The research for this review was carried out by Taggart fan Hannah Sibley


Writer - Director - Producer

Writer - Robert Fraser

Director - Patrick Harris

Producer - Graham Gordon

Additional Information

Lesley Harcourt joins as the new Forensic Officer Gemma Kerr

More Photos in the Gallery


Regular Cast

Principle Characters

DS Jackie Reid - Blythe Duff

DI Robbie Ross - John Michie

DC Stuart Fraser - Colin McCredie

DCI Matt Burke - Alex Norton

Gemma Kerr - Lesley Harcourt.

Debbie Thompson played by Kate Dickie

Keith Layland - David McKay

Moira Randell - Julie Kadzow

Carrie Anderson - Cora Bissett

Babs - Judith Fitzgerald

Naomi McKellen - Frances Healy

Damon Randell - Alastair G Bruce

Dougy - Sandy Neilson

James Coyle - Garry Stewart

Jason Randell - Steve Hamilton

Kitchen Porter - Gary French, Chef - Iain Gouck

Kemp - Martyn James


Opening scene - a kitchen porter is seen going to work in a hotel opposite Glasgow's Central Station.  Going out into the alley behind the hotel he finds two bodies, one male, one female amongst the rubbish.  He calls for his boss who doesn't hear so he approaches the bodies, one, the female opens her eyes and screams.

The team arrive at the scene and Burke has a brief encounter with the journalist Coyle.  Burke says 'he knows the rag he works for'.  Also newly arrived on the scene is Gemma Kerr, the teams new Forensic expert.  She explains that judging by the fact that the male body's trousers were undone the reason the two of them were in the alley is quite obvious. She further explains that he was strangled with a belt. Stuart examines the contents of the girl's handbag and finds condoms and cash.  Jackie tries to speak to the girl - Debbie Thompson,  who by now is being carted off on a stretcher but the girl passes out.  Also found amongst the rubbish is a key to a hotel room, somehow Jackie knows it's the penthouse suite and a credit card with white powder on the edge and the name Jason Randell.

Burke and Jackie look around the suite.  They find sex toys and snap shots of the girl from the alley plus a book by a Jason Randell a popular horror writer.  It explains how he can afford to entertain prostitutes in a penthouse suite anyway.

Burke sends Robbie and Jackie to the 'drag' - the local hang out for prostitutes.  Armed with a photo of Debbie they call into the local prostitutes drop in centre.  The woman who runs the centre, Naomi McKellen is less than pleased to see them and refuses to help. 

Burke and Stuart go to see the wife of Jason Randell, Moira who they have to inform not only about Jason's death but also the circumstances there of. Unfortunately the journalist Coyle has got there first and all Burke does is confirm to Moira what Coyle has said. As Burke is speaking to Moira, her son, Damon arrives home on his motorbike.

Back at the station Gemma tells the team that the white powder on Jason's credit card was PCP or 'Angel Dust' a powerful drug giving whoever takes it tremendous strength and power.  It can also make you paranoid.

Robbie and Jackie go to see Debbie in hospital.  She is nursing a sore head and a very fetching bandage.  She is able to remember who she is and what year it is but nothing of the events in the alley.

Gemma explains to Burke that the PCP may well have had an amnesiac effect on Debbie and suggests hypnosis which she is trained to perform.  The aim being that Debbie will not only remember what went on in the alley but also relive it in front of them.  With Debbie in a trance Gemma asks her questions about what happened, it's not long before she is showing with her hands how the leather belt ended up around Jason's neck.

Jackie goes back to see Naomi armed with the knowledge that she doesn't like the police, especially policemen, Burke tells Jackie to use it to her advantage and tell Naomi that the 'Inspector is a numpty' and get her on side.  Jackie duly goes to see Naomi but she still refuses to co-operate.  She shows Jackie the diary containing information about attacks on prostitutes that haven't been taken seriously by the police.  Jackie promises to look into it in return for some help.

Gemma demonstrates using Stuart as the victim a possible scenario for Jason's murder doubting that Debbie could get her arms wide enough apart to have strangled him.  She suggests that had a third person been there they could easily have turned the sex game into murder.

Robbie, just leaving Maryhill is approached by a man who claims to be Jason Randell's number 1 fan.  In a hurry Robbie tells him that they've seen 6 number one fans already and that two of them have confessed to murder.  He therefore dismisses the guy as another nutter.

Burke goes to see Debbie at the hospital.  Desperate to see if she has remembered anything new since the hypnosis.  All she sees when she closes her eyes is herself opening her eyes in the alley and seeing her own face looking back.  When Burke leaves the hospital Debbie sneaks past the guard and leaves.

The team get a take out pizza and sit in the office discussing the case.

Jackie -' I don't know the last time I cooked myself a proper meal'

Burke - '......., bad food to keep you going, coffee to keep you awake and a couple of large drams to knock you out at the end of the day'

This is a really nice scene for fans of the Taggart characters, during which Jackie comes out with one of the most memorable lines from the series.

Robbie - 'Some people's marriages eh'

Jackie - 'I think we all live in a glass house on that score Robbie, three divorcees and a celibate homosexual'

Throughout this scene we are taken back to Debbie who now out of hospital goes back to work on the drag.  She meets up with Carrie (also a prostitute) who tells her that she really shouldn't be working.  Carrie makes a comment about the man who beat her up and they realise that they could well be talking about the same man.  When a punter turns up Carrie promises to meet Debbie at the drop in centre to discuss it further. Cold, Debbie decides to leave work for the night.  She exits the drag through an alley where she is surprised by the man who claimed to be Jason's number one fan earlier in the day.

