The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Crooked Man
Michael Cox for Granada Television/ITV
directed by Alan Grint
starring Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Norman Jones, Lisa Daniely, Denys Hawthorne, Fiona Shaw, Paul Chapman, Shelagh Stephenson, Michael Lumsden, Catherine Rabett, James Wilby, Maggie Holland, Colin Campbell, David Graham Jones
screenplay by Alfred Shaughnessy, based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Patrick Gowers
Sherlock Holmes, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)
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After high-ranking army colonel Barclay (Denys Hawthorne) is found dead
next to his unconscious wife Nancy (Lisa Daniely), and for the police it's
obvious that she has killed him, as their relationship was a tad strained.
But Barclay's second-in-command (Paul Chapman) is not so sure, so he calls
in Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) and Dr Watson (David Burke) to
investigate. Holme's immediately digs into Barclay and Nancy's past and
finds out that when she was a young woman in India, Nancy (in flashbacks
played by Catherine Rabett), what you would call an army brat, had many
suitors among the young soldiers stationed there, among others Barclay
(James Wilby in flashbacks) of course, and Henry Wood (Michael Lumsden).
next checks Nancy's backgrounds and finds out the evening of her husband's
death she has worked at a charity feeding the poor where she has met some
derelict with crippled legs wearing Oriental clothes - and that meeting
caused her great distress. Holmes of course figures in no time this
derelict must be Henry Wood (now played by Norman Jones) and tracks him
down even faster.
Now Wood tells the whole story, of how as a young man
he and Nancy were pretty much a couple but were exposed to Barclay's
jealousy, and when Wood went on a secret mission, Barclay saw to it that
he was lured into an ambush, then left him for dead. But Wood wasn't dead
but taken prisoner by a local tribe, who tortured him as their pastime.
Wood only managed to eventually free himself when a neighbouring tribe
massacred the tribe that held him and left him for dead (again). Now
though Wood had nowhere to return to, his regiment was long gone and he
was thought dead by everyone. But he survived and vowed revenge. The years
in India though made a broken man out of him, and he eventually only saved
enough money for a passage to England to die in his native country. It was
only by chance that he met Nancy, and when later he came to visit Barclay
and Nancy, he bore no malice ... but Barclay was so shocked by just seeing
him that he had a heart attack - and when falling he hit his head on
something, but might already have been dead by then. Nancy was so shocked
by this that she fainted, while Wood hightailed it out of there fearing he
would be a tailormade suspect. After all that is explained though, he will
gladly give himself up to the police to clear Nancy's name.
episode starts out great, actually, with an exchange between Jeremy Brett
at his arrogant best and Paul Chapman as a slightly insecure army officer
- and it goes downhill from there: Holmes' methods of deduction seem
rather random and not all that ingenious, the long flashbacks are
well-made but tell very little actual story of which the outcome is too
easy to guess, and the whole solution of the case, that the murder wasn't
a murder at all, is just disappointing.