Father Brown (2013–…): Season 4, Episode 3 - The Hangman's Demise - full transcript

Father Brown investigates the murder of a former hangman.

It wasn't me.

They know who did it.

So who was it, then?

25 years of matrimony.
A most commendable milestone.

I agree, Father. Even if one does
get less for manslaughter!

I thought these two were broke.
They are.

So how come they can afford
all this?

They had a little helping hand.

You mean... you paid for it?

I decided they needed cheering up.

Daphne. Absolutely
parched. Thank you very much indeed.

We can't tell you how grateful we
are. Can we, Henry? No.

I always like to take
care of my tenants.

Besides, any excuse for a party.

You will get your rent, I promise.

You just keep growing your beautiful
flowers, Edie.

Things are bound to turn around.

What a pretty rose.

Not half as pretty as mine.

She still hasn't forgiven you, then,
for last year's flower show?


My choosing Edie's flower
arrangement over Mrs McCarthy's

marked a particular
low point in our relationship.

She'll be gunning for you this year.

Oh, dear.

That's come around quickly.

Here's to you,
you miserable so-and-so.

I spend my days with YOU,
what do you expect?

Ha! Lovely do.

Yeah, Edie deserves it...

for putting up with me.

You're right there.

That glass is looking a bit empty.

Henry, how are you doing?

Yeah, I'm all right.

You're very much missed at St Mary's.

Yeah, well...

If you do want to talk,
the door's always open.

Excuse me.

Mr Lee?

I'm sorry to interrupt this
happy occasion,

but I have been wanting to
speak to you for such a long time.

I'm sorry, do I know you?

No, but I'm hoping that you will
remember my son, Thomas.

You hanged him, you see.

Lady, I hanged 120 men and women,
I don't remember every one.

This is Thomas
and this is his sweetheart, Vera.

They said he murdered her
but he never did, you see?

You do remember him, don't you?

Mr Lee, I have found out that Vera's
killer worked at

the same Crown Court where
she was a secretary.

He was someone important, you see,
and that's why they covered it up.

That's why I had to find you -
I need to clear Thomas's name.

Did he say anything to you?
Did he say anything at all?

He said what all the others said -
nothing. Please, Mr Lee.

Did he mention a man called Max?
He's the one who killed Vera.


Where did you hear all this?

In prison.

I need you to tell me what he said.

I want you to leave now.

Please, Mr Lee! I'm his mother!
Get out!

You coward!

Mrs McCarthy, what a lovely hat.

It makes you look like royalty.

If only!

Mrs McCarthy...

have you heard of a new
restaurant in Cheltenham called

Gerard's Brasserie?

I was wondering if you'd care to
join me there tomorrow lunchtime.

Well, I have a WI meeting.

The speaker runs
a cattery in Painswick.

Well, surely the WI can do without
you for one day.

No, I don't think I will.

But thank you for the invitation
all the same.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Henry and I would like to thank you
all very much for coming,

and Lady Felicia, of course,
for all your kindness.

25 years sounds a lot.

Some of you will know it's not
been our easiest year

but we've stuck though it, together,
like we always have.

And, well, I think that's the secret
of a happy marriage, really.

So thank you,
and enjoy your evening.

What about Edie?

Red Lion, anyone?

Ready to sweep all before you
tomorrow, Mrs M?

Tomorrow? Oh, you mean
the flower show.

That's just a bit of fun, isn't it?

Now, what can I do for you?

About George...
You can save your breath.

You clearly put him
up to that little stunt.

Mrs M, you've got it all wrong.

He did come and see me but only
because he was feeling nervous.

He'd wanted to ask you
out for lunch for a very long time.

He seems a jolly decent chap,
and I think he really likes you.

Was there anything else? No.

Only that Gerard's Brasserie is
quite the place to be at the moment

and the Dover sole
is really rather good.

Your Cosmos looks lovely, by the way.


Tea's up!


Mrs McCarthy, good morning.

May I have a word?

Yes, yes, of course.
Let me just...

Tea, Henry.

Edie. Thank you.


You were absolutely right about the
WI being able to cope without me,

so I was just wondering if...

the invitation still stands?

Yes, yes, of course! Wonderful!

May I offer you a celebratory cuppa?

Yes, all right.

A year ago we had Henry's
hanging work

and you were giving us weddings
and funerals at St Mary's.

