London Gangsters (Played by Patrick Malahide)

Skipling: "Do you believe me?" Sarge: "No."

Despite making a great looking copper, Patrick Malahide doesn’t always play characters on the right side of the law.

Certainly Patrick Malahide has played some amazing police detectives via DS Chisholm, Inspector Alleyn and the lovely DI Brennan of “Amnesia”. But, he has also played guys who run things on the other side of the law. In this installment of Variations on a Theme, we look at some of those deliciously wicked London gangsters who thrill us with their danger, style, wit, bravado and sexy Cockney accents.

George Cornelius | Colin Bennett | Derek Hadley | Jack Turner | The Gangster to Rule Them All

Admin: My  gangster choices are:

George Cornelius
(“Luther” Series 4, 2015)

Type of Gangster

Not even being chained to a radiator can spoil his bravado.

George is an old school London gangster with a penchant for dealing in (and stealing) high end gems. He controls not only his own personal network but also has massive influence over all of London’s underworld.  That is proven by his ability to “green light” an execution order on DCI John Luther.

George has a strong personality and remains defiant and humorous even after Luther forcibly cuffs him to a radiator.  He is eventually able to free himself by ripping the radiator from the wall. Clearly, George Cornelius is not the sort to ever allow himself to go soft despite now living a life of obvious luxury.

He’s the sort of crim who can admire Luther’s chutzpah while cheerfully explaining to him that “greenlit means greenlit”. George’s old school wit and charm allow him to easily steal the two “Luther” episodes he appears in. That is hardly surprising as George himself says, “at the end of the day I’m a thief,” and there is no reason why that quality shouldn’t extend to the show itself. 😉

Sartorial Style

The impeccably well styled George Cornelius.

George isn’t the flashiest of gangsters. He prefers tailor-made suits cut in classic designs and in conservative, but still rich, colors. He clearly goes to a lot of trouble finding the right silk neckties and scarves, making sure they compliment whatever suit he is wearing. Even though he opts for sensible designs, you can tell everything he wears costs a small fortune.

When seen preparing brunch for a lucky lady friend he wears a gleaming white button down shirt of what is obviously a very high end natural fabric.  Even when dressed casually, he still goes high end.

Luther: “Nice hat.” Truly, it is.

I was going to say he goes for “understated elegance” but in truth there is nothing understated about George. His clothes speak for themselves, shouting out to the world at large that their owner is a man of means and is not to be trifled with.

He’s also a very sensible gangster, choosing to protect himself from the frigid cold with a gorgeous wool coat with an equally gorgeous fedora for a profitable meeting with Luther. I’m sure the gemstones that Luther handed over to George (in order to call off the green light….whew!) will buy the dashing gangster even more high quality, classic additions to his impressive wardrobe.

Is He Date-able?

She approves. 😉

Well, we at the Appreciation don’t call him “Gorgeous” George for nothing. 😉 Heck yes, he’s date-able. As mentioned a bit earlier, we see him preparing an omelet to most likely share with a beautiful lady friend…or wife…or maybe call girl…things aren’t actually made clear in terms of their relationship. But, the point is, she seems very into him and appreciative of his consideration. George is both a lover AND a fighter!

Could He Ever Become a Legitimate Businessman?

Too old to change, too young to care.

Nope! He could be a friend and confident (but not a lowly grass, never a lowly grass) to Luther who is pretty much a wild card himself, but that would be about it. George is a thief and admits to being as much. Criminality has managed to seep its way into his blood. I don’t think there is any going back.

George is an interesting character in that he is far too old to ever change, but also manages to be far too vibrant, youthful and exuberant to ever want to. Plus, he likes shiny things way too much. 😉

Cooking with George.

What is His Secret Charity

George would have you believe he doesn’t have a soft side. He even defies all gangster expectations by telling Luther that he…..gasp…..hated his mum. A London gangster who hates his mum?  Keep fighting those stereotypes, George.

But, he definitely loves to cook and has more than enough space to ensure that Meals on Wheels will be amply stocked for the foreseeable future. I mean, just because his mum fell short somehow doesn’t mean he has a grudge against all other mums, right?

 

Colin Bennett
(The Chinese Detective, “Secret State”)

Type of Gangster

Colin doesn't look too reassured.

Colin Bennett: London Gangster/Special Branch informant.

Ooooh! Colin is a complicated gangster. First of all, yes, he is a proper villain, but he has a secret that he wouldn’t want the rest of his gang to know. He, along with one other member, is also working for Special Branch, assisting with their efforts against a Belfast terror mob who have recently gotten into drug dealing. So, while Colin has a villainous background and is essentially a legit baddie, he’s actually working for the government. And despite his very rough edges and tough demeanor, we see several flashes of an actual conscience. People are getting hurt and even killed, but Colin has absolutely no liking for it whatsoever.

