Jackie Reid

This profile was written by Taggart fan Karen Betts.  Thanks Karen.

To my mind, Jackie Reid is the most enigmatic of all the characters.  She has shown her courage and loyalty, together with a sense of humour we see all too rarely, but doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve leaving the viewer only guessing as to what she is really thinking.  In some respects she represents the epitome of a woman of the 21st century.  She has forged a successful career, despite the prejudices, in a male dominated profession but, as she enters her forties, is left contemplating what it has cost her in terms of her marriage and children. 

Little is known of Jackie’s life before Maryhill, but the impression has been given that she wasn’t happy as a teenager.  Perhaps this is when her mum died after a long illness?  When, in “Out of Bounds”, Stuart confides in her that he was bullied at school she admits to him that, at her school, she was one of the girls doing the bullying.  Robbie also asks her in “Watertight”, after they find the body of a murdered 15 year old girl, if she remembers being that age to which she replies “I try not to”.  Obviously a time in her life which doesn’t hold good memories.  The only members of Jackie’s family we have ever met are her Aunt Jocelyn and autistic cousin Jamie, but she does disclose to Burke, who expresses surprise at her knowledge of boxing, that she grew up with three brothers.  Something, which has probably stood her in good stead for a life in the police force.

Now the longest serving member of the team, WPC Reid made her first appearance in 1990 – the only time she is seen in uniform.  In “Rogues Gallery” she is seconded to CID to the disapproval of Jim Taggart – a man who clearly believes a woman’s place is in the home.  When she hands him the note confirming her attachment he simply screws it up and throws it in the bin.  Not the most auspicious of starts.  He then succeeds in giving her a baptism of fire by appointing her to be his driver despite the fact that she had only passed her driving test two weeks previously. 

In 1994 Jackie was promoted to Detective Sergeant so, whilst her career was progressing well, the same cannot be said of her love life.  When James Martin is murdered in “Hellfire”, Jackie is sent undercover for the first time.  Posing as Jackie Taylor she is a honey-trap for the main suspect – the murdered man’s son Greg Martin.  Tall, dark, handsome and wealthy he sweeps her off her feet and she is convinced of his innocence.  So much so that she accepts his proposal of marriage and almost says goodbye to Maryhill forever.  Unfortunately, for once, Jackie’s instincts let her down and she only narrowly avoids becoming the next victim of her loving fiancÚ.

So it’s probably not surprising that Jackie avoided men for the next four years until the dashing Major Graham melted her resolve in “A Few Bad Men”.  Just goes to show that, like most women, she can’t resist a man in uniform.

As the aforementioned episode also marked the addition of one DI Ross to the Maryhill team, it’s probably a good time to bring up the subject which divides Taggart fans like no other – Jackie’s true feelings towards Michael and Robbie.  You’re either in one camp or the other!  I’m probably too biased to give the matter due fairness as I love Robbie so will just give my point of view – there are many others who will be firmly on the other side of the fence.

I’m sure there was an initial attraction between Jackie and Michael (they were both good looking, single 20-somethings after all), which deepened into the close friendship you wouldn’t risk spoiling by trying to turn it into a physical relationship.  When Robbie came on to the scene I think he was the last person she wanted to have feelings for.  As far as she was concerned he was a feckless womaniser, guaranteed to break any heart, and she reacted to his casual seductions with a certain resigned exasperation.  So what changed?  Well, apart from his more obvious attractions, I think Robbie made her laugh in a way the more serious-minded Michael didn’t and she let herself grow close to him.  Aware of Michael’s disapproval of their growing attachment, she lies to him on the night Robbie invites her round for a meal.

So what were Jackie’s “plans” the night she pitched up on Robbie’s doorstep with a bottle of champagne and dressed to impress?  It doesn’t take a genius to draw the conclusion that she probably wasn’t intending to leave immediately after dessert, but instead she walked straight into a situation that she handled with dignity despite the turmoil she must have felt inside.  For not only does Robbie have company in the form of Francesca, but he walks into the room buttoning up his shirt having evidently just left his bed then he has the temerity to ask Jackie to join them for the dinner that was meant for her in the first place.  Jackie’s face shows only the briefest flicker of emotion, which I think is to her credit as I would have been tempted to dump the lasagne over Robbie’s head.  At least she had the satisfaction of telling Robbie to “just forget it” as he chased her to the front door. 

Shortly afterwards she met DCS Brian Holmes on a Financial Crimes Course in Edinburgh – her date with destiny which was to lead to marriage.  Surely though, and with the benefit of hindsight, a relationship that was doomed to fail. 

Initially charm personified, Brian soon showed a jealous streak with his vindictive one-man campaign to have Robbie suspended.  When he tried to tell Jackie that she couldn’t see Robbie she retorted  “don’t tell me what I can and cannot do ever”.   A warning he chose to ignore later to his own cost.  It seemed then that she was prepared to walk away from the relationship – until Robbie suggested she would be silly to do so.

