Radio Drama Review: Dossier on Dumetrius

In Dossier on Dumetrius, an International criminal known as Dumetrius comes to London from occupied Berlin. However, MI-5 discovers that he committed a murder in killing an officer in Berlin. Dumetrius seeks to kill off anyone who saw him on the flight other than his confederates and collect one million pounds of stolen Nazi loot.

This 1951 Australian radio production has a lot to commend it. It’s 104 part epic that is chock full of action, suspense, and foreign intrigue. We follow Major Gregory Keen (Bruce Stewart) of MI-5 as he follow Dumetrius’ trail with the aid of Sgt. Tommy Coutts and a cast of characters. At the same time, Keen has fallen hard for femme fatale Heddy Bergner, one of Dumetrius’ cohorts.

Like all good serial dramas, Dossier on Dumetrius is highly addictive with well-written and well-timed cliffhangers that keep you chomping at the bit, excited to find out more. Series Star Bruce Stewart was a native of New Zealand and it’s said that parliament adjourned early that day to hear the concluding episode.

The great downside of the series is the character of Keen who for the first seventy percent of the serial isn’t too kean at all. First he engages in a pursuit of Peter Ridgeway, a man obviously in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, he falls for Heddy Bergner and quickly acts more like a twelve year old boy in love with a circus bareback ride than an agent of MI-5. In part twenty, Coutts goes out after hours to investigate and makes more progress in that one episode than Keen had in the prior nineteen. While everyone else can obviously see Heddy is playing him for a sucker, including Coutts, the good Major remains oblivious.

When Coutts gets Heddy in his basement for interrogation at the moment she’s about to crack, Keen rescues her. With MI-5 having tapped her phone, Heddy takes refuge at Keen’s house during the day and is able to use Keen’s phone while he’s out to contact Dumetrius. And after Keen does realize that Heddy is playing him and she is captured unconscious. His hurt feelings allow him to let Dumetrius and his accomplice get close enough to an unconscious Heddy to put a knife to her throat, and the villains escape due to Dumetrius’ threat to kill Heddy.

Keen’s opinion of Heddy is not entirely unjustified. She does show some redeeming qualities towards the end of the series. However, the fact remains that the vast majority of the numerous deaths in this series are the results of Keen’s uncanny naiveté and incompetence. The only other downside was that  many of the characters such as Sally Wright and the fat little French Men get lost in the script.

That said, despite Keen’s thickness, the serial is nonetheless an entertaining cat and mouse game that’s worth a listen.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.00

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