Sartorial Style

Straightening his tie for some action man action. Note tie-straightening chin jut.

Straightening his impressive tie.

Colin, being a man of the late 70s/early 80s, opts for polyester suits worn with loud wide ties and contrasting shirts. The look doesn’t exactly hold up, I’m afraid, though I guess he probably looked pretty stylish at the time. I will give him props for looking very trim in his snug powder blue polyester suit, but that’s more down to Patrick Malahide’s lithe physique than any positive style choices on Colin’s side. As RFodchuk said in her most excellent recap his ties can be seen from outer space.

Loughlin thinks it's "terrible" that someone shot Charlie and dumped him in the river. Colin: "Yeah." [cynical smirk] Shades of a young Jack Turner...? Oh yes.

The coat is offset by that adorably raffish smirk.

Oh, and that brown suede coat he wears. I’m sure it cost a bit, but it doesn’t have quite the same charm that George Cornelius’ bridge coat has. Again, as RFodchuk pointed out (trust me, her recap has a lot more than just criticism of Colin’s wardrobe) Colin’s coat looks like a traveling stain magnet. But, again, because it is Patrick Malahide in that coat, the overall direness is heavily mitigated by his very charming and oh-so raffish smile.

Anyway, this isn’t a beat-up on Colin post. It was 1982, and all things considered he looked pretty darn dapper in his outfits. He is obviously the most stylish one of the gang and just by looking at them you would naturally presume he is the defacto leader.

Is He Date-able?

A double-dealing gangster / Special Branch undercover operative who is working against a Belfast terror group in 1982? I don’t know….that sounds like a terribly dangerous mixture to me. No, I wouldn’t recommend dating him.

But unlike Jack, he hasn't quite perfected the "lying to the cops" thing.

He leads a dangerous life, but he’s cute and has a nice voice.

That said, he does run his own pub, so he’d always be able to get you a drink, and he does have that engaging smile. Plus, there is a scene where DS John Ho (the titular “Chinese Detective”) is questioning him in his pub about a bottle of ale he may have sold. Colin, evasive and nervous, becomes very soft spoken which actually comes across as very appealing. There is something about that Cockney accent going into a gentle near whisper that is very, very attractive to the ears. The current ASMR trend has nothing, and I mean nothing, on Colin’s soft vocalizations.

So, if he broke away from all things criminal (or at least from all things Special Branch and terror group related) and focused on running his quaint little pub with its real ale, I’d say Colin would be perfectly date-able. That is presuming, of course, the whack he took to the hooter (courtesy of a metal dust bin lid) didn’t ruin his handsome profile for good. 😉 But until then, I’d suggest staying away from Colin.

Could He Ever Become a Legitimate Businessman?

He promises he'll ask "the girl" about who might've bought the special brand of beer when she comes in. Wow, that is one very white tie.

But maybe he’s an honest(ish) publican at heart.

I guess I’ve kind of answered that one already, haven’t I? Yes.  He has experience in running a pub so of course he could become legit. Colin could very likely get out of London, escaping his busted up gang, Special Branch and any scary IRA types and open up a charming pub in the country. Ahhh, it would be lovely. Presuming that he was never revealed as a grass, I like to think that after any time he may have spent doing porridge, he did just that, leaving his criminal past long behind him.

What is His Secret Charity

May as well stick with the pub theme, right? Apparently there is UK based charity devoted to helping people in need who work in the pub industry called the Licensed Trade Charity. Colin would certainly know what it is like to have one’s life turned upside down, so maybe this charity would appeal to his better nature, and I think Colin actually does have a better nature underneath all that polyester.

RFodchuk:  And my choices for Gangsters are…

Derek “Chopper” Hadley
(“New Tricks:  Diamond Geezers“, 2006)

Type of Gangster:

Chopper Hadley: Just your everyday, average Cockney crim

Chopper Hadley: Just your everyday, average Cockney crim

Another old-school type, with a definite sense of the proprieties – criminal proprieties, that is.  Chopper has a certain code of conduct he adheres to, that he expects everyone else to follow as well.  He has an appreciation for the manners and niceties in life that are lacking in today’s society, like proper funeral invitations and conducting oneself with decorum in cemeteries… while one is grave-robbing for stolen diamonds.  But I digress.  Failing to adhere to Chopper’s code of conduct tends not to be healthy for those who dare to violate it.

