For the Adherent of Pop Culture
Adventures of Jack Burton ] Back to the Future ] Battlestar Galactica ] Buckaroo Banzai ] Cliffhangers! ] Earth 2 ] The Expendables ] Firefly/Serenity ] The Fly ] Galaxy Quest ] Indiana Jones ] Jurassic Park ] Land of the Lost ] Lost in Space ] The Matrix ] The Mummy/The Scorpion King ] The Prisoner ] Sapphire & Steel ] Snake Plissken Chronicles ] Star Trek ] Terminator ] The Thing ] Total Recall ] Tron ] Twin Peaks ] UFO ] V the series ] Valley of the Dinosaurs ] Waterworld ] PopApostle Home ] Links ] Privacy ]

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Sapphire & Steel: Dr. McDee Must Die (Part 2) Sapphire & Steel
Assignment Five
"Dr. McDee Must Die" Part 2
TV episode
Writer: Anthony Read
Directed by: Shaun O'Riordan
Original air date: August 12, 1981


An evil hides in one of the party guests, but which one?


Read the episode summary at the Sci Fi Freak Site or Watch it at Shout Factory


Notes from the Sapphire & Steel chronology


This storyline takes place largely on the evening of Saturday, June 21, 1980, then into the morning of Sunday, June 22. This corresponds to the actual dates and days of 1980.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Howard McDee

Steel (alias Miles Cavendish)

Sapphire (alias Virginia Cavendish)

Lord Mullrine

Felix Harborough

Emma Mullrine

Felicity McDee

Annabelle Harborough

Tony Purnell

Veronica Blamey ("dies" in this episode)



Anne Shaw

Mr. Fairfax

Dr. George McDee

Malcolm McDee (mentioned only)

Bertie (mentioned only)

Maisie Hamilton (mentioned only)


Didja Notice?


The song that Purnell and Greville sing in unison as Greville helps Purnell unpack in his room is "If You Knew Susie", a 1925 comic song written by Buddy DeSylva and Joseph Meyer for renowned jazz and blues singer Al Jolson. The song is from the viewpoint of a man who "knows" a woman named Susie, explaining that she is wilder than she puts on in public. The lyric "If you knew Susie like I know Susie", may be referring to "knowing" in the sexual sense. It may be that Purnell has bragged to Greville about his girlfriend Veronica's "after-hour" proclivities and that's why they're singing this song together!


When Purnell tries to make a phone call to London on the old style telephone in his room, the operator asks which exchange. Purnell tries to recall what his father's old number was for the exchange, mumbling, "Temple Bar, Chancery, London Wall..." These are all locations in London.


Sapphire "reads" that Purnell was born in Maidenhead to a rich family. She also "reads" that Veronica was born in Barnes. Maidenhead is a market town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in county of Berkshire. Barnes is in the Richmond-upon-Thames borough of London.


Though very much in love with Purnell, Veronica seems a bit taken with Steel when they meet. Steel suggests they may have met somewhere before "last season". She and Purnell suggest it might have been in Cowes or Henley. Cowes is a town on the Isle of Wight. Henley is a town on the River Thames in Oxfordshire.


Upon meeting the young Veronica, Howard asks her to dance, which Purnell gives her sufferance to do. In "Dr. McDee Must Die" Part 1, Lord Mullrine warns Harborough about Howard's womanizing ways and we see Howard flirting with both Annabelle Harborough and Sapphire.


    At 8:11 on the DVD, notice that the clock in Miss Shaw's office has the second hand moving backward.

    Miss Shaw takes a call from Mr. Fairfax on the phone who wants to speak to Mullrine immediately. She tells them he is not to be disturbed due to the party he's throwing, but admits he was in the office just three minutes ago. Of course, over the previous episode and this, Mullrine has been out of her office quite a bit longer than that, further indicating a time anomaly is now occurring.


The MI symbol on the 50th Anniversary cake at 9:32 on the DVD must be the logo of Mullrine International.

MI 50th Anniversary cake


Twin Peaks note: At 11:08 on the DVD, the candles on the cake blow out on their own, similar to the candles on BOB's mound of dirt in Cooper's dream in Twin Peaks Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer"


When the deceased Dr. George McDee shows up at the party, he looks at Sapphire and then around the room and remarks, "Flappers. Nae wonder we've a slump coming!" In the 1920s-30s, "flapper" was a slang term used to describe young women who dressed and behaved in a manner that flaunted the societal norms of the time.


Emma Mullrine remarks, "Poor Felicity" in regards to the oblivious nature of her husband, George McDee, when he suddenly arrives at the party and her husband, Lord Mullrine, retorts, "Poor Felicity indeed. Don't be such a hypocrite, Emma, it doesn't become you." It seems Lord Mullrine knows that Emma was cheating on him with George all along, as revealed in "Dr. McDee Must Die" Part 4.


While speaking to Veronica at 18:33 on the DVD, Harborough suggests he likes to have a consistent reservoir of money to know "where the next Range Rover's coming from." Range Rover is a brand of full-sized sports-utility vehicle.


When Emma suggests they play a game before dinner, her husband exclaims, "Not postman's knock this time." Postman's knock is a kissing party game usually played by teenagers in which a chosen partygoer is the postman who knocks on the door and delivers a letter and is rewarded with a kiss by another chosen member who answers the door. Emma suggests instead sardines, a variation of hide-and-seek.


At 19:14 on the DVD, a book that appears to be the 1929 telephone directory Purnell had looked at earlier has a strange spine that looks as if the title (whatever it is) was written in Magic Marker!

1929 phone directory


At 22:43 on the DVD, several books are seen on the shelf of Mullrine's study: The Physics and Chemistry of Surfaces (1941) by Neil Kensington Adam; Theory of Elastic Stability (1961) by Stephen P. Timoshenko; Thermophysical Properties Research Literature Retrieval Guide Supplement I; Pathology in Surgery (1945) by Nathan Chandler Foot; and an 1897 compilation of the Quiver journal. These are all real world books. Sapphire pulls out the book Theory of Elastic Stability less than a minute later from the shelf.


Memorable Dialog



it probably knows about us.mp3 


Back to Sapphire & Steel Episode Studies