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The Professionals

Episode Guide
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These are my reviews and personal opinions on each of the episodes. These are purely from my own perspective and you are free to disagree with them (or agree!). I've tried to be fair because of the limitations of late 70's and early 80's technology, fashion etc, but I will point out things that I think are either wonderful or headachingly awful. 

The Professionals was lucky, a lot of good writers worked on the series, many of them had written for equally good shows but it was on this where everything came together. People who had worked on The Sweeney, Randall and Hopkirk Deceased, The Prisoner, The Saint, Return of the Saint and The Persuaders turned in scripts.

I've added a rating system for each episode which goes like this:

* = Rubbish
** = Could be better
*** = Worth watching
**** = Great

First Season

1) Old Dog With New Tricks (*** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: Sidney Hayers

Guest stars: Johnny Shannon and Pam Stephenson

A gangster plans to break his brother out of prison by taking the home secretary hostage.

This is a pretty good episode to start off with. The scene where Charlie Turkel's gang massacre the (IRA?) gang is well done, with the camera moving away from the doors. The scene where Cowley is givin the lecture to the new recruits is a good way to get the audience into what C I 5 is all about. On the other hand after repeated viewings it seems a bit too 'scripted.'

I like the scene in the hospital car park where Bodie saves the nurse and Doyle shoots the guy. Good dialogue and acting there, especially when Bodie is about to break all the rules and Doyle can;t convince him not to! Also the scene where they are interrogating the guy afterwards is worth a rewind or 2! Got to love the un-pc-ness when they talk about sleeping around! Also I love how many laws get broken just in that one scene. If the show was made today, I can imagine the stacks of complaints about the rights of the suspect being trodden on, among other things :)

You can tell Martin Shaw's perm is new. It looks manky! I'm surprised him and Bodie haven't gone round to sort the barber out. Bodie makes bad jokes throughout. Doyle or rather Martin Shaw sounds like he's reciting Shakespeare or something. Well it was the first episode. Cowley has quite a short temper in this one, but even in some later first season eps he is quite relaxed most of the time.

A lot of funny scenes in this one, especially when the two guys are threatening the suspect, and when Doyle comes to pick Bodie up and manages to annoy Bodie's girlfriend. Must mention Bodie's hairy blanket. Narsty!


2) Private Madness, Public Danger (*** out of ****)

Written by: Anthony Read

Directed by: Douglas Camfield

Guest stars: Keith Barron and Chris Ellison

A chemicals expert threatens London's water supply unless the Government gets rid of it's chemical weapons.

Pretty good episode. Not one of the best but not a bad one at all. The plot is scary and is actually possible, but Keith Barron is not at his best. He's either shouty or morose and is not in the least bit threatening. Bodie's interviewing of Susan is unusual. It makes him look like the sensitive caring one, while in this episode it's Doyle who's the maverick cool thug, backing up Cowley in his attempts to get info out of the drug dealer.

Cowley's threat on the drug pusher is great! Shows how ruthless he is and just how far C I 5 are above the law. Keith Barron in a different role than we're used to. He pulls the misguided mad scientist off but like I said before, it's an uneven performance for me, and it lets the episode down. The ending is a bit rushed but on the whole not a bad episode at all, with some good action and banter. Chris Ellison (Burnside in The Bill). One of his early roles, and he does well as a C I 5 agent. 

Benny's first appearance. We should have seen more of him throughout the series. He was a pretty good character. 


3) The Female Factor (*** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: David Wickes

Guest stars: Walter Gotell and Pam Salem

A future British Prime Minister is being blackmailed by KGB agents.

I like this episode. It's so relevant to the Government today what with skeletons in the cupboard and so on. And Bodie and Doyle's partnership is clearly presented. The scene where Cowley gives them an earful and then changes his mind is interesting.

Some near the knuckle stuff here. That bikini that Pam Salem wears is indecent. And the fact the pimp strips her naked then kills her is a bit beyond the pale. Also the pimp wears the most tasteless jacket I have ever seen!!

Some more biting humour here too. I think this is the first car banter scene we get, and it's pretty cool. The scene where Bodie beats the guy up using just one hand and not spilling his beer is classic, and I love the telephone box scene when Doyle is getting an appointment. Bodie saying 'Well hi there' makes me crack up every time. And the first case of Bodie Saving The Wounded Doyle. Now it may seem like I do not like Doyle, I do, but I much prefer Bodie, however, the scene where Doyle gets his credit cards out to pay the hooker is hysterical ;)


4) Killer With A Long Arm (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: David Wickes

Guest stars: Michael Latimer and Diane Keen

A long distance hit is about to happen, but where is the hitman and who is the target?

I enjoy this episode too. The Greek assasin is a bit corny, but the episode itself is a good one. Plus it has Diane Keen in it. Mmmm. Tasty.

Doyle is clearly the one with the conscience, and it's set up in this episode. Check out his reaction to the dead golfer, and Bodie's reaction to Doyle's. The scene with the Greek restaurant owner is classic stuff with Doyle roughing him up and Bodie backing him up without question, and Bodie's gay joke about Greeks is hilarious! The only other thing that lets this ep down is the blooper with the Greek cigarette end, but you'll have to watch the ep to understand why. The ending is well filmed, and Bodie and Doyle yelling at each other among the corpses at the end is so much like black comedy! 

I like the fact that the only way they can show they care for each other is either by taking the mick out of each other or by shouting. It demonstrates a bloke's relationship with his best mate so well.


5) Heroes (*** out of ****)

Written by: P.J. Hammond

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: John Castle

A Newspaper prints the names and addresses of witnesses to a bungled robbery. Then the robbers start picking off the witnesses.

This one is a good one too. The series got off to a good start. The plot is a bit simple with no twists but it doesn't matter, it's not a bad episode at all. I like Shotgun Tommy! I wish the writers had kept him alive for a few more episodes! The part where the newspaper prints the addresses of the witnesses would actually happen in a local newspaper but not a national. I did work experience at the Derby Evening Telegraph.

The Capri makes it's first apperance, driven by Tommy. Bodie and Doyle are still stuck in Capri-less Central with the Dolomite Sprint. To make it worse there's an Austin Maxi used at one point.

The scene where Tommy is killed is very well written, in fact the whole ending is action packed and it brings the episode to a nice conclusion. And Bodie doesn't make bad jokes this time, which shows he's growing up. I like the scene int he car when Bodie is trying to cheer Cowley up as well. It shows how deep he is as a person. Interesting how he references the nurse in Africa, who he has mentioned in a couple of other early episodes. It lends the series some continuity - as well as deepening Bodie as a character. Counter that with the scene where he doesn't realise he's on the radio when he's slagging his boss.. LMAO :) The final scene in the casino is a bit silly though.


6) Where The Jungle Ends (*1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: Ray Menmuir

Guest stars: David Suchet

Some of Bodie's ex-mecenary friends parachute in to do a few jobs for a local gangster.

Hercule Poirot as a villain?! Do me a favour. This episode has some good points, but it's way too cliched. Krivas even has a twirly moustache! Just about the daftest role I've seen David Suchet play apart from Executive Decision. Disappointing episode, and it ends in a duff comedy fight, when Bodie should be kicking the crap out of Krivas for killing Bodie's fiance!

Why would the police use an Austin Allegro as a cop car? Couldn't thay afford a fast, well equipped machine?

Lewis overacts in a few scenes here, which spoils it a bit, but the scene with the gangster's nymphomaniac daughter and Doyle is seriously funny. Of all the episodes, this is the most dated. The oh-so-obvious archive footage of the jets (which is supplied with two different types of planes), Bodie's awful suit at the end, Cowley's kipper tie etc keep this sp rooted firmly in the late 70's.


7) Close Quarters (**** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: Gabrielle Drake and Clive Arindell

An injured Bodie captures the leader of a German terrorist group, but the other terrorists are closing in.

