I’ll Take A Mulligan

John Mulligan is one of Richard Armitage’s sexiest characters.  A cleaned up Guy of Gisborne , a lighter Lucas North and a more real Harry Kennedy. Unlike the others, Mulligan is meetable. The 44 minute BBC play, Moving On – Drowning Not Waving,” written by Sarah Deane and co-starring Christine Tremarco is fast becoming one of  my go to Armitage pieces.  I’d like to rely on the understated performances, the taut script, the intrigue,the spot on set design and neat wardrobe in touting this, but those are the least of the reasons.


John Mulligan, property buyer, arrives on Ellie Morgan’s doorstep, nattily dressed in coordinating grays and patterns.

John Mulligan is just so hot, made even more so because he desires.   He’s the polished looking, confident seducer, focused on what he wants,  and what he wants is Ellie Morgan.

I can’t think of another role Richard Armitage played that has this particular element- a relationship-  not with a hero, a misfit,  a tough guy, an artist or any other extraordinary and clearly fictional character and not unrequited.

By the time John rings Ellie’s doorbell Ellie, so buried in debt that the electricity is about to be turned off and the ATM is mocking her, has mobilized herself  out of her depression-induced  paralysis to put  her house on the market.  She’s getting off the property ladder, as her mother callously tells her.

Every second of the 44 minute format is utilized to its full to set the back story. It turns out that John and Ellie knew each other from school 20 years earlier. He teases her that she probably thought he would wind up in jail instead of  in real estate and reminds her, as he does throughout  the piece, raising some discomfit,  that she was “Miss Smartypants” who unaccountably wants to sell in a buyer’s market. Ellie wastes no time reminding Mulligan that he was a good kisser.  So we find out fast, Ellie was the  good girl; Mulligan was the bad boy, and a little something happened between them.

That he wants her now is apparent from the get go – and the script gives us a decent explanation to make it believable that after 20 years there would be instant attraction.

In the game of golf, a “mulligan” is a do-over: a second chance to correct a bad stroke. John Mulligan wants a second chance at Ellie Morgan, and he’s wasting no time. Maybe Ellie wants a second chance too, and if she sells her house, Mulligan can give it to her. We can tell by the wardrobe change that after seeing the house for the first time, John comes back for a second visit, and tells Ellie he’s interested in buying. To celebrate, he suggests  they go to dinner.  Is this too good to be true? Probably.

John Mulligan's second visit, a moment before Ellie turns her back.Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

John Mulligan’s second visit, a moment before Ellie turns her back.Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Armitage fleetingly  changes his expression when Ellie turns her back – from amiable and charming, to something a little darker, knit brows, pursed lips. But that could be for any reason.

At dinner, he’s both flirtatious and pointed, almost taunting her, raising more discomfit,  over her misfortune – the good girl, Miss Smartypants, who was supposed to end up in one place, but instead ended up selling low to get out of debt.

Ellie acts suspicious when cocky  John tells her that she will sell him her house and remain as a tenant, because she has no choice.  “What’s in it for you?”, she asks, and makes it clear that he’s not getting anything more than a tenant.  He’s not buying her. He stares dead on,  and says, “that’s not something I would think to pay for.”

Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

The screencap above brings to mind something Richard Armitage once said about how to “smolder” on screen. His answer was, that you think of what you want to be doing to the person, but you’re not doing it.  That is this scene. He’s not even looking at me and I still want to skip dessert and get the hell out of  there. But Ellie still has some pride left and when pre-ordered champagne arrives at the table, a sign that Mulligan was confident he would get his way about the house, Ellie walks out on him.

A talk with Ellie’s BFF convinces her that maybe she acted too hastily – she’s had a dry spell, here was a stunningly handsome, rich, well-dressed man, what could be bad?

So when John shows up with a peace offering take- out dinner and some beer, they settle in for a cozy evening at home reminiscing, relaxing –

Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Cut to the next morning.

