A Nice Little Wine
In Minder S02E07, A Nice Little Wine, Arthur Daley tries to get into the wine business by buying a large £900 lot from dodgy wine merchant Clive Stannard (Peter Jeffrey) . Later Clive is drugged and robbed, the £900 and all, by a call girl. He thinks Daley is behind it. Clive threatens to get a thug,”Big” Billy Gresham, to deal with the matter unless Daley gets the dough back.
With stellar (nah) detective work, Arthur and Terry get the money back from Bettina the bent call girl (Rachel Davies). They even recompense Burt Kwouk who cameos as a Japanese businessman Bettina robbed.
Finally Some Chisholm
Daley goes to the Winchester to give Clive the £900 back. Luckily, Chisholm got there first. By orders from the division inspector Chisholm is bringing Clive in for a “little chat” over a consignment of wine “purchased” in Dover. Arthur is uncharacteristically glad to see his “old friend Detective Sergeant Chisholm”. The always suspicious Chisholm isn’t surprised that Clive and Arthur know each other. Daley valiantly tries to assure Chisholm that he is only recently acquainted with slippery Clive.
Daley tests waters and asks Clive about that other acquaintance…Billy Gresham.
Chisholm: “Big Billy Gresham. He’s just gone inside…no bail granted…protective custody.” I love it. Chisholm’s smug expression and tone show that he knows he is delivering very bad news for Clive. Arthur reaches into his pocket as though to retrieve the money, but Clive quickly puts a stop to that. He doesn’t want to get in any more trouble.
Chisholm jumps on it though, “You been doing business with Mr. Stannard, Arthur?” Clive says he had just asked for an address. It looks like Arthur is off the hook. Daley tests the waters again by saying he would like to have a business discussion
with Mr. Stannard. “Well, right now the division inspector wants a business discussion with Mr. Stannard, so you will just have to cancel yours. Unless you want to come too?”
Mr. Malahide’s delivery there is brilliant. Chisholm’s shark-like faux-avuncular smile is incredibly cute, and the way he follows it up with a blithely innocent “unless you want to come too” is great. He always has the best delivery.
With that Chisholm and Mr. Stannard are ready to leave. Chisholm very hesitantly pats Arthur’s shoulder. I think he knows he’s just saved Daley from a spot of bother, so it is his way of telling Arthur “every dogtooth has his day.” 😉 Or perhaps it is a warning pat. With Mr. Chisholm it might be a combination of the two. As I said, it was hesitant. Chisholm is not a fan of touching or being touched, especially when it comes to Arthur Daley.
As they leave, Daley quips to Dave the barman, “you make a big saving when the law is on your side, Dave.”
A Nice Little Wine is actually a nice little episode. It isn’t perfect. Some of the Terry scenes (a wine tasting one where they spit wine into buckets) get tedious, but overall it is good. Peter Jeffrey is well-cast as the slimy Clive. Daley is as he should be, showing off by getting into things he knows nothing about. Burt Kwouk was good in his cameo, but Daley’s clunky racist banter would obviously be edited out today.
But, it is the Chisholm scene that really gives it that extra spark. He is snarky, droll and even little threatening. It is a short scene, but it shows Chisholm exactly as I like him: Cool, smart, quick witted and confident.