Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Shows Across the Pond: The Sweeney

Hey folks. Back again. Just to mention again Rotten Reelz can be reached at for comments, critiques, queries and even suggestions. That being said I found a show from across the pond on parallel with Starsky &Hutch here. Giving all the levels of clashing classes, police and official corruption, bribery and oh so close links to criminal elements. The Flying Squad, a division of the Metropolitan Police tended to the scum of armed robbery and violent crimes. Watched like a hawk by their Detective Chief Superintedent, DI Jack Regan and DS George Carter are on the case. This is The Sweeney.

Gonna plug ya with my Roscoe, see?

Created in 1975 by writer Ian Kennedy Martin (The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, The Capone Investment, Mitchell, The Sweeney, The Chinese Detective, The Fourth Floor and King & Castle) mirroring the actual corruption of the real-life Flying Squad in which actual commander of the Flying Squad, our heroes Detective Inspector Jack Regan (John Thaw of Inspector Morse, Mitch, Cry Freedom, Bomber Harris, Home to Roost, Into the Blue and Goodnight, Mister Tom) and Detective Sergeant George Carter (Dennis Waterman of Scars of Dracula, Sextet, Alices's Adventures in Wonderland, Sweeney!, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, Tube Mice, Minder and Cold Justice) working the streets and being the thief takers. (Detective Chief Superintendent Kenneth Dury in 1977 up for five counts of corruption and set to the hoosegow for 8 years.)

Regan, the chief "thief-taker" is a hard ass cop annoyed with Scotland Yard procedures and red tape constantly complaining about it. Clearly from Manchester he attempts to muddle his accent poorer upbringing is a seat of ridicule for his Londoner partner George Carter. A bit of a womanizer, quick to a fist fight, divorced with a daughter offers a working class dynamic. Carter is a force unto himself. The man drinks like a fish whilst smoking like a chimney. A former boxer, lover of football (Soccer for us Yanks) after the death of his wife he chased many a skirt but not as successful as Regan he is constantly more a good cop to Regan's bad cop.

Give us the dirt or it's lights out for you, me old son.

Both have a casual relationship with their chief DCI Frank Haskins (Garfield Morgan of Albert!, Henry VIII and His Six Wives, Z Cars, The Man Was Hunting Himself, The Odessa File, Crown Court, George and Mildred, Shelly and Jenny's War) who they refer by first name rather than by rank. Of the three he is married with three children all attending boarding schools (probably Hogwarts) is the only one with a stable background having a former service in Royal Corps of Signals (ran radio during the War) and is constantly at lager heads with Regan on procedures and conventional police work.

This show has that same gritty dark feel that the original Get Carter and brings a seedy underbelly of London showing rampant crime and cops coming down on them like a ton of bricks. Laughed myself sick seeing more than a handful of guest stars I immediately recognized. Such as: Patrick Troughton, John Rhy-Davies, Brian Blessed, Joss Ackland, Prunella Gee, Geraldine James and Stuart Wilson. It's sinister, cleverly-written and well cast. One for those that loved the grimy, 
nebulous vibe of the cop drama films and TV of the seventies. Highly recommend this for folks enjoying something tenebrous and redeeming at the same time.

Oh that's the face of a man losing his temper.