A secretary’s life is in peril when she becomes the focus of a serial killer’s attention. RICHARD PHILLIPS-JONES looks at the Thriller episode I’m The Girl He Wants To Kill.
TITLE: Thriller – I’m The Girl He Wants To Kill
BROADCAST: 8 June 1974
STARRING: Robert Lang, Julie Sommars, Tony Selby, Ken Jones, Anthony Steel
WRITER: Brian Clemens
DIRECTOR: Shaun O’Riordan
Returning home from work, secretary Ann Rogers (Sommars) comes across a suspicious looking man (Lang) in the entrance of her shared building. He looks as guilty as hell of something, and hurriedly leaves without saying a word.
As she makes her way to her flat, Ann discovers the dead body of her next-door neighbour, lying in a doorway. The police are called, and through the investigation Ann soon starts a romantic relationship with investigating officer Mark (Selby).
This makes the ongoing case somewhat personal for Mark, particularly as it becomes clear that Ann is the only person who can positively identify the murderer, who is also very aware that he must get rid of the witness.
Meanwhile, the killer (referred to in the cast only as The Man) has discovered the office block where Ann works, gaining access when she is working late one evening. Ann becomes the unwilling participant in a deadly game of cat and mouse, running for her life around the deserted complex.
Keeping up the high standard set by series three opener A Coffin For The Bride, I’m The Girl He Wants To Kill changes direction entirely, a claustrophobic piece which wisely gets the set-up established fully in part one before cranking up the tension for the second segment. It may not have the ingenious plotting of its predecessor in the running order, but more than makes up for this by simply piling the pressure on the heroine and pulling the audience along with her.
Robert Lang is a genuinely unnerving presence, in an entirely mute performance – indeed, the entire second act is very sparse on dialogue. The episode also benefits from some nice giallo-esque touches as The Man stalks his prey.
In all, I’m The Girl He Wants To Kill is a prime example of the woman-in-peril idiom in which Brian Clemens was clearly fond of writing, and another high water mark for Thriller. True, the viewer has a pretty good idea that Ann will prevail, but that’s scarcely the point – the real fun is in the ride, not the final destination.
TRIVIA NOTES: Tony Selby was shortly to achieve sitcom stardom in the national service-based series Get Some In! (1975-78)
Julie Sommars was very busy in 1974, also managing to fit in appearances on McCloud, Harry O and The Rockford Files as well as two TV movies.
The alternative front titles for the later US TV-Movie version are better than usual (which isn’t saying very much). The makers even manage to make the shoes of the stand-in killer match those of Robert Lang, which is a very high level of achievement by their usual standards.