Thursday, August 28, 2008



Another BBC crime drama I wish BBC America would broadcast is New Tricks, which follows the antics of three retired cops recruited by Superintendent Sandra Pullman to reinvestigate unsolved crimes in the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS).

The show has just finished it’s fifth season (or series – to put it in British terms) with strong enough ratings that BBC One (the network on which it is broadcast) has confirmed there will be a sixth series of New Tricks to air next year.

Filming on the old-timers cop show, which stars Amanda Redman alongside James Bolam, Dennis Waterman and Alun Armstrong, is expected to commence on a new run of eight episodes later this year in and around London.

Tom Sherry, executive producer of the show stated, “Amanda, Dennis, Alun and James have brought real depth, warmth and humour to their characters, but I know there is still much more we can do with the series. It is the show's ability to be both humorously entertaining and from time to time tackle darker issues which keeps all the team keen to come back and make next year even better."

New Tricks main characters include:


The head of the unit and the only currently serving police officer in UCOS, Sandra Pullman was previously a Scotland Yard high flyer and a highly successful career woman until an incident involving the shooting of a dog during the rescue of a hostage (which becomes a running gag during the series). Following this incident, her career stalled and she was given the dubious honour of running UCOS against her will. An intensely ambitious and competitive woman, she has sacrificed most of her personal life in pursuit of her career and likes to be in absolute control of every situation; a running subplot involves Pullman's lonely and unsuccessful love life, consisting of a string of adulterous relationships in her past and numerous failed efforts at romance (including, in one episode, speed dating). Pullman believes in following the rules, and is often exasperated by her colleagues' eccentricities and willingness to bend the rules in pursuit of a result. She does at times. An example is when the team were told to fix the accounts but the boys went behind her back and when she found out she went into the case saying "I'm a copper, not an accountant.". Although reluctant to lead UCOS, as time goes by, she begins to warm to her colleagues and view them as her friends, and at the same time change her attitude towards life. Her mother Grace is still alive, but recently had a stroke. Her father, Gordon Arthur Pullman, another police officer, died in 1975 from carbon monoxide poisoning when she was 14 after committing suicide while under investigation for corruption by Jack Halford. However, she did not find out about this until 2007, believing that he died of a heart attack.


The highest-ranking ex-officer on the team and the first to be approached by Pullman when she was forming UCOS, Jack Halford is something of a second-in-command to Pullman and acts as a mentor to her on numerous occasions (based on their previous working relationship when she was subordinate to him on the murder squad). Halford retired from the police force to care for his dearly-loved wife Mary who had been involved in a hit-and-run incident; he is still haunted by her death, partly due to the fact that no-one was ever been charged in connection with it, and still speaks to his wife's memorial in his garden, often seeking her help and opinion in solving cases. A softly-spoken and gentle man, Halford nevertheless possesses a quick and at-times violent temper that he has unleashed towards several of the suspects in the cases that he has worked on.


Something of a 'Jack-the-Lad', Gerry Standing is very much an old-school police officer; in his time, he was 'a top thief-taker' ex Diplomatic Protection group officer who passionately enjoyed catching criminals but nevertheless mixed easily with them. As a result, allegations of corruption arose, which he angrily denies but nevertheless were among the reasons he left the police force (the other being that he punched his then-superior officer, Don Bevan, as a result of these allegations). Something of a ladies man, he has been married three times; although his marriages were unsuccessful, he is a devoted father to his three daughters and has a grandson, Gerry Jr, maintains amicable relationships with his three ex-wives (so much so that he occasionally manages to seduce them once again). Along with his familial commitments, he also has a keen interest in gambling and thus is keen to work in UCOS for financial reasons. Although he is a now a grandfather, he maintains his devil-may-care lifestyle, but insists that he is merely "a naughty boy, not a bastard". Although initial tension existed between them, he and Pullman share a mutually respectful but nonetheless barbed friendship.

Standing joined UCOS for financial reasons, and much to the consternation of DAC Bevan.


Brian 'Memory' Lane is an exceptional detective, possessing a keen attention to detail and a remarkable instant recall memory that allows him to call up obscure details not only regarding cases but the officers investigating them at the time. He is also extremely socially inept and highly eccentric, a sufferer of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and a recovering alcoholic; as a result, despite being an essentially well-meaning individual he possesses extremely poor social skills and a tendency for getting himself into trouble. He left the force under a cloud, having been partly held responsible for the death of a prisoner in his custody; although Brian maintains it is part of a conspiracy against him (and was, at least initially, consumed with attempting to discover who was behind it), his colleagues believe that he simply cannot admit he made a mistake. Brian is married to the long-suffering but caring Esther.

1 comment:

The King Of Cool said...

Sounds great. There are so many wonderful Brit shows that I wish would get airings here in the USA.