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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best British police series for many a year.
New Tricks is the best British cop show since the legendry 'Sweeney'. Like that great show what New Tricks has, but most British Cop shows lack is humour. This is not to say that is it is either a comedy or a 'light' detective series in the manner of say Pie in the Sky. The crimes in New Tricks are real, violent often messy.

The concept is not new, three...
Published on July 6, 2009 by steve b

versus
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately not for me
I bought this as an Amazon recommendation, given my liking for BBC shows. Unfortunately this was not for me. I didn't find the characters likeable nor the plots interesting. While the premise seemed good, the shows did not follow through. The characters were boring or wooden and the plots did not seem well written.
Published 19 months ago by Stan Edwards


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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best British police series for many a year., July 6, 2009
By 
steve b (Dudley England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
New Tricks is the best British cop show since the legendry 'Sweeney'. Like that great show what New Tricks has, but most British Cop shows lack is humour. This is not to say that is it is either a comedy or a 'light' detective series in the manner of say Pie in the Sky. The crimes in New Tricks are real, violent often messy.

The concept is not new, three retired detectives are called back to look at unsolved cases. The premise being that as old coppers they will be aware of the police procedures at the time when the crimes were carried out. The first Jack Halford (James Bolam)was the most senior and the most level headed even though he spends most evenings talking to his dead wife who is buried in his back garden. Jack has a violent and brutal side which from time to time slips out. He does however appear to have the respect of everyone who knew him as a serving police officer.

The second is Gerry Standing ( Dennis Waterman). We get the impression that Jerry was not above taking the odd bribe from criminals but as he tells his boss 'Sandra I'm a bad boy not a bastard'. He has a number of ex wives and host of children all of whom are girls. Collectively he calls them 'The Covern.' Of the three he is the one who refuses to grow old. An early scene has the three compairing medication. The other two have pills for blood pressure, heart, depression etc. Gerry has viagra. He also struggles with the modern no smoking rules.

The third, Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong). Brain suffers from mental health problems and is a recovering alcoholic. He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of criminal cases and various police officers hence his knickname og 'Memory Lane'. Alone of the three he has a wife (Susan Jameson) who struggles to cope with his bizzare behavour.

The three are managed by Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redmond)who is the only serving police officer in the team. She is torn between defending her team from those higher up and frustration at the old school antics of the three, such as secretly taping suspects, this is defended by Gerry who points out he is no longer a copper and only the police are bared from secretly tapping suspects.

Each of the five is perfectly played. Class drama, well written undemanding but does not treat you as an idiot.
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76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!, July 16, 2009
This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
What a wonderful contrast to the emaciated girlies and Hollywood pretty boys that typically inhabit the leading roles in American crimes series. I love everything about this British series: the realistic, lovable characters, the humor, great storytelling, and the absence of excessive violence, blood baths, and rotting corpses that are so prevalent in American crime series these days. I ordered season 1 to 4 from Amazon UK. I had to "internationalize" my DVD player, though: videohelp.com/dvdhacks will tell you how to make your player region-free.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waterman and co. back to their old tricks., August 27, 2009
By 
Doctor Trance (MA, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
UCOS - The Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad is a rag tag, elder bunch of ex-cops who are assembled by the recently demoted DS Pullman, played by Amanda Redman. She had a bust go bad where she accidentally shot a dog, and suddenly she finds herself leading this team of cops whose best years are far behind them. All of her 3 re-hires left the police for various reasons and each has their own share of personal and emotional issues they are dealing with. For Pullman, she is constantly trying to balance her career and finding the time to continually hit the dating scene in her 40's. Handling the stubborn and erratic personalities of her new team is another challenge.

Jack Halford (played by James Bolam) is the only member who left the police force on amicable terms, having retired as a D.C. Superintendent. He is forever haunted by the hit and run accident that claimed his wife. He seems to be the oldest, but also the clearest thinker of the squad.

Brian Lane (played by Alun Armstrong) is an ex Detective Inspector who was sacked for having someone die while in his custody, which he strongly felt was not his fault. He's sort of a pill popping, memory machine with OCD who memorized everyone's resume who has ever worked at Scotland Yard. Also, if you ask him what he was doing on July 19th, 1978, he'll remember.

My favorite of the bunch, and what drew me to find this show in the first place is the star of numerous popular UK shows over the years, including the highly popular Sweeney and Minder series, Dennis Waterman. It seems he always plays a ladies' man in every series, and this one is no exception. You will usually find him hitting on his boss, being pursued by ex-flames, or eyeing the multitude of women he encounters during his cases.

