Proof you can’t keep a good cop down

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

IT may still be the sea­son for re­peats but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing when you’ve got old friends teach­ing you new tricks.

Tele­vi­sion’s most tal­ented trio of cur­mud­geonly de­tec­tives re­turn with their ex­as­per­ated boss tonight to demon­strate that while age may weary you, it doesn’t make you any less de­vi­ous.

For those who have not pre­vi­ously caught this ex­cel­lent se­ries, Gerry Stand­ing ( Den­nis Water­man), Jack Hal­ford ( James Bo­lam) and Brian Lane ( Alun Arm­strong) are for­mer front­line de­tec­tives who have re­turned from re­tire­ment to help Supt. San­dra Pull­man ( Amanda Red­man) un­cover the truth be­hind old cases.

It is a team full of char­ac­ter and foibles. Stand­ing is the bad boy of the trio with a small horde of for­mer wives and an eye for the ladies.

Lane has an ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive per­son­al­ity and the so­cial skills of a brick, but a crack mind for de­tail and a sharp un­der­stand­ing of facts and fig­ures.

Hal­ford is ar­guably the most sta­ble of the team, mourn­ing his lost wife and of­ten act­ing as the straight man to his two way­ward col­leagues.

Yet even he is not averse to us­ing a few old tricks to col­lar vil­lains. Over­see­ing all this, and at­tempt­ing to herd her out­fit at least in the gen­eral di­rec­tion of re­spon­si­ble polic­ing, is suc­cess­ful ca­reer woman Pull­man. She of­ten finds her­self an un­wit­ting ac­com­plice to her team’s for­mi­da­ble arse­nal of dodgy deeds, but she is will­ing to turn a blind if dis­ap­prov­ing eye when re­sults are achieved. Or at least that’s usu­ally the case. In tonight’s episode — the first from se­ries three — the shoe is on the

Out of the shad­ows: Back on the beat with the cast of other foot. Pull­man is ob­sessed with an old case in­volv­ing the death of a woman in a car crash.

She is con­vinced the woman’s me­chanic hus­band is be­hind the crash, and is out­raged he has won a long-run­ning court case to get the wreck­age re­turned.

There are com­pro­mis­ing pho­to­graphs of the wife in bed with an­other man and Pull­man is con­vinced her death was a crime of pas­sion and re­venge. The boys are not so sure.

They be­come in­creas­ingly per­turbed by Pull­man’s sin­gle-minded pur­suit of the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor and her an­gry re­ac­tion to sug­ges­tions there may be other explanations.

A break­through comes when Lane spots a tat­too on the back­side of the wife’s lover, with some amus­ing re­sults. New Tricks is hu­mor­ous, in­trigu­ing, well-writ­ten and su­perbly acted. It is a re­fresh­ing change from shows pop­u­lated by pretty young things with per­fect teeth, ad­vanced de­grees in foren­sics, and the abil­ity to solve a crime by push­ing a but­ton on some hi-tech wid­get.

Af­ter all, isn’t it bet­ter to watch a good re­peat than be forced to en­dure an over-hyped, bor­ing first run?

Steve Creedy

New Tricks

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