In Minder S06E04, Arthur is Dead, Long Live Arthur we are treated to some charming Chisholm mini-implosions and learn what the consequences of faking one’s own death are.
Uh-oh! Arthur (George Cole) owes the tax man £20,000. His accountant, Andrew (Royce Mills), and Terry (Dennis Waterman) aren’t terribly sympathetic either. Terry reckons Arthur owes three times as much, but Andrew correctly states it is five times! Either way, Daley is distraught at the prospect of financial ruin. It is not a fun time to be a private entrepreneur. To make things worse, several other “entrepreneurs” are breathing down his neck for monies owed. Is it now time to shuffle off his mortal coil?
He hints as much to Terry who finds the idea of a suicidal Arthur absurd. He shows his amusement with a very annoying forced giggle. I wouldn’t have blamed Daley if he’d killed himself to get away from that sound.
In a way he does, while Terry is snoozing in front of a snowy television, Arthur sneaks out, places his coat and trilby on a railing by the Thames along with a suicide note which points the finger at the tax man and certain overzealous policemen! Then he hides out at some weird hotel, no reason for him to get wet to make a point.
The letter is found by a couple of reporters, the main one being some guy called Beadle (John Alkin). The letter is printed and our favorite overzealous policeman receives more than his fair share of the blame.
Chisholm Crashes a Wake
Now everyone thinks Arthur is “brown bread.” His Winchester friends are doing a little commiserating, mostly over debts left outstanding. This is when Chisholm, with Jones (Meic Povey), enters that seedy rabbits’ den and spies all the little rabbits he’d love to arrest.
“If only the devil could cast his net, hey, Jones?” “Aye, guv.” Noticing their distress (Chisholm is a very empathetic man) he says they all look like they’ve bought something off of Arthur Daley.
“It is Arthur Daley who has bought it, Mr. Chisholm,” says a witty Dave (Glynn Edwards). Chisholm, still feeling playful, inquires as to what Dave means. When he is told that Arthur is “no longer with us” his main concern is that he was nicked on some other manner.
Terry hurries things up, “he’s dead you…..” but cuts his criticism short when he gets a questioning look from Chisholm. Chicken!
Dave hands Chisholm the paper. He doesn’t believe what he is reading, though he does have a little chuckle (a nice sounding one, take note Terry — that’s how you laugh) at Daley’s complaint of unjust persecution from law enforcement.
But, his humor is short lived as he smashes the paper into Jones’ chest (an act to be repeated) and confronts Terry: “Alright, where is he, McCann?” Terry, none too bright, really thinks Arthur is dead, but Chisholm is having none of it. “The only thing I believe in the papers is the date. Now where is he and what’s he up to?” Jones saunters up with the paper and reads out a crucial bit about how no body has been found. So, with a “Jones!” Chisholm takes his leave.
This scene shows how smoothly Patrick Malahide handles transitions. Smugness, bemusement, then furious incredulity are covered quickly and fluidly. He is never stilted; he glides through it all.
Meet the Press
Chisholm goes to Beadle to admonish him for printing before handing the note over to the proper authorities. Beadle tries to winkle out if Chisholm suspects foul play. Chisholm tells him nothing except that when it comes to Daley, “everything is suspect.”
Before he leaves, Beadle pierces his armor by asking if he is one of the policemen Daley referred to in the note. Chisholm has a mini-implosion, complete with jaw flex, and leaves without a word. Awww.
It is a nice scene. I’ll be shallow and comment on what a nice complexion Chisholm has. He has a bit of the pink lipped Mark Binney look (Singing Detective) going on. It looks great. But, in terms of performance, I love the way he reacts to Beadle’s questioning. He doesn’t believe Arthur is dead but seems concerned over journalistic harassment and possible police inquiries.
Terry Learns the Truth
OK. We know Arthur isn’t dead. He is at a hotel, pretending to be a writer, and the landlady (Penny Morrell) has taken a fancy to him. There is a cute bit where she thinks he is actually Graham Greene, but he corrects her, “there’s no e on the end.”
He reaches out to Terry (who is furious) and there are some scenes where they meet with Arthur wearing an outlandish mustache / glasses disguise. Oh, and he learns that ‘Er Indoors is planning on selling up and moving to a retirement villa in Spain. Ha-ha! She wants to be a merry widow.
Meanwhile, Chisholm is continuing his investigation. He pays a visit to “the Widow Daley” (naturally, we don’t see her). Jones chides him for not being very sympathetic. Chisholm doesn’t care and says she is part of the conspiracy. “What conspiracy, guv?” “Keep it up, Jones, keep it up,” says Chisholm, almost hysterically.
