Father Brown (2013) s08e05 Episode Script

The Folly of Jephthah

Another one.
Thank you.
Can I pay for your drink? I hate to see a lady in distress.
You are very sweet, but I don't think that would be appropriate.
Why ever not? Not that the swine remembered our anniversary.
An unforgiveable oversight.
Isn't it strange, don't you think, how some people find it hard to treasure what they already have? That's an excellent question, Mr? Fenthorpe.
Harry.
Philippa Thubron.
A beautiful name.
It's ghastly.
You can call me Pippa.
In which case, Pippa .
.
I won't tell if you won't.
Ah! Champagne! Shh.
I thought you said your husband was away on business? He is, but I don't want to wake the new housekeeper.
I get the feeling she's a bit of a prude.
Happy anniversary! Sorry.
SHE EXHALES I think I've had a little too much to drink.
I wish you the sweetest of dreams.
LOCK CLICKS And that's when my wife happened to walk into the shed.
Ah.
Well.
In that case.
Deinde ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
I thinkperhaps a visit to the doctor.
Just in case.
Anyone else? THROAT CLEARS Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
It has been so long since my last confession, I can't really remember how all this works.
Hercule.
Are you here to confess your sins? Well, why else would I have come, Father? Very well.
You had better make a start, else we shall both be here until the last trumpet sounds.
Touche.
Very well, I shall cut to the chase.
I seek your assistance.
To help you back to God? To catch a thief.
One who specialises in religious antiquities.
You seek my assistance to help catch yourself? Not me! Another thief.
Goes by the name of Alexander Romanici.
I've never heard of him.
But I imagine you have heard of the 15th-century chest depicting the Stations of the Cross that went missing from a private collection in Naples last month? A collection protected by a 24-hour armed guard.
I assumed that was you.
Flattering, but no.
Alexander Romanici appeared from nowhere a few months ago and has already gained a reputation for daring heists pulled off with aplomb.
And you do not relish the competition? Alexander Romanici has a very annoying habit of getting there first.
HE SCREAMS Why should I help you capture this thief, when your only motivation is to commit the same crimes yourself? Surely, Father, you should leap at any chance to guide a sinner towards redemption? If that means a period of incarceration so they may better reflect on their life choices, then By the same logic, I should turn you over to the authorities.
I am a lost cause, Father, you know that.
I do not believe in hopeless causes.
The Lord gives eternal hope.
Think of these precious artefacts, Father.
How do we know that Alexander Romanici treats them with the same care that I do? Hercule, if you do not wish to repent, would you be so kind as to vacate the confessional, so someone else can seek forgiveness from God? Or perhaps you would prefer that I called for Inspector Mallory? Patience is a virtue, Father.
I'm getting to my point.
You see, my research found no trace of anyone with the name Alexander Romanici.
There were, however, clues at each crime scene as to Romanici's true identity.
A thread of dark hair.
A single smudge on a wine glass.
The lingering scent of perfume.
Perfume? A distinctive scent.
One I recognised instantly.
Come to bed.
Wake up! Just a minute.
I just need Your new housekeeper? What does she look like? VOICEOVER: It was the name, however, that confirmed my suspicions.
Alexander Romanici.
It is an anagram.
Marianne Delacroix.
It appears my daughter is trying to punish me for refusing her request to join forces.
Ah.
And, presumably, the small matter of being absent for the first 20 years of her life.
There is that.
I take it you are still not keen on her joining the family firm? She has already stolen from some very dangerous people.
She is playing with fire.
Would you prefer she were in jail? Perhaps there is another way.
Now, she won't listen to me, obviously, but you Please, Father.
I understand her desire for vengeance.
But I am afraid she will take this game too far.
Now, I may not have been the best role model, but I do not want tragedy to befall her.
If we can find a way of getting you two face-to-face, and in doing so prove that it's only a matter of time before the police, or worse, catch up with her You hope she will reconsider her path in life? Exactly.
Would it not be better to lead by example? It's a bit late for that, don't you think? I take it you have a plan.
First, we need to get Marianne's attention with the right artefact.
Something she knows I would like to get my hands on.
Father! Have you seen this? The lost ring of St Edward! Can you imagine? Found after Well, it must be hundreds of years! Then we need to convince Marianne to move fast.
RADIO: The Ring of St Edward will go on display at Gloucester Museum this Saturday for one day only, before being taken to London for further examination.
Police are on the lookout for notorious thief Hercule Flambeau, previously thought deceased, following a tip-off that he is very much alive and intends to steal the rare artefact.
After that, we simply need to catch her in the act.
SHE CLINKS GLASS What will happen to the ring? Why does it matter? It isn't real.
