I never thought I’d be writing about this show, which comes on twice weekly on the PBS. But last night episode (S6, E5) entitled “The Face of the Enemy” had a few outstanding features about it, notwithstanding the return of Lady Felicia.
“Lady Felicia returns from Africa, having split from her lover Benedict Northam and is told by MI5 agent Daniel Whittaker that he is a Soviet spy, blackmailing her into preventing Northam from handing over vital documents to the Russians at an arts fund raiser. Father Brown notices her unease and follows her, coming to her aid when she is accused of murder” IMDb
As with all espionage work, the ordinary person has no idea who the good guys are, so when this particular episode showed the emotional tug-of-war going on with Lady Felicia, I felt it worthy of attention.
And there was a MacGuffin! It was a statue carved in the style of the Maltese Falcon, a most suitable homage to Hitchcock.
The silver film canisters were an excellent way to demonstrate how the double cross took place. I won’t go into the intricacies, as that would spoil the suspense, but two specific sequences could be noted: Father Brown seeing where Northam’s private secretary hid one of them, and his witnessing the same person exposing the film to the light of day.
Given that the scene of the crime was a murder site, you might have presumed that Father Brown wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near it, but the pattern of the show is that he gets away with ‘snooping’ whenever and wherever he wants. This is how he solves the mysteries before the local police can work out what is going on.
So, somewhere along the line, a third canister has been added to the plot, and it takes the Soviet Russians developing the pictures for them to realize they’ve been duped.
I can only imagine that Inspector Mallory, the long-suffering, but comic character who runs the local police constabulary, would love to quote Henry II (from Becket):
“Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”