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White Ghost (Special 1996)



Written by: Paul Abbott

Directed by: Richard Standeven

Originally Screened: 28/10/96


This was a one-off Cracker special screened a year after the final series finished in 1995.


"Some killers rely on the flimsiest of excuses to commit the most heinous crimes" - Fitz


Fitz is in Hong Kong on a lecture tour, a few months before it is due to handed back to China after a hundred years of British rule. He has difficulty blending in with the locals and immediately gets on the wrong side of DCI Janet Lee Cheung. Dennis Philby is an English man whose business in Hong Kong is going badly just when he finds out his girlfriend, Su Lin Tang, is pregnant. When Dennis finds out that Su Lin wants to have an abortion, he imprisons her in a storage crate and kills Peter Yang, the man who wanted to take over Dennis’ business. He beats Yang over the head with a trophy and ties his hands together. Fitz is called in to help the Hong Kong police with their inquiries. His assistance is conditional on Penhaligon being flown over to help him. When Fitz goes to the airport to collect her, he finds (to his great disappointment) that Wise has been sent instead because Penhaligon had recently been promoted to inspector.


Dennis’ next victim is Dr. Sunny, the man who was going to perform Su Lin’s abortion. Fitz concludes that the murderer is a Westerner because the victim’s hands are tied together as if involved in Christian prayer. Fitz also believes that the motive for both these killings is humiliation: The victims were envied by the killer for their power and by killing them the murderer has achieved a victory of sorts over them. Su Lin, in a desperate attempt to gain her freedom, asks Dennis to marry her. He is delighted but insists that she remain in captivity until they are married. He begins to make arrangements for her to have a British passport so she can return to England with him. Fitz and Wise begin to interview all the Western business associates of Peter Yang, including Dennis. Their investigation comes up with nothing until, after reading Dr. Sunny’s appointments diary, they realise that Dennis Philby’s girlfriend was due to have an abortion.


Dennis personally performs the wedding between himself and Su Lin and then kills a British civil servant who refuses to grant Su Lin a passport because the marriage licence that Dennis presented was a forgery. The police finally arrest Dennis at a Chinese market. During Fitz’s interrogation, Dennis reveals that his mother had had an affair which produced him and that his father had resented him when he was growing up because he clearly was someone else’s son. Dennis has had a fear of the dark for most of his life because his mother locked him in a garage while she had sex with her lover. Dennis’ feelings of isolation and not belonging have been enhanced by his status as a white Westerner living in a land where he clearly did not fit in. Dennis wants Su Lin to have the baby so he can take it back to England to his father and thus create a new family that would exclude his mother.


Dennis tells Fitz that he has killed Su Lin which Fitz does not believe. He convinces Cheung to release Dennis in an attempt to find out where he is holding Su Lin. When Dennis is leaving the police station, Fitz tells him that Su Lin had already had an abortion. This so enrages Dennis that he drives to the tanker where he is keeping Su Lin and begins to cover it with petrol. Fitz arrives and tells Dennis that he lied and that Su Lin is still carrying Dennis’ child. Seemingly unconvinced, Dennis drives straight at the tanker but at the last minute turns the car at a petrol container and blows himself up.


Episode Guide written by Graham Price


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The Unofficial Guide To Cracker 1999-2006