It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

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Cole
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It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

Crime series spoilers ahead...

After watching Shetland last night, it was revealed that the Norwegian police officer was a member of a far right group in Norway. In short, it was yet another crime-drama which featured a bent, corrupt or murderous police officer. Not a problem in itself as this plot has been used as far back as Paul Eddington's burglar PC in Dixon of Dock Green, but this particular trope has been trotted out a bit too frequently recently. Not convinced? Let's take the evidence to the CPS...

Shetland (bent Norwegian officer; retired detective kills own daughter)
Ripper Street (corrupt and murderous assistant commissioner)
Happy Valley series 2 (detective accidentally kills his girlfriend)
In the Dark story 1 (murderer turns out to be an ex-police officer)
In the Dark story 2 (Detective sets up a gang to kill his colleague)
Line of Duty (series about corrupt officers)
Apple Tree Yard (ex-police officer murders rapist)
Rellik (Serial-killer detective and another detective who killed a paedophile when he was a young PC)
Silent Witness (over its twentyish career has featured many many murderous officers)
Bancroft (Young officer kills her lover and kills to keep this secret while climbing the ranks; ITV)
Hard Sun (One of the detectives had previously murdered a colleague)
Hinterland (Senior officer is part of a paedophile ring and murders a witness)
Keeping Faith (whole corrupt team kept in check by crime gang!)
Bodyguard (Personal protection team boss leaks Home Secretary's itinerary to gangsters)
Dark Heart (DC with cancer mutilates peodophiles; ITV)
Baptiste (Dutch officer involved with people traffickers)
Wild Bill (Officer robs convenience stores using a shotgun; ITV)

These are ones from the last couple of years and there may be some that I haven't seen, but I was just wondering why are crime dramas (especially the BBC's) so often opting for the 'dodgy copper' plot line?

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by brigham »

I suppose it's to undermine public confidence in the police.
Central did one, years ago, in the Inspector Morse series.

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Nick Cooper 625
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Between the Lines - lots of bent coppers! The Professionals and Cracker had forays into the same territory, and I presume so did The Sweeney.
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Cole
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Cole »

Nick Cooper 625 wrote:Between the Lines - lots of bent coppers! The Professionals and Cracker had forays into the same territory, and I presume so did The Sweeney.
Indeed, there have probably been many over the years (and I do remember the Sweeney one), but my point was that with the list, I posted above, it's practically all BBC crime-dramas over the last couple of years.

Like any plot device, if the big reveal turns out that one of the police office did the deed, it should be used sparing enough for a shock moment; not cause one to facepalm.

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Mark »

By coincidence, tonight's "Taggart", "Ghost Rider" ( on True Ent) was about police corruption.
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Cole wrote:
Nick Cooper 625 wrote:Between the Lines - lots of bent coppers! The Professionals and Cracker had forays into the same territory, and I presume so did The Sweeney.
Indeed, there have probably been many over the years (and I do remember the Sweeney one), but my point was that with the list, I posted above, it's practically all BBC crime-dramas over the last couple of years.

Like any plot device, if the big reveal turns out that one of the police office did the deed, it should be used sparing enough for a shock moment; not cause one to facepalm.
I think that's just one of the various ways in which a lot of BBC drama has been so crap of late. It seems that now we get good stuff by accident, rather than design. Not in this particular sub-genre, but you have to wonder how things like drawn-out and predictable dross like Requiem get past the first hurdles of the commissioning process, let alone actually get made and broadcast.
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Cole
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Cole »

Nick Cooper 625 wrote: I think that's just one of the various ways in which a lot of BBC drama has been so crap of late. It seems that now we get good stuff by accident, rather than design. Not in this particular sub-genre, but you have to wonder how things like drawn-out and predictable dross like Requiem get past the first hurdles of the commissioning process, let alone actually get made and broadcast.
I'm beginning to agree with you. I haven't seen Requiem (yet), but it's hard not to think of things as an agenda, because the alternative is lazy writing/commissioning (or maybe it's both!). After all, how can there be so much using on the same trope over and over again?

I found Strike to be quite refreshing because it felt like good old fashioned detective-catching-criminals fare that was once the staple of crime-dramas.

Cole
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Cole »

Aaaaaaand again!

I started this thread only a week ago, but already we've another to add to the list. I included the recent Shetland on the strength of a corrupt Norwegian police officer, but the story ended, last night, where it was a retired detective who had murdered his own daughter.

Cole
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Cole »

I've just watched a drama on the BBC iPlayer that hasn't been broadcast nationally yet. So for this reason, I won't give the name of it as it would be a spoiler for when it does (if) go out.

It initially looked to be a domestic drama, but soon descended into yet another corrupt police trope.

This isn't any pro-police rant, I just want the BBC to stop being so 'effing predictable.

Mind you. At least this year's Silent Witness didn't go there, which is highly unusual.

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The Wooksta!
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by The Wooksta! »

Episode 7 of the first series of Life on Mars had Ray covering up the fact that he'd accidentally killed a suspect during questioning. I'll also throw in Gene taking backhanders in an episode earlier in the series.

