is the kind of gritty, intelligent cop drama that's been missing from North American television screen. The BBC produced series is a positive gem, having run for 3 consecutive seasons, and spawned one film entitled The French Collection
. Starring the excellent and multi-talented Jimmy Nail (Still Crazy
, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
, Crocodile Shoes
), it has garnered a following in Canada through re-runs on Showcase Television.
The character of Freddie Spender is a tough and able cop cleaning up the streets of London with his somewhat unorthodox methods. However, following a tragic incident where his partner is attacked and seriously hurt, he's sent back home, back to the North-East to his home-town of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, which had taken him 20-odd years to get out of. Now re-united with old friends and haunting ghosts from his untamed past, the loathing he feels for the city and his new assignment drives his character to push the limits, and test the powers that be that govern his jurisdiction. But once we meet Spender's family - divorced wife Frances and his two young daughters - we witness an unexpected dimension to the character: that of a father and protector of his children, who finds it awkward to work his way back into their lives.
Excellent scripts, hard-hitting drama and action accompany a wealth of talent involved in the making of this quality program. Jimmy Nail not only stars, but pens a few of those scripts. Together with his friend Tony McAnaney (who also co-stars as Keith and writes the music for the series) they combine to produce a unique and often haunting musical score which creates just the right kind of atmosphere for the program. And of course, there's the thick and sexy accents which can only come from the North-East.
is definitely worth a try. If the catchy theme doesn't get to you, the high-drama will!
Spender is called to Gillespie's office and is informed that he is to be made responsible for a criminal being escorted from France back to the UK. Spender is disgusted and isn't happy that he is having to abandon the case he is currently working on. However, his mood changes when Gillespie tells him that the criminal is Tommy Thornton.
Spender arrives in Marseille, and heads for the cop shop. He handcuffs himself to Thornton and they head for the airport, driven by Latz and Brocard. Unbeknown to Spender, they are planning an accident so they can fake Thornton's death and he can get away. However, it all goes wrong and Latz is killed and Spender is injured.
Three days later, Spender wakes up and discovers Stick by his bedside, Stick tells him that Thornton is dead. However, Spender is adament that Thornton is alive as he was handcuffed to him when the accident happened. Once he recovers, they head for the airport. But, Spender decides he has to find out what happened, and where Thornton is, so he jumps out of a fire exit and heads back to Marseille, followed by Stick.
They end up in a grotty "B'n'B", and unknown to them that the man who runs it informs Brocard that Spender is there and he sends two men to kill him. Stick comes to the rescue, and saves Spender's live. They decide to make a hasty exit before the French cops arrive.
Spender is annoyed because he can't find out anything about the local villians, because Stick doesn't know anything. However, it turns out he knows a lady and they head for hers. Spender tells them to follow Brocard on the girl's motorbike and see what he's up to. Stick follows him to a mansion where he witnesses Brocard meeting Thornton!