This is my all time favourite episode! This was the first episode I watched, so maybe I'm biased about it being my fave, but it's a good storyline with some great acting. It also tells us a lot about Bodie and his reasons for being the way he is, which because it was the first episode I saw might make a bit biased as well. The whole thing feels a bit like the first Die Hard flick, in that the hero is trapped in a building and has to take down terrorists. Interesting.

Gabrielle Drake. Yum! She's not used to her best here, but she's still worth checking out, hehe. Loved her in UFO :) I can't recall seeing the bloke who plays Meyer anywhere else, which is a shame as he comes across as a good actor. Apparently he's a varied stage actor more than TV. He should be in more stuff on telly! Bodie also gets his first Capri but we don't see it in action. Talking of action this episode is full of it. A car chase, gun battles and punch ups. The part where Julia and Sarah ask Bodie why they don't let Meyer go, Bodie's answer seems a bit strange. He could have said something like 'He's a nutter and if I let him go he'll waste us and then waste everyone who gets in his way.' The scene where Bodie swaps the bullets of the his pistol to the machine gun wouldn't work unless both weapons and ammo were NATO standard issue. Jax's first appearance. Note the dirty look that Bodie gives him.....The tension is kept up all the way through. Excellenty written and acted. This is Lew's finest hour of the show. Miss at your peril.


8) Everest Was Also Conquered (**1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: Francis Megahey

Guest stars: Richard Greene

A deathbed confession by a top cop re-opens a 25 year old murder/corruption case

For a talky episode this is quite good, but it has too much padding. Good plot however, but this is more of a police case than a C I 5 matter. Once Turvey shows up he may as well have 'bad guy' written on his forehead however, but the way it ties back to the minister is quite well executed. 

This episode more than any other suffers the cuts that G Minus and ITV4 throw out. The whole scene were the man on the door is assassinated by the hitman is gone and so them subsequently finding out who killed the guy and then apprehending him makes no sense whatsoever! A few other scenes are snipped too including the bit where they work out who they should track down next which leads them to the hitman. Nice one, Mr Editor...

Bodie being brutal with the Scottish gamesman and then the hitman-and Doyle backing him up without question. It reinforces how much of a maverick Bodie is and how far Doyle will go to back him up. Overall, the episode is good but the plot is too dragged out and predictable. For Cowley fans this is a must. For others, watch when other episodes are not an option.

Doyle's awesome X-Pack Capri gets it's first turn. This is a fab car. Wish he'd had it earlier in the series!


9) When The Heat Cools Off (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: Ray Austin

Guest stars: Lalla Ward

Doyle must re-investigate a murder case when the daughter of the original suspect gives new evidence.

This is a very complicated but watchable episode. It's also good that Doyle gets a chance to shine after being overshadowed by Bodie for the last 4 episodes. The flashback scenes work nicely as a setup to the main story, and Shaw fits well in this story. 
The plot for the most part works well, with lots of clues to follow up but it's done in an interesting and fun way. You can easily see why Doyle made a good detective, the way he doggedly pursues the truth. This ep feels a bit like Brian Clemens' earlier series Thriller, with lots of whodunnit stuff and twists in the tail.

This episode also establishes Doyle as a multi levelled and well rounded character. He's honest, fair and idealistic but also hot tempered and butts heads with authority, all of which is demonstrated here. Part of it is down to the writing and part of it is down to Shaw's acting skills. Sorry Martin, but The Professionals is still the best thing you ever did. 

But the ending doesn't work for me. If Haydon had been proved innocent then it would have done, but since he was guilty all along, it just makes Doyle look stupid, a fact he himself comments on! I'm going to go on about the cars again here, but anyway why does Haydon, a top Gangster rely on a sodding Jaguar XJ6? Couldn't he get a decent motor?

Nice to see a woman in an important role for once hehe!


10) Stakeout (* out of ****)

Written by: Dennis Spooner

Directed by: Ben Wickers

Guest stars: Pam Stephenson and Tony Osoba

Bodie and Doyle must stake out a bowling alley after finding a dead agent.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. This has got to be one of the least inspiring episodes of all time. A nuclear bomb in a bowling alley? WTF? Whose bright idea was this? Dennis Spooner created the wonderful Randall and Hopkirk Deceased. His skill is not evident here. Not going to bother wasting effort on it.


11) Long Shot (* out of ****)

Written by: Anthony Read

Directed by: Earnest Day

Guest stars: Roger Lloyd-Pack

Ramos, a hitman is after Cowley, but he must get Bodie and Doyle out of the way first.

Second duff episode on the trot. Complete crap. Trigger as a villain? What a casting cock-up! The ending is a total cop out (we don't see the bad guy get his cumuppance, just hear about it after a phone call) and the whole thing is dull and boring. Avoid.


12) Look after Annie (*1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: Charles Crighton

Guest stars: Nick Brimble

Cowley's old flame, a controversial evangelist needs protecting in between her speeches.

Is the show going through a bad patch or what? The only redeeming features are the jokes between Bodie and Doyle. Doyle with a broken arm. Is there no end to this guy's suffering? And Nick Brimble in an early role. 

A potentially interesting plot is undermined by cheap production values, stodgy writing and not enough action, although there is some good banter and funny one liners here and there. Cowley is a bit softer this time around, and it's here he starts to develop a bit more as a character, but overall this is not one of the better ones. Avoid..


13) Klansmen (**** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: Pat Jackson

Guest stars: Tony Booth and Sheila Ruskin

Members of the Ku Klux Klan are trying to get some black tenants to leave the area, but the Klan leaders have another reason for them leaving.

At first I was very nervous about watching this episode. I have friends who are black, so it was uncomfortable to watch this one. This was the episode that got banned in the UK. I can't see why. After watching this one a few times, it's an important episode with a direct message that's still relevant today.

The plot is very twisty, and the ep needs to be watched a couple of times to properly understand what's going on. The ending is a very nice touch as well. Nice to see Jax again, and have something to do.

Some think Bodie is out of character here. Possibly, I'm not sure. There are a couple of other episodes where he seems nervous about being around black people. Whatever, Lew looks very uncomfortable throughout, and it's well known that he was not happy with this episode. I'll bet he must have breathed a sigh of relief when it got yanked by ITV! Unusual to have a show that has a main character who's a racist. Oh by the way, medical reality is thrown out of the window in this one, e.g. if Bodie has been stabbed in the back, why is he lying on his back throughout his stay in hospital? The only let down to this ep is Bodie's sudden turnaround at the end, when he goes off with the black nurse after spending most of the ep being openly hateful. A bit of script editing would have helped.

Doyle is the hero here. He runs around in a very....Bodie-like way! And the makeup job after he's beaten up is very realistic.

The 'feel' of this one is also different, and even the way it's filmed seems slightly different, lots of fade outs and smear cuts rather than the usual editing. It works well, especially when Bodie is delirious and it marks this out as a somewhat unusual departure from the norm. This ep, more than any other divides opinions from fans. Many see it as one of the best eps and treats a thorny subject very well, while others see it as a padded out run of the mill storyline with a tacked on anti-racism bent delivered with a sledgehammer in subtlety. I'm very much in the former camp, and think that the episode should have been shown. Very good stuff.


Second Season

1) Hunter Hunted (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Anthony Read

Directed by: Anthony Simmons

Guest stars: Cheryl Kennedy and Bryan Marshall

Doyle is testing a high tech sniper's until the weapon is stolen by a mystery stalker and 'tested' on him

Probably thr most famous episode, this is the one that usually hooks people into watching it again. Well paced, with a slow burning plot and a good dose of fun. This one is a fan fave and definately a fave of mine. I have it on my DVD player a lot. Lew and Shaw have settled down well now and are clearly enjoying acting together. The action in the ep is very realistic, especially the scene where Doyle's E-type goes out of control. Bodie's arms dealer friend is a great character, Brownie isn't so good in my view though. He's either cagey or shouty, there's no in-between. Also I quite like the scientist chap. Is this guy 'The Boffin' mentioned in first night? This ep also has some brilliant one liners and characterisation. The atmosphere after the gun is nicked is kept up all the way through, getting increasingly fraught. The scene with the book bomb is quite fun, it reminds me of the RS2000 defusing scene in Purging of C I 5. The instrumental music as Doyle is driving to see Brownie after Preston is revealed as the bad guy is my fave piece of music (aside from the theme) from the whole series.