Sartorial Style:

Understated sartorial splendour

Understated sartorial splendour

Unlike many of the other villains on this list, Chopper is remarkably understated in his clothing choices.  He tends to go for subdued but nicely tailored dark grey or black suits with solid monochrome shirts or turtlenecks – no ties.  He doesn’t look much like a crim at all, until you notice that he also likes to sport a few snazzy accessories, like an eye-catching pin on the side of his flat cap, aviator-style sunglasses, or a practical sheepskin coat for those cold grave-robbing nights.  But he does exhibit a tiny bit of a peacocking tendency by wearing a small diamond stud in one ear.  I wonder if his stepmum Chanterelle (who’s about twenty years his junior, if not more) pierced it for him?  Oh, and I almost forgot the most important accessory of all:  a small hatchet he carries on his person at all times, hence his nickname.  And yes, he can, and does, use it.  😮

Is He Date-able?

Turning on the charm for Tina

Turning on the charm for Tina

I’d say… yes, but you might have to mind your step and not mention your second cousin twice removed who’s in the police force – that would be a turn-off.  Chopper quite obviously has an eye for the ladies and seems to enjoy a little flirting – or a lot of flirting.  Even though undercover D.I. Tina Murray (Emma Cunniffe) is supposed to be Brian Lane’s (Alun Armstrong) moll, that doesn’t stop Chopper from paying court to her.  He eyes her up and down appreciatively and even induces Tina to give him a kiss on the cheek (she isn’t very reluctant about obliging him, either).  Chopper can be remarkably charming and attentive for a guy whose nickname is “Chopper”.  So, if you don’t mind suddenly fleeing the country in the middle of the night to avoid an arrest warrant, or if your best boyfriend’s wealth came from diamonds smuggled across the border in his father’s corpse, Chopper might be the perfect guy for you.

Could He Ever Become a Legitimate Businessman?

You want me to do what...? Go legit...?

You want me to do what…? Go legit…?

Mmm… I doubt it.  Even if he could, I don’t think he’d want to.  Mind you, he sort of semi-retired from the criminal life while he was living in Spain, avoiding extradition for all sorts of nasty murder and drug-trafficking charges and working on his tan.  But even then, he was living off the avails of everything he’d done in the U.K.  So, in order to keep himself in the lifestyle to which he’s become accustomed, I think Chopper would find it impossible to go legit.  That and he’d have far too many enemies after him, anyway – no one would ever believe he’d give up being a crim.

What Is His Secret Charity?

Teaching the youngsters a trade ;-)

Teaching the youngsters a trade 😉

Hmmm.  Chopper actually seems to have a soft spot for family connections, with a strong sense of loyalty towards his own family and those who work for him – unless/until they cross him, of course.  So I’d say one of his favourite charities (not that he’d ever admit it) would be Big Brothers Big Sisters International.  I think Chopper would agree with giving a young person the friendship and mentoring he/she needed growing up, with an eye towards encouraging him/her to get a proper education – and perhaps join Chopper in the family business.  It would be a wonderful way to learn a trade!  Plus, as Admin points out, any kid with Chopper for a Big Brother would never, ever have to worry about being bullied, ever again.   😉  And if that didn’t work out, perhaps Chopper would provide some money towards sustainable forestry services, who do a lot of chopping to get rid of deadwood.

Jack Turner
(“Hunted“, 2012)

Type of Gangster:

Jack Turner: Old school, self-made gangster

Jack Turner: Old school, self-made gangster

Old school and entirely self-made.  Jack worked his way up from the docks, using blackmail, extortion, strong-arming, and murder to work his way upwards in the ranks of villainy.  He also has ruthlessness and financial acumen to go with it, which meant that he was able to build his finances, standard of living, and personal power along the way, so he now has a lot of villains (and cops) working for him; Jack is at the head of a considerable criminal empire.  But he’s still completely willing to get his own hands dirty when required and even seems to take some enjoyment in it.  You can take the millionaire out of the docks, but not take the docks out of the millionaire.  Or at least, not this millionaire.  Besides, they’re his docks now.

Sartorial Style:

Jack in full peacock glory

Jack in full peacock glory

In a word, flamboyant.  In another word, stunning.  Jack prefers bright, and frequently non-matching colours or patterns for his shirts, ties, and suspenders, although they’re more or less in the same spectrum and his pinstriped suits are always tailored and expensive-looking.  I’m sure Jack’s haberdasher tears his hair out when Jack insists on mixing and matching a purple and white polka-dotted tie with a pink-striped shirt and blue suspenders.  Admin and I have speculated that Jack might have an unseen five-year-old granddaughter helping him pick out his wardrobe behind the scenes.  😉  I think the only time I saw him wear a plain black suit with a plain white shirt and black tie was when he attended a memorial service for his late daughter-in-law – whom he arranged to have killed, by the way.  But that doesn’t mean he ignores decorum!

