In many ways, this site and others like it wouldn’t exist without Ian Kennedy Martin who, along with brother Troy, gave us classics like Edge of Darkness and The Sweeney. As with all prolific writers, there are lesser-known works and this six-part thriller, made the same year as Regan, is one such entry in the Kennedy Martin canon. The question is: has The Capone Investment matured?
The plot concerns the whereabouts of the millions purportedly squirrelled away here by Al Capone in 1928. Two American gangsters are killed by a sniper, as is the owner of a shoe factory. Soon the police, the secret service and the factory owner’s son are on the hunt for the killers and the money as the murders continue.
So far, so Kennedy Martin, but whereas The Sweeney’s beat was London, The Capone Investment is set in leafy Haydock. This is the strangest aspect of the show- it was made by Southampton’s Southern Television, yet Haydock is in the north-west: there isn’t a Scouse accent to be heard. The action mainly takes place in the homes of wealthy locals and the village pub, lending the story an almost ‘cosy crime’ feel, despite three on-screen shootings, an electrocution and a hit-and-run. The cricket match denouement only serves to underpin that.
Other elements are more recognisable: as Inspector Reaygo (sounds a bit like…), Glyn Owen does his usual ‘no-nonsense’ act, while Peter Sallis gives an enigmatic turn as Wheatfield, ‘the man from DI6’, a preoccupation Kennedy Martin would return to in the Sweeney episode ‘Faces’. The locals are a bunch of drunks and swingers that leeched off the businessman into whose company the titular money was sunk. As the man’s son, John Thaw romps away with the acting honours, battling to overcome police suspicion and the locals’ wall of silence to get to the truth. That said, he’d have been good as the inspector…
Addressing the initial question, The Capone Investment offers a fun return on your time, best watched in instalments. You’ll guess the culprit a mile off, but it’s a neat story, ably directed by Alan Gibson and gamely played by the cast. One last thing: the theme tune- composer Alexander Faris (Upstairs, Downstairs) seems to be hedging his bets: if it hadn’t been used for this, he could easily have sold it to Bullseye.
It’s all checks and balances, though.