December 26, 1988, Patrick Malahide appeared as Chisholm for the last time in Minder S07E01 “An Officer and a Car Salesman”. It is a peculiar episode because some time has passed and the main characters have all moved on with their lives for better or worse.
An Officer and a Car Salesman: The Lengthy Premise
Terry McCann is serving the final few days of a prison sentence, the details of which occurred off-camera. Apparently Arthur Daley had stashed stolen video recorders in Terry’s flat, and Terry got the blame and did the time. Yes, he is very, very angry and bitter about it and wants nothing more to do with Arthur….ever. Easier said than done.
Arthur, for his part, is doing remarkably well with a large warehouse based business, “Global Worldwide Products”, complete with employees. The employees are interesting because they are played by Simon Williams (who portrayed Alleyn in the BBC pilot before Patrick Malahide took over and perfected the role) as Roger and Diana Quick (Lady Evelyn Carrados from “Alleyn: Death in a White Tie“) as Angie an undercover policewoman posing as a secretary.
Roger also works for a “Col. Caplan” (Richard Briers), a would-be militia / survivalist type with delusions of right-wing revolutionary grandeur who Angie is investigating. Caplan foolishly buys military equipment from Daley’s business, and just because Daley has moved up in the world doesn’t mean the quality of his merchandise has.
So, what is Chisholm doing in all this? Well, his overzealous approach to nabbing Daley forced him out of the police force, so he is now working in the private sector as Chief Security Officer for “Prestige Security”. Another familiar face pops up in the form of Clive Swift (Mr. Tupman from the Pickwick Papers) as Chisholm’s boss. He isn’t best pleased with Chisholm’s now overzealous approach to security either.
Things are about to get very bad for Chisholm. Noooo! Seems Col. Caplan has a mole in Prestige Security via Chisholm’s assistant Dixon (Mark McManus). Dixon knows that a large consignment of gold bullion will be transported by the security team, so he and Caplan plan to steal it to fund the militia.
In the meantime, Terry, now released from prison, befriends Angie who he believes to be just Daley’s secretary. She gets him work as Caplan’s chauffeur/handyman. Also, Chisholm’s old policing partner DC Jones now works alongside DS Rycott (Chisholm’s nemesis), and they are on the case of some fake contraceptive pills sourced from, of course, Global Worldwide Products.
Oh Do Hurry Up and Get to Chisholm
As mentioned earlier, Chisholm has left the force and is now Chief Security Officer for Prestige Security. He arrives to work where a security guard, Bindle (Al Ashton), promptly raises the barrier for him. Uh-oh. Bindle should ask for credentials even though he plainly recognizes Mr. Chisholm.
Chisholm: “You haven’t heard of imposters, Bindle? Lookalikes, plastic surgery….doppelgangers? I could be anybody.” Chisholm looks very intense and perhaps a wee bit bonkers as he trots out that paranoid sounding list.
Bindle gets his own back by saying he needs to run it through with the Chief Security Officer. “I am the Chief Security Officer, you cretin.” Bindle: “Yes, but you might also be an impostor.”
Hmmm. I don’t recall Chisholm ever being that much of a pill. What ever could have happened to him during all those months previous to make turn out this way? It seems out of character for Chisholm, but I really do love his frazzled piercing stares.
Meanwhile, Dixon (the guy who is planning the gold heist with Caplan) roots through Chisholm’s desk. Chisholm gets to his office and is very surprised to find Dixon inside. Dixon pretends he has been looking for Chisholm. Chisholm is chagrined when Dixon says he got in because the door was unlocked. Oh dear. That’s not good form from a Chief Security Officer.
Dixon wants the duty roster, but Chisholm pompously tells him he hasn’t had time to work on that. Poor Chisholm, he doesn’t seem any better off now than when he was in the force.