It's a bauble I picked up in a Parisian flea market.
Fortunately, the current curator of this museum is ill-informed, suggestible and often, by this time of day, three sheets to the wind.
Don't you think your daughter will recognise it's a fake? Not until she examines it for herself.
And by then, it'll be too late.
Do you think we will catch her? Trust me.
We'll catch her.
All we have to do is watch and wait.
Hello, Marianne.
Glad you could come.
SHE SIGHS Who are you?! Me? I'm a mug, that's who I am.
You can have the poxy ring.
Don't want it anyway.
I was only doing what I was told! By whom? Alexander Romanici.
Tell me everything or I'll stuff you and put you on display.
I was involved in the Cheltenham Racecourse robbery, see? Got a letter from this Romanici fella saying he'd grass me up if I didn't do what he told me.
I had no choice! Where did you arrange to meet Mr Romanici to hand the ring over? Letter didn't say anything about handing it over.
Just to pinch it.
Oh, and to give you this if you turned up.
Said, "A fella with a beard.
He'll probably be with a priest.
" ALARM BLARES To be honest, I thought that last bit was a joke.
Time to leave, I think.
Typical! Sorry again about the driving.
Quite all right.
That one police car was surprisingly tenacious.
Well, at least we got home all right, which is more than can be said for that poor fox.
Father.
How lovely to see you again! Father.
I wish I could say the same for you.
Did you enjoy your trip to the museum? We simply wished to talk to you.
Why bother? You clearly consider me a fool if you think I'd be duped by that dreadful ring! I could tell from the photograph it was a replica.
Father, perhaps you could? We wanted to dissuade you from continuing with a life of .
.
illegal activity.
A tad hypocritical, don't you think, considering how you spent your evening? No, I have a better idea.
A contest.
A contest? To discover who is the better thief, my father or me.
What are the stakes? We must each offer a prized piece from our private collection.
I shall offer the Stations of the Cross chest I stole in Naples last month.
You must offer up the Florentine Chalice.
You told me that wasn't you! Did I? Very well I haven't finished.
The winner takes both items and continues with whatever activities they see fit.
The loser, however, pledges to return their entire collection to the authorities.
You must be out of your mind! My collection is the rival of any in Europe.
AND renounce their life of crime for good.
You are not serious.
Oh, I am deadly serious.
The loser must pledge to do their utmost to be a law-abiding, decent citizen from this day forward.
Refraining from so much as littering in the street.
Impossible.
Don't you believe you can beat me? Of course I can beat you So what's the problem? Very well.
And how is the contest to be decided? Good point, Father.
Thievery is an art form, after all.
Mm.
Father Brown shall be the judge.
He does seem to have a singular understanding of the criminal mind.
Let him decide how we are to be tested and who shall emerge victorious.
I'm assuming, of course, you trust him to be a fair referee? There is no man I trust more.
Father, what do you say? What possible reason could you have for agreeing? They have both sworn to respect my decision.
Which means one of them, at least, will renounce their life of crime.
If you think for one second that Hercule Flambeau is going to play by the rules, then you have less sense than a flea, Father.
I have to say, I agree with Mrs M on this one.
I refuse to give up hope.
I believe there is a part of him that craves redemption.
If there is, it's a very small part.
And what of Marianne? She is new to this path of sin.
If my involvement prevents her from making her father's mistakes, it is my duty to try.
Alternatively, and I am just playing devil's advocate here, you could lock the church door with them both inside, and call the police.
Oh, at least promise us you'll be careful.
They are doing battle.
I'm merely the umpire.
Yes, but where Flambeau's concerned, events have a nasty habit of escalating.
That is why I am so glad that I can count on your help.
Oh.
I will set you five tasks, testing the skills necessary for your chosen profession.
Whoever completes a task first will receive one of five chess pieces, rook, knight, bishop, queen or king.
Whoever has the most pieces at the end, wins.
And what about the chest? And my chalice? I trust you will keep them safe.
Well said.
I wouldn't want my prize to go missing.
I've already chosen where to put it.
Fear not.
They will be watched over by an ever-vigilant eye.
So what's the first task? This morning, I hid the first piece in the custody cell at Kembleford Police Station.
Jonathan.
Sergeant Goodfellow has kindly conceded that what happened was an accident.
Your mother is waiting for you at home.
Might I suggest that next time you exercise a little common sense? Father.
Or you will end up in more serious trouble.
You have to retrieve it without being caught.
You want us to walk into a police station in broad daylight? There is a chance the Kembleford Constabulary still believe you are dead, Hercule.
Perhaps you could put a sheet over your head, pretend you're a ghost.
