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What set this show apart from every cop show that had come before, at least in the UK, were the characters of Regan and Carter themselves. There was no master sleuth solving crimes with the help of a 7% solution, no coldly logical Poirot solving cases with a generous helping of mustache wax, no comical Columbo hiding his intellect behind a shabby raincoat and interminable "last" questions, and no Harry Callahan style uber-cop toting "The most powerful handgun in the World!" Nope, Regan and Carter were just a couple of ordinary blokes, smokin', swearin', gettin' blind drunk - whether on or off duty! - shaggin' birds, and endlessly chasin' skirts... they just happened to be cops!
Of the pair, Regan was by far the most ruthless, he wasn't too concerned if he had to beat a confession out of some slag, or lean on a grass to get what he wanted, which was basically to put the bad guys behind bars. George was just as down to earth and pragmatic in his approach to the "Law," but tried to do things ever so slightly more by the book than his boss, and would often cover for him when things got sticky with the Brass.Read more ›
Why is it such a great series? Well, for a start it features two marvellous characters. The late John Thaw ('Inspector Morse') stars as Detective Inspector Jack Regan of Scotland Yard's famed 'Flying Squad'(so called because of their use of high performance squad cars to get them to the scene of major crimes). Routinely mixing with violent criminals, gangsters, informers, strippers and prostitutes in those parts of London tourists never get to see, Regan is a 24/7 copper with an ex-wife and 8 yr old daughter he rarely sees.
And he's nothing like Inspector Morse. At all. Jack Regan is as hard as they come. He displays no hesitation in beating up villains, threatening suspects, or even, in the episode 'Queen's Pawn', organising a kidnapping so as to put pressure on a suspect! For UK viewers accustomed to the traditional saintly image of the English policeman, Regan was a truly startling creation and Thaw's performance remains utterly convincing not least because Thaw, with his craggy features and gruff manner never looks like some pretty-boy trying to act hard.
Of course every great character has to have a sidekick and Regan's best mate is also his second-in-command - Detective Sergeant George Carter, superbly played by Dennis Waterman.Read more ›
If you have never seen the TV show, I suggest you do not start here, as it's like jumping into any TV show in the middle of it's run without ever seeing it before. You may find it odd, but on the other hand, it may be 'your bag'. I am surprised that this was released for the USA market as I don't believe any tv episodes were ever shown here, or available on video or dvd.
The cockney slang that was used quite frequently in the tv series is somewhat missing here, probably because the producers were planning on the movies being distributed in other countries. In that respect, it's a little more easier to follow for the average US citizen than the tv shows.
John Thaw as Regan is gritty as ever, and I like him much better in this series than as Inspector Morse. Dennis Waterman and the usual Flying Squad team are all here too. While Waterman does an excellent job as Carter, his best TV was yet to come, as the now legendary Terry Mcann in the long running British series Minder.
Admit it,this was the way that many people would have liked to have seen criminals dealt with,bypassing the system altogether and giving them a damn good smacking for being naughty cos their fingers were into something tasty they should have known better than to touch.
It also shows again what a fabulous actor John Thaw was,at turns a great judge and a ruthless copper kickin the crims squarely in the brass ones if they got out of hand.
Dennis Waterman was slightly less forthcoming with the aggro but was a stabling influence on Jack when left alone he may have seriously harmed a villain,not that breaking some ribs,noses,arms and legs was not serious but it could be explained away as the Diamond Jim being clumsy or getting to handy with his fists.
The crims also knew it was wiser to go along with this version of the story,or heaven forbid they would have some time alone in the interview room with the blinds drawn.
It was a show that did ride the edge,and many were uncomfortable with it,if i am honest i am very much in that corner of thinking.
For out and out entertainment and action though this was great,and i do feel that so many American shows follow suit with really weak takes on British shows.
The Sweeney still kicks harder than so many U.S police shows now,and with quality actors like Thaw and Waterman they will always be struggling after impossible to follow brilliance.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Always an enjoyable time to have, watching John Thaw as Inspector Regani on this great 70's - 80's TV show made into films. I loved John Thaw as Inspector Morse as well.Published 17 months ago by penelope
Great entertainment!!! This great 2 DVD set from Anchor Bay Entertainment includes "Sweeney!" from 1976 and it's sequel"Sweeney 2" from 1978!!! Read morePublished on November 2, 2007 by Jason P. Pumphrey
After watching Sweeney I am hoping they release the TV series in the US format. I own the entire Inspector Morse series on DVD and this is a completely different John Thaw.Published on July 28, 2004 by Royden E. Martin
If you've never seen this 70s British cop show you are in for a treat. I've been a John Thaw fan from the Inspector Morse series and I agree with the previous reviewer that he is... Read morePublished on April 7, 2003