Not a Happy Reunion
Later, DS Rycott and DC Jones, who are investigating Daley’s bogus contraceptive pills, need Chisholm’s records from his investigations into Daley’s counterfeit dealings. After more Bindle awkwardness, Rycott and Jones finally meet Chisholm who is wearing his spanking new uniform.
Chisholm suffers some embarrassment after boasting of “not having to suffer idiot brass interfering with ones work” when his director (Tuppy!) shows up and gets onto him for overmanning a Gatwick operation. Awww. Chisholm looks so disillusioned. Jones stupidly mocks him about his “great responsibility.” A very steely Chisholm replies, “I can safely say it carries more responsibility than chasing after low-life villains…Taff.” Ouch!
Inside his office Chisholm is uncooperative, acting as though curtailing Daley’s counterfeiting antics is now beneath him. RFodchuk and I think that is not in Chisholm’s character. He would love to give key testimony in any trial that might convict Daley. I highly doubt it would even matter if his enemy Rycott is the arresting officer if it means Daley, the greater enemy, doing lots of lumpy porridge.
But, Chisholm is really funny the way he oh-so-blithely dismisses his former colleagues. “You’re the detective, Ronnie. I’ve joined the ranks of private enterprise.” His smug facial expressions are priceless. He’s like that cat who got the cream.
Jones reminds our cream loving cat that it is an offense to impede an inquiry. Uh-oh. Rycott tries laughing that off as a result of Jones’ “baptist upbringing”.
Chisholm remains defiant. “Nevertheless, can’t help, I’m afraid. Call it..uh..memory loss for trivia, sorry Ronnie, but there it is.” He’s cute when he’s dismissive. 🙂
That’s when Rycott threatens to arrest him unless he starts giving information. Chisholm is incredulous. “Arrest me? Arrest me?” Fortunately, it doesn’t come to that.
So the bullion transport, “Operation Flintlock”, is about to begin. Chisholm is busy pinning points on a map as he gives Dixon the details. He is profoundly officious with his authoritative command for Dixon to “ENTER” the office and with his posturing as he stares approvingly at his heavily pinned map. Tragically, he gives Dixon, that dirty traitor, all the details necessary.
Chisholm has more difficulty in explaining the operation to his boss. Prestige Security generally uses six personnel not the ten that Chisholm wants. Chisholm patiently explains, as though speaking to an idiot, that he was hired for his knowledge and considerable experience in matters of security and points out that a large consignment of gold would appeal to terrorists. Oh, if only he knew about that Dixon character!
Chisholm’s boss says that the firm has built its reputation on cost-effective, low-profile security. That’s when Chisholm decides to bring up the matter of his ASC, “aerial surveillance conveyance”, aka a helicopter, “absolutely essential in this type of operation.”
Chisholm’s boyish smirk is adorable as he raffishly puts his hat back on. He is clearly delighted at the prospect of riding in a chopper. RFodchuk and I have speculated that Chisholm is no stranger to the smell of Airfix glue (purely for non-mind-altering purposes, of course) so his enthusiasm comes as no surprise. It is utterly charming. 🙂
Cannon 1 to Musket 1
Chisholm is in his element inside the helicopter as he puts his headset on. “Cannon 1 to Musket 1, are you receiving?” The men below receive alright, but they take their time in getting back to him, thinking he’s a complete “burke”. Phhhppptt! I don’t like his stupid team at all.
Things are going completely bonkers down below. Col. Caplan has kidnapped Arthur and tied him up in the middle of the road as a human roadblock!! And back at Daley’s warehouse, Caplan’s associate Roger has Terry, Angie (who Terry now knows is an undercover officer), Rycott and Jones at gun point. They eventually overpower Roger and escape.
Meanwhile, Daley the human roadblock is very nearly hit by the Operation Flintlock convoy. Watch out for spivs in the road! It is a remarkably terrifying moment. George Cole does a stellar job of highlighting Arthur’s terror. You can practically see his very life flashing before his eyes. Really, it is oddly chilling for Minder. It freaked me out at any rate.
