Series 9 – Part 1

By Edward Kellett

The Bill enters the era of mass production with a new title sequence to replace the short-lived version of the previous year.  For us children of the mid-Nineties, and indeed for other generations, these titles are what we always associate with the show: the area car pulling up to the camera, bearing Tony and a rather disconsolate June, followed by another split-second montage of clips that ends as per tradition with a big close-up of Sgt. Cryer.  But this is also the year in which Eric Richard stopped getting top billing for every episode in which he featured, proving that no traditions last forever.  The logistics involved in moving from two episodes a week to three are detailed in the book The First Ten Years of The Bill: an extra investment of £750 000, another production unit to join the two already in existence, and the expansion into new areas in the complex at Merton.  This, however, is where the hard work put into the latter begins to pay dividends.  Whereas the financial strictures of the move in 1990/1991 dictated many of the stories told in that period, this time there is a determination to make the budget work for the show, rather than vice versa.  Right at the start of 1993, two brand-new, ongoing storylines hit the screen, designed to ensure that the thrice-weekly format will have legs for years to come.  In keeping with the show’s balancing act between the woodentops and the superstars, they are allotted one strand each, but with the inbuilt potential for them to overlap. 

The big change to uniform is heralded in ‘New Tune, Old Fiddle’ by JC Wilsher, in which Brownlow is at area to discuss the upcoming policy of sectorisation.  At his forelock-tugging best, he assures DAC Hicks that Sun Hill is ready for the challenge that lies ahead, only to learn that borough policing is also in the works: the redrawing of police divisional boundaries to match those of the borough.  “Of course, if you’ve only got one division, you’ll only need one chief superintendent… a chance to chop some deadwood out of the senior ranks.  Survival of the fittest.  It may never happen of course, but it’s an incentive to stay ahead of the game.”  In the interests of greater relations with the borough, Hicks wants a Community Liaison Officer stationed permanently at Sun Hill: “We can bring the Youth and Community Service and the Child Protection Team under one roof.  And it makes sense to bring the Domestic Violence Unit onto the premises.”  The prestige this will bring Sun Hill if it comes off isn’t lost on Brownlow.  Hicks intends to move the newly promoted Chief Inspector Cato, nee Inspector Twist of Barton Street, into the CLO role.  But when he suggests that Conway might also enjoy a change of scene, Brownlow scoffs at the thought: “No sir.  No, Derek’s perfectly happy where he is.”  Back at the nick, Conway greets the plan with characteristic warmth, moaning about “the hordes of wronged women and snotty-nosed delinquents” who’ll be clogging up the place from now on.  Brownlow reassures him that he quashed Hicks’ notion of moving him to pastures new: “I told him I needed my faithful old retainer as Chief Inspector Ops.”  “May I ask, sir, what the DAC had in mind for me, before you knocked it on the head?” asks a tight-lipped Conway.  “Well we never got round to talking about that,” Brownlow muses idly.  “But, I think he’d realise there’s no point trying to play a new tune on an old fiddle.” 

Conway lets off steam to Cryer, who is surprised to hear him talk up a job he’s always dismissed as a waste of time.  “I’m just talking about Cato getting it and me getting nothing!  Anything’s better than carrying Brownlow’s bag till I drop off a perch.”  Cryer urges him to go round Brownlow, not through him: “You must have the black on someone at area.”  Conway visits an old friend who happens to be a chief inspector in personnel, and unleashes the Machiavellian qualities that Brownlow, of all people, once detected in him.  Reminding his mate of the course they were on at Brams Hill, he brings up the cleaning lady he got off with, before voicing his fears about the new CLO post and whether Cato is up to it.  “You should have an officer who’s put a bit of service in, a man who knows the ropes – a mediator.”  “I get what you’re saying, Derek,” his contact replies warily, and gives him a “definite maybe” before he goes.  On his return, he gets to put his views into practice.  The discovery of a missing teenager’s burnt body prompts a slanging match between his estranged parents in Monroe’s office, which the latter cannot cope with, screaming at them in outrage.  Affronted at the challenge to his family values, he has to be ushered from the room.  Conway takes over and sets out his stall: “I’m not into marriage guidance, and I am not a bereavement counsellor…  Slagging each other off is only avoiding the issue!  You do know that, don’t you?  What you have to do is face up to the worst thing in the world.  I can’t tell you how to do that.  I’ve never been in your position; I’m bloody thankful.  But I can put you onto people who’ll try to help.”  When a sheepish Monroe asks Conway what he said to pacify them, he assures him it was “just the usual old flannel, Andrew.” 

This move to a PR role seems odd for someone who has both deplored the gimmicks of management and made a hash of implementing them.  But there have been successes as well as failures.  Conway’s default setting may be to whinge at the world, but his bluntness gets through to people who are used to bland diplomacy.  The change of scenery for Ben Roberts is similar to that of Eric Richard when Cryer became duty sergeant, an attempt to freshen up a long-running character.  In this case it has a lot more mileage, shattering people’s assumptions.  Tony and Barry ridicule George’s idea that Cato was coming in to take over from Conway: “What a plank!  Where’d he think Conway could go?”  “He’ll be licking the old man’s boots till he pops his clogs.”  “Then Brownlow’ll have him stuffed and mounted and put in the cabinet with the trophies.”  Over lunch, Brownlow congratulates him on defusing an awkward situation: “Just what I’d expect from an old hand like you.”  “Yeah, well I’m full of tricks sir.  Even you might be surprised,” he remarks cryptically as he tucks in.  The rude awakening comes in the fittingly titled ‘Shock to the System.’  Brownlow returns from leave to find the community liaison offices taking shape, similar to the hive of activity that accompanied Sun Hill’s makeover in 1990.  He is pointed towards the “one item” left on his desk: a memo about Conway chairing the board for the new YACS sergeant.  “Why you?”  “Because I’m the new CLO, sir.”  “But you told me you wouldn’t touch the job!” says the astonished Brownlow.  “No sir; you told me.  You assumed it’d be the last thing I wanted.”  “Community Liaison Officer?  It requires patience; subtlety.  You’re about as subtle as a… barbed wire bog roll.”  “Thank you, sir.  But as you recently remarked, these are interesting times, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t be as interesting for me as everyone else…  Besides, when it came down to it, it was a choice between me and Philip Cato from Barton Street.  And as you know, Cato is mean-minded, prejudiced, spiteful and thick – so it was a close-run contest, but I got the vote.”  With advance warning, because “I wanted you to be the first to know”, Brownlow tries to contact the DAC.  However, Marion cannot get through to him because he has gone to the dentist’s.  “Really?” says an icy Brownlow.  “I hope it hurts.” 

