The Mind of Mr J.G. Reeder – The Strange Case (21st May 1969)

Lord Sellington (John Robinson) is estranged from his son, Sir Harry Carlin (Edward Fox). Harry is a dissolute spendthrift, desperate for money which his father refuses to supply. So when Lord Sellington is found dead, his son is the obvious suspect. But is he too obvious?

Well, yes – otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story. To be honest, the mystery part of The Strange Case isn’t terribly taxing as the list of possible suspects is quite small. So it’s best just to sit back and enjoy the story.

Robinson (the grumpy Quatermass) plays a rather grumpy Lord. Typecasting at work I think. Although to be fair to him, there’s a brief moment later on when he starts to unbend just a little (after Lord Sellington is reunited with his grandson). Robinson certainly does what he can to give the role some light and shade.

Edward Fox’s character spends most of his time blissed out on opium down a seedy Limehouse den but in the few moments when he’s lucid, Harry displays an arrogant charm. Incidentally, still reeling from the browning up in the last episode, today there’s the unforgettable sight of Denis Shaw as Wu Tong. It’s very much a “me velly solly” sort of performance.

John Malcolm (later very solid in Enemy at the Door) and Jennifer Wilson also feature. It’s one of the odd quirks of archive television watching that you can so often stumble across the same actors again and again – having just seen Wilson in an episode of Special Branch, she now reappears in this (as Harry’s estranged wife – now working as Reeder’s temporary secretary).

Reeder is initially a little reluctant to hire a member of the aristocracy, but he succumbs. The best comic moment of the episode occurs when Sir Jason Toovey discovers her true identity – nobody could splutter quite like Willoughby Goddard.

Once again, I have to say that whilst the story is a little thin, Hugh Burden manages to come up trumps. Reeder’s tangle with the baddy is great fun – Mr J.G. pulling a sword from his umbrella in order to do battle. So whilst the mystery is a little lacking, a series of strong performances from the main cast members helps to keep the interest levels up.