by Del Harvey
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This three-disc set contains seven episodes of the long-running British series about a team of Glasgow detectives. This long-running cop series is set in Glasgow and stars Alex Norton as Detective Matthew Burke. The set includes seven episodes that originally aired in 2002 and 2003. However, the series has been on since 1983 and is the longest continuously running police procedural; but this disc includes only the episodes aired in 2002.
This set includes the episodes Halfway House, Hard Man, Fade to Black, Blood Money, New Life, Bad Blood, and the two-parter An Eye for An Eye. But it’s not as though you are jumping into the middle of the series - there is enough information about the characters and their backstories that, by the end of the first episode on the disc, I felt as though I knew enough about the characters so that watching the program was thoroughly enjoyable.
Some viewers may be put off by the unfamiliar Glasgow locales and seemingly impenetrable Scottish brogues, although I found the show to be thoroughly understandable and a joy to watch.
The show’s premise is pleasantly familiar. On the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, four Maryhill C.I.D detectives work tirelessly and thanklessly to solve the frequently baffling murder cases that pop up on a weekly basis.
The man in charge of the unit is Detective Chief Inspector Matt Burke (Alex Norton), a bullheaded “hard man” of a copper who doesn’t take lip from anyone. He rides his detectives almost as hard as the criminals he’s trailing.
Detective Inspector Robbie Ross (John Michie) catches the brunt of his Chief’s guff, and it is usually well-deserved since Robbie thinks the rules of proper procedure apply to everyone but himself.
Detective Sergeant Jackie Reid (Blythe Duff) is often paired with Robbie in the field, although she doesn’t like Robbie’s cavalier attitude towards procedure. Nor does she appreciate that as a woman in the largely male police force, she has to work twice as hard to get the same level of respect from her coworkers.
Rounding out the team is young Detective Constable Stuart Fraser (Colin McCredie), a sensitive, intuitive officer who just happens to be gay and who frequently clashes with Burke over his methods of investigation. But he is, thankfully, acknowledged by everyone to be a detail-oriented and scrupulously thorough officer.
There’s not much ground-breaking going on in Taggart, but it is an enjoyable crime drama and refreshing to see when the American channels are often so clogged with cops who are mentalists or who use complex math to solve puzzles instead of good, old-fashioned legwork and questioning.
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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