The pub singing is unplayable! AARGH! Apart from that the only thing I don't like is that the bad guy is introduced too directly and too obviously. Apart from that, a really good recommended ep.


2) The Rack (** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: Peter Medack

Guest stars: Michael Billington, Chris Ellison and Lisa Harrow

After Doyle supposedly kills a suspect, a board of enquiry tries to close down C I 5

Zzzzzzzzz. This is SO boring, and made worse by a terrible cop out ending, and that woman playing the lawyer is so histrionic and OTT that she ought to be taken down a dark alley by Bodie and Doyle and dealt with... 
The only high points are the all action opening, Michael Billington as a hoodlum which is a good contrast to him as Paul Foster in UFO and the scene between Bodie and Doyle in Doyle's flat.

You can just tell the script was written in response to the press's bashing of the series in the first season and as such, gets a big thumbs-down from me. It's unusual that Brian Clemens would write such an episode. I love his work as a writer and it's unusual to find a guy who can write, produce and create effectively. Just look at Gene Roddenberry, visionary creator but a bad writer. The Professionals is what it is and doesn't need justifying, and this episode for me is trying to win points in an argument that is better off ignored. It feels preachy, and not in a good way. 


3) First Night (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Gerry O'Hara

Directed by: David Wickes

Guest stars: John Nettleton and Arnold Diamond

A foreign minister is kidnapped and C I 5's only clue is a badly taken photo

Run of the mill plot, but this is one of the very best episodes because of the banter between Bodie and Doyle. Most of the best one liners in the series are here, along with some great action scenes. The scene where they drive to the helicopter site and Doyle teases Bodie about his eating habits makes me crack up every time I see it, and the line that Bodie comes out with about half an ear...well...watch for yourself. The part where Bodie and Doyle are on top of the bus is worth a re-wind or two, especially the line about living off rich women! I think that a lot of this ep is improvised, as the plot seems a little bit thin. Maybe Lew and Martin decided to have fun? It certainly shows, and it makes a huge difference. What could have been a really weak ep turns out to be one of the most memorable of the series. The last part where Bodie is going to bust in and save Biebermann is great, Lew is having a great time with it, and it shows. Bodie seems to love swiss rolls more than fit birds!


4) Man Without A Past (**** out of ****)

Written by: Michael Armstrong and Jeremy Burnham

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Guest stars: John Castle, John Carson and Ed Bishop

An ex-Mafia accountant has been marked for death, but the mob's tactics maim innocent people along the way

This is in my top 10! A fast paced, violent and complicated episode that shows Bodie at his best and Doyle getting beaten up yet again. Shouldn't Doyle have been seconded out of C I 5 ages ago? The 2 car chases are the best I've ever seen in any TV show, plus we get Bodie running around and being hard and brutal trying to find out about Doyle, and to get revenge on whoever blew his girlfriend up. It surprises me that he had that much affection for the girl. Maybe he saw her in the same way as Marikka in Fall Girl or the girl who Krivas killed. Whatever, Lew is excellent in this one, with all that pent up anger. Doyle suffers horribly in this one, there was a scene cut in which the nutjob bloke stick's a gun in his face which was snipped, but is thankfully restored on DVD. Ray takes nearly as much of a beating here as he does in Klansmen.

Bodie is a very intelligent character, and it's shown to it's best here. He's usually described as a bit of a thickhead but there's none of that here. The leap of logic Bodie makes over who he should pursue is a bit thin though, but vital to make the ep move into high gear. I like the scene where he gets his man at the end and the scene fades before you find out if he wasted Crabbe or not. Works a lot better than if you saw Bodie blow him away I think. While all the action is going on, the guy hired to make the accountant croak is sinister and very believable, but his unhinged mate is a right prat. If you've ever seen a film called Midnight Run, this is similar but not played for laughs. Fantastic.


5) In The Public Interest (*** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: David Wickes

Guest stars: Stephen Rea and John Judd

A bent police constable has turned a city into a police state where martial law is the name of the game

This is a very good episode but not of my faves. This is Sweeney territory more than Profs (The Sweeney ep Bad Apple is very similar), plus the fact that the actors who play the bent coppers are lousy doesn't help. The actual story is interesting and is quite scary. It makes you wonder if this sort of facism goes on behind the scenes nowadays. This episode feels very similar to the second Dirty Harry film, Magnum Force, in which a group of vigilante cops start killing off all the big criminals in San Francisco, and Harry has to take them down. In the same way, CI5 have to handle these bad guys who think they're doing the right thing. Cowley gets some really good dialogue in this one. I like the scene between him and the minister when he talks about unbridled power.

Why don't Bodie and Doyle give Chives a kicking when they're on their own in the car with him and make a break for it? The guy who plays Chives seems to be pigeon holed as a bad guy. I saw him in eps of Minder and The Sweeney and he usually ended up as the villain. The end scene between Cowley and the Chief Inspector is very good though, as the guy gets found out by Cowley and given hell. The way Gordon yells 'The name is COWLEY! MR. COWLEY!' made me jump, and probably about 17 million other people when it was shown. As a whole, although the episode is very good, for me it's not a must see one.
I can't let this one slip. Stephen 'The Crying Game' Rea sitting there saying 'I'm not a queer but my mates are' is sidesplitting.


6) Not A Very Civil Civil Servant (*** out of ****)

Written by: Edmund Ward

Directed by: Anthony Simmons

Guest stars: Harold Innocent and Maurice Denham

C I 5 uncover corruption in the building trade

Dumb episode title, but a fairly good and unique story going on here, and an unusual one in Profs terms. Something like this would probably usually found on Watchdog or one of those human interest programmes, not an action packed show like this. Classic Cliche of using shifty looking farts as bad guys though. Oh well.

Not really hugely action packed, and this is a Cowley story so it's pretty cerebral stuff, but a good episode. Harold Innocent as the bad guy. How familiar. He always plays the bad guy in TV shows. Maybe he should be called Harold Guilty? :D


7) Rogue (*** out of ****)

Written by: Dennis Spooner

Directed by: Ray Austin

Guest stars: Pam Stephenson and Glyn Owen

A trial witness is murdered by a traitorous C I 5 veteran

I like this one a lot, but there are 2 things wrong with it: 1) Giving the killer away right at the start is so clever. Not. And 2) Barry Martin doesn't look capable of beating up a 10 year old. Aside from this if the beginning had been changed a bit this would be a great whodunnit. Overall though, this is a fast moving and fun episode. 

Bodie and Doyle's liking of Martin, only to be found out he's a schemer is pretty convincing, but the scene where Doyle can't waste him is just daft, particularly as his best mate has just been stabbed. I think Cowley is a bit too easily taken as well, considering what we know about him and seeing him in action in other episodes, But overall I like this one; a good episode with a surprising ending too.


8) A Stirring of Dust (**** out of ****)

Written by: Don Houghton

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Guest stars: Carol Royale and Robert Urquhart

A returning British traitor must be found before his old enemies find him

This is one of my faves from the whole series. The plot is excellent, twisty and confusing but the ep holds up well even today and has a nice flow to it. It's very relevant as well, what with people like David Shaylor lurking about. The Irish hitman is quite good, but a bit too campy. The KGB blokes are worth a rewind, as they're so not up to Bodie and Doyle's level but are trying to be. 

I watch this one quite a lot, and although reasonably talky, it's definately a top 10. Doyle-beaten up by the bad guys yet again. And this bloke is supposed to be a Karate expert?! The actors in the older roles are great and steal a lot of the show, especially the guy who plays Darby. The parts with him and his daughter are very well acted, but why does the bird always wear too much mascara? When she bursts into floods of tears (which she does in Dead Reckoning as well) it makes her look like a goth. The stunts in this one are great too. The fights and the car chase are very well done. One to enjoy.


