Father Brown (2013–…): Season 6, Episode 4 - The Angel of Mercy - full transcript

Mrs McCarthy's friend Freda Knight dies in her sleep at the hospital where Bunty's old nanny Ellen is also a patient but Father Brown feels her death was not natural, especially when the ...

And all from our own garden at St Mary's.

Oh! And I bought you a Battenberg,
which I know is one of your favourites.

Thank you, Bridget. It's very kind.

Should I call the nurse?

There's no point.

Now, I think you're going to enjoy
next month's fundraising lunch.

- We're having a talk
from a glass blower. - Hm.

- At...
- Hm. Hm.

I'm going to get Matron.

She'll give you something
to stop the pain.

She already has.


Freda, I'm so sorry.

I just... I just wish there
was something I could do.

There is.

Well, tell me!

Surely... Surely you can't
mean you want me to...

Please, Bridget!

Help me end this!

Lovely Alfred.

We'll miss him at Montague.

The best handyman in Kembleford.

- He knew his time was
coming, you know. - Oh?

He asked for Confession,

and then he told his beloved Nancy

that an angel would come in the
night and take him to Heaven.

About as peaceful a passing
as you could hope for.

A beautiful soul. And so
helpful around the Convent.

I never saw such a demon with a spanner.

Thank you, Caitlin.

- Hard to believe Caitlin's only
been with us for a fortnight. - Hm.

She's like a younger version of Mrs M.

Only more fun and even more saintly.

You're not lining her up as a
replacement for Mrs M, are you?

No! And do not tell that to Mrs McCarthy!

Too late.

Caitlin, I have to admire
the way you've thrown

yourself into life at St Mary's.

You've given me a second
chance here, Father.

Mrs McCarthy!

Have you seen Freda?

What is it?

You had better come at once, Father.

But why does God ask me
to endure this, Father?

I believe He gives us strength
not through freedom from pain

but through pain itself.

"Rejoice in so far as you are
sharing Christ's sufferings, so

"that you may also be glad and shout
for joy when his glory is revealed."

Mr Coulter is here. Waiting outside.

Matron. Freda needs some morphine.

Her next dose is due in two hours.

Well, that's not good enough.

Forgive me. Are you medically trained?

No, but I can read,

and the sign outside says
this is a nursing home!


Perhaps we should let
Freda alone to her visitor.

Indeed, yes.

Father, I wonder if Caitlin's time
at St Mary's has served its purpose?

Ah. I promised Sister Harriet
she could stay with us

for at least two months.

Yes, well, Sister Harriet herself
threw that girl out of the convent!

Why don't you start using
Caitlin around St Mary's more?

What would I do that for?

To take the strain.

What strain?

Ah, Charlie!

Father. Mrs McCarthy.

Charlie Coulter. Freda's... friend.


Thank goodness!

Promise you'll shoot me if I ever
end up in a place like this, Father.

I will do no such thing.

Right. Who's for charades?

I'll go first. I warn you,
this one's rather rude.


Bunty Windermere? It can't be.

I don't believe it!

What on Earth are you
doing in this madhouse?

Oh, I'm here with my friends.
Everyone, this is Ellen Jennings.


Ellen was my old nanny.

Well, one of them. You got
through quite a few young, lady.

Oh, you were easily my favourite.

You do seem like fun!

Well, love and laughter.
What more is there to life?

So, Ms Jennings, what
brings you to Kembleford?

Well, erm, my doctor's new
prescription. Country air.

Wasting disease.

Going to see me off, I'm
afraid. Bit annoying.

But no gloomy faces, please.

Inside my head I'm still
dancing like Ginger Rogers.

Well, since you're all
here, I'll give you a tour.

Pity about the litter.

Now, that's my room there.

Why have they put you
all the way up there?

Probably to stop me escaping, dear.

Seth Knight!

Freda's son?

He left Kembleford over a year
ago, just after his father died.

Hasn't been back to see his mother since.

It would seem his
conscience has returned him.

Hurry up. I don't know how
much time I've got left.

Got to go. Bye!

Who was that?

It's just a friend. How are you
this morning, Mrs McCarthy?

Er... What is this?

Well, now,

I noticed that your accounts
ledger was nearly full

so I bought you a new one.

And I've some nice sharp
pencils for you in my bedroom.

I'll go get them.

Why are you doing this?

Um... to help?

Oh. To "take the strain," you mean?

