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Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969)

Season 1 Episode 2

A Disturbing Case

Aired Sunday 7:30 PM Sep 28, 1969 on ITV
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Episode Summary

A Disturbing Case
Jean and sister Jenny arrive at the office to find Jeff in the middle of a knock-down, drag-out argument with Marty over the use of Jean's car (which Marty, although dead, still considers his). The combination of lack of work, impending bills and Jeff's car stolen and used in a robbery that the police suspect him in lead Jean and Jenny to think that Jeff has snapped. They plant a tape recorder in the office to gather evidence, which they present to a psychiatrist who is behind a crime spree. The psychiatrist must reprogram Jeff to forget about Marty in order to prevent Marty from relaying information about the crime spree.moreless

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  • If there were only one episode to use to introduce people to Randall and Hopkirk, it would be this classic, co-written by series star Mike Pratt.

    "A Disturbing Case" stands as the best episode and the best-liked among fans of the original Randall and Hopkirk series. (The 2000 Reeves and Mortimer remake of the series had an episode - "Mental Apparition Disorder" - based on this episode.)

    This episode was co-written by Mike Pratt, who played Jeff Randall. With Ian Wilson, Pratt constructed a brilliant script. The actors then delivered on the script with some of the best performances of the series.

    For half of the show Jeff is confined to a bed in a psychiatric hospital under sedation. His facial expressions are absolutely priceless. They are hilarious and simply must be seen to be appreciated.

    Jeff gets even better, however, once Marty discovers how to get him out of the hospital by impersonating the evil Dr. Conrad's voice. Jeff marches through the hospital and over a gravel driveway in a hospital gown and sock-covered feet, maintaining the same goofy smile he wore while in bed. His expression hardly changes while he's walking around in the hypnotic stupor, even when he is engaging in a fight against two men simultaneously under orders by Marty to "fight like ten men".

    But Jeff is not the only one getting laughs. Marty delivers some of the best puns of the entire series in this episode. Of particular enjoyment is his frustrated quip, "This'll be the death of me" as he's trying to get Jeff out of the hospital. His moments of disgust where he grits his teeth, whistles at Jeff, and waves his hands in front of an oblivious Jeff highlight a great comedic performance by Kenneth Cope.

    Another highlight of this episode is the scene in the hospital when Dr. Conrad (played by David Bauer, who also dubbed his voice over Cope's in the segments when Marty was impersonating Dr. Conrad) sits in a chair that Marty is occupying. In more than one case, Randall and Hopkirk suffered from some terrible editing when Marty entered or exited. However, in this case, the editing is perfect: as Conrad prepares to "sit on" Marty, Marty gives a look of horror and quickly disappears, immediately reappearing at Jeff's bedside to chide the psychiatrist (who, of course, cannot see or hear the ghost) for what he has done to Jeff.

    Inspector Nelson (played in two episodes by Michael Griffiths) also plays the comic foil to Marty. In the final scene, when Nelson is interrogating Jeff about his actions at the hospital, Marty walks behind the policeman, perfectly aping his movements. The closeness of Marty to Inspector Nelson makes the scene even funnier.

    In spite of all of the comedy in this episode, the story does not suffer (unlike the episode "Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave", which appears to have been written for the sake of one joke). The plot - a psychiatrist giving his patients orders under hypnosis for them to willing surrender valuables to a thief - stands on its own.

    "A Disturbing Case" is currently available on DVD in the U.S. through A&E, and world-wide in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) box set (which is region 2 coded).moreless

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