As has been mentioned before, Chisholm sometimes has his moments of boyish enthusiasm, and his scene with Superintendent Mason (Garfield Morgan) in Minder on the Orient Express is a perfect example. The way he is sincerely proud to serve his country is very fetching, but the scene is intermingled with a bit of sadness, as you’ll see.
Superintendent Mason: Yes, Sergeant. I’ve been through the duty roster…over and over. What with the flu epidemic and the overtime situation I have no choice but to send you.
Chisholm: [looks briefly disappointed, but then brightens up] What exactly will my duties be, sir?
Admin: Poor Chisholm. Patrick Malahide’s expressions throughout this scene are 100% on point. You see the brief look of confused disappointment as he realizes he wasn’t the Super’s ideal choice at all, but then he bucks up like a Boy Scout and gets straight to work. You can practically see him setting the slight aside so he can move forward and begin his exciting new mission.
RF: Aaawww! Chisholm looks so hopeful when he says “Interpol?”, like he’s finally getting the chance to do some real policing for once. Then his hopes are dashed when he realizes he hasn’t been selected due to his own merits, but because he’s the only one with a valid passport who’s still available. He’s the best of what’s left. 😉 But you’re right, he decides to be professional about it when he asks what his duties will be.
Mason: You will rendezvous in Boulogne with Francois LaBlanc from Interpol, and then the two of you will observe the movements of this man. [hands Chisholm a folder] Remember the Securimat bullion robbery?
Chisholm: [smiling slightly] Oh, yes indeed, sir.
Admin: There is a nice bit of intensity and even a slight shoulder swagger as he takes the folder. You can tell he is taking this very, very seriously indeed. He seems rather proud of himself that he remembers the bullion robbery.
RF: Indeed, there’s a shoulder swagger, and we can almost see him planting his feet a little farther apart and more firmly. He’s ready to sink his teeth into this. I don’t doubt that Chisholm remembers the bullion robbery because, despite his other failings as a copper (mostly due to the writers’ whims), if there’s one thing he does know, it’s all the villains who’ve ever been through his territory. To his credit, he later proves on the train that he studied everything about the robbery very thoroughly, knowing something about all the crims involved.
Mason: We have reason to believe that it was perpetrated by this man and various European accomplices. Not to mention other crimes of a similar nature in Paris, Munich, Amsterdam…hence Interpol. But more importantly, Sergeant, we have reason to believe our bullion was moved into Europe and we would rather like to know where it is, if you get my drift.
Chisholm: [smiling] Oh, perfectly, sir.
Admin: There is a lot of really good silent acting from Mr. Malahide as DS Chisholm looks alternately disgusted and awed by the criminal effrontery, probably largely because it involves European accomplices. He shows his enthusiasm in helping to get the bullion back with his delighted affirmation about getting Mason’s “drift”.
RF: He does look a bit baffled by the calibre of villains he’ll be dealing with, which is far above and outside of his usual scope. I think he’s also well aware that he has to show willing and butter up the Superintendent a bit just for getting this assignment if he ever wants another one like it, so he tries to be enthusiastic – something our “overworked, underpaid” D.S. hasn’t always done. 😉 But considering that Chisholm has previously wished for a “good, honest, straightforward- to-God villain” to chase, you’d think he’d be really pleased.
Mason: Remember, you’re going along at their request as an observer. You have no jurisdiction.
Chisholm: You can rely on me to handle the situation with tact, sir.
Mason: Just concentrate on not making a complete twit of yourself.
Mason: You can tell Rycott that the Gamage business is his now. That will be all.
Chisholm: [turns to leave but pauses] Sir? Thank you.
Admin: Mason notices that enthusiasm too as he archly reminds Chisholm that he is going as an observer. Undaunted, Chisholm responds with palpable pride. He is so into this. I felt so bad for him when he had to laugh at Mason’s mean comment about trying not to be a twit. He casts his eyes downward again, though, so it is obvious it hurt some. But, he bounces back and actually thanks Mason for this exciting opportunity. I like that because it turns the tables a bit and it is Mason who gets to look a little bemused. 🙂
RF: You’re right, Chisholm is way into this and so determined to do a good job. He’s trying to project confidence and professionalism, while it seems that Mason is all too familiar with previous screw-ups and not entirely optimistic about his chances. I felt badly for Chisholm as well when Mason cut him down a bit (aawww, his little self-deprecating laugh! 🙁 ), but I liked his uncharacteristically subdued, sincerely humble and grateful manner when he thanks Mason for the opportunity, sure that it will lead to better things. He’s so happy about this! You just know he gleefully rubbed Jones’ nose in it when he went back to his office, while Mason seems to be pondering if he’s really made the best decision.
Admin: This is a very brief scene, but it is so impressive how much Mr. Malahide packs into it with his fluid facial expressions. Intrigue, disappointment, and boyish eagerness are all on display with one blending perfectly into the other. It is also highlights exactly why we love Chisholm as much as we do. 🙂
RF: I totally agree. Mr. Malahide gives us a look at Chisholm’s enthusiasm and happiness at receiving the rare opportunity to do some real policing, even if it’s tempered with a dash of cold water when he realizes why he’s getting the assignment. Nonetheless, he does a far better job than Rycott would’ve done! 😉 It’s rare to see such a moment of vulnerability, excitement, and sincere pride for Chisholm, and Mr. Malahide handles it all perfectly.