KCET airs a new Season 2 episode of "Inspector George Gently" this Sunday, April 28, at 9 p.m. If you're eager to get to the bottom of this week's whodunit early (or if you need to play catch-up once the end credits start rolling), then this recap is for you. Prepare for spoilers and answers aplenty.
(Need a refresher on the other installments of this detective series? Then check out our previous "Investigating 'Gently'" recaps.)
So is this the last "Gently" KCET will be airing?
For now, yes. Next Sunday, it's "I, Claudius," but rest assured that this is not the last you'll be seeing of Inspector Gently.
Who's the unlucky stiff this week?
Patrick Fuller, an employee at the local mill. In fact, that's where he's found hanged, but the lack of a suicide note make Gently and Bacchus suspect that Fuller could have been murdered. There's some evidence to support this: In the room where Fuller's body was found, there was also a woman's earring on the floor and a thread from Fuller's coat stuck to a nail.
Are any of the other mill staffers suspects?
Most that we meet seem fairly broken up by Fuller's death. The mill manager, Henry Blythely (Nicholas Jones), was once best friends with the dead man, and the manager's wife, Mrs. Blythely (Anne Hornby), seems shaken as well. And then there's Julie (Kate Heppell), the pneumatic 17-year-old secretary, who can't stop gushing about how kind Mr. Fuller was to her.
Who doesn't seem so upset?
Two people in particular: First, at the mill, there's Sam Draper (Tom Goodman-Hill, a real KCET MVP whom you may recognize from "Doc Martin," "Hustle" and "Foyle's War"). He's a rotten excuse of a foreman who seems interested in neither doing his job well nor grieving for the late Mr. Fuller. There's also Mrs. Fuller, who doesn't seem the least surprised when Bacchus arrives with news that her husband has died. She long suspected that Mr. Fuller was having an affair with Julie -- she had often smelled Julie's perfume on her husband -- and furthermore, her husband had gotten himself into a great deal of debt, despite the fact that he had fairly recently sold ownership of the mill to Geoffrey Pershore.
And who is Geoffrey Pershore?
A major component of this episode's "B" plot, Pershore (Tim McInnerny, of "Mi-5" and "Black Adder") is running against the conservative "authority" candidate, Nicholas Mundy (Trevor Cooper) in a local election. It's all anyone's talking about, aside from Fuller's death. In fact, one of the mill employees, an eager lad named Jed Jimpson (Justin McDonald), is a key player in Pershore's campaign.
He's... um... eager, and the actor seems intent on expressing this as physically as possible.
What can Pershore tell us about these suspects?
Gently first presses Pershore about why Fuller hired Draper. Pershore can only offer "We all make mistakes." As for the overeager Jed Jimpson, Pershore explains that he has been acting as a father figure for Jed, who lost his biological father several months ago. Finally, there's Fuller. Not long ago, Pershore called Fuller into his office to discuss the disappearance of £1,500 from the office safe. Fuller couldn't explain it. And on the night of Fuller's death, Pershore had gone to the mill to discuss the matter with him. Fuller wasn't there. Neither were the accounting books. What Pershore did find, however, was an envelope containing £500 in bills bearing sequential serial numbers. Pershore, however, decided not to pursue the matter in an effort to protect his campaign.
Was Mrs. Fuller correct in believing that her husband was having an affair?
Yes and no. When Gently and Bacchus ask Julie this directly, she's horrified. An actual quote: "I'm gonna tell my dad you said that. And copper or no copper, he's gonna come down an thump ya." Julie is as innocent as she is naïve, and swears up and down that she's never been with a man. Additionally, Julie explains that the earring found on the mill floor couldn't be hers, as she has pierced ears and this earring is a clip-on.
So if Mr. Fuller actually was having an affair with a woman...
The only suspect would be Mrs. Blythely. In fact, Gently stops to interview more mill workers -- including the Blythelys -- next. And although Jed is the one lacking an alibi -- on the night of the murder, he left work early to campaign for Mr. Pershore after having a shouting match with Mr. Fuller -- it's Mrs. Blythley who comes off as the most suspicious. And soon enough, she is in an interrogation room, admitting to a long-term affair with Mr. Fuller, her husband's best friend. The reason he would come from smelling like Julie's perfume is that Mrs. Blythely once noted how young and beautiful Julie looked. Mr. Fuller subsequently bought her Julie's items -- her perfume, her earrings (but in clip-on form) -- so that she'd also feel beautiful.