So Brian proposed and she showed off the ring, held an engagement party and curled up on the sofa with him after work in the flat they now shared.  Caught up in the flush of reciprocated love she probably genuinely believed it would last forever, but still Robbie remained in her life and thoughts.  A few days before the wedding – which Brian organised without consulting her first – Robbie pulled her into his arms on the dance floor at “Eckies” for an impromptu tango.  This dance was later described to Jackie as being one of suppressed passion which surely sums up what she was feeling for another man as she said “I do” to Brian.

I do think, though, that it was the cataclysmic event of Michael’s death which marked the beginning of the end of their marriage.  Totally shattered and distraught, Jackie gave a moving eulogy at his funeral, but without the support of her husband who thought it more important to put work before his wife.  I think Jackie saw this as a betrayal and one she couldn’t forgive him for.  Brian had promised to be there for her “for better or worse”, but the first time she really needed him he was found wanting. 

As she struggled to come to terms with Michael’s death, and her disintegrating marriage, she also had to try to continue to work with Burke as the new DCI – a man  totally Michael’s opposite.  To be fair to Burke I think he felt he had to exert his authority, to make it clear that he was the new boss and that they had to adapt to his way of working.  It was just that, in her fragile mental state, Jackie was unable to cope with the fact that this little bully of a man was sitting in Michael’s office and barking orders at her.  The final straw came when he told her she was “acting like his widow”.  As she fled the office in tears Burke shouted after her to come back as he wasn’t finished to which her reply was “well maybe I am”.   As she stood in the ladies and sobbed, I think she probably did feel that it was over as far as her time as Maryhill was concerned, but the tears may have been cathartic and there was one defining moment to come.

In the hunt for a killer known only as “the Taxman”, Jackie found herself in a life and death situation with Burke.  Faced with the choice of a factory being blown sky high or trying to diffuse a bomb, aided only by an army expert on the other end of the phone, Burke tells Jackie to get clear.  She refuses on the grounds that he can’t do it alone and shows him that, behind the emotional wreck he has dismissed her as, she has more courage than a lot of men would have had in the same situation.  She even manages to display a sense of humour in the face of adversity by commenting that the image of him in a singlet is one she can live without.  With the bomb safely disarmed they laugh together at her comment and the first, tentative steps forward towards a mutual understanding were taken.   At the very least, they walked out of the basement of that building with a new respect for each other.

However, her heroics did not go down well with Brian.  He had been unable to contact her on her mobile, but had finally got through to someone who had told him she was out diffusing a bomb.   Jumping on the first plane back to Glasgow he strode, unannounced, into the office demanding to know “what the hell did you think you were doing?”   To be fair, he was worried that his wife was putting her life at risk unnecessarily, but he should have known Jackie well enough by then not to have told her “I want you out of the front line and I’m going to fix it now”  A statement like that was like a red rag to a bull – she was never going to play the role of the subservient wife bowing down to her husband’s will.  Rounding on him she replies “You’re not going to fix anything.  I’m the one who decides that.  Not you”

Brian’s parting shot was to tell her that, sooner or later, she was going to have to make a choice, but I think, as they stood and stared at each other, both already knew what that was going to be. 

It was to be another year, though, before they finally split-up.  I would imagine it was quite a civilised ending, more a drifting apart rather than the kind of dramatic parting which involves the throwing of crockery and screaming rows.  Just a mutual acceptance that they had come to the end of the road as a couple.

Much to Robbie’s chagrin, it is Stuart who tells him that Jackie and Brian have separated.  He tells her that he thought they were close to which she replies that his idea of them being close is her being there for him when he needs support.  She probably has a point, but she hasn’t let him down yet.

As the Burke-era progresses, we have a woman who has matured from the rather hesitant WPC of yesteryear into the confident, no-nonsense DS of today.  Her job is her life at the moment, though, and she must be lonely at times.  She says she can’t remember the last time she cooked herself a proper meal and we’ve seen that a pizza eaten at her desk can pass for dinner.   What does she really think when she turns the light off at night and she’s all alone in the dark?  What are her aspirations for the future?  Does she hope to meet Mr Right and live happily ever after or does she just foresee a time when she collects her pension and has ample time to wonder about what might have been?

I’d like to think that she can find personal happiness.  Perhaps she’ll even discover that her ideal man isn’t a million miles away after all – just the width of a desk in fact!  We’ll have to wait and see.


Marital Status - Single(divorced)

Children - None

Likes - Robbie!

Strengths - Sense of humour

Weaknesses -

Jackie is a Star Trek fan, "live long and prosper" - 'Fistful of Chips'

She used to sing in a choir.  In fact she sang with Mike Jardine in 'Death Comes Softly'

Jackie likes brown sauce and tomato ketchup on her bacon rolls!! - 'Wages Of Sin'