Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman heads up UCOS (The
Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad) solving previously unsolved
crimes and murders. Pullman is backed up by her team, Gerry
Standing, Brian Lane and Jack Halford, all three retired ex-policemen
and all three no longer in the first flush of youth. Series
Three finds the incongruous group investigating a teacher's
mysterious car crash death; a murder involving misappropriated
Trade Union funds; violent dog killings, witchcraft, warring
ice cream bandits and arson...
consists of eight episodes spread over three discs. The episodes
Pleasure: A classic car, in which five years ago a teacher
was murdered, is due to be returned to the victim's husband.
The murder case is reopened when it comes to light that the
dead woman may have had a secret lover. A clue soon leads
the UCOS team to the home of a male prostitute. Pullman, who
worked on the original case, insists on going after the dead
woman's husband for the crime as he had plenty of motive and
showed little emotion at the time of his wife's death.
The mysterious death of Joe Walsh, General Secretary of the
Crane Driver's Union, whose body was found in the Thames in
1975, is reinvestigated. At the time of his death, Walsh stood
accused of stealing money from the union's account. The team
find themselves at the centre of a political minefield, with
suggestions of misappropriated union funds, MI5 involvement
and a union leader whose threats of strike action were gravely
threatening the national interest.
Dogs: When a serial dog killer starts stalking local parks,
mimicking an unsolved string of murders from several years
ago, the team are reluctantly forced into taking on the case.
Surely it's a cut and run case - the main suspect hates dogs
with a passion and works in a local abattoir. This episode
also has fantastic guest appearances by Richard Briers and
Frances De La Tour.
Geezers: When vicious criminal Chopper Hadley arrives
back in the UK to attend his father's funeral, the UCOS team
are keen to question him about a murder that took place years
earlier. The clock is ticking as it soon becomes apparent
that Hadley is booked on a plane leaving the country in a
week, and as he is selling off his UK properties, this could
be the last chance they have to arrest him. Desperate measures
are used and Brian is sent undercover to get Hadley once and
Work: A young woman insists that the suspicious death
of a local librarian years ago was part of a witchcraft ceremony.
The team is drawn into the world of magic and the supernatural
as they try to get to the bottom of what really went on in
the witches coven.
Bank Robbery: Ray Cook, a legendary criminal has turned
prime time celebrity. The team wants to re-interview him about
a notorious bank job which left a cashier dead. Cook is the
chief suspect, but was he responsible, or is he as innocent
as he claims? This episode also sees guest stars from Gareth
Hunt and Steven Berkoff (as Cook). I still don't understand
why Berkoff has an acting career. I've never seen him act
believably to this day. Here, he camps up his role like a
bad pantomime villain.
Cream Wars: The team are on the case of the ice cream
bandit, an armed robber who's targets were the ice cream vans
of two feuding ice cream manufacturers in the mid 1990s. The
battle between the two families erupts into violence, so UCOS
decide to track down the bandit and stop the conflict once
and for all.
Pullman struggles to keep the boys in line as their chequered
pasts begin to be revealed. Halford is determined to nail
a vicious criminal who has so far eluded him and in doing
so he puts himself in grave danger. Standing receives a surprise
visitor who may or may not be his daughter. Pullman is increasingly
frustrated and weighs up an opportunity that could end her
time in UCOS. Kevin Whately makes a great cameo appearance
in this episode, as does Hannah Waterman - who, ironically
plays opposite her real dad (Dennis Waterman's).
idea to take an old acting icon, who is better known for playing
friendly characters, and turn them into the villain is clever
(and unexpected) the first time the producers use it. However,
once they've played that trick once, it's a shame they try
it again. It's very much a case of fool me once, shame on
you. Fool me twice, shame on me - as George W Bush famously
failed to quote.
include a Behind the Scenes featurette (20 mins) which
thankfully has optional subtitles. I say thankfully, because
the sound is so bad in places that it's difficult to hear
what is being said. There are also filmographies for the main
cast as well as a picture gallery.
the Behind the Scenes featurette didn't offer much
in the way of interesting information, it did reveal that
Susan Jameson (who plays Esther Lane, the wife of Brian) is
in real life married to James Bolam. Also, I couldn't understand
why the extras weren't on the final disc. Disc one and two
contain three episodes (with disc one containing the extras)
while disc three only has two episodes. I thought, bearing
in mind that there are some mild spoilers on the Behind
the Scenes featurette, that it would have made much more
sense to have included the extras on the final disc.
that slight moan, this is a great collection of a fantastic
BBC series. Certainly one worth adding to your collection.