I thing it's series 2 of Ashes to Ashes - I didn't watch it at the time due to being underwhelmed by the first series and I've yet to watch the doovdes - with a bent copper organising a blag. Operation Rose?
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Duncan »

series 2+3 of Ashes are a substantial improvement on the somewhat shaky series 1

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Simon36 »

Law and Order (1978) of course. When The Sweeney tackled corruption head on it wasn’t within the Flying Squad but rogue officers in a provincial force - the episode was Bad Apple. Victims also had a bent copper sub-plot. Prime Suspect touched on corruption in the first story and also in the remarkable third story, on that occasion it being a paedophile senior officer who others were protecting.

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Doom Patrol »

It can be well done. I always say Hinterland, because I very seldom watch any of the above. In this case the hints had been there throughout. Prosser always was a bad un.

I don't think there is any agenda to it though. It's poor drama. Crime drama seems essentially generic anyway and TV always falls into that trap. The Welsh productions are good examples I think. They seem to be almost gothic. They don't have to be of course. It's just the trend.

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit!

Post by Cole »

Cole wrote:I've just watched a drama on the BBC iPlayer that hasn't been broadcast nationally yet. So for this reason, I won't give the name of it as it would be a spoiler for when it does (if) go out.

It initially looked to be a domestic drama, but soon descended into yet another corrupt police trope.

This isn't any pro-police rant, I just want the BBC to stop being so 'effing predictable.

Mind you. At least this year's Silent Witness didn't go there, which is highly unusual.
Now it's been broadcast: this was referring to Keeping Faith.

Cole
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

Thus, Bodyguard gets added to the list; ironically being followed by a trailer for the next series of Line of Duty.

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Don Satchley »

I love Lind of Duty but seem to be the only one who isn't gushing over The Bodyguard. It was very slow at many points and fairly predictable and unrealistic I thought. An example in the last episode was the suicide vest "tension scene". If the baddies were that good they would have had a remote detonator on it go off before David could blab to all and sundry in the park. Nothing too bad but certainly not the hysteria that seems to have surrounded it lately. Mentions on Strictly and all over Twitter and the usual news outlets. Line of Duty was far more gripping and non-conformist.

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by wittoner »

Cole wrote:Thus, Bodyguard gets added to the list; ironically being followed by a trailer for the next series of Line of Duty.

I thought of you and this thread as soon as that happened!

Cole
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

Don Satchley wrote:I love Lind of Duty but seem to be the only one who isn't gushing over The Bodyguard. It was very slow at many points and fairly predictable and unrealistic I thought. An example in the last episode was the suicide vest "tension scene". If the baddies were that good they would have had a remote detonator on it go off before David could blab to all and sundry in the park. Nothing too bad but certainly not the hysteria that seems to have surrounded it lately. Mentions on Strictly and all over Twitter and the usual news outlets. Line of Duty was far more gripping and non-conformist.
I must admit that I actually enjoyed Bodyguard but a part of me was hoping that this was going to be the type of action/adventure series that part one promised i.e. the ongoing adventures of keeping the Home Secretary alive; something like an updated The Professionals, rather than a conspiracy thriller. They proved that they can still do an exciting set-piece with the thrilling lorry-careering-towards-the-school sequence.

As for the remote detonator; I suspect that would blow (pun intended) the image of Budd working on his own. If anything, not having a booby-trap on the lid of the control unit was a huge let-off (doing it again) for Budd and the bomb-disposal man.

Cole
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

wittoner wrote:
Cole wrote:Thus, Bodyguard gets added to the list; ironically being followed by a trailer for the next series of Line of Duty.

I thought of you and this thread as soon as that happened!
A-ha!

I love police-procedural dramas, but the bent-copper has become a bit ubiquitous in BBC ones. ITV, on the other hand, had Unforgotten earlier this year and it was a joy to be able to watch a police-procedural without *expecting* one of the team to be the culprit.

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Ian Wegg »

One more.

Cole
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

Ian Wegg wrote:One more.
I haven't seen it, but would that be Informer by any chance?

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

Ian Wegg wrote:One more.
Ah. Just caught up with the first story of Dark Heart. I'd guessed it was the sergeant early on, purely because of the way the thing was framed.
Added.

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Ian Wegg
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Ian Wegg »

Yes, that was the one I meant. A double "bent cop" twist on this one as it appeared to be the retired DI until the very last moment.

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

Mind you, at least on this occasion it was an adaptation of an existing novel. There is also the aspect where Wagstaffe isn't squeaky-clean in his dealings with his sister's abusive boyfriend.

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

Another to add, although it's been a couple of months: Baptiste.

Dutch police officer - and Julien's son - is part of a people traffickers gang.

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Ian Wegg
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Ian Wegg »

We can now add Wild Bill to the list. (Long serving detective also robbing convenience stores with a shotgun!? ITV).

Only the second episode too, that must be some sort of record?

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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

I haven't seen this yet, but an interesting aside in that a friend posted on their Facebook page (unprompted, I may add) that they couldn't believe there was yet another "bent cop drama". Others appear to be noticing too.

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Ian Wegg
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Ian Wegg »

The BBC's afternoon drama The Mallorca Files managed to get as far as episode 9 before succumbing to this trope.

1.9 "Mallorca's Most Wanted" Chief of police murders a girl and frames her boyfriend to protect his counterfeit booze sideline.

Cole
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Cole »

The Mallorca Files completely passed me by. Will have to find it on iPlayer.

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Ian Wegg
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Re: It's the cops wot dunnit! Crime drama spoilers

Post by Ian Wegg »

Sky's Agatha Raisin has fallen - 3.4 "As The Pig Turns"

Whether the episode title was a clue I couldn't say.

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