9) Blind Run (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Ranald Graham

Directed by: Tom Clegg

Guest stars: A foreign diplomat must be protected, but enemy assasins seem to know his every move

When I first saw this one I hated it. I thought it was corny and dull, but after watching it a few times I've changed my mind. The plot is a bit bare bones to be honest, but this is the type of episode people remember when they think of The Professionals, in my opinion: lots of explosive action and witty one liners. Bodie has to save Doyle's sorry arse yet again. If I was Bodie I'd be asking for a new partner by now. Lots of gun fights, chases and explosions in this one, and it moves along quite pacily. Love the car chase and subsequent shootout around the railway sidings with the limo, and the canal fight is good too. I'm amazed at how many stunts Lew and Shaw were allowed to do themselves. In fact the scene where Bodie walks the plank and it falls too soon, you can clearly hear Lew yell 'Oh shit' as it was an unscripted stunt!

Tinkerbell is a great character. Why kill him off? He definately deserved a comeback appearance. Also when Bodie and Doyle found out they've been had by Cowley (who's really devious in this one), they decide to finish the mission anyway. Interesting. This ep is almost non-stop action, and the action scenes are very well put together. While not an out and out fave, I do enjoy it a bit more each time I watch it. An enjoyable ep, and one that I'd recommend as a starter for those new to the show.


10) Fall Girl (*** out of ****)

Written by: Ranald Graham

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: Pam Salem, Patrick Malahide and Michael Latimer

Bodie's ex-girlfriend unwittingly gets him involved in an M I 6 assasination plot

This is an unusual and interesting episode. It feels kind of similar to the first Sweeney film, which considering they were both written by Ranald Graham can't be a coincidence. Bodie is actually nervous around a woman, or is he unwilling to be hurt by Marikka again? Usually he just shags anything with a skirt on but he bides his time with her. Doesn't stop him from shagging her eventually though. It's the return of the Greek assassin as the head of M I 6! Again he gets buggered up by C I 5! In fact he's playing virtually the same role here as he did in the first Sweeney film.The parts where he tries to stitch Bodie up have to be watched carefully, and the ep has to be seen a few times anyway. The scene where Marikka has an arguement with Bodie when he's on top of the gas holder makes me smile. The M I 6 chief then decides to stitch Marikka up instead and whacks her. What a git!

The plot in this one is very complicated and it needs to be watched a few times to get what M I 6 and C I 5 are up to, but it's well worth watching. When I watch this one, I tend to watch Involvement as a follow up, as the subplot in both i.e. Bodie and Doyle have a serious gf are too close to miss.


11) Backtrack (***1/2 out of ****) 

Written by: Don Houghton

Directed by: Chris King

Guest stars: Michael Elphick

A cat burglar finds a huge stash of weapons and heroin

This ep is SO funny! At first it seems like a straightforward affair but it turns out quite complicated. I didn't like the smarmy git in the safehouse at the start. If I was Bodie I'd have thrown him out of the window. Marge Harper is a great character and Shaw is enjoying himself a lot. But Lew gets the short straw and has to put up with a few insults. Although I like this one, I don't watch it too often. Maybe I should. It has a good twisty plot and is an enjoyable ride.

Bodie has to save Doyle yet again. This time Doyle's gun has jammed up. Is this some kind of in-joke? 


12) The Madness Of Mickey Hamilton (*** out of ****)

Written by: Chris Wicking

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: Ian McDiarmud

A man whose wife and child died because of a hospital mistake takes revenge by wiping out the medical staff

This is a sad story but it's written in a way that makes us sypathise with the killer. We can undertsand Hamilton's heartbreak very well, which is helped by the fact the actor is so good. The episode itself looks awful. The film must have been dropped in acid or something, because the picture and sound are horrible. This was written by Sci-Fi and horror writer Chris Wicking, who also wrote probably the best episode, Discovered In A Graveyard.

The plot is reasonably straightforward, but being rather melancholy it's understandable. Doyle once again is the softer of the two and his trying to talk Hamilton out of killing is very well written. If you read the novellisation, it's Bodie who's trying to talk Hamilton out of killing. Somehow I don't think that would have worked on screen. Also Bodie makes some bad jokes, and note that when the black gangster calls him an aardvark, Bodie mouths something.


13) Servant of Two Masters (* out of ****)

Written by: Douglas Watkinson

Directed by: David Wickes

Guest stars: Glynn Edwards and John Savident

Bodie and Doyle suspect Cowley of selling nerve gas to East German terrorists

When I saw Fred Elliot trying to spy on Cowley, I laughed so much I almost burst. This is a lousy episode with lots of padding and driving around the countryside. Even the ending which should have been high octane and featured lots of gunfire and flying bodies like in A Man Called Quinn is lame. How boring. Bad finish to a great season.



Third Season


1) The Purging of C I 5 (**** out of ****)

Written by: Stephen Lister

Directed by: Dennis Abey

Guest stars: Simon Rouse and Christopher Fairbank

C I 5 comes under threat when it's own agents become targets for killing.

Not a very original idea, but this is such a fun episode that we tend to ignore the small problems. This is one of my favourites, it's a 'comfortable' episode, pacy and well written. The scenes involving the doomed agents are well filmed and acted, and the events of their deaths, although not really shocking are pretty disturbing. The tension is kept up all the way through, which only adds more to this already great episode, especially the opening when there's a bomb in Cowley's office.

Despite the seriousness of what's going on, we get a helluva lot of humour here, especially the RS2000 bomb diffusing scene! My fave part is the scene where Bodie gets his finger stuck in the phone and Doyle has to come and unplug the plastic explosive. I love the look on Bodie's face when Doyle comes barging in ready to blow people away. The actual plot isn't very clear until right at the end, but it's not really a big issue. Doyle looks like he stuck his head in a lightbulb socket that was on, his hair is a right mess, and Bodie doesn't look much better.

One small complaint. Cattrell should have killed that irritating blonde piece! Apart from that, this is a solid effort, with a good twist at the end.


2) Stopover (**1/2 out of ****)

Written by: John Goldsmith

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: James Laurenson and Michael Gothard

A former C I 5 agent offers to give the name of a double agent, and in return wants protecting by Cowley.

This is an all-action episode, but the plot has been done before. Not a bad episode though, and one worth watching a couple of times, even if it is pretty straightforward. Cowley seems fairly out of character here. We know he's hard nosed, but insulting your own men in public is both out of character and out of line. 
In fact throughout this episode he's the Cowley of the first season, a man who had no time for anyone and was at times borderline rude to everyone. The boss out of The Sweeney makes a pretty good bad guy though.

Meredith is a bit unconvincing and is too obviously the bad guy, but this is a pretty good episode with some impressive stunts and driving, but not a favourite.


3) Dead Reckoning (* out of ****)

Written by: Phillip Lorraine

Directed by: Dennis Lewiston

Guest stars: Carol Royale

A returning British spy is killed before being debriefed. Cowley suspects his daughter, but there's more going on than meets the eye.

Are we watching A Stirring of Dust here? This is almost exactly the same - including the daughter who was in Stirring as well, playing pretty much the same character. Also this is the second traitorous agent story in as many eps. Just a bit of overkill I think. BOOORING!


4) A Hiding to Nothing (*** out of ****)

Written by: Gerry O'Hara

Directed by: Ted Childs

Guest stars: Nadim Sawahla and Pete Poselthwaite (not confirmed)

A security leak threatens an Arab leader's diplomatic mission.

Fast paced and funny, this episode is one of the better stories of the season, even if it is a pretty routine plot. It has some good action at the end though, and you have to feel for the woman in the relationship, even if she is playing away.

Why is Martin Shaw flashing his arse at the camera? I'm sure the ladies in the audience were appreciative, but not us blokes! Talking of arses, Bodie gives Shelley's a good long look and then realises shes the bad guy because of it!

