldhurst, the village neighboring Caroline's native Stonehurst and Marty deliberately switches a road sign thus leading Jeff there. By further coincidence, the house that Jeff calls on to ask for directions is the Seaton house. But the mourners who Marty saw at the funeral, Donald Seaton (Alex Scott) and his wife Cynthia (Hilary Tindall) have him searched and learn that he is a PI and have him knocked out and thrown in a river to drown. However, luck has it that a fisherman is nearby and pulls him out in time. It transpires that the fisherman is connected to the Seaton case as he claims to be the genuine Donald Seaton (Gary Watson) and that the guy up at the house is an impostor who assumed his identity while he was living in Australia. He hires Jeff to prove his claim and the detective sneaks back into the Seaton mansion where he meets the housekeeper, Mrs Evans (Freda Jackson), who is also convinced that her employer is an impostor. Jeff narrowly avoids being shot, blown up by a bomb planted in his office by Cynthia and is thrown down a well and left to die before he proves that Cynthia was actually the former wife of the real Donald Seaton who conspired with her new husband to assume his identity in order to inherit the family fortune and to sell off the large family estate...

The final episode of Randall & Hopkirk Deceased is also one of the show's high points. It has a fairly intriguing plot and features many memorable set pieces such as Jeff's near drowning in which his spirit appears on the riverbank in a white suit identical to Marty's and of course there's the well sequence. "Its a wishing well Jeff" says Marty at a loss as to how on earth he is going to rescue him. "Well I wish I was out of here" groans Jeff. "See it does not work, think of something else." By chance Marty is able to draw the attention of a couple of hiker's who come to make a wish. "I wish I was a millionaire" says one of them "And I wish I was out of this perishing well!" shouts Jeff. It is an action packed episode with so many dices with death including in addition to the above, shootings, fights and bombings that are all crammed in skilfully into the show's fifty-minute running time by Jeremy Summers briskly paced direction. The scenario in Gerald Kelsey's screenplay allows for some amusing interplay between Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope. There's an amusing scene early on where Jeannie (Annette Andre) pins a white lily on to the lapel of Jeff's suit and Marty uses his ghostly powers to make it droop. "I am not having my wife giving you flowers" he says "You're jealous" replies Jeff. Marty and Jeff are close friends but sometimes they verged dangerously close to falling out and especially in this episode since it was Marty who got him mixed up with Seaton's thugs in the first place. When Jeff arrives back in the office having been "...beaten up, thrown in a river and half-drowned", Jeannie says "God you really needed Marty to look out for you." "If only you knew" Jeff says to himself after she has left. Performances are good all round even though the supporting cast is not particularly inspired but Hammer horror fans watching this will spot Freda Jackson who played a vampire's mad retainer in the studio's classic The Brides Of Dracula (1960).

Overall, The Smile Behind The Veil saw the series bow out in style and makes one regret that another series never followed because it had the potential to go so much further but, alas, it was not to be. The splendid set pieces, action sequences and the marvelous interplay between Cope and Pratt make this unmissable viewing for fans of the original Randall & Hopkirk series.
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