Now we have nothing.

I was just sharing out the work,

You're not the only
florist in the area.

I think we both know
what you're doing

has got nothing to do with fairness.

Look, if you promise to give us
some more business,

I won't enter the flower show.

I think I can win the competition
without your charity.

Thank you, though.

Please, Mrs McCarthy,
we're on our knees here.







That's what the doctor thinks, going
by Henry's symptoms and the smell.

How extraordinary.

Poor Henry didn't notice the odd
taste and drank the whole cup.

Probably because of his excesses
last night.

How long does the doctor
think he has?

Hours. A day at most.

The Inspector is up with him now.


What a terrible shock for you both.

Who could have done such a thing?

Edie is quite understandably
wondering whether it was me.

I haven't said a word.
No need to, Edie.

I made the tea
and no-one else touched it.

If I was in your position,
I would think it was me too.

Padre, what a surprise!

Good morning, Inspector Mallory.

Last rites and a murder.

It's Christmas come early for you,
isn't it?

Right, George, with apologies,

I gather you made Henry's tea,
so I'll have to take a statement.

You know the drill.

Yes, of course.

And please search my house.

You don't need a warrant,
I've got nothing to hide.

I don't doubt it. Thank you, though.

Goodfellow. All yours, Padre.

Henry, may I?

I'm here to offer you confession
and absolution. No.

Thank you.

As you wish.

Have you any idea who did
this to you?

May I ask, was that your first cup
of tea of the day?


That woman at your party,
Iris Lightman,

and the cover-up
she was talking about.

I never met a mother who
thought their child was guilty.

But do you think she could have
taken her frustration out on you?

It's possible.

Henry, while there is still time,

I will do all that I can
to find out who did this.

I give you my word.

Father. George.

Please don't tell me he's dead.

The Lord in his infinite compassion

has given Henry more time to
say his goodbyes.

I've been praying for some
kind of miracle.

You get on well with Henry,
don't you?

When we met in the Red Lion a year
ago, I was a typical ex-copper.

Drunk, broken marriage, fast
heading for a hole in the ground.

Henry had just given up
the hanging job,

so he wasn't feeling too
great himself.

But he insisted
he wanted to help me.

He put a spade in my hand and
introduced me to the joys of nature.

The Good Samaritan, eh?


Sorry about this but I'm going to
have to bring you in.


My colleagues found
hemlock in your house.

George is no murderer.

Well, it's not looking good for him.

No, it isn't.
What do you think, Father?

Hemlock. Strange choice of poison.

It paralyses the body slowly
but leaves the mind untouched,

which means it increases the chance
the culprit will be identified.

George would have known that there
are much more clinical toxins.

But if he was the only person to
touch the teacup...

Well, actually we're not
sure that he was.

It was Henry's first tea of the day.

Ground hemlock is brown,
Henry's teacup was brown.

The powder could have been placed
in his cup earlier that morning

and George wouldn't have noticed.

So in theory, anybody
could have done it?

I need to find Iris Lightman.

Her anger when Henry refused to help
her expose the "Max" character was palpable.

What about Edie,
with all her money worries?

She's hasn't exactly been all
sweetness and light, has she?

What did happen to all that cash
that Edie's father had?

Vernon had money? Oh, yeah.

He made an absolute fortune
on the black market during the war.

I had no idea.

Sid, I've got a small job for you.

I want you to find out who
Vernon's solicitor was.

Sidney, your nails are filthy.

You know me, Mrs M, always happy to
get my hands dirty. Ta-ta.

He's helping Edie out in her garden.

Sidney Carter in a garden!

She needs all the help she can get.

Which is why I've decided to enter
best bouquet

in the flower competition on her
behalf. You?

You're serious? Perfectly.

A first prize could be very good
publicity for her right now.

First prize?

I did flower arranging
at finishing school.

I doubt you've ever read
Constance Spry.

No, I have not,
and neither has the Father.

Fortunately, he and I
are of one mind

when it comes to the floral

Well, we will see about that.

Mrs Lightman! Mrs Lightman!

Father Brown.

From the party.

Did you see Henry?

I didn't get to see him.
The police stopped me.

But you knew he'd been poisoned?

Two policemen woke me up
this morning

asking me if I'd been near his shed.

You must have been very angry with
Henry last night.

Why on earth would
I want to poison him?

