In Memory of Lewis Collins: May 27, 1946 – November 27, 2013
I was very saddened to learn of Lewis Collins’ passing. He was perfectly cast in The Professionals as Bodie, CI5 agent # 3-7. In that role, Mr. Collins combined intense action hero qualities with an irresistible wit and charm, earning him legions of devoted fans. To this day The Professionals, like Minder, remains a popular show and holds up very well, allowing younger viewers a chance to enjoy it.
The Professionals, particularly Bodie’s tough guy charm, iconic short hair and leather jacketed style, remain influential. John Simm’s character, Sam Tyler, in Life on Mars is an example. Says Mr. Simm, “If there’s anything in my head about the way Sam looks and acts, for me it’s Bodie as played by Lewis Collins.”
After The Professionals, Lewis Collins starred in several European action / war films, but later left acting to follow other successful, more private pursuits in America. You can learn about his extensive and varied career at LewisCollins.info.
Patrick Malahide in The Professionals: Fall Girl
Patrick Malahide appears in S02E10, Fall Girl. It is a treat to see him and Lewis Collins on screen together. Mr. Malahide is credited as 1st Security Man, but it seems his name is Green. He plays an agent whose boss, Willis – aka “Firebird” (Michael Latimer), appears to be an unprincipled version of CI5 head Cowley (Gordon Jackson). Green exudes an icy smooth demeanor with a decidedly dangerous edge. Mr. Malahide’s beautiful, serene blue eyes are used to chilling effect in this role.
Bodie is delighted to re-encounter old flame Marikka Schuman, an East German film star,with whom he spends an idyllic time in his flat. However he is unaware that Marikka’s husband and henchman Willis have set him up to take the rap for an assassination,causing him to go on the run from his CI5 colleagues. Although he is eventually cleared there is no happy ending for him with Marikka.
Green, along with an associate , 2nd Security Man (Phillip Joseph), who looks like Roger Daltry, enter the scene after an East German official has been shot. I’m not sure how much Green knows about the set-up. I expect he doesn’t bother about moral issues and operates on a need-to-know basis. As mentioned earlier, he is an icy smooth sort.
Green and #2 dash to Bodie’s room and quickly find a gun and spent casings all placed conveniently by an open window; they go into the next room and interrupt Bodie’s and Marikka’s little interlude. Marikka has diplomatic immunity, so Bodie is the one who gets arrested.
At the Station
They take Bodie to the station where Green and some bloke called Knowles (Frederick Marks) butt heads over who is in charge and whether to allow Bodie to make a phone call before or after taking his finger prints. Mr. Green is clearly the “alpha” in this situation and elegantly asserts himself with firm assurance.
It is a good scene. Knowles wants to be fair and do the right thing, but Green knows they are dealing with a tough customer in Bodie. Says Green, “He’s a pro; he won’t talk. Only a pro would have no I.D. on him.”
Bodie is very reluctant to give his prints. He has good reason. Earlier in the episode, Marikka’s film publicist got Bodie to play an arcade shooting game. The stock of the gun was removed immediately after Bodie left and later used in the shooting, so Bodie’s prints would certainly match up with the ones found on the weapon. Clever!
Willis’ Double Cross
Bodie’s partner Doyle (Martin Shaw) takes Marikka to his safe house where he interrogates her. He learns she is as much a patsy as Bodie is. Willis calls Cowley to let him know the target died in hospital, that Bodie is their main suspect, and that they’ll soon have his prints for confirmation. Cowley, using Marikka as a bargaining chip, secures a meeting with Willis.
Willis finally discloses the set-up to Cowley. Willis’ lot and a diplomat named Schuman (Marikka’s husband) connived to have the most hawkish leader in the East German Secret Service assassinated. Schuman would fill his vacated spot thus scoring a major coup for the British government who would have inside knowledge of what is going on behind the Iron Curtain. How very Cold War! Willis promises to let Bodie escape in exchange for Marikka.
Back at the station, Green is on the phone confirming to Willis that they have everything including the prints. Bodie is then allowed to speak with Cowley who asks about his location. “Oh, feels great, you know, like the O.K. Corral full of cowboys.” Oh, Bodie!
Cowley promises Bodie they are going to get him out of there and tells him to put “the top cowboy back on the line.” That would be Mr. Green. He does have those gunslinger eyes!
