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The Hollow Men

Story Synopsis

Plot Revealed Below!

A serial killer, who targets courting couples, is on the loose in London just as a great smog descends on the capital, shutting the entire city down.

When the mutilated bodies of a young couple -- Marcus Hare (a photographer) and Diana Hunter (a cellist) -- are found in Battersea Park, the press believe it to be the return of the 'Butcher' who is believed to be responsible for a series of unsolved murders from the thirties.

Marcus took photos wherever he went; the couple's journey that evening is determined once they are processed. Also found is a cinema ticket stub and a card for the 'English Maiden' -- but what's the 'English Maiden?'

Jericho interviews the staff at the cinema, which is playing Bridge on the River Kwai, but no one recognizes Marcus and Diana. The theater has 3,000 people in for each show and they can't possibly remember everyone.

Diana's guardian, Philip Pickering, was also her cello teacher. He reveals that he did see her after she left her practice session -- he went round to Marcus's house to confront her. He had been worried that she was losing focus on her music and she had a big recital coming up that she wasn't prepared for. He didn't mention this before because he had slapped her and was too ashamed to admit it.

When a second couple is found Jericho makes the connection that both couples visited the cinema on the evening of their deaths. They also found an 'English Maiden' card in the husband's jacket. But the smog is at it's worst and until it begins to clear the investigators are stranded at the Yard.

It's the night of the 'Widows and Orphans' fundraiser at Scotland Yard and Jericho, now star of the new TV series Jericho of The Yard, is meant to be making a speech. But just before the event he reads an article in the paper about his father, labelling him corrupt. Jericho is furious but his mother confirms that it's all true -- after the war his father returned home a cruel man and turned to corruption. She had never told Jericho this because she had wanted him to think the best of his father.

An old man arrives at the Yard proclaiming himself to be 'The Butcher' -- he is soon revealed as a crank but provides a vital insight into the murders. The violence and style of the killings leads them to believe that the murderer could have been a POW in the Far East during World War II. But why now? What could be motivating the killer thirteen years after his return? What's bringing it all back? What's playing at the cinema? The Bridge on The River Kwai -- which is currently being touted round town as the greatest film ever made.

The owner of the cinema, Mills, spent eighteen months on the Burma railway and did three years in prison for attempted rape.

Jericho and his men raid the cinema and discover Mills with Karen and Bette (two usherettes) and Ben, the projectionist. They are making a pornographic film with Karen starring. Karen has always wanted to be a Hollywood star and Mills persuaded her that this film would be her first step. Ben has been having a tentative relationship with Karen and is furious that Mills persuaded her to do this. It is discovered that 'English Maiden' is a night that Mills runs, which shows pornographic films on a makeshift screen in his office.

Mills is arrested for the murders of the two couples. Although he pleads his innocence Mills seems to clearly understand the psychology of the crime. Is he protecting someone? Jericho allows Mills to hold his 'English Maiden' night so that they can see who turns up. Pickering arrives and tries to attack Mills with a knife. He believes Mills to be the killer and is seeking revenge for the deaths of Diana and Marcus.

It's the morning of Caldicott's wedding and he's still at the cinema taking statements from the men at the English Maiden night. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Mills behaving suspiciously and decides to follow him. He finds Mills having an argument with Ben and Karen. In the heat of the argument Ben reaches for a knife Karen had been using to make sandwiches and stabs Mills to death.

Back at the Yard Jericho discovers that Ben served with Mills in Singapore and was also a POW in Burma. Harvey and Jericho rush to the cinema to find Caldicott being held at knifepoint. Jericho manages to talk Ben down. After the war Ben just wanted to be normal, but he had a terrible problem with intimacy -- he couldn't bear to be touched. Mills gave him the job at the cinema, wanting to look after him. But it meant that Ben would watch all these young couples in the back seats of the cinema, kissing and cuddling, and it drove him insane with jealousy and anger.

They rush Caldicott to the church who arrives just on time for his wedding as the smog begins to lift over the city.

Jericho gets a call from Juliette -- she's in Paris -- and suggests that he should come over to France for a holiday... He's clearly tempted...

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