Waterman's character Gerry Standing, although no longer performing his legendary fisticuffs as he did in Minder and Sweeney, still manages to pull some punches with his sharp tongue and wit. He was fired for breaking his superior's jaw, a Commisioner Bevan, who just so happens to be UCOS's supervisor, so you can imagine the interaction just waiting to happen there. A classic Waterman highlight is when the crew is reviewing film of a late 60's protest for a case and he jumps up, all serious-like and says, "ey, wait". Then pauses the video only to point at a girl in the crowd and say, "I had her".

After a rather long 90 minute pilot, once you get into normal episodes, they are strong from start to finish. Unlike US TV shows, where going back and viewing the first 5 or 6 shows can sometimes look awkward; and actors don't really find their niche in their character, sometimes up until the 2nd season; this superb gang of British vets really nail their characters right out of the gate. I felt the pilot was merely a preview of what was to come, and it certainly doesn't play like the rest of the episodes do in the series (they are much better). I was almost ready to write the series off after the pilot, but I'm glad I didn't.

One other fine character is PC Clark, played by Chike Okonkwo. In this first series, he is the low on the totem pole, young police constable, who really offsets all the older characters. He was always eager to help out and offer his young viewpoint and detective skills to the team. I feel this will be a slight negative not seeing him reappear in later shows, as his character does not return for series 2. A minor setback to an otherwise strong and entertaining British show.

While following that TV crime solving mold, it still manages to have that certain appeal that US shows simply do not have. It's also great to see one of my favorite actors, Dennis Waterman, still holding his own after 4 decades. He also sings the show's theme song (a staple for shows he's starred in over the years) and a cover of the Traveling Wilbury's End Of The Line in one of the episodes.

It's surprising to see this as a US DVD release, because as far as I know, this only appeared on some PBS channels in certain parts of the country, and I haven't seen it on any cable channels (maybe BBC America at one time?). I think it's high ratings in it's later seasons in the UK have warranted a US "trial". I say trial as in they release a first season, and only subsequent sets come out if sales are good. However, even The Sweeney hasn't had a series 2 release in the US yet, so I presume there's a slim chance of all 5 later series of New Tricks getting released here, but you never know. I'll just have to continue ordering the Region 2 series sets. Series 6 aired in July in the UK with a DVD release scheduled for Sept. '09.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Motley Cold case Squad from England that gets their man (or woman)., August 25, 2009
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This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
I was pleased when PBS started airing this british detective series. Retired police detectives are hired by the police department to solve COLD CASES.

But the real fun is in watching this motley crew work. Like Columbo, they are real geniuses full of quirks, old & seasoned but with more energy than most half their age.

If you like quirky detective drama with a few laughs thrown in, then htis is the series for you.

Yes, that is Dennis Waterman from the old 1970's British cop series "The Sweeney".

Episode #1.0
Original Air Date--27 March 2003
As punishment for messing up a kidnap rescue and shooting a dog in the process Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman) is assigned to the newly created unsolved murder squad. Due to a manpower shortage her team is made up of veteran detectives seconded back into the police force who bring a 1970's attitude to modern policing rather than vice versa. The team's first case is to re-investigate a twenty year old murder conviction which has suddenly become unsafe due to police corruption.

Episode #1.1
Original Air Date--1 April 2004
The team investigate the murder of a policewoman 17 years ago, but what is Sandra's connection, and what secrets from her days at Hendon are revealed?

Episode #1.2
Original Air Date--8 April 2004
Sir Tim is Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures. He discovers that some of the pictures in his charge are fakes. But they never used to be. Was his predecessor making money on the side?

Episode #1.3
Original Air Date--15 April 2004
The team investigate the murder of a young peace protester, killed near a nuclear base in 1984. Was it a cover-up?

Episode #1.4
Original Air Date--22 April 2004
A ten year old boy is killed on a golf course. 20 years later the team investigate but face obstruction from a snobbish golf club committee who struggle to keep women out of the bar and to protect the memory of a Falklands war hero.

Episode #1.5
Original Air Date--29 April 2004
The team investigate the disappearance of an attractive young mum and her six-month old son in the 1970s. They also have to submit to a physical and psychological assessment.

