Drake has little love for the current Baravian government or its president, Pablo Gomez (Ewen Solon). But when he’s told that an attempt might be made on Gomez’s life during a visit to London, he immediately springs into action ….
Miguel Torres (Michael Ripper), an old adversary of Drake’s, requests his help in protecting the president. The always dependable Ripper essays an entertaining cameo as a possibly untrustworthy new ally (although given there’s a fair bit of plot to get through, Torres remains a fairly undeveloped character).
Given that the autocratic Gomez seized power after a violent uprising, there’s no shortage of dissidents (forced to flee Baravia and now living in the UK) who may wish him and his wife Maria (Maxine Audley) harm. But the fact they’re dealt with in a very abrupt manner (we see quick cutaway shots of Drake interviewing several people) makes it clear that they’re not going to feature.
Gomez is kept in the background for most of the episode, with Maria foregrounded much more (she’s the one who deals directly with Drake to begin with). It’s a nice performance from Maxine Audley who effectively manages to tease out Maria’s disenchantment with the current situation in her country. By the end of the episode we’re left in no doubt that she possesses a core of steel which will hopefully help to bring about positive change.
The other major guest appearance comes from Martin Miller as Stavros. Miller is a twitchy, ingratiating delight as a bomb maker who offers to tell Drake all he knows – for a cool ten thousand pounds.
As has happened before, mid-way through the episode is the point where the story begins to collapse. I can accept that Stavros has been commissioned to build a bomb and that he knows the time it will go off, but how does he know who ordered it?
For those who don’t know the ending please look away now …..
Gomez was responsible – his plan was to place the bomb in his car and at the last minute be called to an urgent phone call (meaning that his wife would be driven away and shortly afterwards be blown to smithereens). Wouldn’t it just have been easier to ask for a divorce?
It beggars belief that Gomez approached Stavros directly (surely he could have used an intermediary?) and when Stavros – arriving at Paddington station to receive the cash from Drake – is shot dead, it’s even harder to credit that Gomez was lurking somewhere on the platform with a gun. Given there had been a threat on his life, would he have been allowed to walk around on his own?
Looking for the positives, Stavros’ death scene (in the ambulance, clutching the money he never got a chance to spend) is a nice touch and there’s some brief travelogue shots of London (although McGoohan was obviously doubled for the Paddington location shoot).
If you can suspend your disbelief, then The Lovers (an obviously ironic title) isn’t a bad way to spend twenty five minutes.