He can't help me clear Thomas
if he's dead, can he?


You mentioned being in prison?

On the morning they hanged
Thomas, I attacked a policeman.

Oh. No, well,

I wouldn't have expected someone
like you to understand.

Look, all I know about Henry Lee,
all I care about,

is that he was the last person
to look into my son's eyes.

Morning, Constable. Father.

Shame to throw away such
a handsome volume.

"For Henry,

"the greatest of hangmen,
the greatest of men. Ever, Max."

You didn't know that your friend Max
was Vera Blanchett's killer

until Iris told you last night.

You came home
and threw away his gift in disgust.

Henry, I am only trying to get to
the bottom of this.

Max was a senior judge...

..at the Crown Court where
Vera Blanchett was a secretary.

He took his own life...

..not long after I hanged Thomas.

Now I know why.

George, this was found snagged
on the shed where you made the tea.

Got any ideas?


That woman that Henry had a spat
with at the party last night.

She was wearing a cardigan,
same colour as that.

Iris Lightman?

Is that her name?
Thank you, George.

I'm sure we'll have you
out of here very shortly.

Of all the secretaries I know,

Jean is definitely
one of the most obliging.


I'm afraid so.

All right.

I did go to that flower garden
this morning.

I wanted to punish Henry Lee
for not speaking up.

Punish him how, Iris?

By hitting him with a spade.

A spade? Yes!

But as I stood
there in that garden shed,

I realised it wasn't going to
solve anything, was it? So I left.

That's it? Yes.

OK. So this is what really happened.

You put hemlock in Henry's teacup

and then set up
George Hammond for the crime.

I don't know any George Hammond.

Come on, Iris,
make this easier on yourself.

Where would I get hemlock?

How would I know which
cup to put it in?

It had an "H" on it!

Somebody else's name might have
started with the letter "H", mightn't it?

That was a risk you were
ready to take

because you're that kind of person,

You're only two days out of prison
for maiming a policeman,

for heaven's sake!

This is what they did to my Thomas.

You lot,
you forced a confession out of him!

Well, you'll not put any
words in my mouth.

Just looking for a picture
of your father.

There aren't any.

Oh. Why?

I know Vernon was a libertarian.

I know he opposed your marriage
to Henry.

What's this about, Father?

I understand your father left you
a quite substantial sum,

to be withheld until such time

as Henry Lee was no longer your
lawful husband.

My father's money has nothing
whatsoever to do with Henry,

or me, or you!

Mrs McCarthy? Good gracious!

Anyone would think you were
spying on those two.

Why ever would I do that?
I have no idea.

I fear I may have found our culprit.

Upon Henry Lee's death, it turns out
that Edie is entitled to

her father's not insubstantial

But that makes no sense.

When Henry was about to drink that
cup of tea,

Edie was begging me
to give her some business.

She was almost in tears.

Now, Edie Lee is a proud,
proud woman.

She'd never humiliate herself
like that if what you say is true.

I see.

Oh, dear.

That poor woman.

Father? Yes?

I have to confess that my feelings

were very hurt last year
at the flower show.

Ah, yes.
I am extremely sorry about that.

No. No, not just by you.

When I looked at Edie's flower

I realised mine
would never be as good.

And I think I've been punishing
her for that ever since.

That was very brave of you to say so.

And God, I am sure, will forgive you.

Thank you. Thank you, Father.

Now, I'll see you back at St Mary's.

I just pray to God we're
not too late.

Me too, George.

Good Afternoon, Lady Felicia!

Good work, Sid!

George! Father.

How are you, Henry?

Mr Lee, the good news is we've got
your man. Well, woman.

It turns out Iris Lightman
did this to you.

Popped into your shed first
thing yesterday

and slipped hemlock in your teacup.

The one thing I don't understand is

why she's tried to fit up
George here.

I've never met the woman, Henry.

Don't have any thoughts on it,
do you?

I saw her at the shed...

..this morning.

She didn't put poison in my cup.

Well, Mrs Lightman didn't
mention meeting you.

How come you've said
nothing about it till now?

It's the truth.

That woman poisoned you,

so why on earth would you want
to cover for her?

She didn't do it.

Right. Fair enough.

I'm done here, George.

I'll stay here with Henry. No!

Just leave me alone...

all of you!

Iris has motive, opportunity,

and what's more she's lied to us.
We've easily got enough.

