• title card: The Drug Pedlar
  • A cockney worker asks Dr Keel to come quickly
  • Steed and Keel get the jump - and the chairs - on the gangsters
  • Once again, Dr Keel threatens someone with a syringe, why isn't he struck off yet?
  • Dr Keel recuses Steed from the hold of the ship
  • The Avengers leave, another case solved

Series 1 - comic
The Drug Pedlar

Published: 23 September 1962

TV Crimebusters summary

...thrilling adventure stories in text and pictures featuring the cases of famous detectives.
Dr David Keel's friendship with John Steed, an undercover agent, involved him in the sinister affair of The Drug Pedlar

This is a comic book reworking of The Avengers using a combination of drawn panels and photographs from episodes and promotional photo shoots.

A Chinese man wearing a skull cap staggers through the back alleys of London, making his way to Dr Keel's surgery. Dr Keel goes to answer the hammering at his front door but when he opens it the man, whom Keel instantly recognises as How Min, falls dead at his feet.

Dr Keel immediately calls Steed who rushes over, only to learn that How Min died before he could says anything. "How Min was a good undercover man", Steed muses, "he must have stumbled on something big."

Just then there's a knock at the door and an elderly cockney workman begs Keel to come quickly, his daughter is very ill. Keel grabs his bag and Steed, smelling a rat, tags along. When they go upstairs, a local gangster trains his gun on them - Steed observes they weren't sure if How Min talked. The gangster tells them to take a seat but he and his henchmen are surprised when The Avengers pick up two chairs and hit them with them.

STEED: Thanks... but I’d rather not stay!

Finding their way downstairs blocked, they double back and leap out the window then beat a hasty escape through the back streets, finally losing their pursuers after five minutes.

Two days later, Keel is worried he's not heard from Steed and stakes out the shady streets in the pouring rain. After two hours, he spots the workman and tails him until he enters a dark alley. The doctor catches up to him and knocks him out with a punch to the jaw, then flags down a taxi, saying he's a doctor and needs a hand.

The cabbie cheerfully assists and half an hour later, the workman comes round in Dr Keel's surgery. He refuses to talk when Keel asks where Steed is so Keel prepares a hypodermic syringe, and threatens, "No? Listen, if you don't talk I'll inject you with this!"1 As the needle enters his arm, the man confesses Steed is on the riverboat "Nancy" - Keel smiles and says "I wouldn't want to waste this water"2.

The police descend on the yacht and the gang arrested, Keel rushing below decks to find Steed tied and gagged. He's relieved to see him - the gang were planning to sail that night. Keel is confused, he doesn't even know what crime was being committed. Steed tells him that apart from murdering How Min, they were drug running. They killed How Min because "like most Europeans, the gang's drug pedlar couldn't tell one chinaman from another".3 They gave How Min the drugs by mistake, then killed him when they realised what had happened.

KEEL: Mistaken identity, eh? One that will cost them their liberty!

  1. Once again, Dr Keel threatens someone with a syringe, why hasn't he been struck off yet?
  2. One assumes a saline solution.
  3. Ouch, that's a bit of a racist end to the episode - although it's meant to derogatory towards the crooks, our heroes would not be so base, it still uses the word "chinaman".

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