The Jewel in the Crown (TV series)
|The Jewel in the Crown|
The Jewel in the Crown opening titles
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||14|
|Running time||14.5 hours (53 minutes per episode; first episode double-length)|
|Original release||9 January – 3 April 1984|
The Jewel in the Crown is a 1984 British television serial about the final days of the
The serial opens in the 1940s during
Working as a
The local Indian Police superintendent is Ronald Merrick (
Daphne learns she is pregnant. She chooses to believe the father is Hari, though she cannot know whether it is he or one of the rapists who is the father. She dies in childbirth. The
Sarah and her family soon encounter Merrick, who has left the police and procured a commission in the Indian Army. Teddie Bingham (
Soon after the wedding Teddie and Merrick leave for the Burma front with their unit. Teddie is soon killed in an ambush by soldiers of the Japanese-sponsored
Lady Manners presses to gain a formal inquiry into the arrest and detention of Hari Kumar. It is conducted by Nigel Rowan (Nicholas Le Prevost) an aide to the governor of the province. Only during the interview does Hari learn that Daphne is dead. After Rowan establishes that Hari was tortured by Merrick and there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by him, he arranges the young man's release from prison. No action is taken against Merrick, however.
After his convalescence, Merrick is promoted and assigned to intelligence activities concerning the INA and Indian soldiers who collaborated with the enemy. He comes across the Laytons again in Bombay, where Sarah is reunited with her father, Colonel Layton, just released from a German POW camp following Germany's surrender. Merrick is there to interrogate an Indian soldier who had served under Colonel Layton and assisted the Germans after Layton's unit was captured, and who has been deported to India. Merrick gains assistance from Sergeant Guy Perron (Charles Dance), a young
After the interrogation, Perron runs into Merrick and Sarah Layton by chance at a party. He accompanies them to the apartment of Layton's aunt, where Sarah and her father are staying temporarily. Sarah and Perron are attracted to each other. Merrick decides to have Perron assigned to assist him in further investigations of Indian soldiers who became collaborators. Perron and Sarah both find Merrick distasteful, but Perron has no choice but to work with him.
After the death of her husband Teddie and the difficult birth of their son, the young widow Susan Layton Bingham suffers a mental breakdown and is treated in a hospital in Pankot. When Merrick returns to the Pankot area while working on his inquiry into collaborators, he starts to court Susan and ultimately marries her. Perron later learns that Merrick blackmailed a young British hospital clerk into giving him access to Susan's medical records, apparently to learn about her mental state and use this material to persuade her to marry him. Her sister Sarah dislikes Merrick and is opposed to the marriage, but she is unable to stop it.
With the surrender of Japan in August 1945, the war in the East is ended, and the days of British rule in India are clearly numbered. Perron arranges a quick exit from the Army and returns to Cambridge and his academic career. Due to his imminent departure, he and Sarah must suspend their relationship. The Layton parents plan to return to England. Merrick intends to stay on, having gotten a contract from the government of Mirat to reorganize their police force.
In 1947, with the transition to Indian independence under way, Perron returns to India as an historian to observe the process. Visiting Mirat at the invitation of its Chief Minister, Count Bronowsky, whom he met briefly on his last trip to Bombay, Perron learns that Merrick has died, apparently as a result of a riding accident. The situation in Mirat is tense due to conflict between Hindus and Muslims related to independence. Bronowsky tells Perron the real story behind Merrick's death. He relates that Merrick died in the course of a sexual rendezvous with a young Indian man who was probably employed by independent activists and who was believed to have let in an assassin who killed Merrick. The authorities cover up the details of Merrick's death, fearing reprisals from the Indians in this time of political uncertainty regarding British departure. The two discuss their view that, in leaving India, the British are opening up "
Sarah, Susan and their aunt attend Merrick's funeral in Mirat. Perron decides to accompany them on the train back to Pankot. Joining them is Ahmed Kasim, the educated son of a prominent Muslim politician who has been working for Bronowsky in Mirat for the past few years. En route to Pankot, the train is stopped by a gang of Hindus, who attack Muslim passengers in retaliation for recent attacks on Hindus in Mirat. The attackers demand that Kasim be turned over to them. Before his fellow passengers can react, Kasim voluntarily leaves the train car and surrenders himself to the attackers, who murder him. Perron, Sarah and the other English passengers are unharmed, but are horrified by the slaughter of Kasim and other passengers.
Before leaving India again, Perron visits Hari Kumar, now living in a poor neighborhood and supporting himself by tutoring Indian students in English. He leaves his card as Kumar is out. Perron reflects on how Kumar was caught in an impossible position, between England and India.