Due to a misunderstanding, Ellie gives John the cold shoulder when he comes downstairs looking for coffee in  the morning. He has no idea what’s going on, but she practically runs him out of the house, accusing him of  trading on her vulnerability-using her -which he denies. The disappointment and bafflement is written on Richard Armitage’s face. He stands in the kitchen like a jerk for a while, and then the sound of the  front door closing.

But he comes back again the next day, white flag flying, to try and make peace He sets everything straight and tells her he really cares about her.

Sometime later, Ellie’s friend tells her  that John makes his money selling drugs. Ellie doesn’t know what to believe, but when she confronts John he convinces here that his drug dealing days were a long time ago. And he is very convincing, when they meet at a playground and he languidly glides on a  swing,  breaths of frosty air streaming from his lips. “Don’t ruin it before we even have a chance.” He admits to some bad behavior in the past, but assures Ellie that “that person is not who I am  now.”

Three times Ellie rebuffed John, and three times he came back. He wants this woman. But  why?

Ellie gets a big check for the house, a down payment  I would guess, and the couple prepares for a weekend in New York.

John and Ellie packing for New York. The warm gray and purples    in the set design and wardrobe are carried throughout the piece, giving a richness helps tells the story. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

John and Ellie packing for New York. The warm gray and purples in the set design and wardrobe are carried throughout the piece, giving a richness that helps tells the story.
Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

A last minute phone call, a wary look from  John, and he has to beg off, promising to meet her in New York on the next flight. Ellie starts off, but gets cold feet. She checks the luggage from the highway and discovers that her bag is packed with what looks like heroin or cocaine.

And the penultimate scene takes place in jail between Ellie and John, who has been sentenced to five years in prison.

I’ve left out a lot – the ambiguity – do we believe John or do we believe Ellie’s friend? Is he a drug dealer who’s using her only as a mule or does he care? I’ve omitted all that because I’m not interested in the morality tale.  I don’t want to justify falling for – and staying down in the face of knowledge – for Richard Armitage’s John Mulligan.

On the face of it, he’s a kind of man I’ve known and liked, and that he’s in Richard Armitage’s skin doesn’t hurt.  I felt his desire for Ellie Morgan. I imagined what he wanted to do with her, how he wanted to be with her.  Drug dealer problems aside, he was real. Lies and manipulation forgotten for now, he was fun, decisive, sure.

And there was that additional element of people reconnecting after a long period – the one that got away, the missed opportunity, the second shot. I’ve experienced that – twice with the same man. There’s something satisfying about it.

As to John Mulligan, I think it highly unlikely and bad business to pursue a woman and pay her tens of thousands just  to get her to fly to New York with drug laden luggage one time. Maybe he wanted to conquer her because when they were younger, she thought she was above him (Miss Smartypants) and he wanted to bring her down – or maybe she had some small part to play in his effort to rise out of the gutter – to be worthy of someone like her, or maybe, he just wanted that mulligan.

Moving On: Drowning Not Waving is available on CD from Amazon and the episode is available for purchase and unlimited streaming from Amazon Instant Video for $ 1.99.  In addition, the Moving On Page of RANet.Com has reviews and press releases. I think it;’ a top drawer production with strong performances.

69 thoughts on “I’ll Take A Mulligan

  1. I agree that JM is probably the sexiest character RA ever did. I think that he really cared about Ellie, at least judging from the jail scene. But morality apart, he is fascinating. And let’s tell it: RA is absolutely beautiful in it 😉


  2. Mulligan is very sexy indeed. I love the way he looks, the hair and the heavy stubble (although some of his fashion choices I did not particularly care for. The boy from the wrong side of the tracks trying too hard to look posh??). I love the way he sounds.

    But in real life, someone like John is not someone with whom I would want to be seriously involved. Too good to be true is sometimes just that, and the devil can wear a (sexy) angel’s face.

    I haven’t ever been able to decide just what his feelings for Ellie were. And the look in his eyes after she leaves the prison–the bleakness and emptiness we see there always leaves me wondering. Did he really feel any remorse? Was he capable of it? Did he purposefully try to antagonize Ellie to help her forget him . . . It is an excellent, shaded performance and it left me wanting to know more about this character.


