Analysis of a Scene XXVI: Chisholm and British Telecom

Three handsome Celts

Jones, Ozzie & Chisholm

RFodchuk and I have been going through a bit of Chisholm withdrawal, so we decided to revisit one of our favorite Chisholm moments.  This is from “Life in the Fast Food Lane” (recapped here).  Chisholm *knows* that Arthur Daley has been doing some dodgy dealings with telephones, including stealing official “Approved by British Telecom” stickers.  But, can he make the allegations stick?  This scene is also pretty brilliant because it features one of our favorite actors Peter Capaldi as young Ozzie, Daley’s temporary technician in the car telephone business.

RF:  And it must be said that young Mr. Capaldi has a truly astounding, incredibly fluffy head of hair, as well as a nearly impenetrable Scottish accent for this episode.  😉

Chisholm swaggering up to meet Daley.

Chisholm swaggering up to meet Daley.

Daley [driving up with Ozzie to find Chisholm]: Aw my god, the filth.  Can you drive?
Ozzie: Like a dream, Arthur.
Daley: Drive this car.
Ozzie:  Where to?
Daley: Anywhere.  Just get rid of it. [Daley gets out as Chisholm gives Ozzie a hard stare] Oh, Mr. Chisholm, what an unexpected pleasure.

Admin:  The filth?  Oh, Arthur, such language.  You can see Chisholm approaching with a suspicious swagger, hands in pockets, through the windshield.  He is shooting Ozzie a very penetrating and questioning stare.  Right away you can see that Mr. Chisholm means business.  He is all intensity and pent-up energy, and he wants to unleash it on Daley.

RF:  Arthur is extra-apprehensive because he knows he has a boot full of dodgy mobile phones; his voice shakes a bit and he actually sounds afraid of running into Chisholm.  I like how Chisholm sweeps his mac back and thrusts his hands into his pockets, showing he means business.  Earlier in the episode, he picked up on Arthur not wearing his hat as a sign of something suspicious; it must be equally suspicious to him for Arthur to show up at his car lot with someone other than Terry.

Admin:  Yep, Chisholm’s cop senses are tingling away in this episode.

Chisholm:  Got a chauffeur now, Daley?  Business must be looking up.
Daley: Oh, what, him?  No, no, no.  It’s just a lad that washes a few cars for me.

"You got a chauffer now, Daley?"

“You got a chauffeur now, Daley?”

Jones:  Running a youth opportunities program, are we?
Daley: Well, in these hard times one has to do what one can to help the young people.
Chisholm: Very touching, Daley.  Where is your young assistant off to in your motor?
Daley: Oh the….ummmm…..the car wash.
Chisholm: Good.  He should be back in a few minutes then.
Daley: Oh, well, now sometimes at this hour of the day you get quite a queue there.
Chisholm: I’m in no hurry. Inside.
Daley: Oh, yes, yes, certainly….[mutters] keys somewhere

Making Jones feel very nervous.

Making Jones feel very nervous.

Admin:  A very sarcastic Chisholm continues his hard stare as Ozzie drives off, his eyes never leaving the car until it passes by Jones.  He then smoothly levels his steely gaze on Jones who has just made his little youth opportunities wisecrack.  I like how Jones looks a tad shook up over that.  A Chisholm stare is never something he takes lightly.  After that, Chisholm finally gets a bit more talkative; he is being very serious and steely.  There is a definite threatening undertone when says he is no hurry and the way he gestures his head towards Daley’s office door shows he isn’t in the mood for any idle chit-chat.

Ozzie drives off.

Watching intently as Ozzie drives off.

RF:  I also liked how Chisholm kept his gaze on Ozzie until Ozzie drove away.  😀  He knows something’s up, he just doesn’t know what yet.  Ozzie simply doesn’t meet his gaze, but Ozzie also seems to know more about the ins and outs of small-time crim-hood than Arthur does.  Arthur is surprisingly not good at lying – Chisholm probably knows him well enough to know he’d never spring for extra help to wash cars when he could get Terry to do it, plus he’s visibly nervous – hence his deadpan, “Very touching.”  No wonder Chisholm decides to stay until Ozzie comes back.   Mind you, if Chisholm had really been on top of his game, he’d have stopped the car and searched it before Ozzie drove off.

Admin:  Indeed.  Minus ten points from Chisholm for not inspecting the vehicle right away!

"I'd rather nick you on something more substantial...like telephones."

“I’d rather nick you on something more substantial…like telephones.”

Jones [going through a file cabinet]: No sign of anything here, guv.
Daley: You do realize….
Chisholm: No, Daley, I don’t have a warrant, you wish to insist on one, if you do I will nick you for stealing sticky telephone labels.  I’d rather nick you for something more substantial. [picks up Daley’s desk phone] Telephones.  British Telecom approved I hope, Daley?
Daley: Oh, yes, standard issue.
Chisholm: Been getting any crossed lines lately?
Daley: No, no, no.  No complaints at all.  In fact I wish I bought a few shares….[gets cut off as he hears Ozzie returning in the car outside]

Admin:  Chisholm deftly cuts Daley off right there, and I really like the way he speaks so quickly.  He is very, very used to Daley right now.  It makes me think of his “…habeas corpus, and all that cobblers,” line in “Return of the Invincible Man.” Chisholm really is not a big fan of extending rights to the criminal fraternity. That’s what comes of calling him “the filth”. 😉  He is really slouching in that chair as he mulls over Daley’s telephone, but he doesn’t look very comfortable.  I don’t think Chisholm ever knows how to look truly comfortable.  I have to add that he looks very fetching in his brown mac and trilby.  They might not be fashionable, but they do suit him.  Anyway, he is up like a shot and out of the door as soon as they hear Ozzie is back.  He really thinks he is going to find some dodgy telephones…specifically the car phones that have been causing those crossed-lines he alluded to.

