Well this one is utterly, utterly, superb. We’re straight into that action: within a few minutes of the title card, Cathy has not only stormed a shareholder’s meeting, but been elevated to director of the company. Cathy’s confidence and enjoyment in playing her role is compelling and entertaining in equal measure.
There’s a great cast of supporting characters (being bumped off one at a time, like Agatha Christie victims, a pattern that will be reused in some later episodes). Kade (Ronald Radd) is an absolutely inspired creation; a character who – I think – justifies a sequel. And is it only me who thinks that Judy Parfitt bears a remarkable resemblance in her mannerisms to Susannah Harker? (No relation, as far as I’m aware.)
We learn something about Steed’s outfit: they can’t be short of a bob or two if they are willing speculatively to put £50k into investigating a firm that might be on the brink of a scandal which could see their investment wiped out (they can’t know that shrewd Cathy will make a £6k profit).
Despite Steed’s backing, this is a Steed-lite episode – not like The Girl on the Trapeze – he does actually appear in this one. But he is present only in a handful of scenes; Cathy carries most of this on her own.
One of what would later become the show’s taboos is broken in this – there’s a policeman interviewing Cathy as a murder suspect (Cathy tells Steed to fix it: “You got me into this, you get me out.”) He’s not the world’s most dynamic or competent copper, however, so he makes a fairly minimal impact.
Season 2 has already delivered a couple of really excellent episodes but I think this is my current favourite. As I’ve said before, I had a niggling worry that season 2 might not be as good as the rest of the show – the first ever episodes I ever saw were from season 4 (Death at Bargain Prices, The Hour That Never Was, A Surfeit of H2O, Town of No Return, etc.) and though I love the whole show, it’s always been slightly disappointing on discovering that the rest (the colour seasons 5&6, the video-taped season 3) fell just a little bit short on charm and in production values. Bullseye, however, represents season 2 getting ever ever so close.