    • Different strokes – I thought his clothes were perfect ( except the velvet collared chesterfield) I know many men who dress like that all the time. I know men who are or have been like the John Mulligan he portrays himself as.
      Just because someone started out from the wrong side of the tracks, or poor, doesn’t mean he is trying “too hard” if he later has money and dresses well. What happened to the concept of upward mobility ( drug dealing aside for the moment)?
      In real life, someone like John ( minus the drug dealing) – why not?
      I didn’ t see bleakness and emptiness in his eyes. I saw regret. Whether selfish regret for his own situation in prison or for lost opportunities, or for hurting Ellie- I can’t be certain.


      • The only outfit he wore that I can actually say I cared for was the simple dark shirt he wore out for dinner with Ellie that night. The rest of it didn’t quite “come together” for me. But then, neither did some of Lee the Lothario Lifeguard’s ensembles trip my trigger (thinking of the rather hideous denim jacket).

        Heaven knows, I am not a fashion expert for men or women, but I am just expressing my opinions here. I have no problem with upward mobility—but I prefer you do it the legal, moral way and not cheat and lie. John’s obviously very intelligent and gifted in addition to his good looks and charm—and yet he ends up at the end of this sitting in prison. Such a waste of potential. Ellie bought into what he was selling because she’d gotten herself way in over her head and was looking for an easy way out. In a way, they were using each other here. Can’t say she was totally innocent. Anyway, nothing much is all black or white, as I’ve said about Mulligan, he’s definitely got his shades of grey. An interesting character who sparks very interesting and varied reactions in viewers.


        • I don’t think Lee’s wardrobe, other than his speedos,was key to his character, other that some of it was sexy. I thought JM’s striped shirt and patterned tie with gray jacket was tasteful,( not unlike what RA wore to the Captain Amemrica premiere – I think it was) as was the gray shirt with white color and cuffs- the Wall Street look. And he was wearing similar designer jeans to what we have seen RA wear himself.
          Anyway, the point I was making in the post was to look at Mulligan for certain purposes as he portrayed himself, that means as a real estate tycoon – and not as the drug dealer he was. That was the precise point I was making, as stated.
          No doubt there are strong feelings about the morality of a drug dealer – and whether Ellie was innocent and looking for an easy way out – selling your house because you can’t pay your bills is not an easy way out- although at least she had a good house to sell- which is more than other people have – and whatever her faults of conspicuous consumption – heroin dealing trumps credit card debt – so I wouldn’t agree with John Mulligan’s attempt to compare Ellie with him.


          • I think John was at heart a cynic–he saw/needed to see?–everyone else out there was as corrupt in their own ways as he had become, hence the little speech he made to Ellie at end (and a masterful performance of it by RA it was, too).

            Life had been unkind to John earlier on, no doubt about it. He’d had to pull himself up by the proverbial bootstraps.

            But in the end the choices he made can’t be blamed on anyone but John, as much as he’d probably have liked to blame how things turned out on anyone and everyone else. A lot of people start out with the odds against them and don’t turn to drug dealing and other illegal/unethical activities to achieve success.


          • I know what Angie means about the clothes. I actually thought the clothes were very intentionally not quite right to hint that Mulligan wasn’t quite what he portrayed himself to be. They were supposed to show that he was successful but they were just a bit seedy. His hair was also combed and gelled ( I’m thinking of the scene on the swing) which gave the same effect.

            The money/ class theme runs throughout, as is usually the case with Jimmy McGovern productions. Ellie was in debt despite being the cleverest girl in their year – having maxed out her credit cards, Ellie’s friend lived in a hideous but obviously expensive house, dressed in ‘designer’ gear and drove a fake sports car. Despite material wealth, she didn’t seem happy – she was certainly unhappy or bored enough to embark on an affair with John mulligan.Had Ellie tried to keep up with a lifestyle she couldn’t afford? Mulligan taunts her by suggesting it was naive to think that the world was changing for “people like us”. I don’t think there was a single costume/ location or prop that wasn’t supposed to convey meaning.