Well, yes.

Father Brown suggested it, didn't he?

Father Brown? No. It was my idea.

St Mary's Presbytery.

Oh. Matron!

Oh, no.

Yes. Yes. We'll be there right away.

She was in terrible pain. God
has shown his compassion.

She looks so peaceful.

Indeed. Beatific, almost.

What is it, Father?

It's like odour. Rubber. And disinfectant.

Strangely familiar.

How much more time will you need?


Only I don't want the body around any
longer than is strictly necessary.

I'm sure we won't be too much longer.


Do you have any idea what time Freda died?

I gave her morphine at 11 o'clock.

She was gone when the nurse
brought breakfast at 7.30.

Has the body been moved?

Moved? Whatever for?

No reason.

Why on Earth is that
woman in this profession?

Isn't it beautiful?

May I?

Wing feather.

Dove, possibly.

You'd like to think an angel left it

when they came to take poor Freda away.

Well, Padre,

nothing to suggest it was anything
other than a natural death.

Thank you for completely wasting my time.

As I said, Inspector...

The bird feather floated through
the open window yesterday,

and neither me nor Goodfellow
could smell a thing.

- Oh! 'Scuse me.
- Bless you.

Well, perhaps the postmortem
will shed some light.

Why would anyone murder a woman
who was already at death's door?

What on Earth is that girl doing?

My condolences, Mr Knight.

Why were the police here?

They're looking into how your mother died.

Well, she went in her sleep.

I have my reservations.


- Pushing my dad into the grave was
not enough for you, was it? - Seth...

If you laid a finger on her,
too, I'll snap your neck.

Seth! For...

There's not much love lost
between those two, is there?

Bunty, I needed this. Death's
waiting room is rather dull.

The other residents, they all seem
so different to you, sort of...


You think I'm not frightened?

Not my old nanny.

You're quite wrong. I'm
hopeless with pain,

and I've got an awful lot of it to come.

Sometimes I'm completely
and utterly terrified...

.. and then I remember life
is this extraordinary gift

and I tell the others back there
to stop looking so miserable!


Your turn.

Don't be daft.

I'm deadly serious.

I can't move my legs.

Who needs legs when we've got these?

You're crazy! I couldn't possibly...


Move over, Miss Windermere.

It's a nice piece.

It was for Freda.

I want to finish it.

Don't worry, Father.
Inside, I'm a millionaire.

So what can I do for you?

I couldn't help noticing the tension
between you and Seth Knight earlier.

None from me. I've
nothing against the man.

He was upset by Freda
and my getting together.

He reckoned it was a
betrayal of his father.

But Freda did nothing wrong.

And neither did I.

True love cannot be denied.

You appear to be holding
yourself together very well.

My beloved is finally free from pain.

How could I not show some sense of relief?

Oh, Bunty, can we do this again?

Whenever you like!

Oh, Mrs McCarthy, that was spectacular.


But it won't save me from
the scrapheap, will it?

Cheer up, Mrs M.

It might not happen.

Thank you, Father. Just the ticket.

May I?

So how was your quiet
drive in the country?

Oh, it was a hoot. Ellen
is quite extraordinary.

She took the wheel for five miles or more.

Penelope, are you out of your mind?

Oh. At one point, I'd swear she
was driving without the umbrella!

Hm! An unquenchable human spirit
is one of God's greatest gifts.

I find your friend
really inspiring, Bunty.

Well, Matron Sophia doesn't.

You should have seen the look on
her face when we got back just now.

And she's clearly only
in it for the money.

Why do you say that?

Well, she's filled Freda's room already.

Oh, if there's anyone with a
harder heart than that woman,

it's Seth Knight.

Did you know that after
he left Kembleford,

he wrote letters to his mother
saying he wished she were dead?

Oh, it nearly killed Freda's heart.

I think I'll pay Seth
a visit in the morning.

Well, I will not be joining you.


- Sorry, Father. I've early morning
Mass in Hambleston. - Ah. Hm.

- Mum would have a heart attack
if she saw this mess. - Hm.

I came to say that I'll be glad to
help with any funeral arrangements.

Seth, why do you blame Charlie
for your father's death?

That man made his move on Mum
when Dad was still alive.

Dad died from a broken
heart, I'm sure of it.

Still, that's no excuse
for what I did to Mum.

Leaving her like that.

So where have you been
for the past few months?

