Looking For Micky! What’s it all About?
Looking for Micky is one of those extra enjoyable episodes of Minder because it has plenty for Chisholm to do and shows him in a remarkably good light.
The basic synopsis deals with prison escapee “Mad” Micky Dixon (John Labanowski). He is out to protest his innocence (sort of) and winds up seeking shelter with Terry’s occasional gal pal Debbie (Diana Malin). She involves Terry who goes to Arthur. Arthur, sensing a money making opportunity, goes to a journalist (played with slippery appeal by Bill Nighy) and promises him an exclusive with Micky.
Oh, and there is a very creepy, oily and generally unpleasant gangster type named Freddie Baker (John Moffat), who is known to have been a very bad influence on poor, dumb (and he is) Micky. The scene with Chisholm, Freddie and Freddie’s mum Queenie (Vanda Godsell) is excellent!
Poor Chisholm. His first scene has him unhappily on the phone promising whatever superior he is talking to that he will do some, presumably unpleasant, task. He instructs Jones (Meic Povey) to go down to records and “pull the docket on a one Michael Andrew Dixon.” It is soon revealed that this is all about “Mad” Micky the prison escapee.
This is a big deal and Jones not so reassuringly laughs that “the press will have a field day.” Like I said, poor Chisholm. He looks so crestfallen, as if the world is conspiring against him yet again. “Why me?” he laments to no one in particular.
It is such a fine scene to open with. Partly because Chisholm is wearing the world’s most fetching pair of suspenders. He does look very sharp for a man who is in a perpetual loop of fate’s harassment.
On a Reluctant Hunt
Jones notes that Micky is a “big’un.” “And handy with it,” adds Chisholm. Seems he started with a five year sentence but it eventually turned into an indefinite because he was always “battering screws.” Chisholm has known Micky for a long time and claims he isn’t wicked “just a bit simple, really” and has foolishly allowed himself to be used by more nefarious characters to do their battering for them.
Still, Micky isn’t a guy you want to go rushing at head first so Chisholm devises a softly, softly approach by checking out known associates and people who have written to or visited him in prison. Jones doesn’t seem too impressed by this technique, but it sounds the obvious tactic to take to me. I’m not sure what Jones’ problem is there.
So on goes Chisholm’s jacket, which was neatly placed on a clothes hanger because he is so very meticulous and off they go looking for Micky.
First Port of Call: Terry!
They immediately call on Terry who is practicing a bit of boxing at the gym (note: he’s there at the behest of Arthur who was reminding him earlier that he is a minder.) Terry admits he wrote to Micky a couple of times and visited him about five or six years ago but doesn’t know his current whereabouts. He soon will though. Thank you Debbie!
Chisholm can’t resist the opportunity to get a bit nasty though 🙂 “A word of advice, Terry: He’ll be looking for somewhere to hole up. Don’t let me find him at your flat cuz the facilities for training just aren’t the same in the nick if you take my meaning,” and with a nasty little smirk and an aggressive head-tilt Chisholm quickly shimmers away.
Patrick Malahide’s expression as he leaves is totally perfect with just the right combination of cheerful nastiness and officious menace. It is obvious that Chisholm really does not like Terry at all, so he truly enjoys intimidating him a bit.
Freddie & Queenie
As they continue looking for Micky, Chisholm and Jones pay a call on Mr. Freddie Baker. The door is answered by his mum Queenie. She and Chisholm are old friends, not really, and she lies that Freddie isn’t home. They know she’s fibbing because his car is there. Eventually Freddie shows up and sends Mum back inside.
Freddie appears to channeling a little of a Kray Twins attitude as he gently assures Mr. Chisholm that Micky wouldn’t show up, “it would upset my Mum and that would upset me.” Awww, he loves his mum. Chisholm remains focused, “Well, you won’t mind if we take a look then, will you?” Freddie does mind, but he lets the friendly policemen in anyway.
Once inside Chisholm only finds Queenie and couple of Freddie’s thuggish “friends” munching away at dinner, but no Micky. He warns Freddie not to help Micky, but Freddie remains somewhat dismissive of Chisholm’s authority. Chisholm isn’t too bothered, “You’ll be alright, Freddie, your day will come.” Nice to see that despite all his anguish over Arthur, Chisholm holds up very, very well when in the midst of real villains.
The departure lines are brilliant. First, Chisholm insults the two thugs, “You two would look better at a trough.” It gets even funnier. Chisholm: “Thanks for the hospitality, Queenie.” Queenie: “Piss off!” Freddie: “Mum! Don’t use that kind of language. It’s not nice.”
Oh, that is an excellent scene. Chisholm knows how dangerous Freddie and his lot are, but he holds up ever so well. It is during scenes like this that I do rather wish Chisholm had been the star of his own series. His smooth movements and soft but threatening voice are something else. I also think the performers playing Freddie and Queenie are absolutely top notch. The scene feels coldly menacing for Minder, but that might be part of what makes it so good.