You've met her, Father.

Do you think she did it? No.

But I don't know who did.

Why is Henry behaving
so strangely towards me?

I don't know that either.

But let him rest.

Haven't you got an appointment
this lunchtime?

Mrs McCarthy, sorry I'm a bit late.

But I thought you were...

Inspector Mallory has
arrested Iris Lightman.

And as Henry wants to be
left alone...

The inspector's also arranged a car
to drop us off in Cheltenham.


Oh, they're beautiful!

That is very...

I'll just go and get myself ready.

There's no need.
You look delightful as you are.

At least let me change my hat.

And I'll just put these in water.
Of course.

Thank you.

I can't remember the last time
I was in such a fancy place.

Neither can I, Mrs McCarthy.

Bridget, please. Thank you.

I'm very glad you changed your mind.

Now, I hear the Dover sole is
particularly nice.

Ah, Sid. Father.

Bon appetit.

Well, I wouldn't want Mrs M's
flan going to waste,

what with her being otherwise
engaged, you know.

Oh! How lovely.

"If I had a flower for every time
I thought of you,

"I could walk through my garden

Quite the poet, old George. No.

That's Tennyson.

Oh, dear. What?

I fear Mrs McCarthy is having
lunch with a murderer.

You're kidding.

Let's just pray she's careful
what she says.

All I know is, a man named Max
murdered a girl called Vera.

Well, anyway, that's what this Iris
woman told Henry.


Are you all right?

Yes. Yes, I'm fine.

Well, I'll just visit the powder
room. Of course.

You sure Mrs McCarthy's in

George may well have poisoned

to stop him revealing that he killed
Vera Blanchett.

And if George did that to Henry...

Oh, that looks lovely.

I've taken the liberty of pouring
you some wine.

Oh! Why not?

Here's to you, Bridget,
and to Henry.

Of course. To poor Henry.

Oh, It's quite sharp.
Maybe even a little bitter.

Try the fish. Yes.

Mrs McCarthy.

What are you... George.

What on earth is going on?!

I'm afraid there has been
a fire at St Mary's. A fire!

Now, the Fire Brigade have it under
control, Mrs McCarthy,

but I need you to go back with Sid
and sort out a few things.

But I haven't even started my
dinner. I'm so sorry.

But all things considered,
I think we've had a lucky escape.

Right. Shall we? The Rolls, Mrs M?

Why didn't you just telephone
the restaurant?

The line was engaged.

There isn't really a fire at
St Mary's, is there?

) George is Max.

Well, I think I had better get back,
just, just in case... Good idea.

I hope we can do this again,

Oh, yes! Of course!

I'd like to eat this fish
but I don't think it would be safe.

I know you killed Vera Blanchett...

..and let an innocent boy
swing for it.

I don't know what you're
talking about, Father.

Your work took you to the
Crown Court regularly.

That's where you met Vera.
She was young, impressionable.

You were a Detective Sergeant.

How could she refuse you?

But she did.

And that's when it went horribly,
horribly wrong.

I presume Max is your middle name?

If you leave this restaurant
I will call the police.

Was it your idea to pin Vera's
murder onto Thomas?

It was my boss's idea,
and his boss's.

To protect their reputation
and the "good name" of the police?

But I did nothing to stop them!

Did you poison Henry too?

What? No!

Surely he needed to be silenced.

Thanks to Iris
he knew that you were Vera's killer.

But I only just found that out
from Mrs McCarthy.

Father, I have done some monstrous
things in my time

but believe me, I would never,
ever harm Henry or Mrs McCarthy.


In the time I have known you,

I have always sensed you wanted
to be a good man.

Do you want what happened to Thomas
to ever happen again? Of course not.

Then go to Inspector Mallory,

confess your crime
and expose your superiors

and the corrupt system that
protected you.

Father, I'm not sure that
I'm brave enough.

I think you are.

God has given you the chance

to salvage some greater
good from your acts.

I strongly suggest that you do
the right thing.

Afternoon, sir.
Is the Inspector in?

He is, sir, yes.
Go straight through. Thank you.

Oh, Sergeant, there's a man outside,
he's behaving rather strangely.

I think he must be drunk.
Is there? Right.


I've got nothing more to say.

Mrs Lightman? Who are you?

I'm Max.

I am so very sorry...

..for what I did to Vera
and to your son.

How did you get in here?