Swindon. I got a job at Vickers.

Tried to forget about
everything, to be honest.

Understandable. You still
kept in touch with your mother?

Wrote her letters?


- Forgetting my manners, aren't
I? I'll put the kettle on. - Ah.

Oh, Father!

Mrs McCarthy.

I just bumped into Father Morris.
Caitlin wasn't at Mass this morning.

Oh, dear.

Which means she lied to you!

I see.

What is it?

It turns out Freda changed
her will, three months ago.


She left her house and most of her
worldly goods to Charlie Coulter.

Heavens above! And did Seth find out?

Almost certainly.

Well, he'd have been furious!

I would imagine so. But I'm
more interested in Charlie...

given how poor he clearly is.

Not any more he isn't.




This obviously alters
the picture slightly,

in relation to the death of Freda Knight.

No marks on either body.

My money's on suffocation with the pillow.

No obvious blood or saliva,
but we'll take a closer look.

Smothering someone with
a pillow takes some time.

But there's no sign of
resistance from either victim.

Mr Coulter was asleep.
And Mrs Knight, bless her,

was hardly going to put up
much of a fight, was she?

But no skin or blood under the
finger nails? No scratches?

Come on, then. Out with it.

Inspector, I believe Freda and
Charlie were gassed to death.

You what?

The slight odour of rubber and
disinfectant... It's a gas mask.

A distant memory I have tried
to suppress, not surprisingly.

You're saying the killer
fitted a gas mask to his victims

while they were sleeping?

No. They were awake.

It sounds like you've been
inhaling something, Padre.

I think we both know the
postmortem will show asphyxia.

I don't think the postmortem
will show anything.

I've spoken to the neighbours, sir.


Yesterday evening, around 4pm,

they heard an altercation between
the victim and Seth Knight.

Sounds like it got quite heated.

Did it now?

So no alibi for last
night? Or the night before?

And you don't deny you threatened
Charlie Coulter yesterday?

"Dear Mother... I sometimes
wish you were already dead."

How touching.

Recognise this?

Her will.

You'll admit you've read it, then?

Oh, I've read it all right.

First Mummy betrays Daddy,

then her bit on the side
gets the loot in your place?

No wonder you did them both in.

It's looking very bleak, Mr Knight,
and that's before the postmortem.

But if you come clean now,
you might yet dodge the noose.

I would never have harmed Mum.
But I was sure Charlie had...

.. to stop her changing that
will back into my favour.

So I went to his house
to get him to confess.

I shook him up. Proper.

Looked him right in the eye.

But he didn't do it. I could tell.

I'm not sad Charlie's gone,
but I didn't kill him.

Where's Caitlin?

Out for a walk, or so she claims.

That girl is trouble, I'm telling you.

Let's just hope Father Brown sees
through her, Mrs M, for your sake.

Father, I'm confused.

Even if you're right and gas was used,

then why didn't Charlie
or Freda put up a fight?

I believe they were both willing
participants in their own deaths.


I spoke to a nurse at the cottage
hospital about Charlie's pills.

It turns out he had cancer.

Heavens above. I had no idea.

Both Charlie and Freda were in great pain

and they both knew they
were living on borrowed time.

Sadly, the will to carry on
seems to have deserted them,

but they wished to avoid
the stigma of suicide,

so they used a poisonous
gas that left no trace.

Wait, so if Charlie gave this gas to Freda

and then took the mask
away... Well, that fits.

But then, who helped Charlie die?

That, Bunty, is the question.

And there was I trying to comfort myself
that an angel had carried Freda away.

Thank you, Nancy.

She hasn't slept in this bed
since Alfred died. Excuse me!


Alfred told Nancy an
angel was coming for him.

I believe the same person
administered the gas

to Freda, Charlie and Alfred.

And used the feathers to conjure
up an image of an angel of mercy.

What's he doing here?

He's trying to find a link
between Seth and Alfred, I expect.

There is a chance that
the Angel may act again.

But where?

Well, the only link between Freda, Charlie

and Alfred is that they
were all terminally ill.

I'm just going to check on Ellen!!

Oh, Father, about Caitlin...

Oh, that reminds me.

- I took the liberty of asking her to
organise your next fundraising lunch. - What?

Well, I thought you
deserved some time off.

And she has proved very capable!

But... I don't want any time off.

I insist.

You're alive!

Oh, Bunty, darling, I'm not
quite at death's door yet.