The new unit casts an interesting light on other characters as they gravitate either towards or away from it.  Norika suggests that it would be right up George’s street, “with your boxing and youth club stuff.”  “Norika, that is a hobby.  A change from work; you know, like stamp collecting.  You wouldn’t want to do that all the time, would you?”  A new face arrives in the form of Sun Hill’s shortest-lived sergeant, Jane Kendall.  When she asks for directions to YACS, Tony mistakes her for a member of the public.  “I’m here for an interview, and it’s not ‘love’, it’s sergeant.”  After failing to get the info from an unhelpful Steve, he is asked, “So when do you finish your probation, love?”  There is also welcome and overdue attention for an old face – the hapless Sgt. Lamont, a background part since the late Eighties whose role in most episodes was too incidental to cover in these reviews till now.  It must have been a frustrating job for Steve Morley, another actor who tried to cross to the writing side but never got an episode made.  Lamont is there to put the regulars into perspective by reminding us that there is a whole other cast out there that we never see, like Cathy’s struggles with C Relief.  Now he gets a chance to shine, even if his motives are laughably obvious.  “Not wishing to be a harbinger of doom, but are you sure you’re up to speed?” asks a sceptical Boyden.  “The fact you want to be YACS sergeant because it’s an SO nine to five job may not be music to their ears.”  “Well I’m not gonna tell ’em that, am I?  I’m gonna tell them I want to broaden me horizons.  I’ve got a lot to offer!  I’ve got rapport with teenagers, for a start.”  “‘Rapport’!  You only see your own kids once a month.”  “Local man, local knowledge, Monroe and Conway on the board – bye bye shift work.”  But Conway is already in a bad mood after wading through the first candidate’s verbal diarrhoea.  “What this unit needs is a good office manager, someone with the bottle to throw case papers back at CID if they’re indecipherable through the coffee stains.  Not some refugee from a hand-holding seminar.  Who’s next?”  “Lamont,” he is told, and closes his eyes in pain. 

Visibly nervous, the man himself is asked if he appreciates “the difference in subtlety” between a YACS office and a charge room.  Monroe puts a scenario to him: a young lad with a divorced mother gets drunk and is picked up for smashing a car windscreen, having never been in trouble before.  “The case is referred to you as YACS sergeant – what do you do?”  Still in custody mode, Lamont says he would recommend a caution.  Pushed for more ideas, the best he can offer is, “I’d ask the mother to impress on him not to behave like a prat!”  “You wouldn’t attempt to find out why he was suddenly ‘behaving like a prat’, as you put it?”  “How’d it go?” asks Boyden afterwards.  “Oh, you know, I think I’m in with a shout,” Lamont smiles feebly, and the pained look on his face as he exits is matched by the scorn on Boyden’s.  By contrast, Kendall has the board in rapt attention as she makes the case for a larger and more co-ordinated YACS.  “The way I see it, you’re the CLO’s right hand; you have to be aware of all the political nuances, so you can substitute for him as and when required.  I’ve had a fair amount of committee experience, so I’d enjoy that side of the work.”  The charmed Conway declares as soon as she’s left, “That’s the one”, and that the two remaining candidates won’t beat her.  Having taken Lamont to pieces, it’s a revealing portrait of his own laziness in situations like this.  He is barely conscious during the first two interviews, then the moment one person makes a good impression that’s enough for him.  In the closing moments, Brownlow finally gets through to the DAC with both Conway and Cato waiting in his office – and has to eat humble pie as he learns that their new posts have been finalised.  While Conway is installed as CLO, Cato is to be the new Chief Inspector Ops.  The former pops downstairs to see how the decorators are going, leaving Brownlow to cope with the terrifying prospect of the BBB.

Of all the new opportunities opened up by the reshuffle, the best is that it brings Cato into the fold as a regular, in all his intimidating glory.  With the imminent clear out of the old guard in CID, the show needed a new antagonist to add a note of scepticism to the community liaison project.  Of course the doubting voice used to be Conway’s, but everything is a question of degree; whatever his own faults his assessment of his rival is bang on the money.  Asked by Brownlow for specific ideas on how he would approach the job, Cato leans forward and delivers this pearl of wisdom: “Local council; ethnic minorities; youth.  It’s my belief sir, with all these elements, you have to know where to draw the line.”  The stunned Brownlow can only add, “Coffee?” and later tells Conway, “To be quite honest with you I’m not sure there’s anybody at home.”  Having passed Cato on the stairs, Burnside puts it to Meadows more bluntly: “What’s that Bald-Headed Bastard from Barton Street doing here?”  “Well, you know he passed his board for Chief Inspector?”  “It’s engraved on my heart…  There is a bit of needle, yes.  Goes back to Gordon Wray’s time.”  “Yeah, Sun Hill got one of his skippers binned.”  “Not before time.  Not only brutal, but bent with it.”  Here Wilsher refers back to the Terry Coles saga of early 1990, but the real source of aggro is Cato’s subsequent role as Tom Penny’s executioner, in the revenge taken by Barton Street.  Turning up at the front desk to introduce himself to the dismayed sergeants, he observes cheerfully that “everything comes to he who waits…  No need to bother Mr Conway, Bob.  I’m the one you have to bother now.”  “Watch out, there’s a BBB about,” George warns Tony in the gents’, only to learn that he was right the first time round: “Oh, and there are no vacancies for YACS PCs.  We’ve already checked.”  Norika is unmoved by George’s complaints, saying that Tom Penny only had himself to blame.  “I’ve known plenty of sergeants who pulled a few strokes – and it doesn’t mean their governors are bastards as well.”  “Yeah, well this one is,” maintains George.  “And he’s bald.”  

