What Makes Shamy Run is an all around excellent episode of Minder. It is my favorite, actually. And it has one our all time favorite scenes. Chisholm and Jones, investigating counterfeit twenty pound notes, have been called to the Holland Park Barber Shop, an establishment owned by an unnamed character played by Robbie “Hagrid” Coltrane. Coltrane is considerably shorter and less hairy here, though. He is also very funny and plays really well off of our favorite world-weary, cynical policeman.
Proprietor: Fifteen of them. Three hundred.
Chisholm: Didn’t you check?
Proprietor: Well, you don’t, do you? (hands Chisholm the phoney notes) You don’t expect that. Not from somebody with a scalp condition.
Chisholm: Describe him.
Proprietor: Yes, well, he is at this moment wearing a “Roger Moore”. (shows
Chisholm a framed poster of a model in toupée) One of our more popular lines and completely waterproof.
Proprietor: Yes, it keeps the rain off.
Chisholm: Off of what? Their brains?
Proprietor: You can swim in a “Roger Moore,” using our special exclusive adhesive.
Chisholm: Apart from glue on his scalp, any other distinctive features?
Admin: I love the look on Chisholm’s face as he is taking this all in. He has an epic sneer. And I expect Chisholm has no idea why someone with a scalp condition would be less likely to handle counterfeit notes. His “their brains” quip suggests already that he doesn’t think very highly of the toupée crowd.
RF: Plainly the world of toupée-wearing is something completely foreign and exotic to Chisholm… and this is a man who’s been investigating Arthur Daley for years. 😀 I love his incredulous expression when he says “Waterproof?” Obviously he’s never thought of it as a requirement for toupées. How he and Jones are going to identify anyone from that incredibly faded poster is a mystery, though; it looks as if it’s been hanging in that shop for ages. It’s also noteworthy that Hagrid doesn’t seem to require one of his own creations, but maybe he supplies the raw material himself when he hasn’t had a recent trim? 😉
Admin: You could make dozen “Sean Connerys” from his beard alone. 😉
RF: Young Sean Connerys, that is. 😉
Proprietor: No, no….I’d say nondescript, give or take.
Chisholm: Scars? Mole? Big hooter? Dodgy eyes?
Proprietor: No, no, as I say, nondescript…face in the crowd. Ordinary. (removes toupee from another customer as Chisholm watches in bemusement) Mind you, I’d recognize his scalp anywhere.
Chisholm: Unfortunately we don’t have a file on cranial prints.
Admin: The viewers already know that the suspect in question is a friend of Arthur Daley’s called “The Syrup” and he has about as distinctive a face as you can get. I like the way Chisholm visibly pulls back when he sees the customer’s toupée pulled off. He wasn’t expecting that. His expressions are brilliant. He has the best sneering, sickly smile as he’s talking about cranial prints. Jones is just dutifully writing everything down.
RF: Chisholm just isn’t up-to-date on his scalp recognition science. 😉 I also love his horrified look when Hagrid removes the customer’s toupée. 😀 You’re right, he clearly wasn’t expecting it, while Jones doesn’t seem shocked at all – or perhaps he’s too busy writing. But Chisholm does seem matter-of-fact and just a wee bit bored about the mundanity of it all until the toupée gets removed. Also, note what Chisholm lists off as “distinguishing features”: “Scars? Mole? Big hooter? Dodgy eyes?” He and Jones just don’t seem to get the higher-end, better-looking crims in their business. And as you say, Hagrid must be really non-observant, because the Syrup is certainly “distinctive-looking” at the very least.
Proprietor: There was one thing. Could be a clue. He left his old wig here. A cheap nylon hairpiece, circa 1972. An early “Englebert Humperdinck” I should say. In need of renovation.
Chisholm: Renovation? It’s got real dandruff.
Proprietor: It’s not in the best of condition.
Chisholm: I’ve seen better looking rats down the old East India Dock. Jones, try it on.
Jones: Me? What I done?
Chisholm: Do you want a list! We’re trying to picture the face beneath this…apparition. (tosses the wig at Jones) Now, try it on.
Admin: I love how Chisholm makes Jones do the dirty work here. No way is he going to put that messy thing on his head when he has his DC with him. He casually chucks the wig at Jones and gives the face blind Hagrid a very hard stare indeed.
