Return of the Saint – Dragonseed

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Leo (Andrea Occhipinti) is a young man with everything to live for.  His father Domenico (Sam Wanamaker) is a millionaire businessman, grooming Leo to take over the reigns one day soon.  Although it’s his birthday, Leo is keen to close a multi-million pound deal by himself.  But after the helicopter he’s travelling in crashes, killing both Leo and the pilot, the question has to be, accident or sabotage?  And since Domenico was originally due to take the trip, was he the intended victim?

Another Italian episode, filmed in the highly picturesque area of Tuscany, Dragonseed is certainly an installment that makes full use of its locations.  Especially impressive are the scenes shot around the dockside – with the sun glinting on the water it looks gorgeous.

This originally aired immediately after Vicious Circle, which was slightly unfortunate – both are Italian shot episodes which feature Simon investigating the death of a friend who initially appeared to have died in an accident.  Another similarity is that they both include beautiful but deadly females …..

It’s hard to understand quite how Simon and Leo became friends, as Leo was in his late teens it’s difficult to imagine they would have moved in the same circles.  Had Simon been a friend of the family that would have made sense – but Domenico’s never heard of him.

Having directed the previous episode, Sam Wanamaker now steps in front of the camera.  He was an actor with presence and range, although he’s not best served by the script.  Domenico is a ruthless businessman who loves his family and vows to avenge his son’s death by whatever means necessary.  If this sounds a bit cliched, then it is, and Wanamaker does struggle at the start to make something out of the fairly unpromising material.  He’s better later on though – as we see Domenico start to crack up a little as his loss really begins to sink in.

However, there are worse performances, such as Barbara Pilavan who plays Domenico’s ex-wife Lucia.  She may be another victim of unsympathetic dubbing, but Pilavan doesn’t impress – especially in the scene where she arrives at the hospital (where Leo is hovering between life and life) and emotes in a very unconvincing way.

More pleasing are Shane Rimmer (a familiar television and film presence, well-known for his work with Gerry Anderson) as Domenico’s shady security man and Annamaria Macchi as Domenico’s daughter Carla.  Macchi is on hand to provide the customary dollop of glamour as well as a few surprises.

Both this episode and Vicious Circle feature friends of Simon who are killed off before the credits roll.  This is another problem as it makes it hard to care about them, since their screen-time has been so limited.  On its own, Dragonseed is entertaining enough, but the sense of familiarity means that it only rates three halos out of five.

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