Oi! You all right there, sir? I think you've had enough.
Get off me! Hey, I'm only trying to help.
I don't want your help! I think you need to calm down, my friend.
Oh, do you? HE LAUGHS You need to start behaving yourself and get yourself home, otherwise I'll have no choice but to take you in.
Oh Oh Right, with me.
What you doing? What are you doing?! Come on, you.
Take your hands off me.
Yes, yes.
Let me go.
What's this? Nothing for you to worry about, sir.
This one's had more than he can handle, is all.
I'll put him in the cell to sleep it off, and I'lldeal with him when he's sobered up.
All yours, love.
The cleaner's off sick, young Gladys here has stepped in as her replacement.
Come on, you.
No, wait, wait! Come on.
Wait! Come on, in the cell.
Wait, no! Get in.
Mrs McCarthy, these scones are divine! Oh, how very kind of you to say.
Hercule, I see they let you out.
Just a slap on the wrist, that's all.
Fortunately, they still think I'm Bert Frogmore, a local pig farmer.
I am glad you are exploring options for alternative employment, Daddy dearest.
I would hate for you to be destitute.
We have barely started, my girl.
What's next? An hour from now, there will be a christening at St Mary's.
Afterwards, Mrs McCarthy will walk from the church to the presbytery.
The next piece will be in her handbag.
You have to take it from her before she reaches her destination.
No disrespect to Mrs McCarthy, but is this wise? I mean, she is hardly the most formidable opponent if it comes to a physical confrontation.
Oh, you'd be surprised.
Oh, thank you! You are not allowed to touch or harm Mrs McCarthy or her property, if you do, you will be disqualified and the piece will go to your opponent.
I have no idea how you convinced me to participate in thisdebacle! And as for you two .
.
I shall not let go of this handbag.
So you may as well give up now! Could you not follow on behind? Rules of the contest.
Everything will be tickety-boo.
All you have to do is walk back to the presbytery.
That is easy enough for you to say.
You're not the one being used as a target for ruthless criminals! Remember, they're not allowed to touch you.
And anyway, Hercule wouldn't hurt a fly.
What? We will meet you back at the presbytery in a few minutes.
And I will make you a nice cup of tea.
Now, good luck! You stay away from me! Now, you have nothing to fear from me, Mrs McCarthy.
I simply wish to talk.
I am not giving you the chess piece.
I have promised Father Brown.
No, I completely understand.
But the thing is If I win, then my father has pledged to give up his criminal activities and I thought that you would want Father Brown released from such acorrupting influence.
Nothing could ever corrupt Father Brown! Ah, ah.
No, but you must admit he does allow my father to put him in some dangerous situations.
Why not help me to deliver himfrom evil? No! No.
I have given my word and that is final.
But Good dayMiss Delacroix.
SOBBING Oh, heavens above, what's the matter with you? No, you dry those tears.
Is it your knee? Is that what you've done? Oh, it's very bruised, but I don't see any blood, so no blood, no symp Come back here, you little scamp! Oh, Bridget McCarthy, you are a fool! That's what you are! You have a bright future, my girl.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Good afternoon.
The Honourable Penelope Windermere.
I need to have a peek inside my safety deposit box.
Certainly, madam.
Oh, sorry, sir.
Watch where you're going, will you? Congratulations, daughter.
You have exceeded my expectations.
Why waste your energy in patronising platitudes when you should be busy planning for your retirement? Ahem.
Yes, Father.
We need a tie-breaker.
So? Meet me at St Mary's tomorrow morning at ten o'clock and I will tell you all you need to know.
And what do we do until then? Perhaps you should spend your time trying to resolve your differences? I'd rather get an early night.
HE SPEAKS ITALIAN SHE RUMMAGES DRAWER SHUTS LOUDLY I anticipated one of you might try this, although my money was on your father.
I was merely making sure that my property is safe.
I was worried he might have stolen it already.
Or are you concerned that you may lose? Lose? To him?! His pride will be his downfall.
Yet there is fear in your eyes.
Hatred, not fear.
Tell me, Marianne.
What is the real reason you laid down this challenge? You know the reason.
To punish my father .
.
for casting me aside .
.
and to prove that I am the greater thief.
What other reason could there be? Very well.
In that case, you'd better get some sleep.
You'll need your wits about you in the morning.
DOOR SLAMS "The victory bell soon shall ring, for whosoever finds the king.
"Within this realm of prayers and stones, "it lies beneath a pile of bones.
" A bit Robert Louis Stevenson, isn't it, Father? Whoever finds the location of the king, will win the final piece.
"Victory bell" It's a waste of time.