Bit of Window Smashing
Next they visit some apartments. Jones again voices his disapproval over Chisholm’s approach wondering if they should get some armed backup. Chisholm seems terribly logical to me at least. He knows that Micky, like any animal, reacts most violently when backed into a corner so the two of them would be better off just asking him to come quietly. Jones: “Why I feel better already. Is that before he shoots us or after?” Chisholm, with wry amusement: “Micky never was one to use shooters, more like a club hammer or an ‘atchet.” Hey! We all know who else liked using hatchets. 🙂
Chisholm finally gets it through Jones’ surprisingly thick head that it is safest to just let Micky get away if he isn’t so inclined to come quietly. Their report would say they were “making routine inquiries when much to our surprise, etc., etc.” “Heroics are for mugs and wallies,” intones Chisholm.
Then, out of the blue, the glass window near them suddenly smashes from the inside. I do wonder if Patrick Malahide and Meic Povey weren’t quite prepared for that to happen because they seemed genuinely startled. Perhaps they were expecting it, but weren’t quite sure when it would happen. Either way, Chisholm really looks stunned and immediately comforts himself with some very cute hair stroking. Ahhh.
Fortunately, it had nothing to do with Micky. Some guy just goes running out of the door as he is yelled at by a very angry lady. Noticing Chisholm and Jones she adds, “Coppers as well, that’s all I bloody need.” Jones says, “Will you ask her if we can take a look around inside, or shall I?” only to get a warning finger wag by a very annoyed Chisholm. I think it is funny that she knew they were cops, but I guess it is pretty obvious. 🙂
Headline: “Mad Micky” — Police Baffled.
Quick catch-up: Micky, with Debbie’s and Terry’s help, has written to the press. Arthur is setting up an interview between Micky and a slippery journalist named Oakes (Bill Nighy). Oakes says he can’t meet Micky one-on-one because he would be legally required to notify the police. So, Arthur proves all is genuine by filming a video with Micky holding the latest edition of the paper and making his case. It seems like things are going smoothly enough and that Micky might actually get his story out. However, a huge spanner is thrown in the works when Oakes goes to Freddie of all people to see if Arthur is a man who can be trusted. Freddie is pretty disparaging about Arthur but admits he could have been in contact with Micky. Yipes!
Chisholm is all jaw flexes and implosive anger (notice how he folds his arms) when he reads the paper’s headline: “Mad Micky” — Police Baffled, which has photos of Micky coyly peeking over his boxing gloves and poor Mr. Chisholm doing the classic “no comment” pose.
The Story of the Dogtooth Jackets
Let’s skip to the end! Freddie threatens to nail Arthur’s kneecaps to the floor if he doesn’t disclose Micky’s whereabouts. After getting the information, Arthur will sing like a canary when his kneecaps are in jeopardy, he picks up Micky who gamely goes along with him despite Debbie’s advise to the contrary. He takes “Mad” Micky straight to Oakes who gets the hot scoop and then notifies the police. Yay! Mr. Chisholm makes the collar in the end! 🙂
A subplot to this episode is about Daley selling a bunch of houndstooth jackets. He has uncharacteristic good luck in shifting them too. Micky, Oakes, Dave, and various bar patrons buy the jackets. Who knew that print was so appealing?
It is now a much more confident, smirking Chisholm who strolls into the Winchester. Daley quickly heaps on the praise, “I see you got your man, Mr. Chisholm. Very comforting to know the thin, blue line is out there, efficient and vigilant as ever.” “He’s got more rabbit than Watership Down,” quips Chisholm who has snatched Arthur’s newspaper. Ha!
Looking at the report (featuring a very nice photo of Chisholm arresting Micky), he notices that Micky is wearing the same jacket that Dave and half the bar are wearing. Arthur and Terry quickly leave the premises.
Outside the Winchester, Terry and Freddie are having some words. Arthur is totally relieved when Chisholm and Jones show up. “Well, well, this is a jolly little gathering.” Rather than tangle with the police, Freddie and his associates go.
As Terry and Arthur head off in the opposite direction, Chisholm beckons Arthur (who is miserable at having lost the Micky paper scoop) with his finger: “Don’t worry Arthur, every dogtooth has his day.”
This is a great episode. It is so nice to see a more methodical Chisholm. He even manages to show a little pity when it comes to Micky who is basically a victim (of soicumstance).
He holds up very well against the truly scary Freddie Baker too. Chisholm does take his job very seriously, but shows more independence and cleverness in how he goes about it. Looking for Micky features one of Chisholm’s most positive portrayals.
And, of course, Patrick Malahide does a fantastic job with the smirks, the stare downs, and the jaw clenches. Anytime the camera is on him, he is doing something that adds a bit of extra oomph to the scene. It is an excellent performance from Mr. Malahide.
Gallery Courtesy of RFodchuk