Chisholm is typically a put-upon copper for whom nothing goes right. But, not always; sometimes he’s different. Get Daley (S04E10) shows a more confident, dare I say menacing, Chisholm. He almost, but not quite, acts a bit of a bully. I say “not quite” because the target of his menaces, Dermott (or DerMOTT as Chisholm calls him) (Kevin Lloyd) is a conniving grass/snout/informant who deserves all the aggravation he gets.
Trouble at the Dummy Depot
So, here’s the main plot. Arthur Daley, who is due for “major surgery” to fix an ingrown toenail, is sourcing mannequins from Mannequin Salesman of the Year (the guy has scads of the things) Joe Harrison (Brian Osborne). However, while Arthur is mingling among the dummies (they’re probably still more interesting than Terry) a couple of heavies, an older guy called Harry and a young lad named Keith Wendell, arrive to menace gambling debts owed Keith’s father from Harrison.
Keith (Ian Bartholomew) is a gun nut and idiotically brought his rifle to scare Harrison. Keith is spooked when an unseen Daley upsets the mannequins. Alarmed, Keith shoots the mannequins, and in the ensuing chaos Mr. Harrison dies of a heart attack. Arthur runs away but is spotted and recognized by Keith’s cohort Harry (Frank Mills).
Chisholm and Dermott
Chisholm is soon on the case, largely because Mr. Harrison’s business partner is a reformed tearaway (and pal of Terry’s) Tony Apsey (Peter Alexander). Chisholm is certain that Apsey is involved somehow and would love to prove it.
Chisholm catches up with his “snout” Dermott. Actually, he literally catches him as Dermott attempts an unsuccessful getaway. “Out back, now.” Chisholm is not messing about. The alley way door flies open and Dermott is shoved unceremoniously through. Dermott is being argumentative since Chisholm (who has cop written all over him) interrupted Dermott at his local. Chisholm doesn’t care.
“Now listen, DerMOTT, my hairy friend, this is very important. In fact, if I suspect you’re withholding information, I’m going to take you around the saloon bar and introduce you as my best snout and then poodle over to your drum and find out what you’re smoking these days.” Lots of rhyming slang there. As he’s speaking Chisholm walks forward, slowly and purposefully pushing Dermott back further and further into the dark.
Chisholm asks about Joe Harrison. Dermott knows that someone let off a gun. Chisholm continues his forward march as Dermott appears nervous about the encroaching wall. He tells Dermott that Harrison dropped dead. “Wow,” says Dermott. “What a way with words you have, DerMOTT.”
Chisholm now has Dermott all the way back and begins pacing about demanding to know what Harrison was into. Dermott just knows he was straight and sold clothes dummies with Tony Apsey, a point that Chisholm jumps on.
Dermott insists Apsey is straight and that everyone knows that. “Oh, do they, DerMOTT? I don’t know that. As far as I’m concerned, Tony Apsey is a right blot on my limited horizons.” Chisholm wants to know who frightened Harrison if it wasn’t Apsey.
Dermott doesn’t know, but he says someone called Arthur Daley was also there at the time. “Arthur Daley,”queries Chisholm a couple of times, flexing his jaw in frustration. He grabs Dermott by the jacket and throws him against the wall, “Are you geeing me up or something you hairy animal?” Dermott insists that is all he heard and tells Chisholm to ask Apsey himself. Chisholm: “Oh, I will, you can bank on that.”
As Chisholm is leaving Dermott gets a little bolder then and yells “OY!”
Chisholm turns around, the effect is very picturesque. The whole scene has great lighting. Chisholm tosses a bit of money on the ground with palpable contempt and leaves. “Heavy,” mutters Dermott to himself as Chisholm leaves.
This is a brilliant and atmospheric scene, and this Chisholm is quite different from the frustrated guy he usually is. But, we still get the epic jaw flex, so he isn’t completely different, thank goodness. 😉 I especially like the way Chisholm is constantly stalking and pacing throughout the entire scene. There is a lot of pent up energy there, and Patrick Malahide conveys it perfectly.
Chisholm and Jones Pay Some Calls
Chisholm pays a visit to the Apsey residence. Jones enters first, “Morning all, and what a lovely morning it is too.” It is a nice touch because it makes Chisholm’s silent approach from behind all the more ominous. I love Chisholm’s evil little smirk. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see what happens at the Apsey place. Instead they show Chisholm’s next stop, Arthur Daley’s (who is awaiting ingrown toenail surgery) hospital room.