"Been getting any crossed lines lately?"

“Been getting any crossed lines lately?”

RF:  Arthur gives Chisholm a bit of a horrified look when Chisholm mentions the sticky telephone labels; I bet he figured he’d gotten away with that one.  😉  And yes, Chisholm does rattle off the bit about getting a warrant like he’s done it several hundred times before, because he probably has.  Also true that Chisholm never really looks relaxed.  I think the most relaxed we ever saw him was in “Invincible Man”, but I suspect he’d never want to be that relaxed in front of Arthur or Terry ever again.  But Chisholm’s comments about “crossed lines” show that he’s already well aware of what Arthur’s been up to, he just can’t prove it yet.

“Keys. Jones.”

Chisholm: Keys.  [Ozzie hands the keys to Chisholm who tosses them to Jones] Jones.
Daley: You have no right, Mr. Chisholm.  I’m going to phone my brief.
Chisholm: Open it.
Daley: [whispering to Ozzie] You bloody moron.  [Jones opens the boot] This is an outrage.
Chisholm: Oh, I quite agree. [sees the boot is empty] Not to worry. [opens front of car]
Daley: I don’t know what you’re looking for.  [Chisholm looks very frustrated] Oh you do look tired.  [to Jones] You know what he wants, don’t you?  Long weekend in  LLandudno [Jones smirks until Chisholm hits with a sharp glare and they leave]

Ozzie returns, but without the phones.

Ozzie returns, but without the phones.

Admin:  “Keys. Jones.”  That is perfectly and smoothly executed.   He really thinks he will have Daley bang to rights this time, but he is confronted with an empty boot.  With an intake of breath he shakes that setback off and moves to the front of the car only to be thoroughly frustrated.   Poor Mr. Chisholm, his keen disappointment shows with a sneering jaw jut.   And then to cap it off, Daley throws in the Llandudno quip which warrants another nice Chisholm sneer.  Jones makes the mistake of smirking and gets the Glare of Death which is a Chisholm specialty.  With that, Chisholm strides off the screen.  Jones is going to be paying for that smirk back at the station. 😉

You should never smirk at Chisholm's expense!

You should never smirk at Chisholm’s expense!

RF:  I also love the seamlessness of “Keys… Jones…”  😀  Even Ozzie simply hands over the keys without question.  Arthur automatically presumes that Ozzie wasn’t bright enough to do away with the phones while he was gone, but as mentioned, Ozzie seems to be better at the small-time crim thing than Arthur.  And Chisholm really shouldn’t be as surprised as he is that he didn’t find anything; the car was out of his sight for several minutes, after all.  Nonetheless, he comes across like an extremely intent search dog who’s been denied his prize.  That is quite the frustrated stare he gives Arthur, which turns into a Glare of Death when Jones smirks at Daley’s “weekend in Llandudno” comment.  You’d think Jones would know better than to smirk at his guv’s troubles by now, but it appears not.  I also had to google “Llandudno” to find out what it was; apparently it’s a Welsh resort town.  I’m guessing the implication is that it’s a somewhat old-fashioned, fussy sort of vacation spot, which Arthur figures would be perfect for Chisholm.

Admin:  Chisholm and Jones solving crimes in Llandudno would have made a great Minder spin-off, you know. 🙂

RF:  Jones would have to do all the translating!  😀

Wrap-Up

Says he'll just wait for Ozzie to come back.

Perfectly executed determination.

Admin:  This is such a splendid scene.  Chisholm’s pent-up energy, wit, determination, and frustration are all on display.  Even when he isn’t speaking, all of those qualities just crackle through his body language and demeanor.  Ordinarily I would be very annoyed at his defeat, but since it was young Ozzie who did the outsmarting, I think I’ll let it slide.  I kind of wish Terry had married the burger heiress (read the recap linked above to learn about her) and Ozzie had become Daley’s “minder.”  Though I think Ozzie would be far too intelligent to get in fights like Terry Balboa would.  He’s got that pretty Scottish face to protect. 😉

Charming slouch.

The walking definition of “cop”.

RF:  The storyline of Chisholm hunting down the dodgy phones was easily the best part of this episode, plus it was great to see a very young Mr. Capaldi in a guest starring role as well.  I also didn’t mind Chisholm getting outsmarted as much because it was Ozzie doing the outsmarting.  😉  I also really like how Chisholm’s entire demeanour screams “COP!!” wherever he goes, particularly when they were investigating at the phone store.  Jones could probably pass for an ordinary customer, but Chisholm never could.  As for Ozzie, I think he’s too SMRT to stay in a dead-end job like being Arthur’s minder for long; he’d quickly find (or steal) a TARDIS and be off on his own adventures anyway.

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