Some Like It Red
starring Paul Gross, David Marciano, and Michele Scarabelli as Sister Anne
It’s a dark and moody night. It’s a street filled with aimless wanderers and illuminated with glittery lights. There’s a young woman racing down that street with a purpose. Her speed increases when she spies a police cruiser and she ducks down an alleyway. The dank gloom that pervades the darkness is enough to hide all traces of her surroundings. There’s a spark in the distance. She moves towards the spark as she sees a man lighting his cigar. The man sees the girl and drops the cigar to the street. He crushes it underfoot as she approaches him. From her bag, the girl produces a golden candlestick and proclaims, “There’s more where that came from…”. The man is impatient and says he wants it all tonight. A struggle ensues and the woman narrowly escapes with the aid of her gun.
Across town, Fraser (Paul Gross) and Ray (David Marciano), together with Diefenbaker (Lincoln), enter an atmospheric bar. This is the only bar in the city where Fraser can purchase a special bottle of authentic Scotch Whisky as a present. As Fraser pays for the bottle, Ray’s attention is caught by a beautiful woman searching anxiously around the bar. He recognises his high-school sweetheart Annie McCray. Ray’s detective skills serve him well as he deduces that Annie is now a Nun – Sister Anne. Anne says she is searching for girl named Celine but she suddenly loses interest when Ray reveals that he is now a cop. As Sister Anne leaves the bar, Ray is delayed in following her by a well meaning patron. During a scuffle, Fraser’s rare bottle is smashed but as Ray races out in to the street, he realises that Sister Anne has gone – vanished into the night.
The following day, Ray visits the nearby Catholic School, St Fortunadas. He learns from Sister Anne that Celine has a reputation for being a bit wild and has often run away. However, since Celine’s home is not exactly the most desirable place on Earth, Anne is reluctant to involve the police who will doubtless send her back there. This time, the situation with Celine has got out of hand – for Anne has discovered a gun in Celine’s belongings. A gun, Fraser later notes, that had once belonged to Elliot Ness. As Ray surmises…
“The question is – how did a 16-year old Catholic School girl get ahold of a gun owned by the man who brought down Al Capone?”
Sister Anne agrees to let Ray plant someone inside the school in order to learn more. But she insists that the person must not be a cop and must be a woman. Ray has the ideal candidate in mind. When Ray learns that his “ideal candidate” has both broken her leg and moved to her mother’s house, he’s left in a bit of a fix.
Help is at hand by the arrival at the police station of a stunningly attractive redhead [I can’t believe I just said that! – JR]. It takes a while for Ray to recognise that the woman sitting before him is actually Fraser in drag!
“The person who invented pantyhose should be brought up on charges of cruelty, sadism and reckless endangerment… They pinch in the most inappropriate places!”
“Yeah, well most people who wear them don’t have those places, Fraser!”
While Fraser is investigating from the inside, Ray is tracking down the leads concerning the gun belonging to Elliot Ness. He learns that there is a stash of gold, furs and hooch from the days of Al Capone and the rest of “the boys”. This stash is buried in a vault underneath what is now St Fortunadas.
Back at the school, Sister Anne receives a visit from two repairmen claiming to be fixing a burst water pipe in the school next door. They ask for the keys to the school basement.
Ray races back to the school and, during a school dance, informs Fraser of what he has learned. Fraser’s infallible detective skills lead them to the old print shop in the basement where Celine and her friends are being coerced into revealing the location of the vault.
THE MICHELE SCARABELLI FACTOR
Due South is one of those series that will go down in television history as being a classic. It has a well thought out formula that can be applied to comedy episodes as easily as it’s applied to dramatic ones.
Like many episodes, Some Like It Red is a mixture of both comedy and drama combined together with a healthy dose of Fraser‘s typically uncanny detective work.
As Sister Anne Michele demonstrates just how much skill she has with defining different characters even if it is only for a brief time. Sister Anne is described by Ray as a “Big Shot” at the school but that would be difficult to tell from the little Michele is allowed to do. This is mainly due to the fact that this episode concentrates primarily on the interaction between the two main characters and so supporting characters tend to suffer. Also, Paul Gross playing “Miss Fraser” seems to go beyond mere entertainment in an effort to hide the above average plot.
Nevertheless, this is a very entertaining episode that will have you laughing as loud as any other. Just be wary that Paul Gross in drag doesn’t completely hide the story from you.