Yippee! Another season of New Tricks on DVD! This long running cop show on BBC One just released in three-disc set on Acorn DVD is just right for a long winter’s night curled up in front of the tube. Or a hot summer day in the comfort of your air conditioning, for that matter!
The series follows a group of retired detectives who form “UCOS” or, the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad under the leadership of London’s Metropolitan Police Service. Led by the smart and competent Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman, well-played by Amanda Redman, the group includes Jack Halford (played by James Bolam,) Brian Lane (played by Alun Armstrong,) and Gerry Standing, (played by Dennis Waterman.) These gentlemen are, as the series title implies, “old dogs learning new tricks.”
In each of the ten episodes included in this set, the detectives use their brains and experience to unravel fascinating whodunits that have grown completely cold with time, successfully pursuing leads that should have expired long before. The way that crime-solvers pick at the slimmest threads to solve crimes has always intrigued me, and this show has plenty of that!
Also interesting are the personalities of the different characters, their relationships, and the backstories that are often hinted at. For instance, Brian is a recovering alcoholic, and Sandra was once a rising star at the Metropolitan Police… until she shot a dog in the line of duty, and was demoted and made to lead this “tired” old bunch.
While New Tricks is a classic cop show, it is so much more – well-written, tense drama, comic relief, character studies and superb acting. It’s great to know that there are eight series on DVD out to enjoy.