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Since Wild Justice was recently on ITV4 and I need to do the edits/clean-up/meta from murphybabe's Kate Ross question, I was doing some background research and Google listed this the_safehouse episode discussion (including links to 1981/2 Bodie and Doyle character profiles - with which I disagree, but that's not the point) posted in 2009, but apparently based on 1982 reactions. Since I was not in this fandom then, I thought I'd link it here in case other people on my f'list have not seen it and/or have forgotten it.

While I gather my thoughts on Kate Ross and the episode, I'd be interested to know whether any of you have a reaction (other than those you might have already given in the comments on that post) to the points being made.

I suppose I should say that part of my meta is going to be about the whys and ways in which WJ and the portrayal of Kate Ross annoy me. My feelings about KR as used in that ep, are similar to my feelings about BBC Sherlock's versions of Irene Adler and Mary Morstan - interesting enough as a character, but not for *that* role. I wish KR had been used elsewhere, elsehow (if you know what I mean) or otherwise -- or alternatively, that we had seen more of her in other episodes, which might have rounded her out.

I can't help feeling that, like Geraldine Mather in The Rack - or even Ann Holly (Involvement) and Julia (Close Quarters) to a certain degree - Kate Ross speaks to the sexual and gender politics and general politics of the period; putting (non-criminal) voices against CI-5, and against the sort of men who are willing to fight and shoot and kill *within* CI-5, in a certain type of mouthpiece character. We see women agents, and female criminals, but they are not involved in the discussions about the role and value - or otherwise - of such an organisation (in fact they are generally undercharacterised, but then so are 95% of all secondary characters). Christina Hertzog is not least interesting because she is a female character who is shown to be thoughtful without being hostile in the same way, less to the use and morality of such an organisation in the first place, or in a moral sense (such as Anita Canreros's "secret polce"), and focussing more on the question of violence and machismo. Do you know what I mean?

I think it might be the other side of Bodie's comment on Susan in Long Shot - "Well, the good news is she likes men" - regardless of sexuality, both Kate Ross and Geraldine Mather come at Bodie and Doyle from a position of hostility towards them as men of a certain type. Does anyone else think they might reflect the feeling that, in the wake of the sexual and feminist "revolutions" and the rise of the New Man, "Real Men" - men of a certain type - were under attack and under threat?

That their comments - their hostility and general attitudes - are not only towards the organisation and its rather dubious legal standing ("by any means necessary") and politics, or even to specific actions and behaviours of Bodie and Doyle, but to Bodie and Doyle as individuals and as *men*?

I am open to other views and being told I'm way off base! It's just a thought I'm pondering.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2015 06:15 pm (UTC)
as men of a certain type. Does anyone else think they might reflect the feeling that, in the wake of the sexual and feminist "revolutions" and the rise of the New Man, "Real Men" - men of a certain type - were under attack and under threat?
I've always felt this. It one reason I'm uncomfortable with "The Rack' and don't tend to watch it past the scene where Bodie and Doyle have their Long Intense Stare at Doyle's house (don't know why I'm even describing it since I reckon every Pros fan knows exactly what I would be referring to! *g*). There is a distinct sense of what one might call 'uppity woman' about the way Geraldine Mather is portrayed, and an unpleasantness in how the characters are written to respond to her - I can't see the Cowley one usually encounters inviting her to 'sit on my knee' when they're discussing seating in the room. It is typical of the way people who perceive powerful women as a threat behave, and I don't think Cowley would see her as a threat as a *woman* (as a threat to his organisation, perhaps, but nothing to do with her gender).

To my mind the strongest female character who ever appears in The Professionals is Esther in 'Takeaway', who gets to work alongside the boys in ways we see as well as hear about. Yes, she's a love interest too, but it's made clear that she will leave to continue her career, as opposed to Ray leaving her or us just never finding out which of the two ended it. In that episode, aside from her dating Ray, she isn't forced into any other 'female' or basically misogynistic behaviour patterns. Racial stereotyping is perhaps another issue, but again, she's arguably the most postively-portrayed non-white character with the most screen time and visible achievements.

ETA: By the points I make in the above paragraph, I basically mean - there was an episode of Pros where a woman got to be portrayed as strong in a positive way, I wish 'The Rack' had been written in that way too.

Edited at 2015-04-07 06:17 pm (UTC)
Apr. 8th, 2015 02:47 pm (UTC)
My sheer relief at this comment is silly. But I know that quite a few fans *like* Kate Ross and Geraldine Mather and see them very positively.

I must admit I don't watch Take Away often because they seemed to be trying to cram a three-hour story into fifty minutes. But yes, I see what you mean about Esther - she's clearly excellent at her job, in order to be involved in the case as an expert and a Royal Hong Kong Police contact with CI-5, and she's got a career which matters to her. Even in her relationship with Ray, she's very much gently tolerant of his naff jokes and even ignorance; holding to her own centre and holding her own.
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:03 pm (UTC)
My thoughts on The Rack are so ambivalent it's untrue! But I do agree with you on the portrayal of GM. I think she is portrayed as a woman who got ahead of herself. I wonder how this episode would have played if Geraldine Mather had been Gerald Mather instead?
Apr. 11th, 2015 11:00 am (UTC)
Well one good thing about The Rack (and also good about DiaG), is that it reflects that for every CI-5 fatality (criminal or agent) there would have to be (or ought to be, under English law) an inquest. Because CoD might be a punch or a bullet, but whether it was self-defence/legitimate/proportionate/reasonable or manslaughter, murder, accident, misadventure etc should be determined by Inquest.

Most of the time episodic canon shows CI-5 agents using reasonable and proportionate force as determined/defined by law for the police and SAS etc. Even though CI-5 is a fictional force. Unlike actual armed police in the UK I can't recall them ever shooting someone who has a replica/fake firearm or table leg who does not respond quickly enough to shouted commands to drop it and surrender. The people they shoot pose a real, clear and present danger (to use US terminology).

Doyle's punch *is* dodgy. There were other ways of subduing/controlling Paul Coogan than retaliating for one punch with another. That he might have only been contributory and thus culpability was "not proven" was the best he could hope for.

The question of Gerald Mather is an interesting one. Men who are against CI-5 and its agents, are (and *there's* something I should look at in a reviewing!) as far as I remember, either criminal/traitorous or members/leaders of the other agencies/forces in the UK, whose toes Cowley steps on with his special measures/powers. They don't seem to oppose CI-5 on the question of violence/methods, per se, do they? What do you think?

But GM - and KR - make me remember my parents' warnings to me, growing up, that there are ways of being a strong, confident, independent women - without also coming across as a "man-hating bitch". Regardless of how they are read - especially by women fans and in the different climate of thirty-some years later - I just can't help feeling that they were *written* (and reacted to) as more man-hating bitches than strong, confident, professional women. (And with KR, I also question the professionalism.)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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