The Balance of Power (click link for episode recap) is one of our favorite Minder episodes because it actually turns out rather well for Chisholm. Every scene he is in is pure gold, but the chocolates raid swoop is a great favorite. So lets analyze it:
Arthur, who is running for political office, enters his lockup and sees police carrying boxes away and Chisholm at the desk.
Daley: Mr. Chisholm! What are you doing here?
Chisholm: Shopping. Wife instructed me to look for some chocolates.
Admin: Chisholm isn’t ordinarily this cheerful. Is he looking looking forward to sampling the chocolates? And what is the deal with a wife. I was under the impression he was single, but it seems he might not be. Minder wasn’t always consistent in such matters. But, his chipper, amused attitude is fetching beyond belief.
RF: I refuse to believe that anyone who occupies this bedroom actually has a wife, but I’m sure you’re right that it was a continuity thing. Or maybe Mrs. Chisholm didn’t stick around too long because her Significant Other was married to his job. 😉 In any case, Chisholm is certainly looking uncharacteristically happy and pleased with himself, which should be Arthur’s first sign of serious trouble.
Admin: Oh, he was certainly single on Orient Express. 🙂 Continuity issue or secret backstory? The world may never know. 🙂
Daley: That is a diabolical liberty.
Chisholm: [Taking a bite of chocolate.] Ewww….so are these.
Admin: That’s what you get for picking a soft one. Of course the chocolates turn out to be a big plot point for the episode. I love how witty and fresh Chisholm is being here. He’s certainly fresher than the chocolates.
RF: Given the disgusted face Chisholm’s making, one can only imagine how horrible those chocolates must taste; maybe Arthur got them from the Wizzo Chocolate Company (of Monty Python fame). But note that Chisholm doesn’t actually stop eating it or anything. He must’ve not had his tea break before coming over.
Daley: Political persecution, that’s what this is.
Chisholm: I’ve never heard it called that before. A raid, yes. A swoop. Turning over someone’s drum, maybe. Got receipts for all these chocolates, of course?
Daley: It was a cash transaction. Well, it’s the only way to beat the Japanese competition these days. [Reporter enters.] What do you want?
Chisholm: Who are you?
Admin: Chisholm continues the wit. He’s actually being downright playful. This is probably because he’s been given carte blanche from his superiors to find dirt on Daley for having the temerity to run for office. He’s got plenty of police support to back him up and he’s feeling very in control of everything. Yeah, we know that feeling won’t last, but it is so nice to see him enjoy being on top of it all for a change. His frisky side is so attractive especially the way he raises his eyebrows when he teases Daley about the receipts.
RF: I love the bit where Chisholm is listing off various synonyms for “raid”; you’re right that he seems to be having an awfully good time, dodgy choccies and all. He’s back to being the confident and in-control Chisholm of earlier seasons, and it’s quite lovely. I also like how he stalks around Arthur, choccie in hand, while Arthur progressively gets more nervous.
Admin: I like Daley’s line about beating the Japanese competition. Somehow I don’t think he really has any competition to speak of in his line of stale chocolates. Lent’s entrance is fun. I like Chisholm’s “who are you?” It gives it all nice madcap feel.
RF: You know that Arthur had to have bought those choccies at the cheapest price possible, after they’d been sitting around in a dusty warehouse for decades. 😉 Lent’s an unexpected intrusion, but Chisholm’s not afraid to demand who he is. As we’ve noted before, he doesn’t exactly have the best relationship with the press, so you know this is going to be good.
Lent: Lent. West London Gazette. [Shows Chisholm his card.]
Chisholm: You’re a bit quick of the mark, in’t you? [Looking at watch.] How did you get wind of this?
Lent: Just a coincidence.
RF: And I’m sure at this point Chisholm already realizes it’s not a coincidence and something’s up, especially since he’s been given carte blanche by his superiors. He does eye Lent with outright suspicion.
Lent: I recently interviewed Mr. Daley; I wanted to check a few details.
Chisholm: Well, I’m afraid I’m going to have to borrow for him for a while, Mr. Lent.
Lent: Are you arresting him? [Terry barges in.] What are the charges?
Daley: Here, look, you be careful what you write.
Chisholm: No charges at this stage. Mr. Daley and Mr. McCann are merely helping us with our inquiries. Aren’t you?
Daley: Are we?
Admin: Terry knows how to pick his moments. Chisholm’s delight at also making Terry squirm is really cute. He’s just so delighted with it all and is being very confident with the pressman nearby.
RF: I love Chisholm’s satisfied look at Arthur when he says “I’m going to have to borrow him for a while,” plus the emphasis he puts on the “t” in “Lent“, which perfectly conveys his disgust (and distrust) of the press, and Lent in particular. It also reminds me of the way a certain other individual used to say, “Miss… Kent“, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. 😉
Admin: Oh, he does hit the “t” hard. It is a nice bit of mock politeness.
RF: Also, note how Terry immediately leaps to the conclusion that charges are pending – how strange! – while also eyeing Lent with suspicion. Chisholm’s good mood continues as he seizes the opportunity to run Terry and Arthur down to the nick, even if Arthur’s bewildered by it all.
Chisholm: Yes, you are! And in order to show you how reasonable I am, going to take you down to the station in one of our nice big cars with flashing blue lights. Chocolate, anyone?
Lent: Oh. Thank you. [Takes chocolate.]
Admin: Awww, a great ending to the scene. Chisholm playfully embarrasses Daley and McCann. The bit about the nice, big car with the flashing blue lights is almost boyish. It is interesting the way Chisholm comes across as energetic and witty though. He’s messing with Daley and McCann as he often does, but he seems less sarcastic than usual. I suppose it must be because he might actually feel like he’ll have support from his superiors if he should find something. Either that or the sugar rush really agrees with him.
RF: Hmm, I actually thought Chisholm was once again proving he’s the master of sarcasm and (mostly) deadpan humour, especially with his comment about the “flashing blue lights”. He’s obviously extremely pleased at having Arthur and Terry in a situation where they can’t refuse, so he’s teasing them unmercifully in the knowledge that he’ll get away with it. And I suspect his offering a chocolate to Lent was a rather sneaky way of getting some vicarious revenge, since he didn’t actually finish his choccie after taking that one bite out of it. Apparently even the sugar rush wasn’t worth it. 😉
Admin: Maybe it’s the tone, but he just seems less (or least differently) sarcastic to me even though he is totally messing with their minds and having a great time getting one over on them. Perhaps I should say less scornful. The metaphorical dark raincloud is no where to be seen which makes a great change. 🙂
RF: That’s true, he’s being more playful than anything else, with a distinct touch of satisfaction because he’s got Arthur and Terry flustered for once. And you’re right that his raincloud is missing. Confident Chisholm is always a lot of fun to watch.