The New Professionals

Episode 4 - Hostage

       From the moment they appeared I was rooting for the terrorists...

       A difficult episode, this. It could have been talking about Ceausescu, or Hussein, or Milosevic, or any of the innumerable soulless power-hungry despots (from the abusive husband who keeps his wife and children in a state of silent terror, through the multinational corporations whose irresponsible actions kill thousands, to the genocidal dictator responsible for the deaths of millions) who continue to blight human existence...
       "They will say anything, do anything, go to any lengths to get what they want..." Indeed. Hostage raised that thorny old conflict between law and justice ("The legalised injustices, the law that sanctifies what IS", as Leon Rosselson so succinctly put it.) It's infuriating (to phrase it mildly) to see that although the terrorists were morally in the right (I think, by the end of the episode, there was little room for doubt, there), legally they were entirely wrong. And although, after Eliz Risha's "trial" his career (at least) was finished, I can't help but agree with the show's final exchange:-

              Keel - "Somehow, it doesn't seem to be enough, does it?"
              Malone - "No. But then, in his case, what would be enough?

       Personally, I thought the company were courageous in attempting to tackle such an emotive subject in what is, ostensibly, simply TV entertainment. (Not that the original series didn't deal with equally serious matters, of course. Just on a smaller scale, geographically and politically speaking.) I'm not entirely convinced it worked: the whole affair was dealt with on a fairly superficial level. Given the series' time constraints, that's not entirely surprising, but I would have liked to have seen a little more detailed characterisation.
       And it would have been nice to hear the CI5 group discuss the situation a little. I for one would dearly like to know how they felt, what their reactions (and personal ideals) are in matters such as this... I want more feeling. (We could always - well, nearly always - tell what Bodie and Doyle were thinking. Wonderfully expressive faces, and body language, those two.) I would also have liked to hear and see a little more about what they get up to in their spare time (what on earth was Keel talking about in that bar?) And if her job is so important, why didn't Backup just carry a clutch bag to hold her phone? (And her makeup, come to that. Or was she trying to have just one evening out uninterrupted by Malone? Wishful thinking if so...)

       Why Albania? (Not that there's any reason why it shouldn't be, given that country's turbulent history, of course. I'd just like to know the thinking behind the choice.)

       On a less serious note, I had a little trouble getting my head around the character of Panos (at first glimpse, I thought it was Leslie Nielsen, which kind of coloured his actions for the rest of the episode for me.) I'd also guessed that the ultimate intention wasn't to kill Risha (partly because of the young man's comment about the whole affair being worth a year in jail) - which made CI5's involvement a bit of a waste of time, although it did bring into prominence the official force's dislike of the mavericks (some things never change!)
       And I will never understand the way the censors' minds work. We see a highly-placed man accused of "murder, torture and rape", and are shown some examples of his treatment of his victims, and this before the 9 p.m. watershed - yet we don't see Malone actually blowing up the door to the studio. Damage to people is acceptable: damage to property is not?...

       Overall, then, an interesting, fairly thought-provoking episode. I was pleased not to be able to guess the resolution of the plot until quite late into the story... And I've just realised! There's no graveyard in this episode! (Though it's still Keel that gets into trouble. I hope this isn't going to become a habit - at least Bodie and Doyle took it in turns....)

And so would you - did you - Sunshine.

Voices - Leon Rosselson, Bringing the News from Nowhere

© 1999-02 WordWrights.

Tusk Force (Episode 3)

First Strike (Episode 5)

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