Also I have to admire Doyle's chat up technique, buy the air hostess a takeaway and then start getting her kit off. What a romantic. Is that Pete Postelthwaite that Shaw kicks off the roof? It sure looks like him! The setup of this one is unnecessarily protracted, but made up for with the humour, and some great action later on. The rooftop chase that Doyle has is pretty good, as is Bodie pretending to be the water meter man. Bodie being nice to the bird seems a bit out of character to me, but it's not a huge problem. I like the part where he's following the Spanish bloke around and doing surveillance. Almost seems like a real stakeout.


5) Runner (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Michael Feeney Callan

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Guest stars: Michael Kitchen, Billy Murray and Ed Devereaux

A gang leader is trying to start a street war with the IRA, but the leader also has a personal score to settle with Doyle.

I recently rewatched this one as I hadn't seen it for a bit and I've had a re-appraisal. I really like this episode. It's 
incredibly complicated, but it also makes sense. Duffy (Kitchen) is trying to start a street war with the IRA and get revenge on Doyle at the same time. A lot of people have said 'the plot is too complicated for it's own good and it doesn't make that much sense'. I can see where they're coming from, but give it a bash a few times over. That said, it should have been a 2-part episode, but the plot works. Don't let the complexity get in the way though, this is a fun episode.

Doyle doesn't get much luck with old acquantancies. This is about the third or fourth time someone from his past has had a go at him! There's quite a lot of driving around and talking to informants in this one, but it's necessary for the complicated story.

Usually I cannot stand Michael Kitchen. He can't act and every time I see Foyle's War I want to throw things at the TV but he is not bad at all int his one. Maybe it's because he's playing a scumbag, but whatever, he works in this role, and his cumuppance is a great moment.

Bodie seems even nastier than usual, as does Cowley. There are a few good action bits in this one, Bodie chasing the suspect and then giving him a kicking only for Cowley to stop him, and the chase Doyle has in the RS2000 is brilliant. It seems a bit convenient that at the end they found the car bomb so quickly though, bit of a let down to a good episode, but having read the novelisation, the ending could have been even worse! In the book, he hasn't bothered to connect the bomb to the detonator. Lame. On the whole, I totally reccommend this one.


6) The Acorn Syndrome (**1/2 out of ****)

Written by: John Kruse

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Guest stars: Ronald Hines

A government worker must give industrial secrets to the East Germans to get his kidnapped daughter back.

Daft episode title, but a pretty good story going on here. I don't watch it often, but I enjoy it when I do. The car chases-the one with the antique desk especially-are a lot of fun. The part where the bloke is threatening to waste the girl unless Doyle drops his gun, and then Doyle blows him away is well filmed, but Doyle must be a cracking shot to shoot someone from that angle! Spot the actor! Audrey Roberts from Coronation Street as the woman who answers the door. She hasn't changed much! One to enjoy.


7) Fugitive (* out of ****)

Written by: Anthony Read and Gerry O'Hara

Directed by: Dennis Lewiston

Guest stars: Michael Byrne

A C I A agent is killed by East German gun runners

The scene right at the beginning where the guy gets thrown out of a window is scary, and the scene where Bodie and Doyle interrogate the guy in the hairdresser's is great but overall, this is a Close Quarters clone, but unlike Close Quarters this is a load of bollocks. 
One of the few episodes I really dislike.

In fact I'm going to make a point here by saying this. The third season plays it safe, and although most of the episodes are good, this one excluded, it bogs the series as a whole down. We got lots of recycled plots and ideas from the first couple of series and you end up thinking the writers are at times going through the motions. It's part of the reason why I like Wild Justice and Discovered in a Graveyard so much, apart from being vastly superior, they're a break from the norm, but back to this one. The writing is all over the place, and the plot is based on contrivances and silly mistakes committed by out of character moments. Avoid.


8) Involvement (**** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: Chris Burt

Guest stars: Patricia Hodge

Doyle is furious when he finds out his girlfriend is under suspicion for drugs smuggling.

This is quite touching to be honest. While the plot itself is fairly ho-hum, the real story is far more interesting. Shaw really gets caught up in this one, and although a lot of the scenes have a lot of humour in them, this is a love story. For me Patricia Hodge steals it. She is really beliveable as Ann. The scene in Cowley's office where Doyle screams 'I RESIGN!' is very well acted by all three guys, especially Lew, who simply sits there silently wishing the ground would swallow him up. This is also probably the most upset you will ever see Bodie, and all he does is put his head in his hands and is silent. It works so much better than that out of character yelling fit he had in Slush Fund. 

Lew is particularly good in this one, especially in the scene where he and Shaw duke it out verbally before Shaw hits him. Shaw is also on form in this episode and seems to be having a reasonably good time. The scene where Doyle punches Bodie is pretty good too, but I really enjoy this ep for the sharp one liners and humour. Bodie and Doyle's friendship come across really well, espcially when Doyle is suspended and we see how Bodie has no one to spar with.

Note that Bodie uses a racist term to describe the black guy with the American car.

The final scene where Bodie and Doyle walk off together but you can't hear what they say is very well done.


9) Need to Know (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: Simon Oates

A former colleague of Cowley's is arrested, which puts the finger on Cowley himself

Another double agent episode, but this is quite cleverly written, so it's more enjoyable. I have to admit to being a fan of this one. It's pretty heavy on action, but the good plot makes it fun for more intellectual viewers. There are quite a few good scenes where Cowley is being interrogated, and the dialogue is well written during those.

The Chinese guy is a good character, but why leave him in the road after the ambush? Mind you Bodie did leave the Capri there. I love the short chat when they bring the guy back to Bodie's flat. So un-PC it's hysterical! Got to love the 'Chinese takeaway with lots of rice' line, and the 'Chinese bird' stuff. The martial arts fight in the poker hall is fun, and one of the few times where Doyle proves he's a karate expert.

The ending is a bit predictable though. If it had been the guy with dark hair as the villain it would have spiced things up a bit. Cowley shooting a running, weaving man at that range with a .38 snubnose revolver? Do me a favour. A good episode.


10) Takeaway (*** out of ****)

Written by: Roger Marshall

Directed by: Douglas Camfield

Guest stars: John Forgeham

C I 5 teams up with Hong Kong policce to stop a Triad drugs operation, using innocent Chinese people as drug carriers.

When I first saw this one I hated it. I thought it was overcomplicated crap, but I rewatched it and have changed my mind. The plot to be honest is a bit far fetched. How is hanging around in a fruit and veg market going to uncover a bunch of drug smugglers, but amazingly it works. It's nice to see a change of pace after the last few episodes bearing similarities to stories which have gone before as well. In this case the experiment works and we get a deep and thoughtful episode.

The scene where Bodie and Cowley find the young guy hanging is very well acted by Lew and Gordon. Bodie and Doyle aren't working together very much in this one, so the banter rate and energy during the first half of the ep is not very high, once the message on the mirror scene comes up, the ep moves into high gear. Bodie in the drug den is well worth seeing a few times, and Doyle as the harrassed market trader is worth rewinding several times!

The scene where Bodie massacres the garden furniture is always fun to watch. I like the open ending as well, as it fits in with the rest of the ep in terms of it's departure from the format. C I 5 has to lose sometimes, otherwise it wouldn't be realistic. Maybe the writer had a sequel in mind?


11) Slush Fund (* out of ****)

Written by: Roger Marshall

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: Linda Bellingham and Stuart Wilson

A reporter is targeted after he writes a report on a faulty fighter plane.

Writing a coherant review of this.....thing is about as appealing as going on a date with Cherie Blair so I won't bother wasting time on it. The Mcguffin of the story is dull, the bad guy is not very scary and the script makes Doyle look like a complete idiot. Bodie having a paddy? Do me a favour. WAAAY out of character for him. A similar argument between him and Cowley springs up in Discovered in a Graveyard and is handled in a far better manner. The whole episode is plodding and mechanical. Gak.


12) Mixed Doubles (**** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: Roger Tucker

Guest stars: Michael Coles and Nikolas Grace

While Bodie and Doyle are being trained to protect a diplomat, some assasins nearby are having training to kill him.