RF: The brand names in this just kill me, because you can so easily imagine how awful they look: Roger Moore, Engelbert Humperdinck. Bwaahh! 😀 I love Chisholm’s lip-curling disgust as he takes the wig and says, “Renovation?” with an air of disbelief (while holding it disdainfully almost at arm’s length), then the casual way he orders Jones to try it on immediately after comparing it to a rat down at the East India dock. Of course, DCs only exist so their Sergeants can torment them; as you say, no way would Chisholm ever try on that thing himself. Poor Jones must have built up some negative karma points, or failed to keep his guv properly supplied with tea and pie. 😉 I also like Jones’ resigned, yet put-upon, glance at Chisholm in return.
Admin: Oh, absolutely. They really convey a dusty, dated feel. I would have liked to have heard Chisholm’s list of things that Jones has done. 🙂
RF: Me too. We do know that Jones does like to arrive late in the mornings occasionally… 😉
Jones: (sits down to wear the wig) I feel a right berk here.
Chisholm: True….true. (takes off Jones’ glasses) It’s Syrup.
Chisholm: Syrup of Figs.
Chisholm: (exasperated) A character known to the police.
Jones: Oh aye.
Chisholm: Well, I’ll take this Irish into custody. Got a plastic bag or something?
Proprietor: Of course. You got a suspect then?
Admin: It is pretty cool the way he takes Jones’ glasses off. And I like the little bits of rhyming slang he uses.
RF: I don’t think Chisholm really had to take Jones’ glasses off to see the resemblance; he just wanted to. 😉 And note how when Jones says he feels like a “berk”, Chisholm agrees with him! He’s obviously milking this for all he can get. I didn’t get “Syrup of Figs” or “Irish” until I looked them up, but then they made sense. I also like the way Chisholm, still conveying a faint air of disgust at having to touch the toupée, rubs his fingertips after handling it and asks for a plastic bag. We really get a sense of how especially horrible it was for poor Jones to try on.
Admin: The rhyming slang was always a fun element of Minder. And Chisholm is really one of the best with those phrases because he says them so fluidly and natural.
Chisholm: Yes, well, you could say he has a price on his head. (adjusting neck tie)
Proprietor: That was an amazing bit of deduction, sergeant. By the way, have you ever thought about a hairpiece yourself.
Chisholm: (pause — slowly turns his head) Why?
Proprietor: Well, we are receding a little, sir, aren’t we?
Chisholm: We get by.
Proprietor: I’m sure you do. But it can be disabling, socially, I mean. Professionally even. I think sir’s macho image might be greatly enhanced with a “Burt Reynolds” one of our range. Or even a “Starsky.” Very popular with the upper ranks down at the Yard.
Admin: Awwwww, poor Chisholm. He was reveling in his moment of brilliant deduction, complete with a gorgeous jaw-jut and tie straightening and then Hagrid had to go and ruin in. Don’t you listen to him, Chisholm! You get by just fine! I have to laugh at the “Starsky” being very popular with the upper ranks at the Yard. This is London! They should be wearing “Ray Doyles”!
RF: Chisholm finally gets a good bon mot in (“price on his head”), straightening his tie in a bit of happy preening (completely agree, very cute), but only Hagrid and Jones are around to appreciate it. I like Hagrid’s simultaneously trying to butter Chisholm up while speculatively eyeing the top of his head, gleefully anticipating a potential sale in his future. 😉 And I love Chisholm’s “Why?” He’s not flustered in the slightest, just very calm and matter-of-fact. Why on earth would anyone, himself included, think he needed a toupée? 😉 But Hagrid is the consummate salesman; he turns up the pressure (while keeping up the flattery) with his “receding a little” comment and concern over “sir’s macho image”. But if there’s one thing Chisholm doesn’t seem insecure about, it’s his hairline. His “We get by” is the perfect reply. Oh, and a precinct full of “Ray Doyles” would be hysterical. 😀
Admin: It is their use of the Royal we that I like. 🙂 But, it takes more than a gregarious wig salesman to bring Chisholm down.
Jones: I was going to suggest that, guv’nor.
Chisholm: Oh, where you?
Jones: Oh, yes. (hard stare from Chisholm) No. No, not really. Shall I take the plastic bag?
Admin: See! Sir’s “macho image” is just fine. He totally intimidated those two with his hard stare. Mop tops are no match for Chisholm!
RF: Jones picks an extremely bad time to comment on his boss’ stylistic choices. 😉 I love his instant backtracking after Chisholm gives him a bit of a glare. No wonder Chisholm made him try on the wig – he’s probably going to be stuck buying the tea and pie for a month now. You’re quite right, no problems with “sir’s macho image” whatsoever. 😉