Hello, Bunty!

Oh! Caitlin!

I came to ask your inspiring
friend for some advice.

I hope you don't mind?

- Not at all.
- We've been having a lovely chat.

I should be getting back to St Mary's.

Come again soon, won't you?

I promise.

A terribly sweet girl.

Now what on Earth are you so het up about?

Well, someone in Kembleford is
pretending to be an Angel Of Mercy

and persuading people to kill themselves,

including Freda Knight
in this very building.

Gosh. And you think I'm susceptible?

Well, it's just that
in the car yesterday...

I was just worried about you, that's all.

Bunty, darling,

if someone tried to sweet talk
me into kicking the bucket,

quite frankly I'd knock their block off.

What was I thinking?

How's your friend today?

I thought it was your job to know that.

He's always so thrilled
when you're right, Father.

Are you all right, Inspector?

No, I am not.

There was no gas mask in that storehouse.

It must have been moved right
after I left. By Matron Sophia.

This is what Matron
Sophia was doing in there.

Keeping half a dozen of
these in a refrigerator.

Off ration, courtesy of the black market.

Claims her residents need the extra iron.

I've decided she was acting
illegally but honourably.

As for you, Miss Windermere,

stealing keys, breaking and entering...

That bag is a vital piece of
evidence. You need to find it!

Given that Seth Knight suffocated
his three victims, whatever

you think you saw in that shed
can hardly be termed "evidence."

So the postmortems have
confirmed asphyxiation?

- Not yet. - Have you found the
link between Seth and Alfred May?

We're working on it.

Sorry to interrupt, sir.

- Yes?
- Just arrived.

What is it, Inspector?

There's no signs of asphyxia.

Or poison.

Hm. Any sign of a struggle?


So, these three people could be willing
victims of a gas that leaves no trace?

That is one possible explanation now. Yes.

So you'll be releasing Seth, then?

Why? Seth Knight works for
an aircraft manufacturer.

They, as I'm sure you know...

Use poisonous gases.

Hang on, Seth can hardly move
evidence if he's locked up.

His accomplice must have moved it.

His accomplice?!

You're not safe in Kembleford. Not
until this person is behind bars.

You really think I'm at risk, don't you?

Let me find a new home for you.

Oh, for heaven's sakes, Bunty!

I need to get you out of danger.

All right.


Pack your things while I'm gone,
and be ready for a quick getaway.


Thank you.

You all right, Mrs M?

Oh! You put the heart across me!

And what are you doing here, anyway?

Calling every private nursing
home in the Cotswolds.


Oh, they're all full. God knows why.

So I'm going to invite Ellen back
to stay at Montague for a while.

- It should be rather
fun. Too-de-loo. - Oh.

Where is Ellen?

I was going to ask you the same thing.

I assumed you'd taken her.

She owes a month's rent, you know.

And you owe my residents
a fortnight of meat.

Do you have any idea how hard
it is to keep this place going?

She must have forgotten them.

Where is she?!

You tell me.

"Is freedom anything else than the
right to live and die as we wish?"

What do you make of that, Father?

It's intriguing.

And she wrote that today.

Ellen's gone! And there was
a white feather in her room!

Sweet Jesus!

And all of her things
were still in her drawer.

I see.

And, Father, Caitlin has been
out most of the afternoon!

Caitlin? I found her
alone with Ellen earlier.

The thing about this Epictetus
quote is it's wrong.


Epictetus, Greek stoic philosopher.
We need to find Ellen at once.

You think she's still alive?

Yes. Mrs McCarthy, would you mind
telephoning both taxi firms in

Kembleford and asking if either of them

has taken a fare from Powderham
House in the last couple of hours?

Yes, Father.

Thank you. Bunty, start the car.


A taxi picked up someone from
Powderham House only half an hour ago.

No name was given

but they were going to Copley
Manor Nursing Home near Bath.

Bath it is, then, Bunty.

Will you please slow down, young lady?

The reason I'm driving at
this speed, Mrs McCarthy,

is because Ellen may be about to die.

Yes, and we may be
joining her at this rate!




This time I really did
think you were dead.

I'm absolutely fine!

Hello, Bunty.

Why didn't you wait for me?

Well, you scared me so much.

I didn't want to stay in
Powderham a minute longer.

Caitlin arranged my place here.

She swore me to secrecy.

I'm sorry.