            Overall, I was disappointed by Moving on. It felt underdeveloped or so severely edited to have lost meaning. John Mulligan, in the care of RA ,could have been fleshed out so much more and we could have had a suspenseful mini series to decide what Mulligan was up to. I felt like I was watching a YouTube edit, not the full program. In short, I thought RA was Superb and Mulligan was potentially one of the most interesting characters he could play, but the opportunity was wasted by the need to make this just one of six 44 minute dramas.


            • It is was it is -intended as a short afternoon drama free standing with only one common theme throughout the series, people who come to a life changing moment. So I don’t think a mini series was ever in the cards. But I think we both wish that RA could have another, more detailed and fleshed out role similar to this in a mini series. I’d vote for that in a heartbeat.
              I missed the point about the fake sports car. I didn’t recognize what car it was supposed to be. Or was it just a sports model version of a middle class brand? I don’t know enough about cars. But I’m interested to know.
              And as you said, a lot was crammed in and yes- everything counted, including the wardrobe – or especially the wardrobe.
              I didn’t see anything seedy about Mulligan’s wardrobe – seedy to me implies unkempt, tattered, worn. I’d be interested to learn the specifics of what you thought turned you off in the wardrobe department.
              But, if there was one item of apparel that raised a flag, it was the pair of gloves he was wearing as he waved Ellie off to the airport. ( Ah RA characters with their gloves). Gray leather driving gloves? Necessary so no fingerprints would be found on the luggage?


          • agree w/ Bolly re wardrobe, plus it all fits him badly (Mulligan was someone I used frequently when I started writing about clothes to demonstrate fit issues on Armitage’s body). I thought the class issues were in the forefront of this piece as well (cue upcoming remark about moral valences).

            Wasn’t this series the result of some kind of “young writers” competition or workshop or something? Did someone mention that already? That accounted for a lot of the problems I felt in the work with pacing and motion toward the climax. Also, I always have to remind myself — I always see the center of anything with Armitage in it as Armitage (unless I just can’t make myself do that, i.e., CA) but I think the author also wanted us to consider the relationship between Ellie and her friend. There are alot of long scenes between them.


  3. John Mulligan is a great character, but has always been one that seemed the most monstrous to be – the charming manipulator lacking in empathy, remorse, or any moral compass other than his own selfish need and who’s motivations are to use and/or control others.

    I don’t think he wants Ellie for her in any way – just as an ultimate conquest and someone he can use.

    This kind of man really scares me. Richard Armitage portrayal of such Mulligan was brilliant in this way and is the only one that really scares me.


    • He both attracts and repels me as a character. Full of charm, gorgeous, yes, but so much deception and manipulation to further his own ends. That’s why I used the Gaga song “Monster” for one of my Mulligan videos. The scariest monsters aren’t the supernatural/aliens ones conjured up in the movies, they are the fellow human beings, the wolf in sheep’s clothing.


    • To me, answering whether Mulligan has a spark of empathy for Ellie depends a lot on how you read the drug mule question. I remember discussions of this that were still available in 2010, apparently a lot of viewers (not just Armitage fans) were confused by what was going on there — was the fitup intentional, accidental, etc. That is my biggest problem with the script. It’s *so* ambiguous and a lot of the answer depends on what you think the scriptwriter knew about US drug enforcement practice. The argument went something like, no one could possibly believe they could enter through US customs and immigration with controlled substances just in their suitcase, and especially not a dealer. There are drugsniffing dogs all over US entrepot airports. I.e., he must have wanted to ruin her life. But that raises the question of — wow, is he that hostile to her? that he would go through all that work to land her in a US jail? The script doesn’t really indicate that, either. Also, in a situation like that (flying to NYC for a weekend of shopping, something you read about wealthy Europeans doing a lot in the late 90s), it wouldn’t be unusual for a couple to share a suitcase, because they’d assume they’d get another in NYC to take back their purchases, and so on … to me the end of the script is just so poorly written that the action is near unintelligible.