Cato starts as he means to go on, dropping by custody to look at the charge sheets and hover at Cryer’s shoulder.  “With respect sir, you’re not here officially for another couple of weeks – would you mind backing off a bit?” he is asked sharply.  Such is his reputation that clouds are already beginning to form.  “This apparent attitude problem towards your new Chief Inspector Ops is very worrying,” Hicks lectures Brownlow at their next meeting.  “This man was directly and questionably involved in the conviction and subsequent resignation of one of this station’s most respected officers,” protests Brownlow, which for those with long memories is a rather generous estimate of Tom Penny.   “There’s bound to be bad feeling.”  “Mr Cato was doing his job and in this instance, Charles, I expect you to do yours!”  It seems unlikely that an officer would be promoted to a station where there is already ill will towards him, but perhaps that is the point: there is no good place to put a man whose acerbic nature knows no bounds.  When June asks the new boy, Mike Jarvis, for dirt on his old governor, he is unwilling to say anything that can be traced back to him.  “In other words he is the rat we think he is,” she concludes venomously.  The battle lines between Cato and Conway are drawn up as they try to consolidate power in their new roles.  In ‘Missionary Work’, the allocation of money from the prisoner’s property fund is hotly contested.  Conway expects it to go to a crime diversion scheme, only to learn that Cato has suggested a minibus for the Girl Guides.  “I had assumed that as Community Liaison Officer, the recommendation would be my decision,” he protests to Brownlow.  “Oh no – no, I was expecting you and my other senior officers jointly to have a hand in it…  We’re all living under the same roof, Derek.  Community partnership is the way forward for all of us.  Heaven forbid we should all start building little empires, hmm?”  George is unsurprised about Cato’s idea: “His missus is big in all that stuff, she’s a… Great White Owl or somesuch.”  A delighted Conway slips this into the ensuing debate, lauding his opposite number’s “close family commitment to the organisation.”  “Are you implying something there, Derek?” growls Cato.

The antagonism is kicked up a notch in ‘Bedfellows’, where Christopher Russell returns to the same territory he explored in ‘Sun Hill Karma’ in Series 3.  “Bit early in the day for Paki-bashing, innit?” Boyden observes after an Asian man is assaulted.  “These are Gujaratis if you’re interested Sarge, not Pakistanis,” Stamp later corrects him.  Conway delves into the case under pressure from the local community leader, Mrs Garala, who insists that the attacks on Mr Krishna are racially motivated.  “You only want proof on a plate.  Unless a white yob is actually standing there putting the boot in when a policeman arrives you refuse to be convinced…  Make this racial incident panel more than window-dressing.  Stop pretending and investigate!”  Conway holds the same low opinion of her role as Galloway did of her counterpart back in 1987: “‘My people’!  She’s not even elected by them, it’s just a big ego trip so she can turn round and say to ‘her people’, ‘Aren’t I wonderful, don’t I get things done!’”  It’s typical of his bloody-mindedness that he’s manoeuvred himself into a role where he has to deal with the grandees and committees he despises.  But when he steps out of the debating chamber he proves once again to have the common touch.  Chatting to the man’s daughter and son-in-law, he finds out that the attacks are coming from within the community, not without, in another echo of the earlier story.  Krishna has been saddled with an enormous dowry for the marriage, which he is unable to pay, and the beatings are a form of debt collection.   But while Conway tries to heal wounds in the Asian community, Cato is doing his level best to alienate it completely.  He summons Cryer and Monroe to a meeting about a Bangladeshi youth club.  “Ethnic?  Softly, softly are we then, when they cause a fracas?  There was one last night: three car windows broken.  If it was two gangs of white youths running amok we’d be in there banging heads together.  Because it’s Bangladeshis we smile indulgently and turn the other way.  Don’t you think that’s a bit patronising?  We’re all equal before the law.”  With a smug smile, he abandons his social treatise to highlight the real problem: “If we go on letting them smash up each other’s cars, my insurance premium’s gonna go through the roof.”  Insisting that he won’t swamp the place, just make a courtesy visit, Cato sets off without informing Conway.  “I’d be irked to think I’d need the CLO’s permission every time I wanted to rub noses with an IC4.  That would seem to be creating barriers, not removing them.” 

With Cryer trailing behind him, Cato marches into the youth club, blending into his surroundings every bit as effortlessly as Roger Moore’s Bond snooping round a Harlem restaurant in Live and Let Die.  “Chief Inspector Cato, Sun Hill Police.  Does anyone here speak English?”  On the way out he is knocked over by two youths and finds them carrying a bag full of stolen property.  Reg informs Sgt. Maitland that Cato is bringing in two prisoners.  “Oh yeah?  Dead or alive?”  Cato is reminded that they will have to wait for an interpreter: “Always fascinates me, that.  How the sight of a uniform renders the English language incomprehensible to these people.”  But an angry crowd gathers outside the entrance, demanding to know what is happening to their friends.  “Either ethnic recruitment’s gone through the roof, or we’re about to host a race riot,” Monroe informs Cato.  The latter goes out to lay down the law and narrowly avoids being pelted by an egg.  “Don’t know what you’re worried about,” Boyden tells another PC as they look on.  “We’ve got body armour in the store and enough scrambled egg in the canteen to last Cato a month.”  Conway has to run a gauntlet of protesters to get into the yard.  “Have you tried talking to them yet,” he asks Cato, “or are you going straight in with the plastic bullets?”  He is reluctant to bring in the club manager’s sister, Rezwana, suggesting that “she only knows three words of English, and two of them are ‘Go away.’”  But he addresses the crowd, promising to sort out the situation, and ushers her inside.  “I don’t believe this,” mutters Cato.  “I thought he was going to leave Bob Cryer in part exchange.”  As she is taken past the front desk, we are given one of those brilliant, penetrating moments that Russell delivered better than any other writer on the series.  “Who is dead?” she asks nervously, pointing to the ‘Charged’ and ‘Dead’ signs behind the counter.  Cryer and Conway reassure her that these denote radio batteries, not prisoners, but in this little aside is the crux of the episode: that cultural differences and language barriers can create a dangerous gulf in understanding.  Once she learns that the youths are all right, and in custody for stealing rather than for pushing a policeman over, she speaks to the crowd and they are mollified.  The brief shot of our all-white heroes gathered at the canteen window, watching them disperse, makes the point with even greater economy. 