I like this bit because Mr. Malahide pulls a face that reminds me of that scene stealing rogue Jack Turner in Hunted.
At least he makes some headway with Sidney (a guy Arthur owes money to) who promises, in a manner of speaking, to let Chisholm know if he should learn Arthur is faking. Later on, Sidney proves useful by breaking into Arthur’s lock-up to “requisition” some goods.
Chisholm vs. the Tabloids
Poor Chisholm. The papers are painting him as a bad guy. In a bit of silent acting, he is in his car with Jones (I notice they do their safety belts up, good lads), reading the offending rag. Once again, he smashes it into Jones’ chest. I have to give Meic Povey his due. He makes the perfect patient, probably wiser DC to the uptight Sargent. It is a short scene in a cramped setting, but their chemistry is abundant.
Later Chisholm tries to get out of the precinct. He looks both ways but is still chased back to the nick by a group of reporters. What is a group of reporters called? A press of reporters? They are pressing on Mr. Chisholm, that’s for sure.
He handles them well with eyebrow arching, jaw clenching and dead silence. I like the way he manages to keep his cool through this.
Jones isn’t being as loyal as he should either. He hands Chisholm another paper, with Daley’s obit in the death columns, claiming DS Rycott (Chisholm’s nemesis / co-worker) wanted him to see it. Chisholm smashes it into his chest yet again. With some relish, Jones adds that the Super wants to see him…something about making a statement. Chisholm’s day is getting worse and worse.
The Conspiracy Revealed
As mentioned earlier, Sidney breaks into Arthur’s lock-up where he finds a note in Arthur’s writing on hotel stationary. Andrew, the accountant, discovers the lock-up has been broken into and phones Terry to tell him that he’s called the police and now they (Chisholm) want to talk to him.
Terry refuses and poor Andrew nervously tells Chisholm that he is a “bit reluctant.” Chisholm manfully snatches the phone from Andrew’s hand, “….I want to talk to you, here or at the nick, the choice is yours.”
Terry goes to the hotel to warn Arthur, who has been recognized by the landlady from his photo in the papers. But, she is still lovestruck, so they get her to take part in new ruse.
Chisholm now knows everything and goes to the hotel. He makes a fine entrance as he stomps out of his car, moving so fast he is a blur, knocking all and sundry (actually, they look like reporters — I hope so) out of his way as he enters the hotel.
Inside, he finds Daphne (the landlady) standing near a “frail” Arthur. “Amnesia?!?” Yep, that’s the new ruse. Daphne insists his memory hasn’t returned fully yet. She says she showed him the papers, “oh dear, he says to me, poor, old Charlie Chisholm, and he seemed most concerned that I phone you straight away because of the way the papers had so falsely maligned you.”
Chisholm is incredulous. “Is it my face? My clothes? The way I walk? Hmm? Do I look like an idiot?” Daphne sticks with her story because Arthur is “such a nice man,” which adds to Chisholm’s disgust and bewilderment. Doesn’t he have a sense of romance?
After processing the horror of someone actually being attracted to Arthur Daley (he gulps and has to steady himself), Chisholm leans in close violating Daley’s personal space, “you won’t get away with this, Daley. You won’t! Do you hear me?”
Daley pretends to waken, “Mr. Chisholm? Is that you? Oh thank gawd!” Then he raises his hand to caress Chisholm’s cheek, who swats it immediately away and storms out of the building.
It is a really good scene, combining palpable fury with a comedic element (particularly in his reaction to Daphne’s attraction Arthur). I think it is funny the way Chisholm, who clearly hates to be touched, uses the tactic of personal space invasion. That tactic just doesn’t seem to work on Arthur, since he knows how to turn it up even further and make it backfire on Chisholm.
I like this episode because it gives Chisholm plenty of comedic scenes, and it also shows him as being the only person smart enough to immediately see through Arthur’s game. Mr. Malahide is excellent. He blends aggression with comedic timing perfectly.
I only wish he got some sort of moment of triumph where he could lord his victory over the press and put Arthur in his place. Instead, the last scene we got of him was when he stormed out of the hotel.
The rest of the episode covered a subplot concerning Justin (a youth who looks up to Arthur) raising money to buy an ugly memorial bust of Arthur. It was kind of funny, but I would have preferred Chisholm reigning triumphant!
And, one little tidbit: Penny Morrell, who played Daphne, is George Cole’s real life wife. Awwwww. With Valentine’s Day being so close, I guess that is appropriate.