Season 3 Episode 9

Amos Green Must Live

Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Jun 24, 1970 on ITV
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Episode Summary

Amos Green Must Live
A parliamentary candidate receives a death threat.

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  • Amos Green is a bigoted, racist politician who has received a death threat. An American black rights group financier has been found murdered in London. It is up to Callan and Cross to find out the connection and stop the assassination.moreless


    Hunter and Cross turn up when the police discover the body of a murdered black man, an American black rights activist and money raiser called Arillo. On his body is found an ace of spades matchbook.

    Hunter brings Callan and Cross in because Amos Green, a radical British politician, has also been sent one of these matchbooks as a death threat. Green is a brash, racist, unlikeable man who hides his bigotry behind economic concerns, making enemies where ever he goes. This doesn't seem to bother him - until his life is threatened. Callan is unhappy when he thinks he is going to be assigned as Greens bodyguard - but his unhappiness turns to joy when Cross is lumbered with the job instead. Callan is allowed to hunt around and find out what happened to Arillo and who is behind the threats.

    In a squalid little flat - a bit like Callan's, actually - a black man called Casey is watching Green on television as he spouts his theories about sending migrants back to other countries. Casey is furious. Callan watches the same broadcast in his flat and looks disgusted.

    Callan finds the taxi driver Cross earlier harassed, who was seen with Arillo at the airport before his death. The driver says he saw Arillo get in a resprayed black Cortina, so Callan goes hunting for a car workshop that does resprays for coloured people. At Amos Green's house he and his meek housekeeper, Mrs.Coswood, plan his appointments while Cross looks on. Cross, as the new bodyguard demands the curtains in the house remain shut at all times for Green's protection. Cross asks Green if Coswood is trustworthy and Green laughs at the notion she could be a threat. He talks with Cross about his theories regarding the immigration policy but Cross, obviously not a fan of Green's, tactfully declines to comment. Callan moans to Hunter that he has too much to do - he has to tail Coswood, follow Green and investigate other leads. Hunter says nobody else can be spared. Besides, Cross thinks Coswood is clean enough. Lonely knocks on the door of Callan's flat and comes in, all happy and with a brown paper bag in hand, but when Callan asks how he knew there was a job for him Lonely starts to panic. Lonely tries to hide the bag but Callan wants to know what it is. "Nothing," says Lonely, and Callan says he's never seen nothing before and wants to have a look. Reluctantly Lonely hands it over. It's a box containing the ugliest, yellow tartan tie in existence. Callan is horrified and asks where it was nicked. Lonely denies thieving it. Suddenly Callan realises it is actually a present to him from Lonely. Callan is unsure what to make of such a gift, or even the fact he's been given a gift at all from a man he habitually bullies and beats up. He off-handedly accepts it, trying not to look too pleased, and Lonely is chuffed. Callan then gives him the job of finding car workshops that do resprays for coloured people.

    Hunter rings a ministry colleague and tells him he wants to be invited to dinner at Amos Green's house. Neither of them sound excited by the prospect of eating with Green.

    When Mrs.Coswood goes out shopping Callan routinely follows. She strolls into a clothing store and nips into a change room to try on a dress. He loiters around the front, waiting. Once inside the change room she puts on the new dress, stuffs her old one in her bag and flees out the back exit unnoticed. After a while Callan twigs that Coswood is taking too long. He races into the women's change room, pulling back curtains on half-dressed women, and is aghast this little meek woman has managed to give him the slip.

    Coswood turns up at Casey's flat. When she walks in there is a knife in his hand. He is scared and ready to defend himself, though she doesn't understand why. She shows him her new dress but he is too busy wallowing in his own misery - he was refused another job because he was black, he says. No one will hire him because of his colour. He asks if she was followed to his place and she asks why anyone would do that. He shrugs off the question and tells her to leave, for her own good, and never come back. She says she loves him and she can't go back because she just shoplifted her new dress to please him.

    Back at the Section Hunter is concerned Coswood was able to shoplift right under Callan's nose and wonders if Callan is losing his touch. Did she see him, he asks, but Callan thinks she's just a thief and was lucky to escape him. Hunter decides to wait for Coswood to be found or to return, and then Cross can have a talk to her. Casey is frantic Coswood stole a dress. She did it for him, she says, because she loves him. He orders her to take it back and shove it through the store letter box. He wants her to go back to Green's house as if everything were back to normal. She tells him that with the police all over the house nothing there is normal. Casey is really worried now and wants to know why the police are there? Someone wants to kill Green, she tells him. He yells that she has to go away and not let anyone know he's here. Suddenly she remembers his flick knife and thinks he is the one who will kill Green. When she confronts him he denies this but says he does know who will do it.