Brownlow sums up the debacle with the weary air of someone who saw it coming.  “Sun Hill is meant to be the flagship of community-minded borough policing, Philip.  The moment my back is turned I find half the ethnic population howling at its gates!”  Cato defends his actions with the rigidity of a soldier on a parade ground, demonstrating that he can see things only through the lens of discipline.  “The arrests were a bonus – and in my view, the apprehension of criminals should carry as much weight at area as the communal fantasy.”  “Oh, so you think community policing is a fantasy, do you?”  “I think a sensible man makes sure the roof isn’t going to fall in, before he puts up pretty pictures.”  He is unimpressed when Conway complains that he has been set back six months at the youth club.  “Do I detect a change of tune with a change of job?  Didn’t you use to be the ‘no fear, no favour’ man?” he sneers, referencing the slogan that Conway used in Russell’s 1991 episode.  “You can think what you like about the junk I have to wade through every day,” Conway hits back.  “The committees, the panels, the partnerships.  Well I agree with you – most of it is junk.  But it just might save a copper’s life or two.  That’s my bottom line.  Yours is being a bastard!”  Brownlow calls him in for a chat, urging him to tone down the angry rhetoric.  “I have to live with the man.”  “No, sir – you have to live with both of us.”  “Well perhaps there is something to be said for Philip’s straightforward methods, if only to prove that a more enlightened approach is required.”  But Brownlow’s idea of compromise, playing both ends against the middle, gets short shrift.  “To be frank sir, I can’t see the point in letting him do things his way, just to show that he’s wrong.  And if you think Philip Cato is straightforward I suggest you think again.  Otherwise Sun Hill’s going to end up like Barton Street – and we all know what went on there, don’t we?” 

Cato’s malign influence spreads downwards through the ranks as well as sideways.  In Duncan Gould’s ‘Give ’Em An Inch’, Tony and Polly arrive at the town hall to find the residents’ committee of the Cockcroft Estate staging a protest.  The demo is hijacked by a mob of skinheads, and Tony radios in asking whether they should allow it to proceed.  The decision is referred upwards to Monroe, and in turn to Cato, who is singing a new tune of his own.  “You should hear yourself Andrew,” he chuckles.  “‘Known troublemakers’, ‘difficult estate’ – you’ve got about as much of an open mind as they have…  I thought you said this was about housing, not race?  It’s no wonder they hate Sun Hill coppers, if you don’t even let them have a yell about the condition of their estate!”  Confirming that it will go ahead, he then issues a veiled threat: “And it’s going to go off peacefully, isn’t it Andrew?  Without arrests – those are my orders.”  But he soon hears over the radio that a car is being attacked.  Its windows are kicked in and the Asian councillor inside threatened, before the police restrain the thugs.  Cato marches into CAD and orders them not to “aggravate the situation.”  But Tony announces that they have indeed made arrests, and his radio magically loses signal, much to Cato’s fury.  After putting pressure on Cryer to get the bodies processed and out ASAP, which is politely fended off, he demands a word with Stamp and Page.  “Follow my lead,” Tony tells Polly, showing that since his gung-ho early days he has become the glue that holds the relief together.  He holds the line, pointing out coldly that the arrests were made “after a great deal of provocation, and my recommendation that the protest shouldn’t be allowed to happen in the first place.”  Wound up over how they have been scapegoated, Tony hopes they can convince the occupants of the car to press charges.  The Bill was always adept at depicting office politics, and here we see how the criminals and victims become pawns in a game between officers and management.  The skinhead mates of the thugs descend on Sun Hill demanding their release, and Cato faces another mob of his own making, this time of a different hue.  Squaring up to their leader, he unleashes his outer psycho: “You’re very welcome to try and lay one on me, because smacking you in the mouth would just about make my day.  These young gentlemen were just leaving, sir,” he adds as Brownlow appears.  Again forced to explain himself, he condemns A Relief for letting the situation get out of hand, and promises to restore order.  Cryer, in blatant trolling mode, lets him know casually that one of the injured men is a councillor and he is apoplectic: “I was told they were just a couple of Asians passing by!  I don’t want to give the prisoners bail, Bob!  That was then!  Charge them with everything you can.” 

