Does he live or die? Lives! Like I said, he's a smallish - though entirely key - character in this, and though the poor lad is scarred by his apalling parents (you'll find out in a minute), he does survive. Which is more than you could say if Jamie were playing Valmont, anyway.
Title: The Last Detective, "Dangerous Liaisons"
Original Airdate: 10 May 2007
Availability: Series 4, as well as the Complete Collection are available on DVD
Synopsis: The Last Detective is based on the Dangerous Davies series of novels; Peter Davison plays Davies, a detective busted back to constable who has to fight to be taken seriously by his department (though he does manage to be pretty damn good at detecting). In this episode, the body of a reclusive amateur pornographer leads to an even more gruesome discovery that dredges up horrific family secrets. And no, it has nothing to do with the book or play Dangerous Liaisons (aka Les Liaisons Dangereuses - though I'll just leave the image of Jamie as Valmont riiiight here for ya. Thank me later. ;) )
Worth Watching? At least once, certainly. Jamie only features in a few scenes but his character is one of the few entirely sympathetic ones in the whole murder mystery. Not to mention he doesn't photograph too shabby, either. ;) (The show itself isn't bad, and actually surprisingly dark in content for what is for the most part your bog standard ITV mystery series. And of course, I love Peter Davison - Five, along with Four, were my Doctors - and it's nice to see the first time he and Jamie worked together. Though they haven't actually had a scene together on LOUK yet, have they?!)
Since Jamie doesn't turn up until half an hour into the ep, I'll try to sum up the first half as quickly as I can. ;)
The episode opens with Davies and his team attending a panel on blood spatter detection techniques (pay attention to the blood spatter thing as well as the lady signing for the deaf, they're important later!) He goes home and says goodbye to his wife, who is off on a girls' weekend out of town, and discovers his pal Mod (who I rather like, mostly because he's played by the excellent Irish writer/actor Sean Hughes and I love his Droopy Dog face), cleaning the kitchen with the blood spatter detection substance he brought home from the panel. Oh joy.
The plot kicks in with two teenagers sneaking into a deserted house, presumably for hanky panky (not the most romantic atmosphere, but they're kids... they'll learn?) and discovering a raggedy, rotting corpse sitting in a chair in the lounge. Davies and team turn up the next morning; the dead man is Dominic Sylvester, late 50's, and the house is definitely his so he's not a squatting hobo. Divorced, used to be a successful architect but pretty much turned into a hermit later in life. The body's been sitting there for a couple of weeks at least. (Ew.) Only Davies notices oddities in the crime scene that indicate someone might have moved the chair the body is in; he convinces the guv to let him investigate on his own time.
Sylvester's upstairs office turns up photos of his family and hidden stash of old 8mm movies. In reviewing the movies, he makes a horrible discovery - an amateur S&M movie shot in Sylvester's house which in the end appears for all intents and purposes to be a snuff film; the girl in the movie is stabbed in the chest by a masked individual. So we now have two potential murders, one of them decades old.
Davies pays a visit to Sylvester's ex-wife Emily (played by the fab Celia Imrie), who is now remarried. She says she hasn't seen her ex since the divorce, and claims not to recognize a photo of the girl in the film (though her initial pause might indicate otherwise?) Oh, and in one of those nifty "this is only in the interviewee's head" flashbacks, we see her shouting at her apparent deadbeat husband (hey, it's Jeff Rawle! Amos Diggory is the dead creeper!) and there's clearly a young girl hiding behind a doorway behind him. Davies asks about their son, Luke, and apparently they are not on good terms and don't know where to find him.
Chasing down a lead on the girl, not knowing if she was a working girl or not, leads Davies to Reggie Conway, the local sex shop owner. He claims not to know anything about the girl, either, and on top of that claims snuff films are just a myth.
Oh... and here's the part where Davies tracks down the son. Say hello to Luke:
Our own Luke Clayhill here (he adopted his mother's maiden name, which should tell you a lot right off the bat about how he feels about his father) is a college athletics coach, and has less than zero time for an inquiry at first, until he's told his dad was murdered:
(This is his "OK, you've got my attention now" face.)
(So, how about for a change, instead of caps... you get a clip!):
Upon further questioning, he claims not to know the girl in the photo either, though he pauses in the exact same way his mother did when seeing her at first. (Yeah, THAT'S not insignificant, is it? But it does give us a coveted gratuitous arm shot, so we're not complaining...) Oh, and he's well aware of the porn habit his late father was into, and goes so far as to indicate that his habits started well before his mother left.
