Police Surgeon is of interest because it was the show that The Avengers replaced. Both starred Ian Hendry, and in both he’s playing a doctor on the fringes of a world of criminality. The Avengers was developed as a new vehicle for him following the success of Police Surgeon. But the similarities are minimal, in part because of the way The Avengers quickly evolved into something else, and largely because Police Surgeon doesn’t have Steed and the unpredictable dose of mystery and/or whimsy that Steed brings.
Hendry’s Dr Geoffrey Brent is, like his Dr Keel, a calm and unflappable man able to hold his own around both policemen and criminals; and, in this – the one surviving episode – his do-gooder streak comes strongly to the fore as he gets involved with a young convict and inadvertently gives him the means to fake an alibi.
The half hour format of the show ensures the story is quite brief, and on the evidence of this episode the writers had aspirations to provide some sort of social commentary. The boy has spent most of his youth in borstal; Brent struggles to engage him with the idea of working hard to go straight. Hendry’s charm goes along way to kerb the preachiness, and there’s what appears to be intended to be a cynical twist at the end. It passes 25 minutes easy enough, but it’s dry fare with none of the flair, fun or fantasy of The Avengers; and if Hendry weren’t so watchable it could have quickly grown stale.
Watching early Avengers episodes has awakened a longing for more to be found; but I’m in no hurry to watch more Police Surgeon and I won’t grieve too much if it stays lost.