But things take yet another turn when Councillor Singh is interviewed.  The skinheads are angry about Asian families being re-housed before white ones, because they have more children and are therefore prioritised.  “Mr Singh is sitting on a wafer-thin majority on the Cockcroft Ward, apparently; so he doesn’t want to be seen to be prosecuting voters instead of doing something about problems on the estate.”  Thus the web is spun even wider, with the police becoming the pawns in a greater political game.  Cryer sees the damage this will do for their credibility: “We’re going to bung them back on the streets thinking they’ve made right prats of us – no, correction, knowing they’ve made right prats of us.”  Polly has been sent to give Cato the good news and emerges distraught, saying that he is talking about disciplinary action.  Tony goes in to bat for the pair of them and shows what he is made of.  During Cato’s time on the series, an interesting mirror effect develops between him and the officers he victimises.  Just as Conway begat a station of cynics and whingers, so Cato’s inflexible approach makes everyone around him equally stubborn and stiff-necked as they fight their corner.  “Am I right in presuming that this is a ‘hats off’ conversation, person to person, informal?”  “No you are not.”  “OK sir, we’ll keep it official; it’s all in my notebook anyway.  Informed CAD of the presence of Danny Hargood.  Informed CAD of the presence of Derek Crewe.  Informed CAD of the racial aspect of the protest.  Recommended that the demonstration should not take place, but despite that, was ordered to keep a low profile at the protest, and thus allowing an assault on a councillor to occur.  I had a decision taken away from me sir, which is fine.  But if I or Polly are to get into trouble for that, then this is not the last you’ll hear of it.”  In the great tradition of bullies, Cato begins to yield when someone stands up to him: “Perhaps we should make this an informal conversation after all.  No hats, no ranks.”  He agrees with Tony that his orders could well have been “a duff decision.”  He comes out and reassures Brownlow that “A Relief and I are quite familiar enough now, aren’t we Tony?”  The former gives Stamp a look of sympathy for what he’s going through. 

Cato’s reign of terror encompasses every PC on the relief.  In ‘Rank Outsider’, he calls into a petrol station and finds a Panda sitting there, being repaired by Mike.  Asked how life at Sun Hill compares to Barton Street, the latter insists, “No problems, sir,” with the wariness of someone edging round a pit bull.  His face falls as Steve returns with vital supplies from Mickey D’s.  “I prefer my officers not to do convenience shopping in police time,” Cato scolds them.  “Not very good for our public image, is it?” he adds, telling them to dispose of the burgers.  It’s not long before he tries to put Barry in his place, knowing that the Fed Rep is a potential challenge to his authority.  In ‘Mouth and Trousers’ a ban on overtime has put the relief under minimum strength and required single manning of vehicles.  This is the first airing of a concern which has become standard practice, and a standard danger, for the modern police.  “It’s a sign of the times, I’m afraid,” Cryer tells the relief.  “We’re all answerable to accountants these days.”  “Where’s Steve?” Dave asks Cathy.  “Central London reserve.”  “Mike?”  “Annual leave.”  “Reg?”  “Who cares?”  Cato is immovable as he sits at his desk, sharpening and tying up pencils.  “I, Barry, am responsible for a budget – a budget I, unlike the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have to keep to.  Nobody’s going to bail me out if I get it wrong,” he adds, airing another issue of the day that would become topical again near the end of the show’s life.  “There is nothing in the regulations to state that Pandas should go out anything other than single manned.”  “And how long’s it going to go on for – until one of our blokes gets a serious pasting in the street?  I mean, what is the cost?  An arm, a leg, a life?”  “Don’t get dramatic on me, Barry!  Go tell it to the politicians.  If I could do anything, I would.  But I can’t.”  Barry later complains that he is nothing but “a mouth and trousers merchant for the relief”, and sows the seeds of his departure, disillusioned with life at the top: “The politics, the power-mongering, the budgets.”  He’s enraged even further when George reassures him that “no one expected a result.  Cato’s got a reputation to maintain, hasn’t he?”  Cato later reveals that he is lifting the overtime ban, having agreed it with area – but this is not enough to placate Barry, who much to his bemusement is resigning as Fed Rep.  “It’s called politics, Barry.  You’ve won.  That’s all that matters.”  “Not really, sir.  You see with all respect, it’s not about winning.  We’re supposed to be on the same side.”  And on that conclusive-but-not-really note, another character vanishes into the ether: a subject returned to later in this review.

George’s blasé attitude to what Barry can achieve in the Fed Rep role seems too ironic to be a coincidence.  Not only does he take over the job himself, but he also exposes the limits of Cato’s power when the BBB goes for him next.  ‘Unreliable Witness’, by Steve Griffiths, opens with George in an irate mood after he has picked up a complaint.  Cato has a bigger bone to pick with Monroe, highlighting “a worrying trend” of ten complaints against A Relief in the past two months.  “Smart man, Garfield.  Good disciplinary record.  Blokes like him are my yardstick.  When they start to go wrong it tells me something about the relief.”  George chases a burglar into a garden and brings him down – but his pleas for help are ignored by the terrified homeowner, who the thug knows by name.  He gives George a black eye and escapes.  “I’d just like to thank you for that very touching display of public support,” he snaps at the owner, who is soon on the phone, making another complaint.  Cato collars George and starts laying into him in front of the other PCs, but finds he has met his match.  “So that’s it, is it?  Some punter has a pop and straight away you’re down my throat?  I don’t have to take this.  Suppose I put in a grievance?  Now this is well out of order and you know it.  I’ve got a station full of witnesses here!”  He is taken into Cryer’s office and Reg is straight on him, laying out the procedure eagerly: “You make this stick, they’ll have to transfer Cato out of here.”  Admitting that he isn’t one hundred per cent sure, he is advised by Cryer not to do anything rash, and considers his options as Reg presses home the point.  “Disciplinaries can take months.  With a grievance they’ve got to give you a result within two weeks.  They can get rid of chief inspectors like that these days.”  “Do you mind, this is my career you’re bargaining with!” 