Did anyone else know about the affair?
Mr. Draper might have, as he once stumbled into the room when Mrs. Blythley and Mr. Fuller were embracing. But if Draper did know, he's surely not telling anyone now, because Soon enough, Gently and Bacchus are pulling his corpse out of the water. He's been bashed in the head, and the first suspect in this second death is Mr. Blythely, who's standing by watching as Gently and Bacchus examine the body.
Okay, did Mr. Blythely know his wife was sleeping with his best friend?
Yes. He says he could "smell it on her." But he doesn't mean Julie's perfume. He means happiness.
You know, Bacchus hasn't done anything stupid yet.
That's not really a question, but I'll answer it anyway. After more or less reaching a dead end in the case, our detectives learn that Fuller was a member of the Freemasons. Furthermore, his Freemason brothers are largely all political conservatives who wanted him to dig up dirt on his boss, the liberal Pershore. Figuring that infiltrating the notoriously tightlipped Freemasons could offer him a new lead, Bacchus goes to his father-in-law, the chief constable, and requests membership. He doesn't tell Gently, because Gently explicitly told him that membership in such a club would prevent an officer from being impartial as an investigator. And Bacchus also doesn't tell his wife, instead offering her the story that he's working late. In undergoing the initiation ritual (which awkwardly involves wearing an noose, much like Mr. Fuller did), Bacchus actually manages to identify one new suspect -- Maurice Hilton (Alan McKenna) a health inspector -- who may know something important.
That... actually sounds fairly shrewd. Where's the boneheaded aspect?
Gently and Bacchus's never-before-seen-onscreen wife, Lisa (Melanie Clark Pullen) run into each other in town.
It's a good scene. We learn that Lisa hates policemen. She married Bacchus anyway. She loves him. She feels he hides a lot. She just found out he votes Tory. She supports Pershore. She thinks he's honest. She asks Gently if she's losing her husband. He can't answer. (That could be in part because Bacchus did have an affair, as we learned two episodes ago.)
And what does the health inspector tell our detectives?
When they bring him in for questioning, he explains that when he examined the mill, he found it to be filthy. Fuller being a fellow Mason, however, Hilton couldn't shut him down. This reprieve allowed for Preshore to sweep in, buy the place and clean it up without the mill getting the bad publicity of health code violations. Given that the mill was working the whole time, however, tainted flour got out and made people sick. Everyone recovered, save for one person: a man who died of liver problems. Pershore got a closure notice, but had been paying Hilton off ever since. Hilton had also been squeezed by his fellow Masons to let the story go public.
Please, put this in context of the murders.
It's coming. Gently and Bacchus take this information to Pershore's campaign office, where Pershore admits that he should have shut down the mill but didn't on account of the workers whose livelihoods depend on it. Gently points out that the closure notice was nowhere to be found among the items in the vault. That's where Draper comes in. After leveraging his knowledge of the affair with Mrs. Blythely in order to get a foreman position, Draper continued to blackmail Fuller. When Fuller was unable to pay, Draper got into the mill's vault, looking for cash. He found the closure notice, and therefore began blackmailing Pershore as well. Pershore and Draper were in the middle of a cash exchange, in fact, when Jed happened upon them. Incensed with Draper for his treatment of his political role model, Jed decked Draper... who then hit his head. Draper died. At Pershore's advice, they tossed Draper's body into the river.
Say... what about that one food poisoning death?
It was Jed's father. Jed assumed alcoholism killed his dad, and he's enraged to learn that his role model and substitute father figure is responsible for his actual father's death, to the point that he actually holds a broken bottle to Pershore's neck. Ultimately, he declines from taking an additional life.
And who killed Fuller?
Fuller killed Fuller. The suspicious-seeming suicide was just that, and in the end it seems that Fuller truly killed himself to end the stress caused by his affair and his debt.
Finally, what's with the episode title?
Yeah, "Gently Through the Mill" seems too pleased with itself at having realized that Gently's last name is an adverb to realize that it's not the most enticing episode title ever. But while the episode titles have been having fun with Gently's last name, none of the characters on the show have seemed to realize that Gently's name is odd. You'd think someone would have pointed out this at some point. Or at least made a joke about it.
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Martin Shaw stars as commander George Gently, an incorruptible, uncompromising cop transplanted from London's Scotland Yard to England's North Country in the mid-1960's.