Next morning Debbie is found dead dumped in the rubbish.

Jackie goes to see Naomi who is furious that Debbie, who after all was meant to be in the police's protection could be killed.  Jackie learns that Naomi has been asking the girls to keep records of the cars used by punters in the drag or of anyone hanging around.

The decision is made to bring in all the prostitutes not only so that they can be questioned but also for their own safety.  Not a popular decision.  Naomi explains to Jackie why she won't help the police telling her that all they do is flash their badges as a pass for free sex but then when some MP has a wobble about the prostitution the girls are rounded up and arrested.  All Jackie can do is try and convince Naomi that she and the team want Debbie's killer caught.  Softening slightly she agrees to accompany the girls to the station.

The girls are being questioned one by one.  Robbie tries to speak to Carrie who flirts with him.  He gets no information from her and she leaves.  Eventually a girl called Babs agrees to talk, but only to Jackie.  She explains that she too was attacked after leaving a punter.  Jackie shows her a picture of Jason Randell - he was the punter.  So a pattern is emerging - whoever has been with Jason is getting attacked.

Gemma tells Burke that Jason was on Penicillin for a sexually transmitted disease - the inference being that Jason's wife must have known about her husbands indiscretions??

Burke and Robbie go to speak to Moira Randell.  Burke wants some straight answers but doesn't get them from Moira.  Robbie speaks to Damon about his visit to the drop in centre.  He tells Robbie that in order to understand what his Dad did he needed to see the women for himself.

Meanwhile Stuart has traced a car from the plate numbers collected by Naomi. The car was issued a parking ticket near the scene of the first murder.  Burke and Robbie go to see the driver.  When they arrive at the flat the door is open, going in they find themselves in a room which has been taken over by Jason Randell memorabilia.  The occupant of the flat?  Jason's number one fan, Keith Layland.

Robbie comes clean to Burke and Jackie about dismissing Keith.  Burke tells Robbie to use the frustration he's feeling to 'frighten the shit' out of Keith in an interview.  This is a fantastically orchestrated scene with Robbie as 'bad' cop and Burke as the strong silent 'good' cop.  Despite all powers of persuasion Keith won't buckle.  Stuart interrupts the interview and shows Robbie and Burke some photos from Keith's flat.  They are shots of Jason and Debbie in the alley.  Armed with the new information Keith finally admits to being at the scene but only as Jason's archivist, claiming he only needed a picture to complete to his collection on Jason's life.

Seemingly having the murderer in custody Jackie goes to see Naomi who reluctantly takes her to speak to Bab's again.  Jackie shows Babs a photo of Keith but she just laughs saying that he's always hanging around but that he's harmless.

Keith had sent copies of the photos he'd taken to Jason, but where were they?  Burke asks Moira if he can have a look around the house but she refuses.  Burke states that he will be back with a warrant.  Whilst he's gone Moira is seen entering a locked room at the top of the house.  On the wall are the photos sent by Keith, all show Jason in compromising positions with prostitutes.  She starts to rip them off the wall and is seen by Dougy the gardener.  Meantime Stuart learns that it was in fact Moira who signed for the photos when they were delivered.

When the team return to search the house, Burke finds the wall with evidences of the pictures still remaining.  Stuart finds Dougy in the garden having a bonfire, amongst the ashes are the remains of the photos.  Luckily they trick Keith into telling them where his copies are.  Gemma returns with the results of tests on the blood under Debbie's finger nails.  The tests were positive for blood from midges.

Jackie again argues with Naomi but gets her to reveal why she hates the police - her Mother was a prostitute and was killed by a punter.  The police offered little support.  Jackie manages to persuade her that she isn't like that and gets her to help her find Carrie.  When they get to Carrie they find a very scared woman, but she refuses to give a statement, although she does confirm that she and Debbie were sure that the same man attacked them both.

Back in the office Burke and Robbie are examining Keith's photos.  Stuart enters with a motorbike courier who has an official letter from Moira's lawyers.  Suddenly Burke can see his reflection in the courier's crash helmet and wiping his finger over the visor reveals the remains of many a dead midge.

The next scene sees Jackie dressed in Carrie's coat alone on a street corner, a motorbike pulls up beside her.  Jackie tells the rider to take off his helmet because she knows who he is - Damon Randell removes his crash helmet and asks Jackie where Carrie is.  Jackie tells him a few home truths and turns her back on him, Damon grabs for her but Jackie is too quick. She grabs him and pushes him hard against the wall bloodying his nose, she then gets him down on the ground and holds him until Burke, Robbie and Stuart emerge from a car across the street.

Great bit of 'girl power' from Jackie at the end!!

Robbie likes Sprite

Jackie used to teach self defence and does a fantastic demonstration in the final scene

Gemma is trained in clinical hypnosis

Just for you Hannah - Robbie has his first couple of shirt buttons undone in the office revealing his gold chain.

The 'Drag' was actually the area around The Barrowlands, a famous concert venue and market area in Glasgow

The Randell house was Ballochneck Country House, Buchlyvie, Stirlingshire.  It is situated 5 minutes from Loch Lomand and only 15 miles from Glasgow.

For more info check out the Locations Guide.  Click