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Saints and Sinners - Televised in the UK - 30th December 2004

Critics Choice?

The Daily Mail - 31.12.04 by Christopher Matthew

" Finally, a quick word about the latest Taggart.  I often wonder how this hardy perennial manages to come up year after year looking as fresh and convincing as it did when grumpy old Mark McManus was in charge and put the fear of God into those young coppers.  Now even some of those have moved on - though for happier reasons - and suddenly Detective Sgt Jackie Reid (Blythe Duff) has become an old hand.  I can only assume the reason it still works is that McManus's glowering presence haunts the place, and no one - writers, actors or directors - dares to put a foot wrong."

The Scotsman - 31.12.04

These adverts are murrdurr

TV REVIEW

ROBERT McNEIL

WHAT would the festive season be without a good murrdurr? Taggart, of course, came up with the goods. Three murrdurrs, actually, in a grim whoduddit.

Taggart has such a 1970s feel. There’s that guitar theme tune (which I like). The suspects and victims are all hard-drinking smokers. Indeed, the first victim has a bucketload of whisky before driving. I know, it does happen nowadays, but not commonly, as it did in the 1970s. The camera pans across shipyard cranes.

But, otherwise, this was modern Glasgow. Builders and lawyers were making big bucks from property. Trendy restaurants with glass fronts catered for chimps in designer clobber. Civilisation’s trappings were displayed, though you still felt you might get your heid stove in at any time.

That it was the lawyers who got their heids stove in made this a morally satisfying tale. Indeed, the show was merciless in its depiction of that ignoble profession, showering it with abuse and wisecracks. DCI Matt Burke, the potato-faced detective in charge, noted wryly: "A lying lawyer, there’s an unusual thing." When one wounded victim lost his voice, the detective quipped: "A mute lawyer, that’ll be a first."

When a cop says lawyers just want to win at all costs, the retired judge asks if she knows a better system. Well, yes we do: it’s one where costs are 90 per cent lower than at present and where both sides attempt to establish the truth by not lying. Difficult to grasp, I know, but when the glorious day arises and laywers are banned from parliament, the system shall be reformed.


I digress. But must I summarise the plot? I’m not your man for mysteries. If there isn’t a butler present - and they seem increasingly rare in modern drama - then I haven’t a clue who did it.

Basically, some lawyers represented some builders secretly while also misrepresenting Rosie Kane-style protesters against the aforementioned builders, who were up to no good on a landfill site. Lawyer One was killed as he staggered out of his car. Lawyer Two was shot but, tragically, survived. Then, for good measure, the builder was shot too. Stated thus, baldly and with little attempt at edification, it might have seemed clear that one of the protesters did it. That this turned out to be the case took me completely by surprise which, I think, must testify to the skill of the scriptwriter. Or the denseness of the reviewer. Six or half a dozen really.

What was obvious was that somebody got killed just before every ad break. Indeed, for a while, I thought it must have been ITV’s head of advertising who was behind the crimes. When the little white dot in the corner heralded a fourth break, I shouted at the few remaining survivors on-screen: "Do a runner! There’s a break coming up! Somebody’s going to get killed!" Of course, nothing happened. I’d been fooled again.

Still, I’m not complaining. Or am I? Yes, dammit, I am. There were too many cop jokes about getting kicks from looking at murder scenes: not big, not clever, and not necessary. Also unnecessary were the repeated showings of the first murdered bloke: we needed that like a hole in his head. Too many ordinary, innocent people were hostile to the police, in ways that just wouldn’t happen outwith staunch republican areas of Belfast.

And was it really necessary for Burke to say "Ah want blood and snotters"? Some of us might have been eating. Or just breathing normally. The whole thing teetered on the brink of self-parody, every exchange was tense, the flirting blonde was a pain, and there weren’t enough naturally happy people.

On the other hand, the pace of the drama was good, as was Burke’s confession that he’d studied "techie drawing" at school rather than classics.


The denouement was a mixed affair. On the one hand (nobody’s counting these hands, are they?), it was ludicrous for the judge, whose life the killer had just spared, to snap out of his fear and start slagging the gal with the gun as a no-hoper. Not unnaturally, she then changed her mind and shot him after all, and it was an undeniably satisfying moment to see the smug creep crumple to the floor of his fancy club in a blood-stained heap.

The final shot was of the statue of justice, that burd with the scales and the blindfold, which is presumably there so she can’t see the outrageous fees being charged by her minions.

What The Viewers Had To Say

Saw last Thursday's episode, thought Burke was his usual brilliant self.  I
am sure the gentleman who played Mr Muir was in another episode wasnt' it
"Fire, Burn".

Please wish Alex a very happy birthday for 27 January and look forward to
lots more Taggart.
Jan Dore

Whilst I liked the banter between Robbie and Gemma, I wish they
would bring back Sheila Crombie!  She and Burke had a good on-screen
rapport and there isn't that interaction between any of the other
characters now.  Is it me or is the emphasis now on Burke at the
expense of the other characters?  We didn't seem to see much of the
others, only fleetingly really.
Carol

hey all

loved that episode last night thought it was brill

Although didn't like what burke said to Jackie at the end because even if they did know who the killer was sooner they wouldn't know who she was going to kill or where which is why it was good they were at the hospital ! lol

Loved the banter tho! thought it was funny really liked the scene where Robbie says "love it femine stick together" or something to that effect and Jackie tell him to shut up lol

Lisa

LAST NIGHTS TAGGART WAS GREAT JOHN LOOKING A GOOD AS EVER CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT THURSDAY.

Julie

I liked the bit with Gemma and Robbie in the pub, and she says "I've got something to tell you," and he says "You want to have my love child?" then later when she's talking about a gun or something, he says "oh I love it when you talk dirty to me." However, Robbie and Gemma aren't going to go out - I was told by Lesley herself in a letter she sent to me. She said that she doesn't think Robbie and Gemma will go out, but you can let him try!!!
Actually, having said that, I did yell out "No she doesn't, but I do!!!!" to the screen, and i'm only 14!!!!! When I went downstairs to get some Dr. Pepper in the adverts, I got some weird looks off my parents, who were watching in downstairs!!! You can't watch it with my mum cos she talks all the way through it, then someone else says one word and she tells them to shut up. Makes me sick!!!

Burke talks like he doesn't eye Gemma up, but I'll bet he does on the quiet!!! If Robbie wants to look at Gemma's chest, let him!! But I liked that "Looking for clues Robbie?"

Hannah Sibley