The Bill – The Three Wise Monkeys

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Geoff McQueen returned to script The Three Wise Monkeys.  It opens with Ted in a bad mood (for a change) although DC Mike Dashwood (Jon Iles) is, as ever, much more sanguine.  Ted wants to be back at the nick, so he can deal with Blakelynn (Tom Owen) but instead has to deal with the fall-out from an attempted armed robbery.

Blakelynn ends up being extracted from Ted’s clutches and delivered into the care of DC Willis (Mark Carey) and DC Hawtrey (Nick Brimble).  They come from the West Country, so are obviously “carrot crunchers”, as Ted so nicely calls them.   Brimble makes the most of his handful of lines.  Towering over Ted, Hawtrey tells him that “if you don’t shove off within the next five seconds I’m going to bounce your head around this yard for a pastime.”  Lovely!

Tom Penny’s still on light duties (in the CAD room) but all this talk of shooters isn’t doing him any good.  Frankly, he looks so flaky that it’s rather strange nobody has noticed anything is amiss – not even Chief Supt. Brownlow (Peter Ellis – sporting a severe new haircut) who’s wandered into the CAD room to stick his oar in (or coordinate proceedings, depending on your point of view).

But having said nobody’s noticed Tom’s traumas, that’s not quite the case.  Both Alec Peters (Larry Dann) and Bob Cryer (Eric Richard) are aware he’s got something of a drink problem, as does Inspector Frazer.  She’s only had a short time to make her presence felt, but the fact she elects not to do anything official about Tom- leaving it to Bob to have a quiet word – indicates that she’s on the side of the troops.  The counter-conclusion we can draw is that she somewhat negligently leaves an officer she knows to be sub-par in a position of considerable authority.

Ted and Mike are cruising the area, looking for the armed robbers (they’ve stolen a car and taken the driver hostage).   They have no joy, but WPC June Ackland (Trudie Goodwin) and PC Yorkie Smith (Robert Hudson) are more fortunate, or maybe unfortunate ….

They pick up three armed TSG officers who are rather forthright (“get right up his end son”) and it’s clear that their gung-ho attitude is going to bite them on the bottom very soon.  And so it does.  There’s a spot of gunplay before the end of part one, which is chiefly notable for how bad a shot the baddy is – he lets off twelve rounds at fairly close range but doesn’t hit anybody.  It’s still a traumatic event though – which becomes plain later on as both June and Yorkie come to terms with their close escape.

And if it was stressful for them, then it’s even more so for Tom Penny.  He might have been safe in the station, but even thinking about it is enough to push him to the point of collapse.  Frazer continues to demonstrate her sense of empathy as she takes June into the toilets and encourages her to have a good cry (“there’s no men in here”).  June prefers to throw up instead, which seems to please Frazer just as much.  After a good cry or a good puke, she’ll no doubt feel a lot better.

The Three Wise Monkeys quite neatly shows how police work can be seconds of pure terror.  The plotline with Tom Penny will be referenced again, which is a rarity during this period of The Bill as normally it didn’t string out character angst across multiple episodes.  How that would change ….

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