      • The drug thing – what I think is that we were supposed to believe that someone who looked like Ellie would not be stopped by customs and dog sniffing just wasn’t factored in. Also the same cautions taken at border crossings might not be present at an airport and they don’t sniff randomly, they sniff where they’re directed, ( and here is the real problem with that plot turn) drugs aren’t likely to come in from UK.

        I have no idea whether any of this true –

        I don’t think he was trying to set up her up for arrest. I think he thought he had a better chance of getting the drugs in through her single luggage, and that’s why he didn’t want to share.

        Then there were the gloves- as I said, maybe to keep his prints off her luggage.


        • I must have been on a lot of flights in the 1990s and 2000s where drug traffic was suspected. I would say I got sniffed while waiting for luggage or moving through customs about 25-30% of the time I re-entered the US in those twenty years. I was always flying from Europe.


            • probably bedraggled — I am no fashion plate even on my best days. Always w/backpack on my back and my dad’s Vietnam-era army duffle bag as luggage (those things hold a LOT).


      • I agree with you on this. It is vague in the script. Overall, I felt the execution of the show was a bit poor, even though his characterization was wonderfully creepy. But all that you mentioned regarding Ellie as mule and his actual intentions – very open for speculation. And maybe that was the intent of the writer(s) as well, who knows?

        My comments I made were mostly about the “using” of people in general that such human monsters do, and the emotional damage in their wake. I speak as a victim here.


  4. This is in reply to Crystal -I don’t think there’s enough evidence in the story to conclusively support what you say – but I think it’s a possibility we’re supposed to consider and wonder about.


  5. JM is possibly the sexiest RA character to date. He’s a user and knows how to wrap a woman round his little finger (and other parts). I also really like the outfits he wears, the shirts are beyond sharp 😉


  6. Thanks for taking us back to discuss a less popular role from Armitage’s oeuvre. Mulligan has always appealed to me. Partly because of his name (and the implied Irishness… irrational but true), partly because of his bad-boy character. Like Sir Guy before him (well, really after him, chronologically, but in my own development as a fan, Guy came before Mulligan), he has the dubious reputation of being a bad man, but when you look behind the veneer, you might find that he is capable of love and deep affection. A seductive mix.
    The episode led us to believe that Mulligan was really a bad guy, trying to take advantage of Ellie. Ok, the little scene in the kitchen on the morning served as a deliberate mixed message – he seemed genuinely flummoxed as to why she was being so cold with him, but essentially we were led to believe that he was a manipulator and up to no good. His interaction with Maria, Ellie’s friend, showed us a callous, cruel side to his character. And so I was prepared to step into the writer’s trap and completely abhor the character when he was shown to abuse Ellie’s trust and use her as a drug mule.
    However, the final scene in the prison completely swayed me. His “speech from the docks” convinced me, that he was actually a straight-forward character, and his love for Ellie was genuine. I found his arguments for himself actually quite convincing – he didn’t force anyone to buy the drugs he supplied; he was a businessman who catered for a demand. Yes, I am shocked at my own loose attitude here – am I deceived by the Armitage looks in my opinion? Possibly. But I think he was right when he said that he acted with a clearer conscience than Ellie did, and that he can live with himself, whereas she can not. Even if Ellie is on the right side of the moral divide – he certainly has a stronger character than she does.
    BTW – I was rather confused by the actress’s acting in this scene. It is rather ambivalent – I mean, why *does* Ellie go and visit Mulligan if not to either humiliate and hurt him or to make sure he was genuine in his feelings for her? She antagonises him from the get-go. But then her final smug smile when leaving is downright annoying. Either she should be enraged at his accusations, or sad for thinking he was a monster. Otherwise why make the effort to go and visit? She did really come to gloat, as he accuses her when she enters.
    Anyway, sorry for being so lengthy – you really tapped into something. Must re-watch 😀


    • I think the ambiguity is there. He was rather cruel to Maria ( who got short shrift in my post)- when he said “Ellie doesn’t need you – neither of us does” – but he was also pretty convincing that Ellie was ” the real thing.”
      Yes, why did she go and see him in prison?
      And I agree, he seems to take his punishment, and as he says, he knows what he is and he sleeps at night.
      Definitely worth a re-watch, or 7 or 10. I just watched it again.