Smoke grenades go off and Caplan’s men grab the bullion. However, the gas masks the militia are wearing came from Daley, so they don’t work at all. Everyone winds up choking. Daley’s dodgy gear saves gold bullion but not lungs.
From up above, Chisholm sees the smoke rising from the trees. He looks through his binoculars and sees, of all people, Daley in the middle of the road. His expression is absolutely hilarious and incredible. I didn’t know Patrick Malahide could pull faces like that. 🙂
“Oh my gawd, it’s Daley! Arthur bloody Daley…uh, uh, uh….Cannon 1 to Musket 1…um…abort Flintlock, repeat, abort Flintlock. Red alert!” He really does look like he’s at breaking point. The only way it could get worse for Chisholm is if a gremlin got in the chopper.
Actually, who needs gremlins when you’ve got Dixon? Chisholm’s commands aren’t heard by anybody because Dixon had surreptitiously unplugged the headset. Dixon tries to dump the communication box outside. The two men struggle as the helicopter thrashes around. Dixon is knocked out while Chisholm has a nasty gash on his forehead. I hope that doesn’t leave a scar. Chisholm at least stays alert and yells “you’re fired” at the unconscious Dixon.
The helicopter lands and Chisholm tears out, making a beeline for Daley. It is really funny because he makes some gazelle like leaps up the hill as he marches towards his quarry. Chisholm is pretty fit for a guy who just been through hell. He must be running on pure adrenaline.
He immediately begins throttling Daley. With his bloody forehead and demented stare he looks practically possessed. Officer Angie and Rycott, who have come to save the day — sort of, are watching from a distance and she wants to stop the attack. Rycott is enjoying the spectacle though. “Why? Charlie is doing quite a good job in his own.” LOL 🙂
Terry tries to pull Chisholm off, but Chisholm is determined. “I am making a citizens arrest,” he yells three times. Eventually he is pulled off by police who frog-march him away, “Put me down you cretin, I’m the Chief Security Officer.”
The Fall Out
With the gold recovered and Caplan and his militia under arrest it is time for the fall out. The police Assistant Commissioner informs everyone that Chisholm is under suspension from Prestige Security pending consultations with the Bank of England. Awwww. He did nothing wrong. It isn’t his fault Dixon was a terrorist mole. At least we get some rather fetching jaw clenches as he hears the bad news.
Daley and Terry are off the criminal hook for co-operating with Angie, though Daley loses his Global Worldwide Products business. Rycott is busted down to Constable. Jones gets a roasting, but I think he gets off mostly unscathed.
As they leave, Chisholm has another Daley inspired break-down after Supt. Mason (Garfield Morgan) tells him to show some dignity. “Dignity? Dignity? Where’s yours? I warned you about him years he ago, I tried to, and look at where we are now. Ruined! Ruined!”
Poor Chisholm gets frog-marched away once again by a couple of uniformed police, never to been seen on Minder again. Nooooo! Come back, Chisholm!
“An Officer and a Car Salesman” is a weird episode because everyone’s situation seems oddly out of character. The militia stuff was well done, but didn’t feel Minder-ish. It would have made a good episode of “The Professionals” had the militia men been anywhere near competent, but they weren’t.
And poor Chisholm. I wonder what became of him after all that. I’d love to know. Hopefully he got away from all things criminal and found himself somewhere quieter where he could focus on his own interests…which probably no longer include helicopters.
As mentioned before, his refusal to help Rycott and Jones investigate Daley is out of character. But, that aside, Patrick Malahide gives a great comedic performance. While we’ve not seen Chisholm behave so comically before, his humour typically being of the dryer more subtle variety, Mr. Malahide shows that he can do broader more physical comedy brilliantly. His crackers facial expressions and physicality in the Daley-choking scene are completely on point and make this odd episode worth watching despite its inherent wrongness. 😉