'KILLER' - Taggart's Pilot Episode
was written by Glenn Chandler after he was asked by Robert Love to write a
whodunit for Scottish TV. It was only ever meant to be a one off
show. Consequently the opening credits of the show were very
different to the infamous Taggart format and the music was classical.
The following synopsis is taken from the "Taggart Casebook" by Geoff Tibballs in association with Scottish TV Enterprises and Boxtree. It is a comprehensive look at the episode that set the scene for many many more.
Eileen Ballantyne, a young woman of twenty, is found strangled one winters morning on the banks of Glasgow's River Kelvin. A chunk of hair had been cut from her head. Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taggart from the Northern Division, Glasgow CID is assigned to the case, assisted by Detective Sergeant Peter Livingstone, a graduate newly transferred from Edinburgh.
Taggart is uneasy about the case since the victim is more or less the same age as his daughter, Alison. Suspects include Billy Dalgleish, the dead girl's boyfriend, Martin Inglis, the jogger who stumbled across the body, and Alec McGowan, a man with a history of offences against girls. Then there is Michael Boyd, who lives with his school-cleaner wife, Liz, in a high rise block of flats overlooking the murder site. Boyd seems to be showing an unhealthy interest in the crime. Two days later, a second girl, video shop manageress Susan Maguire is found strangled on a canal bank. She too has had a clump of her hair cut away. Taggart closes in on the shop owner, Charlie Paterson, with whom Susan was having an affair, but, to his intense displeasure is warned off by his boss, Superintendent Murray, a golfing chum of Paterson. Michael Boyd's sinister presence at Eileen Ballantyne's funeral plus the discovery on wasteland near the Clyde of the body of a third girl, prostitute Crystal Kent,aslo with hair shorn, briefly led Taggart in a different direction. But when hiring out a video from Paterson's shop, Boyd recognises him as the man he saw on the Kelvin Walkway on the night Eileen Ballantyne was murdered.
When Susan Maguire's bag turns up, a note makes Taggart too realise that Paterson is definitely the killer. Paterson has eliminated Susan because she had been blackmailing him over the earlier murder of his wife's lover. He strangled the other two women to make Susan's death appear to be the work of a serial killer. Now Paterson is being blackmailed for a second time - by Michael Boyd. Taggart races to the scene of the 'drop', but is not in time to prevent Paterson strangling Boyd, the joker in the pack.