“Do I actually need your permission to reprimand one of your officers?” Cato rages as Monroe tries to calm him down.  “No sir, but I wouldn’t expect you to do it in the full hearing of the whole station.  He’s entitled to the privacy of a formal interview and representation if he wants it.  You’ve shown him less consideration than an arrested person.”  He suggests resolving it informally, but Cato wants full disciplinary proceedings: “I’ve no intention of being blackmailed by the likes of Garfield.  If he wants to get into an arse-kicking contest then he’ll lose.”  “I don’t think so.  From what I saw and heard just now I’d say he’s got a pretty strong case.  He’d win sir, because I’d be supporting him – and we both know what that could mean.”  When the show chucks a firework like Cato into the mix, it demonstrates where the real power in the station lies.  It’s not in the high-ups or the rank and file but in between, with the rock-solid duo of Monroe and Cryer, who steer the ship gently in the right direction.  On Monroe’s advice, Cryer informs Brownlow of what has happened.  He remains unimpressed by his deputy: “You lose your temper in front of the whole of A Relief, and you want to know if I’ll back you up if it comes to a grievance?  Don’t you realise there are people at area just waiting to see how this new grievance procedure’s going to work?  Now my advice to you is to make your peace with Garfield and put this complaint down to experience.  Be a shame to have to change the management team here again so soon.  Don’t you agree?”  This veiled threat indicates a shift in the police of the Nineties; with the growing management culture comes the ability of individual PCs to exercise their rights, like any employee in the workplace.  The story also highlights the value of George as a character, and why he soon becomes the voice of the membership.  He may be eternally hapless and put-upon, but unlike his fellow officers he has a real concern for what the police represent, and how the job is done.  He at least is prepared to use the system, not just whine about it, and in doing so scores an important victory.

The dysfunctional nature of the ‘management team’ is exposed in ‘Compliments of the Service’, one of many brilliant episodes this year from A. Valentine, showcasing the blend of comedy and office politics that The Bill excelled at.  Brownlow is about to have his day in the sun, presenting a thousand-pound cheque from the property fund to a youth club on Jasmine Allen.  DAC Hicks is speaking to Conway about the progress of the CLO role, but he isn’t the only visitor.  DI Wellden, from the Drugs Squad, arrives with news of an imminent raid on the estate.  “What you don’t seem to realise is that this is one of the most sensitive estates on the Met,” says Brownlow.  “How do you think it’s going to look if I go and make a presentation in the wake of one of your drugs raids?”  A flat on the estate has been named as a distribution point, but he is unimpressed by Wellden’s source: “So your whole premise for this operation is based on the word of an arrested drug dealer?”  Nigel Humphreys gives a great performance as the interloper, conveying that sense of the unorthodox we often see with Drugs Squad officers in the show.  His casual approach and geography teacher aesthetic mark him out from the stuffed shirts he’s dealing with.  But Wellden’s chirpy manner disintegrates as he realises, to his astonishment, that the go-ahead will only be sanctioned if the CLO agrees to it.  “We need to stand together on this one, Philip,” says Brownlow.  “Give Derek our full backing.”  Conway himself is telling Hicks how many officers don’t value community policing.  “They don’t see it as real policing at all – and others seem to see the whole concept as little more than a blanket PR exercise,” he adds, as Brownlow descends to inform him of the situation.  “I assume as CLO you had the same viewpoint as us.”  “And, er, what viewpoint is that sir?” replies a furtive Conway, who is far too shrewd to paint himself into a corner.  “What happens if he’s right?  We can’t pass up the opportunity to stamp out drug dealing.”  “Let’s not argue about this Derek,” Brownlow sighs, “I’m sure we’ve both got the best interests of this division at heart.”  But in Conway’s bitter look is the suspicion that what his boss really has at heart is a photo op and a nice spread in the newspaper.

The story develops into a familiar charade: how many senior people does it take not to make a decision?  “I sympathise with your predicament, Charles,” says the imperious Hicks, “but it may not reflect too well on you if you’re seen to try to throw a spanner in the works.  Deny them permission to operate in your division?  Put yourself in their shoes.  Wherever we go in the job Charles, we have to rely on co-operation and goodwill.”  Floating at the edges of this battle, Cato is in an unusually upbeat mood.  Wellden approaches his mate Conway but is told that the final decision has to be made in consultation with Brownlow.  The two old stagers meet and go round in circles again, until they find common ground over their missing third wheel.  “Between you and me, I find Philip’s acquiescence in all this quite unlike what I’m used to expect from him.  Not his usual gung-ho attitude at all.  I think apart from trying to keep on the right side of me, he wants to make a point.”  “Don’t take it too hard, inspector,” the smug Cato taunts Wellden.  “I’m sure Derek Conway’s commitment to modern policing is as vital as yours and mine is to the business of nicking villains.”  His point-scoring vanishes in flames when Brownlow reveals that Conway has given the go-ahead.  “He’s agreed?” he mutters, with a face like thunder.  What we glean from this fiasco is that management policy is being formulated on the basis of What Will Piss Off Cato: the one thing for which Brownlow and Conway can set aside their differences.  They get the result they were asking for.  Wellden goes in all guns blazing, and his team sledgehammers its way into a totally empty flat.  Brownlow arrives on the estate soon afterwards, paper blowing through the streets, and seeks out the manager of the youth club.  “That’s me,” the man replies wearily as he gets up.  The photo taken, Brownlow presents the cheque to him “with the compliments of Sun Hill Police” in front of a deserted hall.  Had the chief super deigned to share the limelight with another officer, he could have echoed the advice that Conway already gave Garfield in a previous episode, when they met with the same reception at the same venue: “Well come on George, don’t stand about – mingle!”

“Why does he do it?” a despairing Monroe asks Cryer, when Cato has stuck his oar in yet again.  He gets a typically sage response: “He does it because he enjoys it.  He enjoys winding you up, getting under your skin.  The thing with Cato is that he’s into power.  Power over people.  That’s why he doesn’t mind if people hate him.  So don’t let him get to you, don’t let him jerk your string.”  “I don’t intend to.”  The two wily veterans are both adept at rolling with the punches over this series.  Bob remains the eminence grise, nudging Brownlow forward when he’s dragging his feet over something, like a helpful teacher guiding the stragglers in class.  Meanwhile, it’s easy to forget that Monroe was once the Cato of his day.  By this point he has softened from the fanatic who tried to nail Dave Quinnan throughout Series 6 and become the firm-but-fair authority figure we always remember him as.  Yet he’s still capable of hitting out when taken for granted.  In ‘Shake, Rattle ’N’ Roll’, Brownlow is ambushed by a complaint at the front desk in the presence of DAC Hicks.  On the principle of hitting down, he takes out his humiliation on Monroe: “I consider our public image to be of prime importance…. Is it too much to ask you and your officers to provide the kind of service expected?”  Stung by this unexpected attack, Monroe decides to crack down on a local pub run by a “professional wind-up merchant”, Terry McGill.  “I have never seen him so steamed,” observes Tony.  The operation has the Monroe trademark seen in his early days, when he is asked to put the heavies on a local gunsmith who the police don’t want in their area.  But rather than do this literally, his MO is to drown people with procedure.  He descends on the store to carry out a one-man safety inspection, checking that the paperwork is in order, then the shutter doors, then insisting that the alarm be tested, then that the fire exit is working properly.  By the time he leaves the owner is thoroughly demoralised, and warned to expect more checks in future. 

