Out Of Bounds is an episode from series 14 that first aired on 1 March 1998.
A body is found in the grounds of a boarding school. It has been there since 1939. Jardine and the team investigate and question everyone at the boarding school. But is the murderer still around after all those years?
Full plot synopsisEdit
The episode begins in sepia/black and white. A large building is shown from the outside, with soldiers parading and exercising in the grounds under the watchful eye of their officers. A subtitle appears on screen reading ‘June, 1939’. We see a sign outside the building – ‘Borderdown School’. A car leaves, and drives to a wood. A man gets out and walks to the wood, and bends down to collect a beetle in a glass jar. A mystery figure appears behind him and hits him over the head with a cricket bat. The man falls to the ground, dead.
We see a shot of the school again, now in present day. Boys in their sports kit are lining up for the cross country race. Their PE teacher, in a wheelchair – Alex Milligan – starts the race with a gunshot. The boys race across country, one boy quickly falls behind. We later learn his name is Mark Jackson. As he goes through the wood, quite a way behind the other boys, he pauses to catch his breath beside a newly fallen tree. Something catches his eye – it’s a skeleton. He heads back to school as quickly as possible and heads to the finish line to the jeers of the other boys. He manages to tell them about the skeleton. Jackie and Michael arrive. Jackie looking at the school and commenting to Michael that it must cost an arm and a leg to send a boy there. They go in and meet Charles Brown, the Head, and his deputy Nicola Kennedy. They then go to view the bones. Dr Andrews is already there and says the bones were buried until the tree fell and the roots brought them up. They also discover the cricket bat. A teacher from the school, Douglas Fleming, arrives and says he knows whose body it is. He says it’s Friedrich Zwanziger, a teacher who used to work at the school back in the 1930’s. Back at school Fleming tells Michael and Jackie all he knew about Zwanziger, that he was a teacher of German and Latin between 1923 and 1939, and that he disappeared suddenly.
Jackie and Michael discuss the case and Michael decides to put Fraser in charge – saying they could make it a ‘homework exercise’ for him. Jackie talks to Mark, he says that his theory is that a secret society of pupils conspired to murder Mr Zwanziger – he says it’s one of the Borderdown legends. Jackie says she’ll note his theory. Jackie studies the cricket bat and finds a latin inscription carved onto it. ‘Dolce et decorum est, pro patria mori.’ Michael tries to translate but doesn’t get far. McVitie comes in and tells them it stands for ‘It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.’ He also reveals he is on the board of governors for Borderdown School. Michael complains that the murder was too far in the past and they have more pressing matters to deal with. McVitie asks if this means he thinks murder isn’t pressing? Back at the school, three prefects approach Mark Jackson after lights out. They are angry that he lost the race, meaning the ‘house’ didn’t win the trophy. They make him get out of bed and pour urine onto it, making it look like he’s wet the bed. Later the prefects have a glass of wine with their housemaster, Mr Halliday. During assembly, the head teacher jokes with the boys, asking for the one who killed Mr Zwanziger to stand up. He announces that he is retiring and Mrs Kennedy is taking over. He also says that next year will be the first year that the school admit girls. He ends with saying that the catering manager has complained of food going missing and that if he finds a boy taking food from the kitchen they will be punished. After assembly Mrs Kennedy goes to see the catering manager Mrs Dixon. She tells her primly that her dress sense is not acceptable – but will overlook it because she is new. She says her tops are too revealing. Stuart and Jackie arrive back at the school and Stuart pauses to watch the sports master, Mr Milligan, shout at the boys in training. Jackie asks about his school days and Stuart tells her he hated them. In the school library, Stuart and Jackie look over some school records. Mark and his friend Robin come over and hesitantly ask if Jackie will take part in an interview on the school radio station. Jackie isn’t sure but Stuart encourages her and the boys tell her that it only goes out in the Glasgow area, so she agrees. They ask her a few questions about the case, and then