♪ Let’s doooo… the tiiiiiime waaaarrrp… agaaaaaaaainnn… ♫ 😉 In 1978, Patrick Malahide appeared in the S04E03 episode of the cop series “The Sweeney“, titled “Drag Act“, playing Scottish-accented forensics boffin Mason. “The Sweeney” also starred a pre-Morse John Thaw (who would go on to cross swords with Malahide’s slimy cad Jeremy Boynton in “Driven to Distraction“) as D.I. Jack Regan, and a pre-“Minder” Dennis Waterman (who would go on to sorely aggravate Malahide’s D.S. Chisholm as Terry McCann in many episodes) as D.S. George Carter, on the right side of the law for a change.
The plot involves some stolen lorries and stolen French brandy, nicked by a gang that Regan and his Flying Squad are having trouble catching that may or may not be connected to a seemingly untouchable rich businessman, Marriot (David Atkins). But the highlights are when Mason shows up to take dabs off one of the recovered lorries (there are thousands of fingerprints for him to lift, poor guy!), and later when he discovers the thieves were actually smuggling heroin in the lorries’ gas tanks when a gauge reading makes no sense. He’s very good at his job, even when he’s being yelled at by an irritated Regan for not working fast enough on the lorry, and his pleased satisfaction (with just a smidge of smug) at finding the drugs is a joy to behold.
But the real story here is… OMG, the hair and fashions. I had to wonder if Regan was really red-green colourblind with some of the combinations he chose, but hey… uhmm… the bonus is that it’d be difficult to lose sight of him in a crowd. At least
Terry’s George’s suits were a bit more subdued. However, Mason seems to have done the best, sartorially speaking; his three piece suit was actually quite nice. Maybe some forensics boffins have an innate fashion sense. We (fearless Admin and I) did particularly admire his suspenders in his last scene. 😉 His hair was… interesting, but I must say that it did look wonderfully soft and fluffy – and there was so much of it!
I also very much liked the bit where Mason was being a bit snarky to
Terry George, when they were dusting a few hundred bottles of stolen brandy for fingerprints (but George deserved it for being disgustingly chauvinistic to police constable Julie Kingdom (Katherine Fahey), who actually helped crack the case). It might’ve made “The Sweeney” a lot more entertaining and added a touch of lightness if Mason could’ve been made a recurring character to butt heads with Regan and Carter. I would have liked to have seen what Patrick Malahide could have done with the role, but we’ll just have to make do with what we got (and a few screen grabs).