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10 November 1979: The Professionals, series 2, epsiode 13: Stopover

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Nov. 10th, 1979 | 09:00 pm

In this episode of the popular crime/spy drama, “The Professionals”, Michael Gothard plays Kodai, a KGB agent, and an old adversary of George Cowley, the head of CI5.

Working with a double-agent, Radouk, Kodai’s original mission was simply to kill Cowley, but instead, Kodai accidentally hits Meredith, a former British agent they are using to draw Cowley into the open.

There follows an elaborate cat-and-mouse game, in which the three of them again try to lure Cowley out, promising to name another British agent who is working for the other side.

Meredith becomes a liability, so Kodai kills him, managing to elude Bodie and Doyle for a second time, and earning them a roasting from Cowley.

Cowley goes to a meeting, to exchange a large amount of money and a new British passport with Radouk, for the name of the double-agent.

Kodai turns up instead, collects the package and then shoots Cowley. Cowley falls, as if dead, but he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

The team then follow Kodai’s helicopter to a big house, where Kodai meets Radouk and tells him his mission is complete and Cowley is dead. The team show up – there is a car chase which ends in a stand off in the woods, in which Bodie shoots Kodai, and Radouk is taken prisoner.

~~

Michael was to work with Lewis Collins again, on "Jack the Ripper", in which Michael played revolutionary George Lusk, and Collins played Sergeant George Godley.

Morris Perry, who played Radouk, had previously appeared with Michael in "The Further Adventures of the Musketeers" as Captain Groslow, and later appeared with him again in "A Tale of Two Cities" as the Marquise de Evremonde, whom Michael's character, Gaspard, kills.

The stunt arranger was a man Michael had worked with on “Arthur of the Britons” – Peter Brayham.

~~

Speculation: it seems likely that Michael's role as KGB agent Kodai in this episode helped secure the role of hired assassin Emile Leopold Locque in "For Your Eyes Only."

Filming

According to "The Professionals" fansite, CI5, filming took place between 23 April and 4 May 1979, though the episode was not shown until 10 November.

Among locations used were:
Friern Barnet Lane, North Finchley, London, (Kodai's and Radouk's house)
Frithwood Avenue, Northwood, Middlesex, (safe house)
White Waltham Airfield, Maidenhead, Berkshire, (RAF Manley airfield).

Michael Gothard as a Russian

Russian fan, Helena, was asked what she thought of Michael’s Russian accent when he was speaking in English, and also the way he spoke the Russian language.

“I'd say, the accent was VERY good. If I didn't know that Michael Gothard was not Russian, I would have thought that he was, because Kodai sounds a lot like one.

Probably this character's English is that of an English-speaking Russian who had some language training, but it (the language) was second priority. His accent is that of a professional in some other field than linguistics; he sounds like a man who knows English pretty well, but either his teachers did not tell him how to build up a native speaker-style accent, or he didn't listen to them. So all in all he's producing a very convincing accent, I like that!

His Russian was pretty good too, by sounded like that of somebody who isn't a native speaker, but who learnt Russian as an adult (perhaps a Pole). Though there were traces of an English-speaking actor too, but more subtle than most of the time in films and TV series.

The name of this KGB assassin makes me wonder, though ... Kodai does not sound like a widespread Russian given name to me. Maybe it's a nickname. or a surname."

Fan reviews from The Professionals fansite:

Mark:
A little formulaic, though fast-paced, brutal, action-packed ... and endlessly thrilling!

The plot is complex and if you have to watch it a couple of times to understand what's going on, I don't blame you! However, unlike the later 'Runner', this one does make sense! The whole episode ultimately revolves around the huge twist at the end - and Cowley happily keeps his men in the dark all the way through ...

The action scenes here are terrific - some great camera-work and direction …

For the first time in the series, I think, Cowley begins to doubt the competence of his own team …

Loved seeing the Granada being put through its paces at the end!

"I'm quite looking forward to seeing Kodai again." / "Oh, yeah - can't wait!" / "Oh he's not such a bad sort. A bit careless with firearms, I'll concede but ..." / "Yeah and he loves animals and children, I know!"

Sharon: This is a great action episode. Lots of excellent shooting … The driving stunts are particularly good. The plot is terrific.

Cowley is at his best - ferocious, snappish, self-sufficient and secretive, not even fully trusting his two best agents.

A fine episode with some particularly good aspects. High praise to the stunt folk!

The Professionals fansite

Watch extracts, including Michael Gothard’s scenes as Kodai on Youtube.

IMDB entry

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