In Downwind of Angels Detective Sergeant Mary Holmes is shadowing a South American dignitary, Angelina Peto, whose father is working on a major trade deal with the UK. At a fashion show Mary sees a gunman, pushing Angelina out of the way, she fires but hits a young girl instead. Unfortunately Mary and the young girl are the only ones who saw the gunman and the young girl is in no fit state to talk. Mary is suspended whilst the case is investigated. Craven also finds himself sidelined because of his involvement with Mary.
A man, Fountain, comes forward claiming to have been the man Mary shot at but it’s clear he is lying, the link seems to be with one of the models, Carla, who just happens to have a South American boyfriend.
Despite bringing the bad guys to justice the episode ends on a downbeat. Haggerty is suspended after leaning too hard on Fountain in a bid to help Mary. Fountain is a political activist who was just trying to get publicity for his cause and the fact that Haggerty was more than a little rough with him was all the fuel he needed. Mary has also decided to not only hand in her resignation but also break things off with Craven. The episode, and the series, ends with Craven throwing a full bottle of champagne against the wall.
And so Special Branch comes to an end with this episode. There is every reason to suspect that another season would have been forthcoming but just a couple of months later Regan, the pilot for The Sweeney aired and a hugely popular first season followed soon after.
Over the course of it’s run Special Branch went from standard videotaped fare to full scale all on location shooting on film. It’s raison d’être never faltered though and it entertained thoroughly from start to finish.
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Thursday 9 May 1974 at 8.30pm
Writer: Peter Hill / Director: Tom Clegg
Series: Special Branch Season 4 Episode 13
George Sewell as Craven
Patrick Mower as Haggerty
Frederick Jaeger as Fletcher
Susan Jameson as Mary Holmes
Paul Eddington as Strand
Peter Bowles as Igor
Janet Key as Carla
Seretta Wilson as Milly
Lucy Appleby as Margaret Cope
Peter Blythe as Fountain
Robert Tayman as Chris Correy
Jonathan Blake as Paul Velasquez
Paul Antrim as Detective Sergeant Maguire
Gillian Raine as Chief Inspector Carter
Antony Carrick as Doctor
Tim Wylton as Hotel Porter
Vicki Hodge as Angelina Peto