The GLG Reports
Page 12 of 67

The Murder Market
By Grant L. Goggans

"That must have set them a problem, finding a match for you!" This episode's plot is pure PI melodrama hokum, like something you'd see on far lesser American shows from the black-and-white era such as Honey West or Richard Diamond. Fortunately, the bizarre house style of this series and the excellent direction (the body in the tub, the kinky-as-hell photo shoot), plus the rather unexpected complication of Steed having to prove that he has, indeed, killed Mrs. Peel, push this episode into better territory. Acting is above par, and like many good Avengers, it features a few stars-to-be, here in the form of Patrick Cargill, who'd later star in six seasons of the sitcom Father, Dear Father, and, in a smaller role, John Woodvine, of the 1972-75 series New Scotland Yard. The hour is made by a few small flourishes, such as an unexpected scene of Steed and Mrs. Peel having a short, but heated, argument, and Mrs. Peel playing familiar melodies on Steed's tuba. The really big fight scene at the end is something of a mixed blessing. Steed and another ally take on several male thugs in one room of the Togetherness offices, and the fight degenerates into slapping each other with huge paper hearts and throwing wedding cake, but the music, wonderfully, retains its deadly serious tone. Sadly, the three-handed cat-fight in another room, as Mrs. Peel fends off two women, is played totally straight while the other fight goes bananas, and the contradiction doesn't work as well, due to some unflattering direction and editing. The same trick would be used in the color episode "The Correct Way to Kill" to much greater effect. Worse, there's a brief but obvious shot of a male stunt double for Diana Rigg at one point. My only real complaint, other than the humdrum basis for the plot, is with the idea of two people killing each other's targets while the other has an alibi, which is cribbed straight from Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train without any subtlety. The fun and charm of this episode go a long way towards redeeming its derivative features, but can't save the hour totally.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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