If it lies beneath bones, it is hardly going to be up here.
The churchyard? I suppose it's too much to hope for that one of the graves belongs to a Mr King? Father Brown wouldn't have us digging up consecrated ground.
Unless HE GRUNTS Help me.
SHE SCOFFS Help you?! This crypt houses some of the bones of King Penda of Mercia, a pagan convert to Christianity.
Perhaps there is some cavity underneath.
If you help, we can move it.
And how would that benefit either of us? Or do you wish for us to wrestle for whatever lies below? I thought we might cross that bridge when we came to it? Perhaps this was all part of Father Brown's plan? To force us to work together, find a compromise.
And what compromise would you suggest? I was wrong.
Let's join forces.
Keep our treasures.
Together, there is nothing we couldn't accomplish.
This is a trick.
Natural that you might think that.
I wasn't there for you when you were growing up and when I finally had the opportunity to get to know you, I pushed you away.
But, please, don't let my past mistakes ruin the chance we have now.
And if I were to agree? We go together, right now, to Father Brown and tell him the contest is off.
I know I don't deserve your forgiveness.
All I ask for is another chance.
Come here.
This is all I ever wanted.
I know.
SHE SNIFFLES What are you doing?!? Like I told Father Brown, your pride will be your downfall.
This was never about you.
I don't understand.
The things I have stolen.
The crimes I have committed.
It wasn't to get your attention.
I did it because I am good at it.
As for joining forces, I am better off without you.
I always have been.
If you care so little, why bother with all this? Because I need your chalice! That is all.
My chalice? Why? Compensation.
The chest I stole, it turns out, was the property of Vincenzo Murgida.
The head of the Camorra crime family? Murgida found out it was me and he made me a deal.
I return the chest and give him your chalice by way of apology and .
.
I don't get chopped into tiny pieces and fed to his dogs.
You intend to give him both artefacts? As soon as I retrieve the final piece.
Murgida is nearby, waiting, in case I attempt to run.
Marianne, listen.
These people, you think they will simply forgive and forget? Give them the artefacts and they will kill you anyway, just to prove that they can.
You're wrong.
What if I'm not? Let me help you! Didn't you hear me, Father? I don't need your help.
Marianne! Marianne, don't do this! SHE SIGHS Where is it? I cannot help you.
SHE SCOFFS Why not? You really think my father plays by the rules? Tell me where the final piece is and you will go down in history as the man who made the infamous Hercule Flambeau finally turn his back on sin.
The riddle contains all you need to know.
SHE HARRUMPHS "Within this realm of prayers and stones.
" The altar stone! To remove the mensa would mean the altar would lose its consecration.
No.
"Within this realm.
" Somewhere nearby.
"A pile of bones.
" Stand.
SHE LAUGHS SMUGLY All this time? Congratulations.
You have beaten your father.
And where is he, by the way? Hmm, he has been unavoidably detained.
Your superiority is proven.
Why now continue down this road to damnation? The chest and the chalice.
Now.
I am so sorry! What do you mean, "They are missing"? Well, I must have nodded off and then, when I woke up, they were gone.
No, this is a trick.
You and my father planned this together! Father Brown would never do any such thing.
I gave you my word I would be a neutral judge.
So where are they?! Your father.
You said he'd been detained? He's taken them, hasn't he? It would appear so.
They are going to kill me.
Let me help you.
There is nothing you can do.
Murgida won't stop until I'm dead.
Well, we will find your father, and tell him why He already knows.
See what sort of man he is? He would rather let his own daughter die than lose a bet! I cannot believe that.
He broke into my room upstairs.
Went through my belongings.
Probably checking for loose change.
And now he has disappeared with the chest and the chalice.
I need to get as far away from here as possible.
Something missing? A notebook.
You like a wager.
I bet you a shilling that you wrote where you are meeting the Camorra in your notebook.
Your father hasn't cheated you.
He is trying to save you.
Who are you? My name is Hercule Flambeau.
I have heard this name.
You are thief.
You are here to steal from me? I am here on behalf of Marianne Delacroix.
She was supposed to come in person.
We had a deal.
Unfortunately, she has been held up.
A problem with the local police.
Let me guessyou are the father.
You have the same arrogance in your eyes.
I wish to repay her debt.
To conclude the business between you.
You have the chest and the chalice? Yes.
Where are they? If I give them to you, how do I know you won't kill me? Or my daughter, for that matter? You don't.
Ooh.
Hmm.
Your daughter should be more careful who she steals from.
She is young.
She won't make the same mistake again.
As her father, I take full responsibility for her actions.
I respect that.
A father should look after his daughter.
