Professor T Gets a Day Pass in "The Perfect Picture"

Ben Miller as Professor T receiving a visitor in jail in 'Professor T' Season 3

Ben Miller as Professor T receiving a visitor in jail in 'Professor T' Season 3

Sofie Gheysens/Eagle Eye Drama

The second episode of Professor T’s third season features a clever opener that intercuts between Jasper approaching the therapy room, where he finds his mother Adelaide waiting instead of Dr. Goldberg, and the murder of the week, with an employee seeing a young bride floating dead in a hotel pool, a conflation of unpleasant surprises. Her son’s condition takes her aback while Jasper berates her for the inappropriate use of the therapy room. Adelaide wants to know what happened and why he won’t defend himself. Jasper won’t tell her in case she’s called to testify. Adelaide deduces he’s protecting Christina, warning him his silence looks like an admission of guilt and his Cambridge professorship is in jeopardy.

Adelaide appeals to the Dean next, demanding he use his power to secure Jasper’s position. However, it’s dependent on Jasper’s case; the deans already petitioned the university board for Jasper to keep his job no matter the outcome, but he was the only one in Jasper’s corner. Near the end of the episode, Adelaide confronts Christina at the police station. “Have you visited Jasper yet? He’s been beaten up, he’s emaciated, his nerves are shredded! How can you let this happen?” She makes it clear she knows Jasper’s covering for Christina.

Inspector Hines (Jamie Maclachlan) interviews Christina again and reveals a recording of her phone call asking Simon to meet in her office. Having previously denied luring him there, she admits she planned to arrest him. Simon also said that Jasper showing up with a rifle was “obviously planned” and implicates Christina and Jasper as lovers. Simon claims Jasper pointed the rifle in his face, and if he hadn’t grabbed the barrel, he’d be dead. The case focus shifts from Christina to Jasper when Simon’s prints are found on the barrel, corroborating his version of events. It’s no longer just a case of discharging a gun in a police station – now it’s attempted murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life. Christina believes Hines is just trying to scare her into confessing, but Rabbit isn’t convinced.

The Case of the Week

Andy Gathergood as Paul Rabbit, Emma Naomi as Lisa Donckers, and Barney White as Dan Winters around the pool in 'Professor T' Season 3

Andy Gathergood as Paul Rabbit, Emma Naomi as Lisa Donckers, and Barney White as Dan Winters in 'Professor T' Season 3

Sofie Gheysens/Eagle Eye Drama

Donckers, Dan, and Rabbit investigate the suspicious death of the bride, Greta Parkes (Isobel Laidler), at the upscale destination hotel where she was married the day before. The groom, Graydon (Louis Strong), the guests, and their families are still on site. The groom’s father, Reverend Virgil Hall (Richard Lintern), is noted to be “Britain’s most successful televangelist,” and there are some creepy evangelical themes of purity and fidelity that come into play.

The team starts the grueling task of taking statements from every guest and hotel employee and quickly identifies two lead suspects: Fabian (Joeravar Sangha), a hotel employee who got fired for stealing from the bride’s room, and Rosemary (Kemi Awoderu), the groom’s ex-girlfriend who was not invited but showed up to the wedding. With the clock ticking on how long the guests and employees can legally be compelled to stay, Rabbit decides to bring the professor in on the case. (In a previous scene, Dr. Goldberg called Rabbit after a troubling session with Jasper, asking to put him on a case so he could feel useful and improve his state of mind.)

Juliet Stevenson as Dr. Helena Goldberg decides he needs a grand day out in 'Professor T' Season 3

Juliet Stevenson as Dr. Helena Goldberg in 'Professor T' Season 3

Sofie Gheysens/Eagle Eye Drama

Rabbit picks Jasper up from jail, where he has been dressed in a new red and tan prisoner’s uniform. Officer Steddon tells Rabbit they’ve got exactly four hours, and he’ll put Jasper in solitary if he’s even a minute late. Jasper wastes no time, delving into the crime scene and wedding photos from the back of Rabbit’s car. He immediately notices the bride is missing an anklet. When allowed to inspect the crime scene, he seems somewhat disappointed to find the missing anklet at the bottom of the pool.  

While watching wedding videos collected from the guests’ phones, Jasper explains to Donckers that he’s searching for “fissures” that occur before and after a murder. He believes he’s found one, and with the remaining 45 minutes of his day pass, Jasper visits Greta’s body and finds bruising around her ankles that bear smeared fingerprints. With this evidence, Jasper concludes Greta was indeed murdered – held underwater by her ankles until she drowned.

Jasper is returned to jail but leaves Donckers with instructions: a) ask the key suspects “why” questions, and b) if that fails, pull the fire alarm and wait to see who dives into the pool to retrieve the evidence. The killer turns out to be Reverend Hall, who we discover in flashbacks had an affair with Greta and whom he murdered when she planned to tell her new husband the truth. Hall says that she tempted him, and he couldn’t let her ruin the “faith of thousands.” He acted to protect his family, wife, and congregation, insisting he’s done nothing wrong. It’s rather chilling.

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Professor T

The Professor is in jail and must find a way to get his old life and job back.
Professor T: show-poster2x3

Unwanted Thoughts

  • Dan spends the episode popping massive quantities of what we assume are pain pills. When Jasper is inspecting the pool, Dan briefly loses consciousness and falls in. He’s sent home, and Donckers is quite worried, offering for him to recuperate at her place.
  • There’s a great scene with Ms. Snares and the second care package she attempts to bring to Jasper. Its contents get thoroughly destroyed by Steddon when he “inspects” them for contraband. Ms. Snares goes nuclear: she launches into an epic speech about having unusual powers and that someday, when he thinks about why his life is in shambles, he’ll remember “that strange woman” and wonder if it was her doing. We love Ms. Snares!
  • The episode’s soundtrack is dominated by American bluegrass and blues, which seems an odd choice but works rather well. It gives the scenes a gruff jailhouse feel.
  • Once again, I must gripe about Jasper’s OCD expression – this time, his inconsistent glove-wearing. He’s clearly got a stash of gloves now but failed to wear them during laundry duty, which makes no sense.
  • To close out the episode, Hines informs Jasper he’s being charged with the attempted murder of Simon Lanesborough; does he have anything to say in his defense? “No,” Jasper says.
  • Will Christina let Jasper take the fall and potentially wind up in jail for life?

Professor T Season 3 airs at 8 p.m. ET on Sundays on most PBS stations, the PBS app, and the PBS Masterpiece channel through the end of July. All six episodes are available as a binge for members on PBS Passport. As always, check your local streaming service/listings.

Marni Cerise headshot

A writer since her childhood introduction to Shel Silverstein, Marni adores film, cats, Brits, and the Oxford comma. She studied screenwriting at UARTS and has written movie, TV, and pop culture reviews for, and Wizards and Whatnot. You can usually catch her watching Hot Fuzz for the thousandth time. Find her very sparse social media presence on Twitter: @CeriseMarni

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