“Put the frighteners on him?” a cocky Dashwood asks unwisely on his return.  “It’s my experience that if you deal with the public in an open and even-handed manner, you’ll normally get the co-operation you deserve,” Monroe lectures him.  Likewise, when he raids McGill’s pub with vanloads of officers in support, he enforces death by rulebook.  “You agree that this man is drunk,” he says, pointing to a tottering alkie, “and yet you allowed him to stay on the premises in that state.  Supplying intoxicating liquor to a drunk, Terry, is an offence, you know that.  We will be making a full report to the brewery.”  Tony finds a fifteen-year old who has been served with lager.  Then Monroe homes in on another pressing issue: “I was going to ask you about your obligatory consumption of alcohol signs.  Where are they?  In the book along with the rest, Bob.”  The astonished McGill – Shaun Scott playing another slippery customer, an audition for Chris Deakin the following year – grabs Monroe’s arm and is arrested for assault.  “You’ve stitched me up,” he growls as he is booked in.  “I’m going to have you for that.”  “Make a note of the prisoner’s remark on the custody record, sergeant,” Monroe orders Maitland, showing his relief that if they follow the system rigidly it can work for them, not against them.  “I’m very proud of the way my officers handled the situation,” he later tells Brownlow over a drink, with a tinge of defiance.  The chief super gets the message and rows back on his criticism, realising he should appreciate a valuable asset when it’s in front of him.

Monroe is given a rare hint of backstory in Roy MacGregor’s ‘Broken’, which must have felt close to home to Colin Tarrant.  Brian Glover stars as the victim of an assault, Ken Farley, taken into custody for drunk and disorderly behaviour, insisting that he wants neither medical help nor anything to do with the police.  “I don’t need coppers helping me, so push off – back to Gestapo HQ!  Embarrassing is it, when they die on you?” he later winces from his cell bed.  “You’ve worked down a coal mine at some time,” Monroe observes, explaining to Mike Jarvis that “he’s got the miner’s tattoo: that blue scar on his forehead.  Caused by coal dust getting into an open wound.”  Farley’s daughter reveals that the attackers were working for her old employer, Frank Jennings, who runs a sweatshop staffed with foreign labour.  “Dad got to know some of them when I was there.  He meets them in the pub and, well, stirs them up.  Tells them they should strike for better pay.  He’s an old union man, isn’t he?  Couldn’t resist one last crusade!”  “There was a union official called Farley who worked around the Derbyshire coal fields,” Monroe recalls, and later visits his home.  In his room is a collection of photos, including one of the police charging a picket line: “It belongs to the past – like the rest of that lot.”  “You can’t forget where you came from; or the people who made you,” says Monroe.  “I started my working life as a miner.”  Farley turns to face him in disgust.  “Not a miner any more, though.  Do you sleep well?”  “I sleep very well.”  Monroe insists that they have a common adversary, and that he doesn’t like people being assaulted – one of whom was Polly, hit by Farley’s attackers.  “I’m sure your officers can take it, they’ve never been averse to dishing it out.  You’re asking me to help the police?”  “Yes, and why is that so difficult?”  “Because, when you put on that uniform and walked away from the pit, you became my enemy!”  “I’d say that’s your enemy, Ken,” Monroe corrects him, pointing to a drained bottle.  Soon after leaving, he learns that Jennings has stormed off to “sort Farley once and for all.”  He returns to find him injured and is nearly glassed himself.  Farley dies in hospital, partly due to pancreatitis brought on by his long-term drinking.  Unaware of this, Jennings asks casually from his cell, “Why can’t he leave it alone?  I can’t understand the bloke.”  “No,” replies Monroe simply as he leaves.  This kind of pithy conclusion was often required in the half-hour era – and yet, in its own way, is as effective as the last time the show addressed the miner’s strike directly, in 1987 when it was fresh in the mind.  Like Nick Shaw before him, Monroe is faced with a charge of betraying his own side but he is able to rebut it with more confidence, having put enough years into the job to know he has made a difference.  

While the CLO post has more effect on the management than the lower ranks, one PC is thrust into new surroundings.  “Domestic violence?” a sceptical George asks Norika when she voices an interest in the DVU.  “You get enough of that at the section house.”  But the role that comes to define her time on the show is as much of a learning curve for the woman herself as the Neanderthals around her.  “This one’s yours then,” George advises as they respond to a domestic.  Unable to make themselves heard through the shouting and screaming, they break in to find a woman attacking her boyfriend.  “I had a few drinks, Lisa got mad, end of story,” he insists.  Once they have left, a glib Norika tells George, “That’s got to be a first for me.  A battered husband?”  “Boyfriend.  Poor little scrote.”  “Oh come on, he was bigger than she was!” “Yeah – but you wouldn’t be walking away smiling if he had been laying into her, would you?  You’d be straight onto the DVU.”  What feels like a throwaway scene, depicting an attitude that we now wince at, turns out to be anything but.  They are called back after reports of another fight.  “Tell them to help with the dusting this time,” Boyden advises June.  The woman, Lisa, is lying on the bed covered in blood – but it’s not hers.  The man is slumped in the living room, run through with a knife.  Ridden with guilt, Norika brings the distraught woman in for questioning.  “Well I stuck a breadknife in him, didn’t I?  It was still on the table from breakfast.  Shaun don’t like packet bread.  We were rowing, shouting – not fighting.  It takes two to fight; Shaun won’t fight.  Won’t hit a woman, yeah?  So when I go out he just sits there, and sits there, and gets drunk.  Or for a change he’ll do the housework, ’cos he’s got nothing else to do.  And when I come in from work it just screws me up and I end up hitting him… ”  “Perhaps he cares for you.”  “Well if he cared for me then he’d do something about it, wouldn’t he?  If he really, really cared about me then he’d hit me!”  Outside her cell, Norika confirms that the man didn’t ask for help the first time round.  “Well then there’s not a lot else you could have done, is there?” says Burnside.  “We might have tried if he’d been a woman,” she admits, covering up a little with the plural.  They learn that he died of liver failure in hospital.  Conway later finds Norika watching the decorators at work.  “You thinking of moving down here too?” he tempts her.  “You should, it’ll be great fun.”  “Depends on what you mean by fun,” she muses to herself.