(Oh, and a couple more caps anyway... why the hell not? He's only got a few scenes!):
So on a hunch, Davies goes back to the Sylvester house armed with his blood spatter detection spray (or what's left of it from Mod's housework); together, they find a trail of blood leading to the cellar and there, skeletal remains long buried. The analysis indicates the bones belong to a young white woman about the age of the mystery girl. Pressure is on now to link the two murders, but Davies spies a figure reflected in the mirror of blown-up images from the film.
He goes back to Emily, who he claims deliberately lied to them though she persists in still not knowing who the girl is and denies what Luke told them about her ex-husband's porn habit breaking up their marriage. (Oh, and in another secrety-flashback, we see her discovering Luke discovering his Dad filming a smut film in the house, so yeah... deliberately lying!) Davies and his fellow copper leave the house... just before Luke walks out from behind the hallway door, having apparently heard the entire conversation:
"It was her, wasn't it?" he asks his mother. HER WHO? Jesus, tell us already, lovely boy with the world's worst parents!In casual conversation with Mod, who muses "I wonder what the girl would say if she could talk," Davies hits on another awesome hunch and ends up bringing the deaf-signing girl from the opening scene to review the film (blown up, so she can't see the really horrible parts) in an attempt to read her lips. She confirms the girl is not speaking English, though she doesn't know what the language is and she sounds it out phoenetically; they deduce that it sounds like Polish, so Davies goes to the local Polish community center and a lady there indicates that due to the political climate in Poland at the time, a girl who came to the UK from there to work wouldn't have been searched for had she gone missing. Oh, and speaking of missing, Reggie Conway the porn impresario s missing now, too, when Davies goes to talk to him after discovering the film used for the snuff movie was bought at his shop. Oh, and someone sent Davies a CD of the Dom Sylvester murder, filmed for posterity. How many snuff films can one episode have?!
It's only when Davies overhears two foreign nannies having a conversation on the street that he has a revelation, and heads back to Luke Clayhill to confirm; his hunch was correct, as Luke finally comes clean and admits that the girl in the film was once his nanny, a Polish girl called Kasia.
(Aww. Poor little kid who looks NOTHING like Jamie...)
He says he wasn't sure until he had spoken with his mother again. (That mother-son bond is kinda non-existent.) He relates a story about coming home from school early and catching his dad making dirty movies with Kasia, which shattered him as she was like a big sister to him.
Davies remarks that this must have been very painful for Luke's mother, but Luke says he's not so sure and proceeds to reveal an envelope containing... oh, ew. Yeah, when he got older, Dad sent him naked pictures of Mum, indicating that at least at one point she was OK with the dirty movies thing. (Ewwww!) Luke kept it to himself because "When your family's as messed up as mine, you tend not to want to shout it from the rooftops." (No kidding.) And also two years ago, when Dad was deep in hermitville, he saw him one last time. Dad said he had a film that could "change things" for the better, maybe even make his mother come back; Luke slammed the door in his face. He says he told his mother about this incident.
(And that's the last we'll see of Luke/Jamie. Aww. Poor messed-up puppy.)
Quick as possible wrap-up: Mum's still hiding something. Polish community center lady confirms Kasia's identitfy finally, and also a fella Davies ran into there before is Kasia's brother. (?!) Reggie's been missing for 48 hours, and though a smut peddler he does seem to be a good father; his daughter is worried sick because he doesn't have his insulin with him. She recalls Reggie having a conversation with a scruffy old man (That'd be Dom Sylvester) about six weeks earlier. One of the PC's catches that the calendar in the snuff film indicates it was made while Emily still lived there, and finally Mum confesses that she was trying to keep the marriage together by ignoring her ex's seedy predilections but she finally kicked him out because he promised he wouldn't shoot movies in the house. "I convinced myself Kasia wasn't my responsibility." (Yeah. Nice one, Em. No wonder your son hates you, too.) Ultimately, a ruckus in the Sylvester house leads them to discover Kasia's brother, having hanged Reggie Conway and filmed that, too. And he's proud as anything of it, not too concerned about going to jail, because he finally has gotten revenge on the two men responsible for his sister's death. (Papers he found after their father's death in Poland contained letter from Kasia with picture of Luke and Emily, which lead him to walk the neighborhood every day till he found the house. Sylvester claimed her death was an accident that got out of hand, but that wasn't good enough...)
And after all that ugliness, Davies doesn't seem to really know what to do with himself. Except go home and hug his wife. Yeesh.
(I don't know about you, but I feel like Luke could still really use a hug, too. Line forms behind me, girls.)