        • It was reviewed very well.If you haven’t already – follow the link to the RANet.com page. It’s sort of like a ficlet – very short- 44 mins and unlike TV series, we don’t know anything about the characters or the setting. Everything has be contained in less than an hour. I;ve seen a few of the others,and some are also very good. I haven’t seen all of them – Bully is very good.


            • Didn’t even know there was a You Tube expurgated version. Do you have Amazon Instant Video in Ireland? That’s how I watch it.
              You need the scenes with the mother and the friend for it to make a difference -You can believe Maria is just jealous and ticked that he moved on from her to Ellie.


              • Done. Watched it on YT. No, there is no Amazon Instant Video. (Sometimes Ireland really is the Third World, seriously…) And yes, the complete episode does add more ambiguity to the whole thing – the dynamics of Maria’s interference, the scolding mother…
                John is not quite as “innocent” as I originally said. He did actually lie to her – denying to her face that he was still involved in drugs, and that is rather bad. However, I totally believe that lies are understandable and forgivable. He *had* to lie because it was clear that she wouldn’t want him if he was honest about what he did. So he lied about his occupation. But he didn’t lie about his feelings for her. My own (morally questionable?) take on betrayal is that it could be overcome if the two people in question really love each other. I suppose she didn’t really love him then…


              • I don’t think she loved him either. Maybe she would have grown to if things had been different – but I don’t think she would have stayed with what her friend called, “a bit of rough” ( another Britishism?)


              • Hehe, yeah – that was a nasty dig. And not entirely fair – it implies a woman “lowering” herself to the inferior social standing of a man. Considering that they went to the same school, it’s not entirely right… I would have thought. Also in light of the two of them speaking with the same accent. (Accent in Britain was/is closely connected to class.) Possibly also refers to a woman being turned on by a (sexually?) dominant man.


    • Well, her smug smile, I think we’re supposed to believe that she feels nothing anymore and he does feel something. That’s what I read in his eyes. Regret for something.


    • I think RA’s performance was the stronger of the two, frankly, the actress was a bit irritating at times (don’t get me started on the negatives of some of his female co-stars).

      And I am pretty sure from my own perspective I wouldn’t have given this character the latitude I do if he’d been played by a less attractive and charismatic actor. There is a shallow side to me. 😉

      That being said, Richard is very good at giving a character layering and dimension. Remember, his mantra is “finding the good in the bad guy and the bad in the good guy.” I certainly wouldn’t have come to care for Sir Guy if he’d been played as the standard cardboard cutout evil henchman through three seasons.
      He certainly shows why the baddies can be so much more compelling than heroes are sometimes.


      • Agree with everything you say, Angie – RA was definitely the better actor of the two. She veered between two facial expressions in all of the 44 minutes. Meh.
        But yeah, I will also totally admit to having been swayed by Mulligan’s attractive looks. And by Armitage’s layering as you call it. A lesser actor could have easily made Mulligan much more one-dimensional.


        • And of all things her mascara bothered me LOL *shakes my head* I wish he could have had female costars the caliber of, say, Hermione Norris,in everything . . . loved their chemistry together. Yeah, I think Mulligan could have come off as completely unsympathetic and easy to despise in someone else’s hands, and the same with Guy.


          • Concur strongly on the mascara situation!
            Yeah, Armitage has not been that lucky with his leading ladies. Actually, Lucy Griffiths was not that bad. And very young, too. Oh, and Daniela Denby-Asshe of course.


  7. Nice catch on the “Mulligan” reference.

    We have a really different read on this. I thought this was another “script makes no sense” piece. I love it, taken as bits with some occasionally bright moments, but the plot never cohered for me. Maybe it’s because it’s impossible for me to overlook moral valences in fiction of any kind.


    • I’m not certain what instances of moral valences you are referring to and would like to know more, and whether you mean it in the literary or philosophical sense. On the other hand, I ignored moral valences for the purpose of making the two points of my post, as was necessary, so if you noticed , I appreciate that.