I want to confess to the
murder of Vera Blanchett...

..and to my role in a barbaric
police cover-up.

You what?

I should have known it was too
good to be true.

Come now, Mrs McCarthy.

Not every man who invites you out to
lunch will turn out to be a murderer.

And I didn't even get to taste
the Dover sole.

It is the merest of consolation,
but I do believe that George

is repentant about what he did
to Vera and Thomas.

And I suppose that's why
he poisoned Henry as well.

I'm not convinced it was him,

How can you even question it?

His denial seemed sincere.

And I don't believe
he would have chosen hemlock.

Nobody in their right mind would
choose hemlock.

Plato did.
Or was that the other one?

Socrates. Yes, him, exactly.
Of course. Of course!

And all because you stayed
for a cup of tea.

You are a genius, Mrs McCarthy.

Socrates chose hemlock for his own
execution, and so did you.


Thomas Lightman showed you that
the justice system

you had given your life to
was corrupt.

Made you wonder how many other
innocent people you had hanged.

The shock made you give up your job,
the Church and embrace the bottle.

I suspect you were looking
for life's exit door

before you left your own party.

But when Iris Lightman told you
the name of the monster

who had caused you all this grief,
it was the final straw.

And you had to know George very
well to know that he was Max.

And you did, didn't you, Henry?

What is this?

I'm afraid this is the truth.

But you didn't want your suicide
to be in vain,

you wanted justice
for Vera and Thomas.

But the problem was, you didn't
trust the police

to deal with their own corruption.

So you had to put
George on the scaffold yourself.

So you left traces of hemlock
in George's house

and kept the rest with you.

Then when Mrs McCarthy came to the
garden, you put it in your tea,

knowing that she would confirm
George had made it.

George Hammond did this to me.

That's what you want
the police to believe.

And that's why you protected Iris.

Don't worry, Henry.

As I speak,
George is in the Police Station,

confessing to the murder of Vera.
You will get your justice.

One question.

When you heard the name Max, why
were you certain that was George?

Thomas told me
that Vera was killed by a policeman.

Will I go to hell for this, Father?

Jesus commanded us not to judge.

God will have the final judgment.

But I tell you this...

Not for one second has
He left your side.

I've just been on the phone to the
Chief Constable.

You're free to go. What?

You can't do this.
I'm just following orders.

I'm not going.

You know what I think,
Detective Inspector?

That a bent copper is worse
than any criminal.

That you should swing
and heads should roll.

But it's not me who decides, is it?

It can be, if you want it to be.

Look, I'll get Goodfellow to throw
you out if I have to.

Inspector Mallory, if you do not
charge me with the murder

of Vera Blanchett, then I will add
your name to the list that I give to

the newspapers of all the coppers
involved in this sordid business.

And as the roof of this constabulary
comes crashing down,

you too will be buried forever.

Thank you.

I'm sorry that I've ended up...

..bringing you down with me.

At this moment
I just want to come with you.

No, Edie, you must stay and fight.

Your father's money...

...I want you to take it.

What? No. Don't ask that. Please.


Keeping our business alive...

..that will be... keeping us alive.

Thank you.

You are the best thing... that ever

..in my life.

Oh, Henry.


"The stream will cease to flow.

"The wind will cease to blow.

"The clouds will cease to fleet.

"The heart will cease to beat.

"For all things must die."

Henry chose hemlock.

He wanted to say a proper
goodbye to Edie.

Come on, Sid, we've got
a competition to win for Edie.

The flower show!

I forgot all about that.

Lady Felicia? Yes, Mrs M?

I was wondering if you might
like one or two suggestions from me

as to which flowers might catch
Father Brown's eye?

I thought you wanted to win
the trophy for yourself?

Yes, well, I've had a change
of heart.

Thank you.

The winner!

For Edie Lee.

The grower of the best flowers
in the whole of the Cotswolds!

And next Monday,

I will be hiring Edie as the florist
for the Websters' wedding.


You look relieved, Father.

That was the toughest yet.

Thanks for the steer.

Anything for a peaceful life, eh?

Partners in crime.
Who'd have thought it?

You know what,
when those two get together,

they really are a deadly

Of course the real reason we won is

because I knew exactly which blooms
Father Brown favoured.

What rot! If I hadn't been to
finishing school,

the whole thing would have been
an unmitigated disaster!