Was I the only one who expected to see Frank Pentangeli wheeled out at the Murdoch inquisition yesterday?
With its committee struggling to land their punches on the defiant Godfather and his trusted consigliere, the Wilson Room was transformed into an extended scene from Frances Ford Coppola's masterpiece.
Watching the family in action- one speaking with precise, scripted evasiveness, the other punctuating seemingly improvised murmurings with energetic gesticulation- was certainly something to behold.
Murdoch Senior is so senior in his media empire, we learn, that he is rarely required to, coining a phrase, "give the order". His son found it bewildering that the committee had given any credence to the idea that the highest echelons of News Corps' management would give, or be aware of, orders of any sort. A legion of delegates across the 52,000 or so employees would do that. But, as Willi Cici points out before throwing his former boss to the lions, "the family had a lot of buffers". Rebekah Brooks take note.
Like Michael Corleone, that other great patriot, "This country has given me, our companies and our employees many opportunities. I am grateful for them", Murdoch Senior proclaimed, before briefly sweeping aside his remorseful persona: "I hope our contribution to Britain will one day also be recognized."
Murdoch harked back to his father, to the days of investigative journalism at their best. Those were the great old days, you know, when the Murdoch family was like the Roman Empire. For those unlucky 'traitors' who Murdoch Senior claims 'let me down', a word of advice from Tom Hagen: "When a plot against the Emperor failed, the plotters were always given a chance to let their families keep their fortunes."
So, what next? A dead prostitute found in Leicester East and a Senator Geary-style turnaround for Keith Vaz? And how long before we hear cries of: "Senator. Senator. This committee owes an apology! This committee owes an apology! Apology, Senator!"?