Most agree this is the best episode. I wouldn't argue with that! It shows how close C I 5 is to the villains that they chase. Not a particularly twisty ep, but it's a strength, allowing us to get into the characters a lot more than we usually would. Bodie and Doyle's friendship has never been stronger than here. Bodie admitting he's scared all the time? Nah, doesn't work. Only weak point of the ep.

The training scenes are very well done with lots of martial arts and stuff, but I find it a bit daft that Macklin would slash Bodie if he's going to need his arm to shoot! Doyle doesn't have it easy either. On the flipside the assasins are getting similar training and being put through a similar wringer. The part where the bad guys unwittingly help Bodie and Doyle beat the bikers up is good, and the part where Bodie realises his friendly acquantance might whack him, so he blasts him, is not at all jarring as it might have been. The level of profanity is quite high here in relation to the rest of the series.....

I liked Macklin and his nunchaku-waving friend. They should have had a return appearance. This is a really good watchable and enjoyable ep, even if it covers old ground. Great stuff.


13) Weekend in the Country (* out of ****)

Written by: Gerry O'Hara

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: Bryan Pringle

While on holiday, Bodie and Doyle are held prisoner by a gang of ruthless criminals.

What a turgid episode. The second bad finish to a season on the trot. Those 'hardened criminals' look more like a couple of dopeheads than bank robbers. The
writer needs shooting.

Fourth Season


1) Wild Justice (**** out of ****)

Written by: Ranald Graham

Directed by: Dennis Abey

Guest stars: Ziggy Byfield

Why is Bodie falling behind in his training and becoming obsessed with a gang of Hell's Angels?

Wow! This a very unusual style of ep for the series to try. This is very moody and psychological, and poses interesting questions on the issue of Post Traumatic Stress. Lew is in his element in this one, brooding and acting oddly. The characters seem out of their norm here, but it helps rather than hurts the episode. It's a bit like Discovered In A Graveyard in terms of approach, given that it's Bodie trying to sort things out in his own mind. Again this is an ep which divides fans, but I personally think this is one of the series' best episodes.

The head of the biker gang is a bit under-developed, and I think he should have had a few more scenes to be developed as a good bad guy, but that's my only whinge about this one.

This is an episode that's on my DVD player constantly. The scene where Bodie punches the car door is a bit OTT, but the frightening look Bodie gives the woman more than makes up for it. Being a motor racing nut, I loved the bike races, and the fight at the end where Bodie beats up the entire gang of Angels single-handedly is great. Would Cowley have blown Bodie's brains out? We'll never know..... A fab episode.


2) Blackout (*** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: Ben Cross and Linda Hayden

An amnesic woman is the only clue to a possible terrorist attack

A lot of people don't like this one. I quite like it, and yes it is slow to begin with. But if they'd found the bad guys earlier then it would have been a very short episode! A car chase or 2 would have improved the driving scenes.

Admittedly there are a lot of plot holes such as why doesn't Bodie just go to the bank where the guy works to start with instead of waiting until the last minute? This was adapted from a Professionals short story that Brian Clemens wrote called 'High Noon' and was written at very short notice, so that probably accounts for the problems. That said, it's still an enjoyable outing, and as such I've rated it a bit more highly than it maybe deserves.

Stuart is an annoying git, but more than made up for by Murphy's first appearance, and he actually gets something to do! Apart from Ojuka Situation, this is his best role. The running joke with the watch is pretty funny, especially at the end when Doyle gives Bodie the Superman watch. Maybe he should have given him some High Karate?! An enjoyable ep with a drawn out beginning. Just stick with it. It gets better as it goes on.


3) The Gun (* out of ****)

Written by: Chris Wicking

Directed by: Dennis Lewiston

Guest stars: Barry Angel

A murderous drug dealer must find a young boy before the dealer's enemies find them both
 
WARNING:
 
This episode guide is written at a level of decency usually found in a 12 rated film (PG-13 for American readers). However the episode about to be reviewed has plots involving drugs, murder and young children in danger. Therefore this review contains adult themes. This has also led this review to contain adult language, not just because of the content....
 
BUT ALSO BECAUSE THIS IS ONE SHITTY EPISODE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. If only someone had the decency to tell me before I watched it. Welcome to the worst episode to carry The Professionals' name. The Gun. And that is not an opinion...
 
It's a sad irony that this season contains arguably the best ever episode, Discovered in a Graveyard, and also the very worst. Interestingly, they're both written by the same person. This isn't unprecedented. Star Trek writer Brannon Braga is responsible for some of the very best and very worst episodes of that series. Part of the problem is that this is just not a Professionals episode. After the third series, LWT came close to cancelling the series outright, and it was only reprieved in April 1980, with a June shooting date. This led many episodes to be adapted from other sources, and others to be rushed into shape. Nowhere is this shown more comprehensively than The Gun. If this had been a Shoestring episode I'd let it go, as that series was crap anyway, but because it turned up in such a high quality series like this, it's very sad.
 
OK, that said, let's look at the plot. Well, it's a mess. Bodie's new girlfriend just happens to be a teacher of a kid with special needs, who just happens to find a gun belonging to a drug pusher, who is in a lot of trouble with a nasty drug dealer. That's it. Simplistic, full of co-incidences and with a payoff that's bollocks beyond belief. OK, now you add in completely out of character characterisation. If you dislike Bodie in Klansmen for being out of character, you really won't like him here. and Doyle looks permanently pissed off throughout, although this time I can sympathise with Martin Shaw. If I'd been shown this script, I'd want to tear up my contract too. Add a healthy dollop of pointless padding and snail paced plot and you get the end result.
 
The direction is lame, the editing is dreadful (where does Doyle suddenly appear from at the end?) the music score is like listening to a death march and when you get past the yawn inducing plot and realise that the drug dealer's plans are foolhardy, borderline insane and more likely to cause him to wind up dead more than his victims, and you can see why this is viewed as the very worst episode.
 
Although my previous least fave episode was Fugitive, which was pretty arse, this beats it. And not by a little bit either. There's a lot of really lame shit here. You're supposed to believe that someone who'd look more at home ironing shirts is a murderous drug dealer and who's targeting a kid with learning difficulties because he played with a gun. You're supposed to believe that Bodie's girlfriend is conveniently, the boys teacher. You're supposed to believe that CI5 would go to all the trouble of protecting one minor person from a low level enforcer, when London in 1980 was rife with IRA bombers and of course the Iranian Embassy Siege. You're even supposed to believe that Doyle (who was in the drugs squad) doesn't realise that a drug addicted mother would give birth to a baby that is also an addict and that you're not really watching a Juliet Bravo inspired mish mash of camera pans, bad editing and bullshit. I came away thinking, well maybe Fugitive wasn't so bad because this shit made it look good. What annoys me most is how this crap ended up being even adapted for The Professionals as it doesn't just fall a little bit short. It falls several miles short. I can forgive a dodgy episode if it at least tried to make sense, but you know you've truly failed when everyone I speak to who loves the series singles this one out as the very worst one.
 
I'm sorry for my poor language during this particular review, but the whole thing is total shit. I'd be willing to shoot that rotten little kid myself. Writing a serious review of this is about as appealing as shagging Anne Widdecombe, so I'll give you a warning instead. DO NOT TOUCH THIS ONE WITH A 50 FOOT POLE!


4) Bloodsports (* out of ****)

Written by: Gerry O'Hara

Directed by: Phil Meheux

Guest stars: Pierce Brosnan

A South American diplomat's son is assasinated. C I 5 must protect the boy's sister.

Whoever wrote this must have had a half baked idea during his dinner hour and dialled the script in that afternoon. It feels like a first draft of something that should have been much better, and not only that, but watching it feels like the production of the episode was rushed as well.
 
The only reason to watch this one is to see Pierce Brosnan as the guy in the detector van. This is such utter bollocks that it makes you wonder if they were improvising it as they went along, which considering the considerable script deficiencies, is not beyond the bounds of reason. Lazily written, it's an insult to the viewers.