When Daley sees his unwelcome visitors he yells at the nurse that he doesn’t wish to see these men. “Shut it, Arthur.” After a bit of sassing from the querulous patient, Chisholm cuts to the chase, “Arthur, I’ve got this little friend, horrible little beggar he is, he tells me facts about low level persons on my manner. Now he’s a bit simple, like a week behind the News of the World, but he’s very reliable. What I’m trying to tell you, Arthur, is the whole of West London know you were around when someone frightened Joe Harrison so bad he had a massive coronary. ”
Daley says he was there, but legged it and phoned the authorities. He insists he doesn’t know who did it. Chisholm is duly unimpressed, “Room for improvement, Arthur.” Daley says he’d never keep shtum about something like that. “You might if a mate was involved like Tony Apsey.” Chisholm, again pacing about, speculates that Terry and Apsey planned it all with Daley. He stops briefly to take a second look at Arthur’s bright red dressing gown and brown trilby hanging on the door. 🙂
“We’re going to have a few more words with Apsey, Arthur, while we’ve got him tucked up down the nick. Why don’t you stay tucked up here, hey, like a good boy?” Chisholm is maintaining his air of casual menace, though it’s spoiled slightly when Jones gets in the way of the door.
After they leave, Arthur rings Terry, “I’ve had Chisholm here, yeah, and his druid.” I love that bit. 🙂 He tells Terry to find out who is grassing to Chisholm.
Alleged Threats and a Bent Grass
Later that night, a henchman shows up in the hospital to threaten Daley, telling him to keep quiet about what happened at the warehouse.
Investigating those threats, Chisholm and his druid walk in on Arthur as he is getting prepped for surgery. The nurse tries to make them leave to no avail. “Detective Sergeant Chisholm, Detective Constable Jones, (he takes a quick look at her name tag) Hilda…very important I have a word with Mr. Daley.”
Chisholm doesn’t believe Arthur was threatened at all. He makes references to the threats and perpetrator being “alleged.” “What do you mean ‘alleged’,” yells Terry, who should really consult a dictionary.
Daley is groggy from his pre-med shot, so his description of the thug isn’t helpful: “tall, dark and ugly.” Chisholm gets annoyed and rolls his eyes as Jones repeats “tall, dark and ugly” as he writes it down, “leave it out, Jones.”
Daley continues babbling as Chisholm gets very annoyed, “Daley, I’m going to lose my rag.” “Oh do not lose your rag, Chis.” Finally “Chis” leaves, but warns Terry that he’ll get Arthur after surgery.
Terry runs after the coppers. Terry tells Chisholm to go back to his grass. Dermott knows what went down at the warehouse, but is getting payoffs from the perpetrators to put the police (who are paying him for information) on Daley’s tail. It isn’t nice to see Chisholm being made a fool of, but he looks so intense with lots of lovely jaw flexing, so that’s alright. Besides, Dermott will get his.
The Snout Who Came in from the Cold
The next scene is great. Chisholm meets Dermott in the park on a foggy looking day. The cinematography is once again gorgeous. “I’ve heard a very nasty rumor about a grass who is keeping secrets from his friend the policeman.” Dermott tries to leave, but Chisholm shoves him back. “And you’ve got to convince me those rumors are wrong, else I’ll move Heaven and Hammersmith Broadway to put you away.” Meanwhile, Terry is in a car watching from a distance; he now knows who the grass is.
The scene really looks like something from a Cold War drama. Patrick Malahide gives
it all such an air of intensity. The combination of the gray, foggy day and Chisholm’s sharp, pale blue eyes really add to a Cold War feel. It looks very dramatic.
Later that morning, Terry tracks down Dermott and learns Harry Martin (who was with Gun Nut Keith when he frightened Harrison) paid him to spill Daley’s name.
But Chisholm Gets His Arrests
Joe’s grieving brother Vic Harrison (Brian Peck) finds Terry. He says Joe had been dealing with a bent bookie called “Wendy”
Wendell (Roger Hammond). Wendy is agoraphobic, so he has Harry Martin run his messages. Vic had guaranteed Joe’s credit, so now he is responsible for the gambling debts. Vic sets Wendy up by offering to pay the debts but ONLY if agoraphobic Wendy meets in an open rugby pitch to settle.
But, Vic doesn’t plan on paying anything. He phoned the police and told Chisholm all about Wendell and his gang. At the rugby pitch, the police arrive and Wendy, terrified of the outdoors, literally begs to be let in their van.
Wendy’s heavy who had intimidated Arthur tries to escape, but Terry knocks him into the goal posts. Just then a car zips up and Chisholm pops out and (very attractively) stares at Terry. Terry: “Well they do call it a ruck, don’t they?” Go on, make your arrests, Chisholm.
I really like this episode with its somewhat different take on Chisholm. He still has a couple of his typical cute implosion moments (when Daley is sedated and when Terry reckons Dermott is playing him), but for the most part he is much more serious than usual.
His scenes with Dermott are beautifully shot with perfect lighting. Those scenes are prime examples of what keeps Minder fresh even after all these years.
Chisholm is such a timeless character. I think it must be that old-fashioned copper persona brought to life by Patrick Malahide that makes our favorite DS one of the 1980’s least dated characters. You could just as easily have a show set today with Chisholm (and I would love to see one), and he’d still work perfectly well.