Episode Five : This Case to be Opened in a Million Years
Written by:
Philip Martin
Directed by: Graeme Harper
Episode Length: 51'22m
Originally Broadcast: 3rd Aug 1987, 21:55
Ratings: 1.4m


Starring:
David Calder (Nathan Spring), Erick Ray Evans (David Theroux), Trevor Cooper (Colin Devis), Linda Newton (Pal Kenzy) and Jonathan Adams (Alexander Krivenko).

Guest-Starring:
Michael Chesden (Carlo Santanini), Susan Curnow (Marla Condarini), Stewart Guidotti (Inspector Canova), Vikki Chambers (Lina Margello), Flip Webster (Personnel Officer), Andre Winterton (Angelo Pordenone) and Carl Forgione (Tour guide).

Technical Personnel:
Chris Boucher (Series Deviser); Ian R. Wallace (Production Associate); Kevan Van Thompson (Production Manager); Sue Card (Production Assistant); Christopher Ballantyne (Assistant Floor Manager); Robin Lobb (Video Effects Supervisor); Mike Kelt/Malcolm James (Visual Effects Designers); Alisdair Mitchell (O.B. Cameraman); John Wiggins (O.B. Lighting); Graham Haines (O.B. Sound); Reg Poulter (Technical Co Ordinator); Gerry Tivers (Studio Camera Operator); Charles McGhie (Graphic Design); John Charles (Properties Buyer); Dennis Collett (Videotape Editor); Jim Stephens (Vision Mixer); Chris Townsend (Studio Lighting/Director); Chick Anthony (Studio Sound); Lynda Woodfield (Costume Designer); Jill Hagger (Make-Up Designer); Justin Hayward (Theme Composer/Theme Sung By); Justin Hayward/Toni Visconti (Incidental Music); Joanna Willett (Script Editor); Malcolm Thornton (Designer) and Evgeny Gridneff (Producer).



Character Development:
Theroux's father was killed from a radiation leak from a nuclear booster.
Nathan has never visited Italy or Venice, but had planned a European tour that year with Lee. Having been in space for an excess period of duty, the Medical Personnel Monitor states he must return to Earth for a minimum of seven days.
Box was manufactured in the Recondite Components Factory in Guildford. The factory was closed in 2025.

Future lives :
This was the first episode to really clarify the time period for the series. Although Lee Jones's gravestone in Conversations With The Dead contained the date, it was a brief two second shot, lost on most viewers. The series is finally placed in the 2026/2027 timeband here by nature of a computer monitor that shows a suspect born in 1993 being thirty-four years of age. Venice is now submerged underwater, and a "big five" nations are referred to. It is not specified what these five nations are, though previous episodes would seem to indicate America, Australia, China, Japan and Russia. It definitely does not include Italy.
The Starcops have a new female personnel officer. Also, a two-day package holiday to Peru from Italy is revealed to cost 917 Eurodollars, with day-to-day expenses totalling 37 Eurodollars. Future companies are the Sunzec Unit and Santoni-Italia. There is a European centralised police force. Also referred to are "Strato-Transcender Flights".

The Solutions :
The Mafia is still in existence in the twenty-first century, smuggling Uranium aboard launch rockets to disused space station S9. A Moonquake meant a launch was aborted, and a cover of nuclear waste was invented to prevent investigation. After the Mafia are given orders to disgrace the Star Cops, they use Angelo Pordenone - a rocketry guidance engineer, safety controller and heroin concentrate 46 smuggler - to kill Nathan. Podenone dies himself in the attempt, leaving Nathan framed for murder with a planted stash of heroin in his hotel room and 105,000 Eurodollars in his account. Nathan investigates the waste to prove it is non-nuclear, and exposes the plot...

Nathan and David's Movie-Buff Challenge :
Nathan's hallucinations while under the forced influence of drugs are a direct homage to Farewell, My Lovely, which he also name-checks twice. He asks David, when being relieved of his command, whether he's quoting from The Caine Mutiny. The idea of David and Nathan being film buffs was Chris Boucher's idea and from this point on, with his lesser involvement in the writing, it began to fade out.

Things To Look Out For :
Although never confirmed anywhere or referenced on the commentary, I remain convinced that David Calder hitting his foot on the door frame at the end of the episode was a mistake, his "damn it!" dubbed on in post-production to cover it.



Viewpoint 2008:

"She's right, you are a bitch!"

The first episode not to be written by Chris Boucher is an okay affair that gets somewhat swamped under the weight of bogus Italian accents. By no means awful, it still fails to catch fire dramatically and the central cast aren't on their best form. In particular Erick Ray Evans turns his in his worst, stagiest performance and the incidental music that I said I wouldn't refer to any more is worse than ever.

The whole thing wraps up with a "ranting maniac explaining the plot as he fires a gun" conclusion and ends on a comedy freeze frame. There are some nice ideas buried in the plot, but really this is Star Cops at its least essential.