Episode #1.6
Original Air Date--6 May 2004
Jack Halford hopes a clairvoyant will put him in touch with his late wife. Instead he is contacted by a girl who disappeared twenty years earlier.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing,extremely well written with wonderful group of characters, August 30, 2009
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This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
This is an extremely well written detective series. The old detective techniques versus the new technological techniques. All these different techniques blend well together, and the personalities of each "older detective" are entertaining, funny and work so well woven into each story. I didn't think a detective series could live up to the standards of Inspector Morse or Inspector Frost, but this series certainly qualifies to be in that category of great acting, great story and great entertainment. I surely hope I get to see the rest of the series. This is the type of series that I will watch over and over again. Wonderful entertainment and drama with great touches of humour.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting Eagerly for Season 2 of New Tricks, October 3, 2009
By 
cynthia (Sonoma, CA, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
We absolutely love the BBC series, NEW TRICKS. Our only complaint is that the rest of the series is not out in the US DVD format. When will that happen? We have seen shows on our local PBS channel but they are not currently running the series. We are bereft. We love the characters so much that it is like missing a member of the family on some evenings when there is nothing good on the telly.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars new tricks, season 1, November 9, 2009
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This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
I liked the pilot cd and it had closed captioning. The next cd had a problem with closed captioning, It hinted that it was available but I could not get it to work. I have a hearing problem and with the English accents and mediocre sound in the BBC I cannot hear some of the dialog. I will not purchase any cd';s that do not have closed captioning.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Sense Teaching These Old Dogs Any NEW TRICKS, August 6, 2012
This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
Police procedurals have been around as long as there's been television sets. In most cases, these shows will have a modest-sized cast with supporting players all revolving around a lead or pair of leads who have some unusual relationship, habit, or method for approaching their work. Take Sherlock Holmes, for example: Holmes is the ubermensch who sees and knows all, and Watson is a trusty sidekick. Take CSI, as another example: a team of scientists - each with his own specialty - come together to use their skills for examining `the evidence' in order to catch a culprit. Heck, even in the world of NYPD BLUE each detective recognized that there was something inimitable about the way Andy Sipowicz could use his tough-guy-personae to squeak a confession out of even the most unforgiving criminal without raising a finger.

Enter the BBC's NEW TRICKS ...

Detective Superintendant Sandra Pullman (played by Amanda Redman) hits a rough spot in her career when a routine kidnapping investigation results in a rescued but seriously injured captive and a dead dog (which actually ends up being one of the best running gags of the first season). She's demoted to head up UCOS, an unsolved crimes department of the police force; however, she's given no staff. Ever resourceful, she recruits a squad of former detectives to pull off of retirement and serve as her team: Jack Halford (James Bolan) is the crusty veteran who can play word games with any suspect; Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman) is the former `loose cannon' who's been chastised for striking a superior officer; and Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong) is that possible-screw-loose detective who sees conspiracies everywhere he looks. Each of them has experienced career stagnation over bending the rules in their past, and, now together, they're destined to bring back the old ways of solving crimes in the age when blood and fibers have become so commonplace.

So far as police procedurals are concerned, I haven't come across an ensemble that I've enjoyed this much in quite some time. Each detective has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, and, as a unit, they tend to complement one another when the circumstances require it. If anything, the scripts they're given have a bit too much reliance on the science of solving crimes (most of these crimes took place just before forensics took a larger role in police stations); on too many occasions, the much-praised DNA points them in new directions. The show's strength is these detectives' collective willingness to embrace irregular methods to catch the culprit, especially when it means bending a few procedures. When the stories match that dynamic, the episodes feel effortless.

NEW TRICKS (SEASON 01) was produced by the BBC and Wall to Wall Television. This first season consists of a two-hour pilot and six (approx.) one hour episodes. While the video transfer is not perfect (there's a fair amount of grain in what I watched), the audio is definitely solid. There's even an English subtitling track for those us (me especially) who occasionally struggle with various European accents. Sadly, there are no special features or bloopers, and I'd imagine a cast this funny would produce some marvelous missteps.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. NEW TRICKS maintains a `nice' level of consistency, though I'll admit struggling a bit with a few of the stories with a bit of a harder edge. The first few episodes are, largely, softer and more humorous with perhaps more relatable yarns, while the last few push the envelope a bit in terms of grittier cases. What's consistent, though, is the way these unconventional detectives use their skills and experience to resolve these open or unsolved cases. At all times, NEW TRICKS remains its character-centric focus, and the ensemble is winning. Between the four older principles and their younger African-American departmental aide, there's enough character to keep anyone's interest even when their cases grow a bit cumbersome.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it, September 30, 2009
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This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
Three old cops with pasts are brought back to help solve cold cases. The chemistry between the characters and their blighted pasts makes this one of the most enjoyable police programs to come out of the UK since Cracker. I am so glad to finally have it in the US format. I had never seen the pilot episode before, it was worth the purchase price just to see it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Tricks Season I, October 22, 2009
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This review is from: New Tricks: Season 1 (DVD)
New Tricks Season I surpassed our expectations besides giving us the background of the Series we faithfully follow every week on PBS.

My only regret is that Seasons II, III & IV still aren't available in the U.S. yet.
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New Tricks: Season 1
New Tricks: Season 1 by Jon East (DVD - 2009)
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