      • yes — I caught your statement that you weren’t considering it as morality play. My point was that I can’t not think about that aspect of it, which makes the calculations about certain aspects of the script unavoidable for me.


  8. I have watched the prison scene a lot! It is such a mesmerizing example of RA’s work. When she asked, “Why did you do it? I thought you cared about me?” His answer is pretty insensitive. I swayed back and forth on whether or not he really cared or was just using her. He obviously didn’t care if she ran the chance of getting caught with the drugs, which was highly likely. When he asked her why she had come to see him, she said, “I wanted to see if I felt anything.” His answer, “Do you?” was sooooo hot. His facial expression and the tone of his voice, of course melted me. His facial expression as she walked out of the room was so painful. I never have been able to settle the question of whether or not he truly cared. I’m glad to see I’m not alone.

    Thanks for the food for thought!


  9. Shit he’s good in this. Have just re watched it and shivered through the final speeches in the jail scene. Am appalled that he was prepared to fit her up as a drug mule, which contradicts the notion that he probably is supposed to genuinely care for her. Is it his complicated feelings from the past which led to such dire behaviour, or just the writers having a bet both ways? Actually I don’t care anymore about the morality, I just love watching him play such a charismatic character. Despite the greasy hair, and side parting. Thanks Perry for providing the opportunity for a discussion of an Armitage role.


    • The whole putting her in the potentially very precarious position of drug mule that made me doubt the sincerity of his concern for Ellie. Re the hair, it’s those tempting nape curls which appear here that I just love, could have done without the somewhat greasy look LOL
      Yes, he just oozes charisma here . . . off the chart.s


      • Did it even occur to him that she would get caught? People who commit crime tend not to think of the consequences, or have a large dose of denial because they want the prize so much. My work frequently brings me into contact with perpetrators of crime and I never cease to be amazed at how they ever thought they would get away with it – or how they justify their actions, even when they have been caught and the consequences have been dreadful.

        I thought Mulligan did love her in the end- I thought the initial attraction was because she was ‘above’ him at school, but it became so much more. Once he had lied about how he made his money, and her obvious disdain for criminality, he was trapped. He knew he would lose her if she discovered what he really was. The prison scene was very moving- and I thought the motivation for his behaviour was saving face. There was a look in RA’s eyes as he said he could sleep at night, which suggested such deep sadness and regret, layered with the last shreds of JM’s cocky demeanour.


        • Yes although the last scene was problematic for me, I thought he was wonderful in it – and again, as always, I wonder how much to credit the director and how much to credit him. In this case, I’m giving him the kudos.

          A main point of this post was to notice RA in a romantic role in a way we had not seen before – to do so, it was necessary to ignore the moral problems. It was an AU of sorts. I think there’s enough agreement that we would like to see him do romance again.


    • I didn’t think his hair was greasy and I am partial to the side part, ala Lucas and John Porter. Also, I would suggest without endorsing the possibility that someone like Mulligan could do both.
      And thank you because I am delighted that the post brought this piece of work into the light again.


  10. Thanks for making me rewatch. It didn’t change my first impression of JM: manipulative, selfish, no empathy. True, life’s scarred him. True, nobody’s entirely innocent here. He definitely wanted her, perhaps in the same way that Guy wanted Marian. The prison scene makes me think he cared for her. But he still used her, most probably because that’s the only way he can interact with another person.
    Out of all RA’s characters he scares me the most, because he’s a guy you can run into and even fall for in the right circumstances.

    But boy, is RA good. Is. He. Good.

    /And stunningly beautiful. Don’t even get me started on the whisper./

    And yes, somebody please finally give him a female co-star who is as good as him. I can’t think of anyone so far except Hermione Norris.


    • I made two main points in my post and one was that he really wanted her and pursued her, which made him all the more sexy and unlike with Guy, here the feeling was reciprocated. And placed in a modern setting we could watch the characters act out the seduction in a way not possible in medieval England. So thanks for that.


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