The GLG Reports
Page 10 of 67

Trojan Horse
By Grant L. Goggans

"We train killers — highly professional murderers — and you're part of the organization whether you like it or not!" This is an incredibly detailed and complex story for what looks like, at first glance, a common cops-n-thugs potboiler more suited to the mundane world of No Hiding Place than The Avengers. After a pre-title sequence that's a real head-scratcher until about ten minutes in, it becomes incredibly fun to watch as the scope of the criminal organization unfolds. Heuston is a fabulous villain, who starts out looking like a common TV "boss guy" of a gang, with sunglasses and handkerchief, but turns out to be a very unique and almost sympathetic creation. Like several other episodes in the days before they started using film, the script deals with everyday criminals and their everyday schemes in a way that modern audiences may find unusual. Steed's assignment seems to be to protect foreign interests, currently held by wealthy upper class businessmen, from "dope gangs" represented by Derek Newark's ruffian character Johnson. While the Avengers I know and love is more apt to deal with despots with dreams of domination, this is a perfectly charming distraction into what was then a real world affair, although truly, few members of any sizeable audience has really ever had much to fear from "dopers" going out and "nobbling" foreign horses. The only truly subpar moment, for American audiences anyway, is a lengthy scene in which Mrs. Gale rattles off a laundry list of odds, bets and places in pre-decimal currency to Heuston. It's reminiscent of scenes in mystery novels like Five Red Herrings which revolve around railway timetables, being totally baffling to anyone, even audiences of the day, who have no connection with the lingo of horse racing. Hulke's refusal to explain things may be frustrating to me as a viewer, but I admire and respect the producers' decision to tell the story the way they want with no quarter given. Overall, this is a well crafted and strong script with great performances, excepting perhaps Lucinda Curtis, who at least gets to flirt with Steed, and despite the odd tone, it's an engaging piece of early 60s TV.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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