what she thinks about girls being admitted to the school next year. Jackie says she thinks it’s a great thing, especially with such good-looking boys! Back at base, McVitie tells Jackie that she should always ask before conducting such an interview – and should not have implied that girls are only going to Borderdown to provide the boys with girlfriends! Michael protects her by saying it was only a school radio station. Alex Milligan attacks his wife at their house, shouting at her not to blame him for everything. He throws her to the floor and leaves, leaving her sobbing and bruised. Robin lives next door, on his own for the week as his parents are away, and hears the fight. He turns up his music. It’s late and Douglas Fleming has stayed up looking at the school punishment book from 1939. He talks to Fulton, the caretaker, about it and then goes to bed. He stops at the kitchen to take some food but whilst in the walk-in freezer, the door is slammed shut and he is trapped. He lights a match – and sees an inscription on the wall. ‘Terribilis est locus iste’. Knowing latin, he is aware it means ‘this place is terrible’, and knows he is going to die. In the morning, Jan and Fulton find him dead. Michael, Jackie and Stuart investigate. They talk to Jan Dixon and Mr Fulton. Mr Fulton says that a padlock was stolen from his room a few weeks ago – the same one used to lock the freezer door. They discover by looking at the punishment book that a boy was harshly punished with 1000 lines and 6 strikes of the cane the day before Zwanziger was killed. The line he has to write out was the same one written on the cricket bat used to kill him. Stuart interviews Milligan. He asks if Milligan remembers him – he used to teach him when he was younger. Stuart asks why he is in a wheelchair – Milligan says it was a dive that went wrong – he hit the side of the board as he went down. Milligan taunts Stuart about how bad he was at sport and how he was different from the others. Stuart tells him that all the years he was at school, he made his life hell. Robin tells Milligan’s wife, Susan, what happened at the school. She invites him in for a beer, and they talk. The conversation is quite awkward. Robin says he should go. Susan protests but as she stands she sees Alex arriving home. She says maybe he should leave. In a few days Robin goes past their house and sees the door is slightly open. Worried about Susan’s safety he goes inside, but she doesn’t reply when he calls. He finds her in the bedroom sobbing, her face covered with bruises. He offers to make her a cup of tea, and tells her she should leave Alex. She reaches out for a hug – the pair end up kissing. Jackson is still being bullied at every given opportunity. The prefects make him get out of bed, cover his face and lead him through the corridors of the school, through a boarded up door and to a secret, disused room above the science block, and torture him. The next day, Mark goes to see housemaster Mr Halliday and tells him about the bullying. Halliday tells him to speak to the prefects if he has to – and that there’s nothing he can really do. He says there’s only a few more days til the end of term so he shouldn’t worry. Jackie and Stuart go to see Frank Gordon, and ask him about Zwanziger. He appears confused, and doesn’t answer their questions sufficiently, changing the subject. Later, they walk by the sea with an ice cream each. Jackie asks why Stuart’s school days were so bad. He says he was bullied by Milligan – that he was pushed into the pool at the deep end because he couldn’t swim, and made to stand under a cold shower while the other boys laughed at him. Jackie says they went through similar things at school but she wasn’t bullied – she joined in because of peer pressure. Michael goes to see Jan again to discuss the case, the pair appear quite friendly. She makes him something to eat. Mr Halliday is tidying the science cupboard. The door is slammed, and gas is pumped into the room from a hole in the ceiling. He realises this and tries to block the hole, but is coughing too much that he stumbles, dragging a shelf full of chemicals that falls onto him. As he staggers around the room attempting to fruitlessly open the shut door, a chemical reaction sets the room alight. He is discovered next day, burnt and dead, by Mr Fulton. Words above the door read ‘Terribilis est locus ist’. When investigated they find out the gas had come from the room above via a hole in the roof – the secret room used to torture Mark Jackson. The Head is asked about the room but ‘conveniently’ becomes breathless