(ITC Movie title "The Death Policy")
Original UK transmission: 14th April 1973
Original US transmission: 18th January1973
WRITTEN BY: Brian Clemens
DIRECTED BY: Bill Hays
PRODUCED BY: John Sichel
MAIN CAST: Robert Powell (Paul Tanner), Barbara Feldon (Jenny Frifth), Linda Thorson (Toni Tanner), T P McKenna (Jack Hardisty), Mary Wimbush (Mrs Bradley), John Boswall (Old Man), Ivor Roberts (Doctor)
The camera pans across the shoreline of an English holiday resort, where at a hotel reception desk an attractive young girl is asking whether there is any mail for her. The clerk replies that there isn't, as nearby a man listens in on the conversation; the eavesdropper goes to her room and, letting himself in, goes through some personal belongings where he finds her passport. He then returns to reception and telephones an unknown party with the message "She's the one, no doubt about it...better still she gets hardly any mail...yes, I'm about to fall desperately in love with Jenny Frifth - single, dress size 12, shoe size 8 from Indiana." Hanging up, he reflects to himself, "a lonely girl..."
Handsome but ruthless confidence trickster Paul Tanner has no trouble winning over the shy Jenny Frifth when he singles her out in a quiet country hotel. Within days the two are married and move to an isolated house along a remote stretch of coast line, where Tanner - in fact already married - hatches a plot with his real wife to murder Jenny and claim the insurance money. Just as the plan is ready to go into action however, the new bride casually drops a bombshell and the stakes change drastically. With his madly jealous wife on one side and the increasingly inquisitive Jenny on the other, the devious Tanner must walk a fine line to milk the most out of the situation...
This classy start to the series proved a real showcase for the acting abilities of Robert Powell who turns in a brilliant performance as the utterly ruthless Tanner, alternating effortlessly between icy cold villain and boyish charmer. The script is one of the best, full of subtle plot twists and the kind of shock ending that would become a staple of the series. Barbara Feldon plays the part of his unsuspecting victim with a credible sense of innocence. Powell would return to the series in Season Three with Death To Sister Mary.
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