I’ve also written elsewhere that I think Jack’s predilection for bright colours – despite the efforts of “Hunted’s” cinematographers to mute and filter them – is also a form of warning colouration, rather like that of poison dart frogs, gila monsters, or venomous snakes.  When you see those bright colours being flashed around with such confidence, they’re a sign you should head in the other direction – and count yourself lucky you haven’t attracted his attention.  It’s all a form of display; Jack is a show-off who doesn’t mind exhibiting his wealth or having other people admire it, as long as they don’t ask too many questions.

Is He Date-able?

Is he date-able? Just look at that charming smile!

Is he date-able? Just look at that charming smile!

Uhmmmm….  maybe?  Jack’s a widower who’s apparently still so devoted to his late wife that he still wears his wedding ring.  However, Jack’s also a philanderer who produced an illegitimate son, who gets assigned some of the more unsavoury tasks (read: killing inconvenient people) in Jack’s empire.  So… he’s an interesting mix.  You might enjoy dating Jack in the short term, if only for the fact that he’s got lots of money to throw around, and doubtless has some extremely interesting stories he could tell.   I’m sure he’d be very charming and attentive, but you’d have to go into it knowing that a long-term, faithful relationship was not going to be part of the bargain.  However, if you’re a fiendishly skilled, imposing-looking hitwoman like Orla Fanté, he might find a place for you in his empire.

Could He Ever Become a Legitimate Businessman?

"Hi there. My associates and I represent the Fuller Brush Company..."

“Hi there. My associates and I represent the
Fuller Brush Company…”

HAAAAAAAA haaaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaaa!! [catches breath]  No.  Just… no.  Not only that, he’d never want to, in the unlikely event such a thought would ever occur to him.  He might have plenty of “legitimate businesses” in his name for purposes of money laundering, but Jack is about as far from a “legitimate businessman” as it’s possible to get.  Despite that, even his son Stephen (Stephen Campbell Moore), who knows perfectly well that the family money comes from his Dad’s criminal empire, doesn’t have an exact idea of where all the money comes from – so Jack can be remarkably cagey when he needs to be, warning colouration aside.

What Is His Secret Charity?

Cheering on Eddie at the go-cart track

Cheering on Eddie at the go-cart track

Ohhhkaaaay, this is a tricky one.  Jack has a well-deserved reputation for ruthlessness, amorality, and viciousness that doesn’t sort well with charitable contributions.  I suspect he’s the only charity he’s interested in (to paraphrase Rick Blaine in “Casablanca”).  However, if he had to donate – to, say, obtain a large tax break or launder a bunch of cash – he might contribute to the Make A Wish Foundation.  He seems to have a soft spot where his grandson Eddie (Oscar Kennedy) is concerned, and he got a big charge out of cheering on Eddie at the go-cart track, so maybe he’d be willing to sponsor more outings like that for other kids.  Mind you, he’d probably sign up Eddie as the first client, based on a (fictitious) brain tumour Eddie suddenly developed.   And Jack would also make sure to commandeer a go-cart for himself, just because.  😉

The Gangster to Rule Them All

Admin:  Although George Cornelius makes a very strong showing, I’ll go with Jack Turner.  Jack Turner was so good that he rather stole “Hunted” for his own show.  His exuberance, sense of humor, flashy dress, sudden bursts of violence, and long-range game plans made him an undeniably memorable character and an easy choice to rule the London underground with a very stylish iron fist.

Our pick: Jack Turner!

Our pick: Jack Turner!

RF:  I have to agree, it’s Jack Turner.  He outdoes all of the others for sheer dangerousness, ruthlessness, venality, and ambition, and he does it all with zest and panache.  I also totally agree that he stole “Hunted” from the putative protagonists, who ended up being so unbelievably ridiculous as secret agents that one couldn’t believe they’d survived as long as they did, let alone operated an espionage business.  Jack was completely engaging; he had his own undeniable charm and somewhat warped sense of humour, but he turned into an unpredictable (and scary) force of nature when it came to getting what he wanted, or if he was crossed.  He would definitely have no problem ruling London’s criminal empire.

This entry was posted in Adventure, Drama, Hunted, Joint Post, Luther, Mystery, Photos, Television, Variations on a Theme and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *