Father Brown (2013–…): Season 2, Episode 1 - The Ghost in the Machine - full transcript

Charlotte McKinley asks Father Brown to exorcise her house, which she believes is haunted by the ghost of her sister Elspeth, who disappeared nine years earlier. The priest believes somebody is fabricating a ghost but then Charlotte disappears from a locked room. Inspector Valentine suspects Charlotte's husband Victor, a former doctor struck off for irresponsible prescription and previously believed to have killed Elspeth. A skeleton is unearthed but it is not Elspeth's and a coded message in a book leads Father Brown to discover the fates of both sisters along with the legend of the family's hidden treasure.







Thank God you're here.

I came as quickly as I could.

My condolences, Mrs McKinley.

For...? Your message
said it was urgent.

I assumed someone
was in need of last rites?

It's too late for that, Father.

What I need is an exorcism.

I'm serious.

This house...is haunted.

The noises you could explain away,

but then...things started moving.

I'm sure there's
a rational explanation.


Your sister?

She wants to tell us something.

She's not resting easy.

We don't know if she's dead...

When she disappeared,

they said she'd be back
in a few days.

It's been nine years.

That still doesn't mean she's dead.

And it certainly doesn't
mean that she's haunting you.

We just need this to stop.

Please, Father, help us.

We need an exorcism. Nonsense.

I'll give your house a blessing.

But there are no such
things as ghosts!



That's really
the earliest you can do?

I'm afraid so.

Then tonight it is. Yes.




Do you remember
Elspeth Grainger going missing?

I most certainly do.

I always thought if you hadn't
been off on the pilgrimage

to Lourdes for the duration,
he'd never have got away with it.


Victor McKinley.

Charlotte's husband?

What was he accused of? Abduction?


But they had to let him go.

No body, no evidence.

That does tend to put the kibosh
on an investigation.

She just vanished
off the face of the earth.

If ever a house were haunted,
Cudeley Manor would be it.


to borrow from the vernacular.

She didn't get that from me.

Go offer the McKinleys
a lift, would you?

Next time you want to gossip,
Mrs McCarthy, run it by me first.

Elspeth eloped,

to get away from that
domineering father of theirs.

Everybody knows that.

God arises,
His enemies are scattered,

and those who hate Him flee
before Him. (This is ridiculous.)

ALL: As smoke is driven away,
so are they driven.

As wax melts before the fire,
so the wicked perish before God.

(It's not going to help.)

See the cross of the Lord.
Be gone, you hostile powers!

And then there was light!

It's a sign!

It's the electrics.
They keep cutting in and out.

Looks like mice ate the cable.

It's fixed, for now.
What's all this?

We're setting my sister's
spirit free.

Mr Wake's doing our renovation work.
If you'd like to join us?

This is sick.

Invoice. Another one? Your estimate
said... That's for the overtime.

I still haven't been paid
for that last one yet.

See to it.

Shall we continue?

From the snares of the devil...
ALL: Lord, deliver us.

That you help your Church to serve
you in security and freedom...

ALL: We beg you to hear us.

That you humble the enemies
of the holy Church.
ALL: We beg you to hear us.


ALL: Amen.

Is that it? It's done.

Finally(!) Can I go, then?

Isn't there supposed to be
some kind of a sign?

A clap of thunder, lightning,

something that tells us
that she's actually gone?

Believe me, if your sister is dead,
she rests in peace.

There's nothing here now.

Oh... Guess who? Er...

Oh, you're going to
have to help me out.


It's me...Selina.

Ah. Er...

I know you've noticed me.

You're a bit young for this,
aren't you?

Old enough to marry.

Old enough to elope.



It's not possible!

It's Elspeth.
It's not possible!

Please, breathe.

Oh! It's only a painting.

It flew at me.

She's still here!

Cord's still intact. It didn't work!

I've got to get out.

No, Victor, please! I have to go!

Father, please, help us!

I think we should revisit this
in the cold light of day.

We can't be alone here overnight.
Not now.

What about Mr McKinley?
Isn't he coming back?

Father, you can't stay. You're
expected at the Bishop's for matins.

Sid, can you stay?

Er...no, no, I have to, erm,
return the car to Lady F.

He's scared. I am not scared.

Good. Mrs McCarthy and I
will take the car back,

and we'll see you in the morning.

Sure, I never knew you could drive.

How hard can it be?


That Mr McKinley's a rum one.



I heard he was struck off
and that's why they're back in town.

Probably killed a patient.
Maybe that's who's haunting them.

No-one's haunting them.
I'm not interested in gossip.

I'm more interested in who's
trying to fake Elspeth's ghost.

Well, why did you say the prayers
if you don't believe in ghosts?

It's all in the mind.

I thought that telling Charlotte
that the ghost was gone

was what she needed to hear.

And now?




Now we walk home.




Do you want to wake up
the whole house?!

I was about to say the same to you.

Ohh, isn't it past your bedtime?

You're from London, aren't you?

Used to be.

Why stick around here?
I've never been anywhere more boring.

You'd be surprised.

Run away with me.

This is intimate.


What was that?

It's the ghost.



Oh, it's a cat! I hate cats!

Oh, you...! "I'm not scared!"




Mrs McKinley?


I don't understand.
We saw her come in here.


I've been outside the whole time.
She did not come past me.

She's vanished.


Come on, let's search the house.



Is that you? Mum?


You should be in bed.
Oh, Dad, thank God you're back!

Selina? You all right?

What's he doing here? It's Mum....

She's vanished.

You can't explain it,
can you, Father? What?

The "ghost",
or the disappearance? Either.

Maybe they're connected.

Maybe Elspeth's spirit
is taking its revenge.

What was Lady Felicia's term?
Oh, yes...


A clue?

This has been
out of print for years!

You're not going to steal it?!

I'll give it back.

She's hardly going to be
reading it, is she?

Not in the short term.


You'd better hurry up.
Valentine's here.


That'll do for now.

And don't leave town.

Inspector... What?

This is a big operation

for someone who's only been
missing for a few hours.

It's a potential
murder investigation.

You think she's been killed?

He's done it before.

And got away with it.

I'm not going to let it
happen again. You're saying...

Victor McKinley might
have killed both of them?

Victor was struck off for
mis-prescribing strong sedatives,

and all indications are
that Mrs McKinley was drugged

or Carter and her daughter
would've heard her being abducted.

She could have left the house
of her own accord.

No, she couldn't. Not alone, anyway.

The only other exit
is by the windows.

But there's only two sets of keys,

and Charlotte didn't have
either of them. Who did?

Ah! Finally, you're asking
the right questions.

The builder, Seth Wake, had one.

And the other... What possible
reason would Victor have

for abducting his own wife?

I didn't know who else to call.

Well, I'm glad you picked me.

Anything I can do,

anything at all...

I need an alibi.

They'll try to pin this on me.

After what happened with Elspeth,
the Inspector will have a field day!

You want me to lie for you?

If not for my sake,
for my daughter's.

She doesn't deserve
to go through that again.

If I say I was with you,
alone, all evening...

you know what this
means for my reputation.

What reputation?

Insults are not the way to convince
a lady to do you a favour.

It's not that, is it?
You think I might've done it.



Mr McKinley, I need you
to come down the station.

I'm not going anywhere with you.

Your wife called
the station last night,

minutes before she disappeared.

Her last words
before she was cut off were,

"I know what happened to Elspeth."


How many times?

Elspeth ran away.

She had some...secret boyfriend.

She wanted Charlotte
to start caring for their father
so she could marry him.

Charlotte said no.

So, when her father
went into hospital,

she ran off with her lover
and left us in it.

Leaving her packed bags
waiting on the bed?

If Elspeth had run off with a lover,
wouldn't he be missing, too?

Yet no-one for miles around
left at the same time.

You were her lover, Victor,

and when she threatened to tell
her sister what you were up to,

you killed her. Not this again.

The house was bolted
from the inside.

By your own testimony,
you, your wife,

and your eight-year-old daughter
were the only other people there.

If Elspeth left of her own accord,
who bolted the door?

I don't know!


Oh, Marmite, I'm sorry,
you must be starving.



Er, listen...

Lady Felicia's told me
to come and get you,

all right?
She doesn't want you on your own.

We don't even know when your dad's
going to get back. He didn't do it!

He didn't hurt Mum, and
he didn't hurt Auntie Elspeth.

How do you know that? He's my dad!

They can't put him
through this again.

I know I was only little,

but I saw what happened
when Auntie Elspeth went missing.

He fell apart!

There must be someone else
who had a reason to kill her.

about Victor McKinley's arrest...

Victor's out.

Lady Felicia's given him an alibi.

Lady Felicia?

I'm amazed you didn't know.

They were sweethearts years ago.

they've rekindled their affair.

God knows where I go from here.


What's that?


What do you think you're doing?

Heavy rain overnight. The bank
of one of the foundations collapsed.

So? Who knows when work
will start again on this lot.

It's safer to fill it in
and then re-dig later, if need be.

Unless you want somebody else
to disappear?




All right. I take your point.

As you were.

What's that?

Sergeant! Sir? Get Dr Miller.

He's going to want to certify this.

We've got a body.

No! Please, no!

It's all right.

It's not your mother.
How do you know?

Whoever that is, they're long dead.

Oh, dear God. A skeleton!

You know what this means, Father?

I'm sure you're going to tell me.

They've finally found Elspeth.

And if Elspeth's dead,

and Charlotte went missing
in exactly the same way

they have to be linked! Two murders.

It's Victor McKinley,
you mark my words.

But Victor's got an alibi.


It's a woman. They know already?

Awaiting official confirmation,

but she was wearing some kind
of bracelet or necklace.

They found beads with the body.

I'll call HQ with the news.
If I solve two murders this week,

the Chief Constable will
practically be buying me...flowers.

Can I help you, Father?

Yes, I'm here in my professional
capacity, about the body.

I wondered when we might be able
to give her...or him

a Christian burial?

It'll be a while. The coroner's
going to have a job with this one.


If that's everything?


I don't often see you here

I need to talk to you.

About the case? Yeah,
there's something you don't know.

Elspeth had a lover.

It was all very hush-hush,
her father wouldn't have approved.

So, they needed a go-between,
and I needed a sixpence.

Why didn't you come forward then?

I was a kid. Do you really think
His Nibs would've listened to me?

Anyway, I liked him.

And now? I don't like him.

I've been watching him.
There's something...off.



what are you doing here?

Sid, the Inspector
needs to know this.

I don't want you getting involved
with this case at the McKinleys'.

If I wanted to be told what to do,
I'd be at home with my husband.

Not in a cheap hotel with you.

Why'd you marry him?

You didn't look at me twice.

You were born to be
lady of the manor.

Out of my league.

Feeble excuse.

Suppose I'd already
had my fingers burnt.

Who? I meant it.

About Victor McKinley.

The police catch you,
you'll be in trouble.

What's to catch?

After all, I really did
have a room booked that night.


Police! Seth Wake, open up!
We know you're in there!

(You can't afford
to get caught in here.)


Yeah? Seth Wake, I am arresting
you on suspicion of the murders

of Elspeth and Charlotte McKinley.

If your bit of stuff in the bathroom
wants to keep her anonymity,

I suggest you come quietly.

I didn't kill Elspeth!
I didn't kill either of them!

But you and Elspeth were lovers?

You were due at the scene
the night she disappeared.

No! And the day Charlotte McKinley
went missing,

you realised she'd worked out
the truth about you and Elspeth.

You came back that night. No!
Do you have an alibi?


Question the woman, too.

Sorry, Guv. She's gone.

Oh, what?!

You heard they arrested Seth?

Don't give up hope.

I don't think he'd hurt her.

Especially when these aren't even

What did you do to her, Dad?

No, no, you don't understand...

They'll hang Seth!
You know that, right?

I didn't drug her.
So what are these?


Are they tasty?
Stop that! Put them down.

If they're not dangerous,
there's no problem, is there?

Is this what you did to Mum?

Is this how you stopped her
finishing that call? Put them down!


Yeah, that's what I thought.



Is something amiss, Mrs M?

Have you...

have you heard anything
in the church?

You mean like the rattling
of ancient chains?


No. Nothing like that.

Father, you're making mock.

I think St Mary's is haunted!

What's this?

Pear drops. Blood sugar,
that's what you need. Oh!

Am I disturbing you?

Not at all.
Ooh, what's the riddle?

These numbers and letters in the
dust wrapper of Charlotte's book.

Lots of them are crossed out,
but this set isn't.

I thought it might give us a clue.

I thought, "nine across, seven up."
A location, maybe.

Or the last two clues
of a crossword.

Or a chess move.


That was...

I was in the middle of that.

Now that you've finished
"helping me",

what can I do for you?

What have they got on Seth?

They think he's responsible
for Elspeth's disappearance.

Seth Wake was her lover,
that much he admits.

He says they were planning
to run away together.

He waited outside,
she didn't turn up.

He can't have done it.

The supposition is that
Elspeth changed her mind,

told him she wasn't coming,
they argued, he killed her.

I don't believe
he did anything to Elspeth.

But I know he didn't
do anything to Charlotte.

He doesn't have an alibi.

Yes, he does.

Please, don't stand on ceremony(!)

I need to change my testimony.

I'm sorry? Seth Wake.

He has an alibi for the night
Charlotte went missing.

He was with me, in my hotel room.


Forgive me, Lady Felicia,

but are you planning on giving
an alibi to every man I interview?

How many of you were there
in that hotel room, exactly?

How incredibly impertinent!

When you provided
a witness statement,

you signed a declaration
your statement was true.

Are you saying you were lying?

I was...confused.

I got the wrong night.

Well, Lady Felicia,
how many men are you seeing?

Your statement stands.
Now, stop wasting my time.


What is it, Inspector?

The coroner's
report on the skeleton...

What does it say?

Apparently, the body was male.

So, not Elspeth?

Top marks for deduction, Father.

I thought it was wearing jewellery?

It was. A bracelet, necklace,
beads, wasn't it?

Heavens' sake, Father.
What does it matter?

As long as Seth's in the clear?

There's no chance of that,
I'm afraid.

Since his arrest,
we've searched his cottage.

We found notes to him from Elspeth.

"Please, don't do anything stupid."

"I don't know if I can
go through with this."

"I'm sorry."

She was breaking up with him.

She was afraid of him.

But without the
other side of the conversation,

those notes are meaningless.
We're pressing charges...

bodies or no.




Let me out!

Let me out!


I thought you might want
to make a confession.

It was you who made
the chandelier fall, wasn't it?

You created the ghost
at the house?

I just wanted Mum to move us
back to London.

I didn't know
it would end up like this.

You haven't caused any of this.

It'll be all right, Selina.

What's this?

St Anthony.

Patron saint of lost things
and missing persons.

So I thought he might help you.

Thank you.

That body they found in the garden,
he was wearing a necklace, wasn't he?

So the police said.

Maybe it was one of these.

Maybe that's why you found him.

It wasn't a chain. It was beads.

The body was wearing a rosary!

During the Reformation,
the Catholics were persecuted.

They built themselves hiding places,

priest holes for their holy men,
and their books and their relics.

So, you think that skeleton
was a priest who got caught?

Who didn't make it
to the priest hole in time.

What priest hole?


..she sat here, reading.


Nine across, seven up.



Maybe your mother's notes
just mean something else entirely.

That's not Mum's handwriting.

Pray Father, give your blessing,
for I have sinned.

It's been ten years
since my last confession.

This had better be good.
You and Elspeth...

Were eloping. Were lovers.

Yes, I've been through this.

Were you searching for something
in the house?

There was a family legend,

an old wives' tale,

a hidden hoard,
somewhere in the Manor.

We thought if we found it,
we...could get married.

Leave. Her father
couldn't control our lives.

What happened that night?

We were going to run away.

We were due to meet
at the pond at six.

I waited all night.

What do you think became of her?

I think she found whatever
was hidden in that house.



then just took it.

What other explanation can there be?

Is this Elspeth's handwriting?

That's right.

Her ones always looked like sevens.

Why, what does it say?

It says, "Never give up hope."

Sergeant? Sir?

What's this?

Search me.

'Come to McKinley house
as soon as you get this.'

When's he going to learn?

I don't take orders from a priest.

Of course not, sir.





Help! Somebody, help me!


Father? Help! It's my dad -
he's done something awful.

He's still breathing.

Stay here, I'll call a doctor.

Please. As fast as you can.

Nine across, one up, not seven.





Father, water! Please!

Don't worry,
I'm getting you out now.


I thought I told you to stay
with your father.


Please tell me that
you didn't move the umbrella!




I knew it was a wild goose chase.

'Which number, please?'

The presbytery, please.

'Just putting you through.'

'Morning. Father Brown's residence.
Mrs McCarthy speaking.'

Mrs McCarthy, tell the Father,

I'm bringing charges for wasting
police time. But, sir!

Victor McKinley's upstairs.
Out cold.

Looks like suicide.

Why can't they hear us?

This place was built to be

The priests hiding down here were
only safe if they couldn't be heard.

And how did THEY get out?

They didn't!

Until a sympathiser who knew the
coast was clear let them out.

It had to be utterly secret,

so unless you were in on it, you
wouldn't even know it was here.

Then how did Mum find this one?


The book.

She was reading your Auntie
Elspeth's book

about historic Gloucestershire

trying to find out what, or who...

..was haunting you.

The marks inside were Elspeth's.

I imagine no-one has even opened
that book

since the night she disappeared.

The police station, please.

Hello? This is Charlotte McKinley.

You have to tell the inspector,
I know what happened to Elspeth.

But if Auntie Elspeth found it
first, why didn't she...

No, she can't be.

What's that box?

The mythical family treasure.

Looks like Elspeth found it
after all.

Much good it did her.

How could you let Selina follow you?

I'd come to terms with this, for me.

She's 17.

There are three of us down here now,
making noise.

Someone will hear us!

We're all going to die down here.

It just says "sorry".

Not a confession per se,

but perhaps the alibi Lady Felicia
gave the builder was true,

after all. Ah, the penny drops!

Is Victor going to be all right?

The doctor thinks
he got here just in time.

What are you all doing here, anyway?

Well, it's hardly my fault
if you insist on talking

police business
whilst on the telephone to me.

I'm amazed Father Brown
isn't here to gloat, too.

Where is he, then? And what
about Selina? Where is she?

Don't look at me!
That's another two people missing.

I'll get the men searching
the woods.

If you want to help,
you can join them.


Where does this tunnel lead?

I went all the way down there.

It felt like miles.

I tried banging and shouting, but...

It's just a dead end.

Or really sound-proofed, like down

What does it matter, anyway?

We know no-one heard you,
or they'd have helped.

Unless they thought your mother
was a ghost.

Father Brown?




I don't do this praying thing often.

Fair cop, ever. But I've got
a bit of a situation.

Three people have gone missing.
Four, if you count Elspeth.

If you do exist, maybe you could
see your way to sending me a sign?





Do you come here often?


I have never been
so pleased to see you!


I'm sorry.

I don't understand.

I thought morphine was for coughs,
and toothache.

But if you have enough,
it's really...

calming. And addictive.

When your aunt went missing,
I badly needed to be calm.

No-one believed it wasn't me.

I believed you.

And the morphine...

that's why they struck you off?

Who told you about that?

I'm not a child, Dad.

I know more than you think I do.

We should never had dragged you out
here without telling you why.

When your father...lost his job...

..we just couldn't afford to live
that life.

But everything's changed now.

The jewels you found, they're
hugely valuable.

We can walk away, move back
to London.

If that's what you want?

Anima eius et animae omnium
fidelium defunctorum

per misericordiam Dei requiescant
in pace.

Ite in pace.

ALL: Amen.

Go in the peace of Christ.

Thanks be to God.

I heard there was a note for you
with her body.

I shouldn't have stopped looking.

I should never have believed...
There's nothing you could've done.

You shouldn't punish yourself

I think I'll punish myself
for a while longer yet.

You still won't elope with me?

Even now I'm an heiress?

Trust me, I am tempted.

But even?10,000 doesn't
make you five years older.

Come find me in five years, then.


Can I ask you a question?

The ghost - how did you know
it was me? I didn't.

But when the painting
came off the wall,

I knew someone was pushing the lath
and plaster from the other side.

Seth had left the house and you
were the only one not in sight.

I did everything else.
Hands up to that,

but the painting, I was with Sid.
Ask him!

Oh, come on! Father, I swear on
my mother's life...

It wasn't me.

And of course, we all know
ghosts don't exist.

Father Brown. Father Brown.

I've heard so much about you.

All good, I hope?

Are you a relative of the deceased,

I hear you got yourself
stuck in a tunnel.

Inspector Valentine had to save you.

Well, I suppose I did, yes.

Meddling. It's a dangerous business.

I'm sorry - who are you? Ah!

You two have met.

Do you mind if I borrow the Father
for a second?

Father, I don't think I've thanked
you properly.

Two cases closed.

Make it three. The skeleton
you dug up in the garden.

I've been doing some digging
of my own in the parish records.

There are references that the
disappearance of a travelling

And I appreciate you keeping your
investigative involvement on the QT.

Yes, well, my boss isn't that
interested in detective work

so I'm happy to let you
have the credit.

You have no idea what it
means to me.

Maybe we can work together in
the future. Ah.

I see. You haven't heard.

I'm London-bound.

DCI, Metropolitan Police.

So you see, I really do mean it.

Thank you.

Inspector Sullivan will be taking
over as the new DI of Kembleford.

So, no more meddling, eh?

I don't want to be picking
up the pieces.

You know, I almost think
I'll miss you, Father.

The feeling might be mutual.