New Tricks s1

5* dvd "New Tricks" BBC UK TV show running since 2003: UCOS Unsolved and Open Case Squad has retired police officers prove old dogs can teach new tricks. The team finds the right people, asks the key questions, and imaginatively connects the final dots, rather than flashy phony fancy forensics and computer wizardry. Because of the jokes, humor, laugh-aloud pratfalls, humanity, complicated plots, UK accents and setting, I can sing along with Waterman "It's Alright" repeatedly, and exercise my winks and nudges. HomePage doesn't play clips in Canada, none on YouTube. Sigh. Tops in UK ratings 10 years for good reason.

Brassy bleach blonde buxom Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman) is still accountable to red-tape bound superiors. Now civilians, the boys can play beyond their former official rules. Jack Halford (James Bolam), former mentor now usually level-headed second-in-command, has a nightly tot and talk with backyard memorial stone of beloved wife Mary (whose death runs through several episodes). Gerry Standing (David Waterman - joyously belts out theme "It's Alright"), sharp dresser Casanova with amicable ex-wives, always up for a smoke, drink, gamble, or laugh, treads a fine line, his success and near connivance corruption accusation failure from old neighborhood pals who took the low road. Brian Lane (Alan Armstrong), scruffy compulsive nerd brain busting with facts and conspiracies, if off his meds, may bicycle off the road, despite wife Esther, keen of eye, ear, and mind. Season 9 Jack replaced by Steve McAllister (Denis Lawson), I haven't seen. Banter, backup, bicker, brainstorm, bull, bully, they conquer time and crime, and bring justice to the families left behind.

S1 3 discs: Pilot, E1-3, E4-6
preview TV DVDs: Hustle, Lovejoy, The Thin Blue Line (Mr Bean cop)
Episode titles from
( doesn't have titles and videos don't play)

E1 Pilot The Chinese Job
After hi-larious interviews, including trying to resuscitate one elderly applicant, Sandra, demoted for a hostage rescue cockup - she shot dog and their target jumped out the window - presents UCOS with their first case in amusing multisyllable beaurocrat-speak encouraged by her superiors (painting his office lavender for "security"). ("Do you wake up talking like that?") Amid shots of their home backgrounds, they investigate Pimlico cocktail club waitress Anna Dubrovski, July 1981 found battered to death with an ashtray in her nearby flat, accused Roderick Wringer found with her blood on his shoes, her key in his pocket, alibied by his wife, now suing for wrongful arrest. Gerry takes the insider role, being from Wringer's old neighborhood, and records another alibi, and crimes. The new colleauges work through interpersonal eccentricities and finally identify Clarkie, the helpful young hacker-saavy officer in the corner.

Clark, transcribing witness statments, notices interview time discrepancies thus corruption of previous officer in charge. DNA samples all wrong: under her fingernails matches envelope licker, blood on shoes not hers. The oldsters are not so naive, know "there are detectives that solve crimes, and those that just want to clear them up".

E2 ID Parade
Gun resurfaces from young WPC constable Kate Daniels shot 1987. Witness, then six, has recurring nightmare, so memory is revived when Gerry hits fire alarm and sends lineup, and whole building, evacuating. The suspect who left prints all over the weapon is a peeping tom Philip, still peeping, but not a killer. The key lies in the triangle back at Hendon police college, between Kate, Sandra, and dropout, now pensioned off security guard Nick Gilbert, paralyzed by bullet shot by robbers through leg, ricocheted into spine, two months before murder.
Meanwhile, home lives percolate. Unmedicated Brian melts down; his wife leaves with dog Scruffy; he moves in and reorganizes Jack; he takes the crippling souvenir bullet from Nick's aquarium. "Keeping me happy is your job" head honcho invites press to observe success. Sandra starts counselling for her destructive relationships. Gerry's unmarried daughter announces pregnancy. Sad bits are less memorable than silly stuff. Watching Esther thank Jack with a friendly cheek smooch has an oomph knowing the two are married. Overdramatic coicidence with criminals overpowered struggling past informant overshadowed by snoring naps captured by press.
(Spoiler: Nick names robbers who shot Kate, when she intervened for him to get more of spoils after paralysis.)

E3 Painting on Loan
Sir Timothy brings fake painting to Bevan, who brings problem of tracking down the original to UCOS, who find gallery owner, painter, and neighbors died of arson and attributed injuries to threaten fake provider into stealing original for thug.
(Spoiler: Thug dead; UCOS arrest Sir Timothy.)

E4 1984
Activist Josh Livesey found dead an hour away from demonstration but body moved from near inside fence he secretly cut; one former tent-mate there gone bonkers from drugs now suspected after confessing to killing another man, is alibied by two others now married, another house-boater, who all blame Secret Service that did cockup a coverup.
(Spoiler: One was a mole, but motive turns out to be simple jealousy. Now rising politician killed student for sleeping with girlfriend.)

E5 Good Work Rewarded
Teen golf whiz Ken Rodger suicided after charged with murder of 10-year old on super-posh country club estate. Fired groundskeeper dad has emphysema, few weeks left, wants truth, donates lock of son's hair for DNA. Surprising DNA results from surviving members lead to uncaught rapist, adultery.
(Spoiler: Records of posthumous medal show war hero disregarded personal safety; he went to war after learning one son illegitimate and other a murderer.)

E6 Home Truths
Handbag with blood, DNA and baby id reappears after 30 years, from white medical student's (Hugh Fraser - Poirot's Captain Hastings) colored wife and child. Brian's superior told him "just another darky's run away to be with her own kind" and shelve. A fellow "libber" and coworker from same rented house vanished the same day, and a builder links to another disappearance a few streets away.
(Spoiler: Flower seeds lead to builder, whose wife took on new identity and hid old identification. Now dying and estranged, depressive after miscarriage admits she took baby to Ireland after friend drowned accidentally. Doctor reunited with colored son.)

E7 Talking to the Dead
Consulting a medium to contact his wife, jeweller's teen Carol Stillman found three months later, starved to death in a shipping container, reaches Jack. Meanwhile team tested physically and psychologically, and Gerry gets a grandchild, first boy in family.
(Spoiler: The suspect clairvoyant Lombard, baits them, tapes them pushing for a confession, and avoids charges.)

Videos: (from don't play)
Many songs called "It's Alright", only this happy-go-lucky version written by Mike Moran; I searched for another recording in vain. Opening credits, "It's Alright" song, "Magic Majestic" 1/6 S5E3 "A Face For Radio" 1/6, 53 2/6

Awards: 2009 Television and Radio Industries Club Crime Programmes
Series ratings rose steadily to most watched in S5, S8 still increasing past 9M broadcast 25+ countries and on internet. Last season finish announced. Sigh.

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