ROSE'S PIGEON is the fifth episode of the third series of the 1970's period drama, Upstairs, Downstairs. This episode marks the final ever appearance of George Innes as former footman, Alfred Harris, in the series.
Rose is acting secretive, even more so than usual, which is worrying Mr. Hudson. During this rainy day, she had seen a familiar face, Alfred Harris, the former footman at 165 Eaton Place, who had been revealed to have been fired from the von Rimmer household back in Germany.
Baron von Rimmer's new wife, presumably a member of the German Royalty, as Alfred stated that she was a princess, apparently hated (and was very jealous of) Alfred on sight and she did not want to share von Rimmer with him, or anyone else for that matter. So out of a jealous pique, she had him sacked. The Baron was sad to see him go.
Rose takes pity on him (as he had been wet from being out in the rain), and has him staying in one of the spare attic rooms. Alfred tells her a story (later proven to be a lie) about a former fiancée named Annabella whom he is waiting for, while he had been working for her uncle, a Lithuanian bachelor gentleman, revealed to be a friend of Baron von Rimmer, who had died under very mysterious circumstances.
It was also clear that his madness, which had been less noticeable in earlier seasons, was now clearly manifesting itself, due to his being sacked by von Rimmer's jealous wife.
Eventually, Hudson and the rest of the staff find out about Alfred being there in the servants hall. This nearly imperils Rose's employ with the Bellamys, and upon finding out about it, Hudson is rather furious, since he remembered all too clearly what Alfred had done in cahoots with von Rimmer by turning the house topsy-turvy and breaking Elizabeth Bellamy's heart in the process.
This sparks a row between Rose and Hudson. However, the rest of the staff allows him to stay for Servants dinner, but they agree that he has to be put out of the house afterwards.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Richard Bellamy has been made aware of the situation downstairs by Hudson. Which is fortunate, given his impeccable timing. A police detective comes over to the house to talk with Bellamy about the death of a Lithuanian bachelor man, and Alfred was prime suspect in the death. The detective and Mr. Bellamy, along with the family's solicitor, Sir Geoffrey Dillon, go to the servants hall, where at that point things are starting to go downhill.
Discovering he has been found out and his crimes have been revealed, Alfred finally snaps mentally and grabs Edward, who succeeded him as footman, by knifepoint as a hostage. Rose is in tears as Mrs. Bridges comforts her. Edward, plucky young man he is, disarms Alfred and gets away from him. Then the cops take the quite mad former servant into custody.
The next morning, Alfred is hanged for murder (it was revealed that he HAD murdered his former employer), and life at 165 Eaton Place returns to normal. Rose doesn't understand why Alfred was hanged, until Hudson, firmly but gently, explains to her that his crime was so reprehensible that it demanded retribution. Hence he was hanged for murder.