Willis tells Green to let Bodie escape. Stunned and horrified, Green asks, “Would you repeat that, please.” He heard right. Poor Green. This seems to go against his natural grain. Maybe he does have principles — weird ones. The phone is handed back to Bodie, and Cowley gives him the good news. Bodie doesn’t seem too happy as he is feeling a tad mistrustful right now.
The bad boy agents take Bodie to an interrogation room. Outside the room, Green gets a call on his walkie-talkie mobile thingy. It is Firebird, and he has good news: “Revoke previous instruction. Eliminate during escape. Repeat, eliminate during escape.” I get the feeling the repetition was unnecessary this time.
The promise of violence seems to agree with Green. He is standing outside, munching on a packet of peanuts. What a smart fellow, he knows he’s going to need the protein boost.
Knowles steps outside too and glances over. Friendly Mr. Green offers him some but is rudely rebuffed. He doesn’t care. He just smirks and keeps eating his peanuts. It is a great scene. Green looks all calm and relaxed, but for all the wrong reasons. What a fascinating guy. Click here for an animated gif of that perfect scene.
A Chase and Plenty of Gun Fire
Bodie finally makes his escape, and Green’s gun misses because Knowles purposely jogs his arm. Bodie runs to a hideout which has a secret gun cache. He contacts Cowley and angrily tells him the “cowboys” tried to kill him. He thinks Cowley was in the loop!
Bodie goes to scope out Marikka and Doyle at the safe house. Green and his boys are going the same way.
CI5 move Marikka to a different location, where she is spied by Green. “Green to Firebird. Woman located. Left CI5 house with escort.”
What a beautifully shot scene. Green is in a car with windows half rolled down at a level which intensifies his gaze. Oh dear. I keep going on about those eyes, but they are special. His voice is eerily calm which makes it all the more chilling.
Then the chase begins. Green and the others go after Bodie who is now much better armed than they are. They are climbing over rooftops and running like mad. It is all very exciting, and it looks dangerous. Patrick Malahide was in smart dress shoes, so that couldn’t have helped matters.
There is actually one part where it looks like Lewis Collins takes a genuine slip, but he recovers nicely with a roll. Fortunately, it happened on ground level, but it shows how dangerous these scenes could be. No wonder it was called The Professionals, they really were!
The chase takes them up an immense tower. There are hundreds of steps; the men pause now and then to fire shots at one another. Again, it looks very dangerous. Green gets a nice snarl in as he dodges a bullet.
Finally, Cowley confronts Willis and tells him that Doyle has acquired the rifle evidence and threatens to blow the operation wide open, so the chase is called off. Green and #2 (there was a #3 also, but Bodie dispatched of him) trundle down the stairs. Green is looking a little glum.
And it does have a very unhappy ending. Just as Marikka appears to have convinced Bodie they were both set-up, she is shot by the East German film publicist. It is so brutal, especially as her husband just watched the whole thing nonchalantly. An incredibly hurt and furious Bodie leaves, and it would appear Green and all the survivors just do the same.
Fall Girl is a very intense episode and stands a little different from others. Bodie is usual a rather jokey character, so it must have been refreshing for Mr. Collins to get to stretch his acting muscles in a different direction. He did a magnificent job and handled the anger, confusion, and energy expertly.
Patrick Malahide was icy perfection, conveying a steely menace that added to the episode’s intrigue. I’d very much like to know more about Mr. Green. I don’t think he’d be as fun as Bodie and Doyle are in their spare time, but his serene aura and oddly zen like approach to violence make him an odd but fascinating character.
Cute Random Moment:
I have to mention one more scene because I thought it was hilarious and illustrates the occasional bits of humour that make The Professionals special. Bodie buys a bunch of roses for Marikka but decides against giving them to her. Instead, he gives them to a dear, old lady. She is delighted, not only because a very handsome man gave her flowers, but because she can then sell them herself. Doyle buys them off her for £1. What an entrepreneur!
It is such a funny and random scene. I love it. She was played by Myrtle Devinish who has a rather impressive IMDB entry. I was amused to learn that Terry Gilliam would call her his “lucky mascot.” She sounds like she was a truly lovely lady, no wonder she stood out in her cameo appearance. 🙂