    Callan goes to the black rights activist group, Black Glove shop front and meets the woman in charge. She says they are a non-violent group who were hoping for funding from Arillo, so they had no reason to wish him dead. Callan suggests maybe a lone nutter was responsible but she blames a white extremist.

    Mrs.Coswood eventually returns home to Cross and Green, her mind flustered and guilty about stealing the dress. She is caught sneaking back into the house and assumes they are after her for the theft. She admits to everything, ashamed at her crime, then realises neither of them know what she's talking about. She scuttles away to make coffee.

    It's late when Callan returns to the Black Glove office. After a search he finds a list of addresses hidden on a notice board behind a map and takes them.

    Green opens his mail to find another ace of spades matchbook and is furious that too little effort is going into protecting him. Cross notices Coswood acting nervously and starts pressuring her, asking her awkward questions and bullying her to see if she has something to hide.

    The woman from Black Glove rings Casey and begs him to stop his madness as he is jeopardising the entire black power movement with his actions. She tells him the list of names has been stolen but he hangs up on her.

    Lonely pokes about trying to find a car workshop and finds Casey, who is instantly suspicious. Casey's associates arrive and Lonely is knocked unconscious. Callan explains to Hunter he had to steal the list because there was no time to copy everything down. Besides, nothing had been happening and now there might be a response because of his theft. Hunter wants to know why Callan hasn't reported in for eighteen hours and Callan tells him Lonely has gone missing. The stolen list and a list of addresses Lonely made of possible workshops coincide but Callan has found nothing.

    Hunter has an idea and calls Cross at Green's house to ask if he's been putting pressure on the housekeeper. Cross says he has and she's a nervous wreck. "She's in a terrible state, sir. Don't fancy your dinner tonight." Hunter gets Cross to stare at her and repeat the list of addresses he reads out to watch her reaction. She flinches at the Fetter street address then starts babbling. Callan races to that address while Hunter makes arrangements to attend Green's dinner party. At Fetter street Casey gives a set of Coswood's keys to the men he has hired to kill Green, then he hands them gas masks and gas cylinders. Lonely is tied onto a chair, apparently unconscious. As the men leave, Lonely tries to escape. Casey produces his knife and threatens Lonely, demanding to know why he turned up and what he knows. Just as he seems about to really do some damage there is a knock at the downstairs door. At the door is Callan at his ordinary best, claiming to be from the board of trade, visiting after hours. Behind his officious little clipboard is his gun. As soon as Casey opens the door far enough Callan barges into him and races up the stairs. He finds Lonely and frees him. Lonely tells him he heard a plan to kill someone but before Lonely can escape Casey runs in and holds a knife to Lonely's throat. Callan bluffs that Coswood told them everything but Casey says that can't be true or else Callan wouldn't be there. Callan disarms Casey and Lonely runs.

    Cross is working as a waiter at the dinner party, moving around Green's guests and providing Hunter with a fresh sherry. Hunter reminds Cross that if there is any trouble, Hunter is the one to save. Callan ties Casey while Casey continues to moan and whinge about being repressed and not allowed to work because he's black. Callan finds a gas mask and Casey admits to killing Arillo and planning to use gas to kill Green. Callan flees, mask in hand but Casey says it's too late.

    At Green's house a car full of armed men wearing gas masks turns up and they set off gas which floods the house and the grounds. They start shooting at the special branch agents outside and the dinner guests inside are overcome. As the assassins break into the house and search for Green, Callan charges in wearing a gas mask and shoots them.

    Callan drags each of the guests out into the fresh air and they revive. Green is thankful to have been saved but Callan is not at all happy to have helped the obnoxious Green and barely restrains himself from telling Green where to go.

    This is a strange episode for many reasons. Some of the acting is a little dodgey, (especially the actor playing Casey), and there may be a bit of a loop hole in the plot (why exactly did Casey kill Arillo?). The other strange thing is the notion of coloured people being treated as such a minority, and having to use workshops that deal with coloured people... Perhaps it is a sign of the times that it is hard to understand the notion of 'us' and 'them' that occurs in this episode. Of course that was how it was back then, and in some ways this is an interesting little time capsule of the social issues of the day. It is also interesting to note that our heroes (well, those from Section), do not like Green and his racist theories and seem to be more in line with our modern way of thinking. Apart from all this, the episode is fairly mainstream with the plot. The writer of this one was not James Mitchell, nor one of the main writers. Not as satisfying as it could have been - unlike the others this seems to have aged somewhat.moreless
Frank Coda

Frank Coda

Taxi Driver

Guest Star

Corin Redgrave

Corin Redgrave

Amos Green

Guest Star

Annette Crosbie

Annette Crosbie

May Coswood

Guest Star

Lisa Langdon

Lisa Langdon

Hunter's Secretary

Recurring Role

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