5) You'll Be Alright (* out of ****)

Written by: Gerry O'Hara

Directed by: Dennis Lewiston

Guest stars: Derrick O'Conner

A bigtime criminal offers to surrender to C I 5 in exchange for protection of his family

Phone It In O'Hara strikes again. This guy can't write to save his life. He was responsible for the last episode, which was a shambles and again, dials in his script writing. I'll Be Alright when this total piece of fluff finishes. What the hell is up with the writers at this point? Lew looks like he's asleep through most of it. I don't blame him. So was I!


6) It's Only a Beautiful Picture (*1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Edmund Ward

Directed by: Dennis Lewiston

Guest stars: Prunella Gee

International art theives are in town and it's up to C I 5 to stop them.

A slight improvement over the last few duffers, but this is hardly a memorable episode. More of a police case than a C I 5 matter, but the scene where Bodie gets arrested is very amusing.


7) Kickback (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Stephen Lister

Directed by: Ian Sharp

Guest stars: Norman Eshley

Bodie must go undercover with a fellow ex-SAS agent to stop an assasination.

Now this is what I'm talking about! Keller is great as a twisted villain, although it is predictable that he's going to be the bad guy. The plot is resonably straightforward but doesn't take away from a thoroughly enjoyable episode. The scene at the beginning where Bodie and Doyle raid the boat is very well done, and Bodie working undercover works well in this story, with it's tales of assassins and double crossing. I like the fact that it is so straight forward as there's no unnecessary stuff getting in the way of the drama. It's fast paced and engaging, just right for The Professionals. In fact I'd say this was a good episode to break people who are new to the series into watching it.
 
The whole second half of the ep is hard-core action. The arranged hit is well choreographed, and the car chase around the warehouse is fun. Bodie dunking Keller's girlfriend. Not nice! The helicopter chase is superb, but the ending is a bit patched together. One I'd reccommend.


8) Hijack (** out of ****)

Written by: Roger Marshall

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Guest stars: Dave King and Mark Eden

Silver bullion is being shipped from behind the Iron Curtain, but one of the agents is lining his own pockets

The action scenes are routine and some of the stunts are badly done-see Doyle running the guy over. Overall a good idea but it's done in such a shabby way that there's no way anyone could enjoy this episode. One of the least memorable of all the episodes - remarkable as this episode got the highest viewing figures of the entire series!


9) Discovered in a Graveyard (**** out of ****)

Written by: Chris Wicking

Directed by: Anthony Simmons

Guest stars: David Yip

Doyle is seriously injured and can't decide wether to live or die

Wow! This is a mesmerising episode! Like Wild Justice this is a departure from the norm of the series, but it works beautifully. Maybe Shaw ENJOYED making it, as he certainly sinks his teeth in. The whole sequence in Doyle's mind is spookily filmed and with the unmoving mouths it makes for a pretty detached viewing. It's nice to see more experimentation with the show, and it works well. The whole episode is full of camera tricks and creative editing which add to the ethereal atmosphere. You get the impression that this ep was part of the inspiration for Life on Mars. From what we know of Doyle his dreams and experinces all fit with his character, always questioning himself, and Bodie as the voice of reason telling him not to give up.

There are 2 stories going on here. A hated Oriental leader being hunted by bombers and Doyle coming to terms with himself. Bodie is in top form in this ep. He finds Doyle and instead of bursting into tears like Doyle would (watch Klansmen), he simply checks Doyle over and takes care of him. What I really like is Bodie doesn't panic like Ray would. Lew is really an excellent actor and it comes across in these scenes. The scenes where Bodie and Cowley squabble and try to work out what's happening are also well scripted and acted and are far better than the hysterical rubbish that both spouted that was trotted out in Slush Fund. The novelisation has several expanded scenes and some very un-pc jokes from Bodie taking the mick out of the Chinese accents which were cut, probably to avoid the same sort of debacle that surrounded Klansmen.

Cowley is very strong minded in this one, but C I 5 must have been having an off day, with the ease in which May Li wasted Lin Fo. A perfect double header would be an ep featuring Bodie captured and turned into a drug addict or something similar but sadly a situation like that was never done in the series, with only Fugitive having something along those lines. But that was so sloppily written it was embarrasing. This however is a truly fantastic episode, and a certifiable must see. Def a fave.


10) Foxhole on the Roof (** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: Karl Howman and Ron Pember

A vicious ex-con plans to make a fortune by holding a hospital ward to ransom

I'm in two minds about this one. It seems a good-and new-idea, but Cowley being unable to solve it is not believable. The bad guy is suitably nasty and is well played, and it's reasonably enjoyable and twisty, but the parts are more than the whole. The ending is quite good though. Seeing Murphy have something to do for a change is good though. Shame it wasn't in a better ep. Watch and judge for yourself.


11) Operation Susie (*** out of ****)

Written by: Ranald Graham

Directed by: Ian Sharp

Guest stars: Alice Krige, P.H. Moriarty and Harold Innocent

Why is a corrupt government official targeting a group of drug protesting students?

When I first watched this episode I was wondering just what was going on, as it's very convoluted. You have to watch it a few times to get what Cowley is up to, but this is an excellent story. The body count in this one is huge! Especially the beginning! First time viewers may have been turned off by that.

Again this is not a typical Professionals outing, until the last 5 or 10 minutes of the episode. It's quite involved and you do have to pay attention to what's going on. The version showed on Granada Plus and ITV4 is cut to ribbons and doesn't make a blind bit of sense as several scenes with important plot points have been edited out! DUH!

The slippery minister is a good character, and I like the way Cowley turns the tables on him and slaps him with a treason charge at the end. The scene where Diana is killed is suitably jarring, and Doyle is absolutely furious. In fact the scene where gets spattered with blood is harrowing and memorable. 

Seems this is not the first Operation Susie Bodie and Doyle have been stuck with. The firefight at the end is well choreographed and directed. It was fun to see Alice Krige not dressed as the Borg Queen! Seeing her square up to Captain Picard and Captain Janeway is a million miles from seeing her ride around in a Capri with Bodie and Doyle! Recommmended viewing.


12) The Ojuka Situation (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Don Houghton

Directed by: Chris King

Giest stars: Clarke Peters, Geoffrey Palmer and Charles Dance

A diposed African leader needs help from C I 5 to be re-instated, but assasins seem to know his every move.

Although this has all been done before, it's definitely one of the better episodes. Some action, some talky scenes but it all adds up nicely. The part where they pretend to be tropical fish salesmen is very funny and the twist where we find out who the leak is is a good idea. Doyle seems to be in a particularly sarky mood, and Cowley is equally sarky back.

Bodie has a car crash for the first time in the series! Mind you his tyre was shot out! Actually the car chase, despite being rather short is very well filmed. I like the fact that the Cow gets Murphy to do jobs that Bodie or Doyle would normally do. Shame he doesn't get other things to do in other eps. Pity. Charles Dance! Before he was famous of course. Pretty good as the campy South African hitman. Good windups between him and Shaw. Another good episode.


13) The Untouchables (*** out of ****)

Written by: Brian Clemens

Directed by: William Brayne

Guest stars: Keith Washington, Nick Brimble and Vicki Michelle

C I 5 must trap a government official using gambling and pimping

If there was ever an ep that says 'Lew Collins would be a great James Bond', this is it. For most of the ep he wears snazzy suits and a tuxedo, and from what we can see, Lew would have been great as 007. The edgy conversation where Bodie first meets Rahad has several lines I couldn't believe got past the censors! ''I didn't know coloureds were allowed in.'' ''We have oil Mr Brodie, that makes us pure white.'' ''Bodie. Come to think of it, I didn't know you Arabs played poker either.'' ''We don't Mr. Bodie. Nor do we drink alcohol.'' Maybe it's a bit sad knowing the dialogue, but it's worth repeating just to show how un-PC it is. Mind you being un-PC was a Professionals thing!

