Rosemary F. from PAWLEYS ISL, SC Reviewed on 10/14/2010...
Good British mysteries with great Brit humour thrown in too. A group of one-time cops solves old murder cases. Dialog is wicked and you must understand English to get the jokes! But serious murder mysteries with interesting turns. So good to see people with real faces and different body types instead of same hairdo and plastic faces in US programs.
The best British police series for many a year.
steve b | Dudley England | 07/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
New Tricks is the best British cop show since the legendry 'Sweeney'. Like that great show what New Tricks has, but most British Cop shows lack is humour. This is not to say that is it is either a comedy or a 'light' detective series in the manner of say Pie in the Sky. The crimes in New Tricks are real, violent often messy.
The concept is not new, three retired detectives are called back to look at unsolved cases. The premise being that as old coppers they will be aware of the police procedures at the time when the crimes were carried out. The first Jack Halford (James Bolam)was the most senior and the most level headed even though he spends most evenings talking to his dead wife who is buried in his back garden. Jack has a violent and brutal side which from time to time slips out. He does however appear to have the respect of everyone who knew him as a serving police officer.
The second is Gerry Standing ( Dennis Waterman). We get the impression that Jerry was not above taking the odd bribe from criminals but as he tells his boss 'Sandra I'm a bad boy not a bastard'. He has a number of ex wives and host of children all of whom are girls. Collectively he calls them 'The Covern.' Of the three he is the one who refuses to grow old. An early scene has the three compairing medication. The other two have pills for blood pressure, heart, depression etc. Gerry has viagra. He also struggles with the modern no smoking rules.
The third, Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong). Brain suffers from mental health problems and is a recovering alcoholic. He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of criminal cases and various police officers hence his knickname og 'Memory Lane'. Alone of the three he has a wife (Susan Jameson) who struggles to cope with his bizzare behavour.
The three are managed by Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redmond)who is the only serving police officer in the team. She is torn between defending her team from those higher up and frustration at the old school antics of the three, such as secretly taping suspects, this is defended by Gerry who points out he is no longer a copper and only the police are bared from secretly tapping suspects.
Each of the five is perfectly played. Class drama, well written undemanding but does not treat you as an idiot.
Melek | 07/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a wonderful contrast to the emaciated girlies and Hollywood pretty boys that typically inhabit the leading roles in American crimes series. I love everything about this British series: the realistic, lovable characters, the humor, great storytelling, and the absence of excessive violence, blood baths, and rotting corpses that are so prevalent in American crime series these days. I ordered season 1 to 4 from Amazon UK. I had to "internationalize" my DVD player, though: videohelp.com/dvdhacks will tell you how to make your player region-free."
Waterman and co. back to their old tricks.
Doctor Trance | MA, United States | 08/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"UCOS - The Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad is a rag tag, elder bunch of ex-cops who are assembled by the recently demoted DS Pullman, played by Amanda Redman. She had a bust go bad where she accidentally shot a dog, and suddenly she finds herself leading this team of cops whose best years are far behind them. All of her 3 re-hires left the police for various reasons and each has their own share of personal and emotional issues they are dealing with. For Pullman, she is constantly trying to balance her career and finding the time to continually hit the dating scene in her 40's. Handling the stubborn and erratic personalities of her new team is another challenge.
Jack Halford (played by James Bolam) is the only member who left the police force on amicable terms, having retired as a D.C. Superintendent. He is forever haunted by the hit and run accident that claimed his wife. He seems to be the oldest, but also the clearest thinker of the squad.
Brian Lane (played by Alun Armstrong) is an ex Detective Inspector who was sacked for having someone die while in his custody, which he strongly felt was not his fault. He's sort of a pill popping, memory machine with OCD who memorized everyone's resume who has ever worked at Scotland Yard. Also, if you ask him what he was doing on July 19th, 1978, he'll remember.
My favorite of the bunch, and what drew me to find this show in the first place is the star of numerous popular UK shows over the years, including the highly popular Sweeney and Minder series, Dennis Waterman. It seems he always plays a ladies' man in every series, and this one is no exception. You will usually find him hitting on his boss, being pursued by ex-flames, or eyeing the multitude of women he encounters during his cases.
Waterman's character Gerry Standing, although no longer performing his legendary fisticuffs as he did in Minder and Sweeney, still manages to pull some punches with his sharp tongue and wit. He was fired for breaking his superior's jaw, a Commisioner Bevan, who just so happens to be UCOS's supervisor, so you can imagine the interaction just waiting to happen there. A classic Waterman highlight is when the crew is reviewing film of a late 60's protest for a case and he jumps up, all serious-like and says, "ey, wait". Then pauses the video only to point at a girl in the crowd and say, "I had her".
After a rather long 90 minute pilot, once you get into normal episodes, they are strong from start to finish. Unlike US TV shows, where going back and viewing the first 5 or 6 shows can sometimes look awkward; and actors don't really find their niche in their character, sometimes up until the 2nd season; this superb gang of British vets really nail their characters right out of the gate. I felt the pilot was merely a preview of what was to come, and it certainly doesn't play like the rest of the episodes do in the series (they are much better). I was almost ready to write the series off after the pilot, but I'm glad I didn't.
One other fine character is PC Clark, played by Chike Okonkwo. In this first series, he is the low on the totem pole, young police constable, who really offsets all the older characters. He was always eager to help out and offer his young viewpoint and detective skills to the team. I feel this will be a slight negative not seeing him reappear in later shows, as his character does not return for series 2. A minor setback to an otherwise strong and entertaining British show.
While following that TV crime solving mold, it still manages to have that certain appeal that US shows simply do not have. It's also great to see one of my favorite actors, Dennis Waterman, still holding his own after 4 decades. He also sings the show's theme song (a staple for shows he's starred in over the years) and a cover of the Traveling Wilbury's End Of The Line in one of the episodes.
It's surprising to see this as a US DVD release, because as far as I know, this only appeared on some PBS channels in certain parts of the country, and I haven't seen it on any cable channels (maybe BBC America at one time?). I think it's high ratings in it's later seasons in the UK have warranted a US "trial". I say trial as in they release a first season, and only subsequent sets come out if sales are good. However, even The Sweeney hasn't had a series 2 release in the US yet, so I presume there's a slim chance of all 5 later series of New Tricks getting released here, but you never know. I'll just have to continue ordering the Region 2 series sets. Series 6 aired in July in the UK with a DVD release scheduled for Sept. '09."
New tricks, season 1
J. Bohannon | virginia | 11/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I liked the pilot cd and it had closed captioning. The next cd had a problem with closed captioning, It hinted that it was available but I could not get it to work. I have a hearing problem and with the English accents and mediocre sound in the BBC I cannot hear some of the dialog. I will not purchase any cd';s that do not have closed captioning."
Waiting Eagerly for Season 2 of New Tricks
Cynthia M. Vrooman | 10/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We absolutely love the BBC series, NEW TRICKS. Our only complaint is that the rest of the series is not out in the US DVD format. When will that happen? We have seen shows on our local PBS channel but they are not currently running the series. We are bereft. We love the characters so much that it is like missing a member of the family on some evenings when there is nothing good on the telly."