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22 October 1969: Department S, episode 13: Les Fleurs du Mal

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Jan. 1st, 1970 | 10:00 pm

In this episode of the spy series, Department S, Michael Gothard plays the principal villain, Weber. His name is often mentioned, but he is not seen until halfway through the episode.

He and his girlfriend Danielle, played enigmatically by Edina Ronay, are on the trail of some money, which has been stashed by an accomplice, now dead, who has sent them an equally enigmatic clue.

They compete with the heroes of Department S to figure out what the clues mean, and unwittingly lead the Department to the loot, where they are arrested.

Like "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)" in which Michael was to appear in January 1970, “Department S” was filmed at Associated British Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England.

Both "Department S” and the episode of "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)", “When the Spirit Moves You", were produced by Monty Berman, and had Frank Maher as stunt co-ordinator.

It looks as if Michael is wearing the same long grey coat in the graveyard scene in "Les Fleurs du Mal" as he was to wear throughout the later part of "When the Spirit Moves You."

Watch extracts from Les Fleurs du Mal, including Michael Gothard's scenes as Weber on Youtube.

Series overview from TV Rage:

In the mid-1960s, England's ITC Productions churned out series after series with apparent minimal effort. The amazing thing is that very few, if any, of these shows appeared to be a quick knock-off. The company that gave us the classics The Saint, The Prisoner, and The Avengers was also responsible for a most underrated classic -- Department S.

The series did follow a "formula" of sorts, as most ITC shows had three lead characters (usually two men and a woman) and a number of them featured an American (e.g., Stuart Damon in The Champions). That is the only thing "formula" about this series.

Department S ... was an elite branch of Interpol. Their function was to solve the unsolvable. Run-of-the-mill cases never crossed the Department's desk. Their assignments were more along the lines of finding out how a plane managed to land in London without a crew or any passengers, how the population of an entire village disappeared overnight, or why a man walked into a morgue and shot a corpse. The writing was exceptional, providing these and many other baffling oddities.

Full article and episode summary

IMDB entry

Stills from the DVDs





Les Fleurs du Mal

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