This to me isn't a traditional Profs ep, and would probably be more at home in Return of the Saint. I half expected Ian Ogilvy to pull up in his white XJS at times.

The plot itself is extremely complicated. When I first watched it I ended up scratching my head and had to rewatch it a few times to fully get what was going on. It does work quite well though, and is possibly the most 'spy film' like of all the episodes. Bodie undercover in a tux is a great scene, as is his subtle manipulation of Rahad, and then Cowley showing up at the end and sending him off to death reminds me a lot of The Living Daylights. Because of the complicated plot, it makes it difficult to watch the first time around, but it's an interesting, if not action packed episode.

Fifth Season


1) Lawson's Last Stand (*1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Ranald Graham

Directed by: Ian Sharp

Guest stars: Stephen Greif and Michael Angelis

A Colonel escapes from a mental institute with vital NATO secrets

I don't really have a lot to say about this one. It's corny, has obvious plot holes, most of the supporting actors are crap and the story just doesn't work. Travis out of Blake's 7 as a bad guy? Do me a favour. Just about the only thing I can say is the set up in the park at the end is pretty good. Avoid.


2) Cry Wolf (*** out of ****)

Written by: Paul Wheeler

Directed by: Phil Meheux

Guest Stars: Sheila Ruskin and Alan McNaughton

C I 5 think a young woman is making up stories of being terrorised, but Bodie thinks otherwise and is assigned to protect her.

This is an interesting episode let down by a duff ending. The story itself is actually a bit thin, and doesn't bear much scrutiny. This is one of those episodes that is filler between the better ones TBH.  Bodie actually takes the time to get to know a woman, rather than just shagging her. The lighting in this ep is TERRIBLE. Unless you turn the brightness up on your TV it looks like a bunch of dark splodges. Whoever was in charge of the lighting ought to be done over by Bodie and Doyle!

Although the plot is an old Professionals idea, I like this one. The woman is ballsy and a match for Bodie, but the bad guy is pathetic, and why Bodie doesn't just give him a kicking is beyond me. It's a return to the car chat! The scene over the liver sausage sandwich is worth replaying a few times. Not a bad ep overall, but the lame bad guy, overused plot and terrible lighting let it down a bit.


3) A Man Called Quinn (*** out of ****)

Written by: Tony Barwick

Directed by: Ted Childs

Guest stars: Del Henney and Stephen Berkoff

A tortured ex-M I 5 agent starts killing memeber of his old service

This is a very entertaining ep, one of the best from the later seasons. Quite a bit of action, an original plot and some good banter. Got to love the scene where the cop pulls Bodie over for speeding and Bodie basically gives him the finger! It's also probably the most bizarre episode Profs ever did, and would be a perfect New Avengers ep. One big problem. Why is Krasnov allowed to see Quinn if Quinn is now in a safe institution??? Or is Quinn hallucinating? Well I just gave the plot away, so I'll shut up! It's good to have moreinfo on Cowley, as theseries mostly focuses on Bodie and Doyle, so it's rare to find out about The Cow.

Bodie is very devious in this one, double bugging Cowley, while Doyle doesn't seem to understand Bodie's plan. Unusual. There are some very good stunts in this on, such as Bodie and Doyle getting a wardrobe droped on them and the guy who Bodie runs over as he drives the Capri into the hangar at the end.

I like the final scene where Quinn thinks he's flying off on a mission and ends up accidentally topping himself by crashing into the end of the runway markers, and this is the only episode we see the Capri at full blast. Bloody lucky Lew didn't flip the car over as he handbrake turned it! Yeah, I enjoyed this one, but it may not be for everyone's taste.


4) No Stone (* out of ****)

Written by: Roger Marshall

Directed by: Chris Burt

Guest stars: Sarah Neville and Michael Praed

A rich young woman plans to blow up all the legal offices in London

This ep starts quite well, but after about 15 minutes it goes downhill fast. The bit with the clocks to confuse Ulrike is just stupid, and Sarah Neville is just lousy in this role. Michael Praed is also completely wasted, having to sit there wearing shades the whole episode. Avoid.


5) Spy Probe (***1/2 out of ****)

Written by: Tony Barwick

Directed by: Dennis Abey

Guest stars: Barry Stanton and Paul Daneman

The KGB has hired several hitmen to get rid of ex secret service paper pushers

There are two things wrong with this episode and it falls into the 'So Bad That It's Brilliant' category, but this is one of my all time favourites of the series. The two things wrong are how does Kovak know that Doyle is a spy if he doesn't suspect Bodie, and how does Miss Walsh get to her final conclusion. Neither is very clear, but what makes this episode work is the cleverness of the story, and the believablity of the two hitmen. While the plot itself stretches plausibility to breaking point (there's no way the KGB would whack people on the off chance that they would meat up at the vicars' tea party), the idea of high ranking officials being covert spies for other countries has proved to be true.

Ferris and Twig are great, as the inept hitmen, and are devastatingly funny. Bodie and Doyle have a very high banter rate in this one too. The body count is very high in this one, and the action is thick and fast. My fave scene is where the 2 guys drive their Capris at each other. ''Three inches?'' ''Four''. A bit daft at times, but a good episode to finish the series. This is another ep that would have fit The New Avengers like a glove. As a send off, while it's not perfect it's a fun episode to go out on.

Originally Bodie and Doyle were written to be killed at the end of the episode, but Clemens baulked at the idea, and while LWT left fans on tenterhooks, it came to nothing as this episode was shown mid season! Ironically Lew himself nearly drowned when he was pulled under the boat and only Martin waving frantically for help saved his life.

It's sad that the series came to an end after only five episodes of what was turning into a promising season, but both Lew and Martin were anxious to quit by this stage and as soon as their contracts were up in mid 1981 they both said enough was enough. Ironically the show won several awards that year including most popular ITV show, so the producers must have been kicking themselves that they let the series end so abruptly.



I decided to add a review of Who Dares Wins because it's abot the closest anyone ever came to making a Professionals movie. Originally there was going to be a film based on the series written by Brian Clemens, but it was shelved after creative differences with Shaw. Fortunately, we did get to see a Professionals-esque film with this effort, and although it's been mauled by various critics, I think it's been unfairly bashed. So without further ado...
 
Who Dares Wins

Released: 7th August 1982 (UK) 26th August 1982 (Germany)

Written by: George Markstein and Reginald Rose based on the book The Tiptoe Boys by James Follett.

Produced by: Euan Lloyd

Directed by: Ian Sharp

Stars: Lew Collins, Judy Davis, Tony Doyle, Edward Woodward and Richard Widmark

This film is based on the Iranian Embassy Siege of 1980, and takes it's name from the SAS's motto.

Peter Skellen (Lewis) is a crack commando who is given a special assignment to infiltrate an anti-nuclear terrorist group, The People's Lobby, run by hardliner Frankie Leith. To add credibility, he beats up two foreign soldiers assigned to train with the SAS, and they want to gain revenge and do so, giving Skellen more credibility with Frankie.

The People's Lobby hold a group of military leaders hostage and want nuclear disarmament in Britain. Frankie finds out about Skellen and has his family kidnapped. Skellen signals to his boss to attack and at the same time, SAS agents free Skellen's family. Skellen himself leads an assault on Frankie herself and kill her, ending the terrorist threat.

I really enjoy this film, and you can clearly tell it's influenced by it's TV forebearer, notable the episodes Kickback and Where the Jungle Ends. The plot is fairly involving and the acting is good, especially from Lewis and Judy Davis. However it does drag on a bit too long and some of the action is a bit short and sharp. It's more realistic that way but less involving for the audience. This plays almost like extended episode of The Professionals; Lew plays a serving/ex-SAS officer, the ditrector, cameraman, editor and many behind the scenes personnel are in charge of production, and had lots of the series' guest stars appear. The bigger budget allows for authentic location shooting and it looks like there were a fair few technical advisors, judging by the tactics and methods used. Yeah. A good flick.