Whatever Caitlin may have said
to you, Ellen, I suggest you

forget every word.

- Mrs McCarthy, I... - I'd save your
breath to cool your porridge, Miss.

Isn't that right, Father?

Why don't we all give Ellen a hand?

Oh, how clumsy of me.

Ellen, could I have a quick word?

Of course, Father.

Why don't you all go inside?
We'll only be a moment.

How can I help you, Father?

I wonder, Ms Jennings, if the
real reason you ran away from Bunty

was that she was starting
to get in your way.

I'm sorry?

When Bunty thought you'd
driven unaided, I was intrigued,

but I soon dismissed it.

Why would a woman with your appetite
for life lie about her mobility?

Now, of course, I know the truth --

you were trying to avoid
the finger of suspicion.

I don't know what on Earth
you're talking about.

You are indeed dying,

but you are still perfectly capable
of getting yourself downstairs

to Freda's room in the middle of the night

and out of Powderham to visit Charlie.

From your window at Powderham, you
saw Bunty going into the storehouse.

That's when you knew you had to
act quickly. To retrieve this.

And in your rush to clear your
room, you left behind one of these.

Why, Ellen?

Life is heaven. But a lingering
death is pure and utter hell.

I watched it drain every ounce

of beauty from both my parents' existence.

That is when I lost God.

And when you decided to help people die?

It became my mission.

Only God has the right to decide
when our time on Earth is up.

God? He allows cats to be
put to sleep to escape pain

and yet he denies their
owners the same compassion!

Human life is sacred.

Only when that life remains bearable.

Medicine has given us the
means to control pain,

to make it bearable.

And I give people the means to be free.

Then why do you feed them false arguments?


"Is freedom anything else than the
right to live and die as we wish?"

Epictetus understood the truth.

Epictetus said nothing about
dying as we wish. Only living.

You changed the quote.

You have, I fear, been misleading
your victims in the same way

that you used the white dove feather
to mislead those they left behind.

That feather allows believers
to imagine that their loved one

has enjoyed a celestial departure.

You need to come clean to the police.

I have committed no crime.

I merely provide the means.

But Freda, Alfred, Charlie

and everyone else, they
do the rest themselves.

You helped people to die
and legally that is murder.

You want me to hang, Father?

No, I want to save you from that.

But first you will need
to confess your crimes.



I'll explain later.

- Oi! - Your reward for
this will be in Heaven.

Ms Jennings!

Ms Jennings, please get down.

Why should I be punished
when I've done nothing wrong?

This isn't the answer. This
isn't the answer to anything.

One day, Father, I hope you understand
the true meaning of compassion.

Ellen, look up.

Look at the trees.

The birds.

We both agree that life is a gift.

This is my choice!

Get off me! Let go!

How could you think this was right?

Bunty, please! I'm
ordering you to let me go.


You must let me decide!


I gather she is showing no remorse.

In that case I fear for her.

She really believed she
was helping people.

Ellen Jennings has confessed.

However, I need to take
statements from you all.

Of course.

What about Seth Knight?

Released. I gather he wants to speak
to you about funeral arrangements.

Inspector, may I suggest that
you make enquiries at all

the homes Ellen stayed
in before Powderham?

Who knows what you may find?

Explain one thing to me --

what was that quotation
doing in Caitlin's notebook?

It was helping her make
a difficult decision.

You have invited her to take
over from me at St Mary's.

Mrs McCarthy,

I don't know where this sudden
paranoia comes from, but...

Oh, Bunty!

A bit of harmless fun, Father.

I can't believe you took
it so seriously, Mrs M.

You mean you aren't about
to give me the sack?

Of course not. You are
completely irreplaceable!



Oh! So this was your difficult decision.

You're leaving us?

Ellen was wrong about a lot things,
but she's also inspired me.

To live to the full while I can.

Which is why I've decided to spend
the rest of my life with my true love.

Our Lord.

No, Alex.


The person I've been speaking to
on the telephone, Mrs McCarthy.

And missing Mass for...

And getting kicked out of convents for.

I believe I owe you an apology, Caitlin.

You really don't, Mrs McCarthy.

I will be for ever
grateful to you, Father.

You will be sorely missed.

You'll have all the support
you'll ever need right here.

Goodbye, Mrs McCarthy. Bunty.

Ah. That's Alex.

I gather Sister Harriet's going to send
another errant nun to St Mary's next week.