Protect her and, of all people, I know how troublesome one's children can be.
I give you my word that your daughter will not be harmed.
Thank you.
You heard him.
The man wishes to take the full responsibility.
Ooof! Ow! It has been a pleasure to do business with you.
When you are finished, throw him in the incinerator.
Wait! Do not beg for your life.
You'll only embarrass us both.
Let me work for you.
Work for me? I am an exceptional thief.
I have contacts across Europe.
I am more use to you alive.
And what would you be prepared to do for me? Anything.
Anything? Anything.
Get the boy.
We need to do something.
Now! What?! They are armed with guns.
We have nothing.
We have your car.
Go, get in, pump the accelerator, and then start it up.
SHE WHISPERS: II don't understand.
It's a trick, taught to me by my old friend, Sid.
Not very good for your engine, I'm afraid, but it may just save your father's life.
HE WHISPERS: Go! Last night, outside the pub, I caught him trying to steal from me.
I had not yet decided his punishment, but you have helped me to reach a decision.
Dagli la pistola.
Kill him.
Kill him or my friend here kills you.
And then we find your daughter.
You gave your word.
The rules have changed.
The boy or your daughter.
Which is it to be? I am a patient man, but do not test me.
If you wish to save yourself and your daughter, kill the boy.
LOUD BANGS Police! Stay where you are! THEY SHOUT IN ITALIAN Only me.
CARS SPEED OFF I thought you might need some assistance.
Father! You are a sight for sore eyes.
You know I wouldn't have killed you, right? To be fair, I warned young Jonathan he would get into serious trouble.
Learned your lesson? HE WHIMPERS But how did you guess where Father Brown had hidden the artefacts? I clearly know my old friend too well.
He would never leave such valuable items unsupervised while there were two master criminals about.
And there are very few people he would trust to be his ever-vigilant eye.
SHE GROANS Do you think Murgida will come after you? He probably thinks I'm locked up in some prison somewhere.
Either way, I doubt he'd feel it was worth the effort, now that he has the artefacts.
Thank you for yourassistance.
Still, I could have found a way to deal with Murgida myself.
And, of course, this doesn't change anything.
The bet.
You lost.
Excuse me? I got the final piece.
We may not have the chest and the chalice any more, but the deal remains.
You must return your collection and turn your back on crime.
You gave your word.
I did.
And will you keep it? My word is my bond.
You might believe me to be duplicitous, but a deal is a deal, and I would never seek to wriggle out of my obligations.
I am glad you feel as I do.
There is one problem, however.
I knew it! I do not dispute the terms of the wager.
The issue is .
.
I didn't lose.
SCOFFS: I got the final piece.
Father, forgive me if I am wrong, but were your precise words not "Whoever has the most pieces, wins"? That is what I said.
Exactly! I have three pieces while you only have two.
SHE SCOFFS So you found some duplicate pieces.
You really think we'd fall for that?! Look This is all I ever wanted.
I know.
We had a deal! Father, surely you agree this doesn't count.
I was clearly the winner! This is the end.
I have more pieces.
Only because you stole them from me! During a contest to see who was the better thief.
Oh! That isn't fair! Father? This is exactly why you must stop, Marianne.
Fairness and justice have no place in the world that you have chosen.
You know what? I release you from your obligation.
The path you choose is up to you, but you shouldn't waste your life proving that you are better than me.
There's no need.
I never doubted it for a moment.
KNOCK ON DOOR Yes? Please don't tell me someone has died.
I have an appointment at the dentist in an hour.
Nothing like that, Inspector.
In fact, I have good news.
A sinner has seen the error of their ways and wishes to return some stolen items.
And who might this be? Sorry, the seal of the confessional.
Still, the retrieval of the goods will prove to be a feather in your cap, even if the culprit remains at large.
The address where the goods are being held and a description of the more significant items.
But these are How did? Flambeau! Has to be him! I knew that sneaky blighter wasn't dead! I can assure you, Inspector, that Flambeau was not behind any of these crimes.
Not directly, at least.
And I can give you my word that the culprit has renounced their life of crime.
I need to speak to the Chief Super.
Yes, now! Hmm.
Check! Perhaps you should consider early retirement after all.
Why should I? I won the bet.
Would it be such a bad thing? You think my daughter has awoken some long-forgotten goodness in me? How do you know I didn't predict how this would all play out from the start and won the wager by exploiting you both? You are saying you are as ruthless as ever? Least think about it.
Eventually, we will all have to face the final judgment.
And ruthlessness cannot save you then.
Checkmate.
You have always been a worthy adversary, Father.
One morefor old time's sake? Wellperhaps one more.