because of the gas still left in the room and goes to lie down. Stuart and Jackie go to talk to Milligan. He won’t co-operate so they take him to the station to question him. Him, Halliday and Fleming all used to attend Borderdown and the team think there is a connection. They think he may be next. Milligan says he did go to Borderdown but was two years below the other two. He denies knowing anything about the secret room. McVitie goes to see Charles Brown. They’re old friends. Jack asks Charles if there’s anything he’s holding back. Jack says there isn’t – but he was friends with Fleming and Halliday back at school. Robin tells Mark that he is seeing Susan Milligan. Later Robin goes to see her again and they kiss and undress each other in the bedroom. However Alex arrives home and the pair don’t realise until they hear him arrive at the top of the stairs. When he sees what’s going on he looks hurt for a second but then lunges at Robin, trying to grab him. He hits him and goes to hit him again but Robin escapes and runs from the house. Milligan slams the bedroom door and turns menacingly on Susan, again beating her up. The next morning he goes to the school pool for a swim, alone. To ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon (played on the radio by Mark Jackson), Milligan seems deep in thought as he undresses by the pool. Suddenly someone comes up behind him, handcuffing him to his wheelchair, then pushing him into the pool. The chair anchors him to the bottom of the pool and he drowns. ‘Terribilis est locus ist’ is scrawled on the side of the pool. Fran Gordon is ill. He sends for Stuart – wanting to talk to him. He admits that he did kill Zwanziger. Stuart, sympathising with him and seeing as the pensioner is terminal and pretty much on his last days, takes pity on him and tells him he’s forgotten his notebook – he won’t report what he’s been told. Jackie and Michael interview Jan, Robin, and Mark. Mark reveals what happened in the room to them and Mr Brown. Mr Brown later calls the prefects to his room and prepares to whip them. They cowardly attempt to avoid the whipping stating it's against the rules, but he says they’ll be expelled otherwise. He whips one boy, but Michael, Jackie and Jack burst in the door and stop him just as he's ferociously whipping the second. Mr Brown reveals that he knew that Milligan, Fleming and Halliday were bullies even in their schooldays, when two of them were also prefects back then, but when he was told he ignored it as that was just the way things were. The bullied boy was named John Chisham. The team attempt to track him down but with no luck. They have a photo of him when he was younger and use e-fit to try to see what he’d look like when older. Michael studies the face – and suddenly realises who it is. Mr Brown goes to view the secret room. There, there is a cake with lit candles, decorated with ‘Happy Retirement’ on it. A bottle of alcohol (whisky/wine?) stands on the table. He knocks an already filled glass over by accident – and it burns a hole in the table – it was acid. Someone steps out of the shadows, asking ‘why didn’t you drink it, it was meant for you.’ It’s Jan Dixon, dressed in a boy’s school uniform and her hair tied back. She reveals she used to be John Chisham – she had a sex change two years after leaving Borderdown. She came back for revenge on those who relentlessly bullied her and made her life hell. That her father sent her to the boarding school to "make a man out him". By this time, Michael finds the manipulated image familiar and realises Jan is the culprit - they race to the school. They find Jan and Mr Brown in the secreted room, Jan asking him why he just stood back and let them bully her time and again. It's even strongly implied that she was sexually abused by the bullies and states that some wounds will never heal. She asks the housemaster, ‘who commits the greatest sin, those who commit the crime or those who stand by and just let it happen?’ with tears running down her face as she presses the point of the knife she's holding into the palm of her hand until it bleeds. After listening to her lament filled confession, Jackie and Michael regretfuly lead her away, leaving Mr Brown behind to wallow in his guilt and remorse at all his past inaction.
Charles Brown – Jeremy Clyde
Jan Dickson – Susan Brown
Alex Milligan – Robert Gwilym
Derek Halliday – Micheal Troughton
Douglas Fleming – Thomas Wheatley
Mark Jackson – Robert Laing
Robin Mowat – Vaughan Sivelle
Susan Milligan – Sarah Winman
Harry Fulton – Frank Baker
Frank Gordon – Randal Herley