Attitudes had indeed moved on since the earliest days of the half hours, which include an episode where Ted Roach deals with a battered husband who always criticises his wife over her housekeeping.  “What was it this time?” he asks at the end when he arrives to find the man being wheeled into an ambulance.  “Soggy cornflakes,” the husband replies.  The farcical tone has more to do with the day in the life feel of those early episodes than an indifference to the issue itself, however.  Over time stories about domestic violence become more and more frequent, until in 1992 Russell Lewis delivers a trilogy focusing on Cathy Marshall’s stint as a trainee in DVU.  Unlike her, Norika has no first-hand experience of the issue – and unlike her she manages to stay the distance.  Notably, while the victims are primarily female, it’s the male bodies that continue to pile up.  ‘Cried Too Late’, the second episode by Mark Wingett’s brother Matthew, begins with the arrest of a shoplifter who is in a daze, her arms and legs covered in bruises.  Having tried to start a new life away from her overprotective parents, her marriage fell apart as her husband beat her “like a dumb animal!  When it gets that bad you have to stop it somehow, don’t you?” she sobs, the implications of that remark sailing over Norika’s head.  She is seduced by the idea of a new life elsewhere, getting a job and travelling the world.  Norika tries to bring her down to earth by proposing a refuge, but she is hesitant, “As though it’s not quite real.”  She changes her mind completely and wants to go home, reluctantly agreeing to a lift.  Norika breaks into the locked flat and finds an electrical cord running under the bathroom door.  Suddenly it all adds up.  Pushing open the door, she is met by the dead face of the husband, staring out from a bathtub with a heater thrown in.  “It’s real… I thought I’d dreamed it,” the woman stammers.  “Look, just let me get away and make a fresh start, like you said.  He taught me this,” she declares, holding the stick he used on her.  “How to fight!”  The trend continues when Norika tackles abuse in her own community, a recurring feature of the mid-Nineties episodes.  In ‘Tender Mercies’ she counsels a woman who met her husband at the age of sixteen and has been confined to the home for twenty years, bringing up the children and taking regular beatings.  Now he has disappeared, Norika wants to hand over leaflets on women’s support groups, but is advised by Cathy that “you’ve only been in DVU for five minutes.  I’d tread carefully to start with.”  This is the same advice Cathy got from her stern superior during her placement the year before, showing that the WPCs who want to make a difference find their enthusiasm being dulled when they step into the cautious world of the specialists.  But there is indeed more going on than meets the eye.  The husband has ‘disappeared’ because he ran up huge gambling debts, borrowing from the bakery he runs with his wife’s brothers.  Tosh and Cryer pay them a visit and discover that they have used the tools of the trade to good effect: first a dough knife, then the oven in the back for storage. 

The show got plenty of mileage from exploring these dysfunctional households.  In ‘Part of the Family’, a young woman brought in with a stolen credit card is found to have bruises from where she was hit by a belt.  She works as a domestic servant, “or slave rather” her boyfriend insists, for a Middle Eastern couple, the Sayeds.  Monroe checks with the Home Office and learns that “she’s here on something called Domestic Entry Clearance, which means she can work in the Sayeds’ household but nowhere else.  And she has to live there: she shouldn’t have moved in with her boyfriend.  From an immigration point of view, it’s as if she’s part of the family.”  The woman, Sarita, reveals that her family works for theirs in the Middle East, which got her the job, but the wife is jealous of her supposed designs on her husband and started beating her.  “Officer, let me explain something to you,” the wife purrs.  “In my country, what goes on inside a person’s own household is their own concern, it is not the concern of the police.”  “Let me explain something to you, Mrs Sayed,” Norika declares.  “You’re in this country now and subject to the laws of this country.  In this country, a young woman being assaulted is very much the concern of the police.”  But moments later she finds out that Sarita has withdrawn her allegations, for obvious reasons.  Norika makes a last-ditch appeal, arguing that she could make a difference for others in the same boat.  “You don’t understand,” Sarita replies calmly.  “What good would it do me?”  When she returns to the front desk, the husband ushers her out warmly while the wife strides ahead of them with disdain.

It’s no surprise that Norika, who believes resolutely in her own Britishness, and who sounds the part more than others born closer to home, emphasises the law of the land.  In ‘Behind Closed Doors’, an Asian woman is found badly beaten in the shop she runs with her husband.  “Ramesh never does a thing for himself,” their neighbour scoffs.  “Why do you think he got married?  I know what he’s like.  He’s scrounged off my husband for years, and off his older brother.  And now this arranged marriage to a sweet girl from Gujarat who’d do anything for him: no matter how he treats her.”   The tearful woman reveals that she was forced to clean their cooker in the middle of the night, then berated for making too much noise and finally cut with a knife.  “Veena, I know you’re afraid of him, and of the disgrace, and your honour matters very much to you.  It’s not a question of izzat anymore.  You have to think of your safety.”  Jo and Tosh find him at his brother’s house and he turns nasty when arrested.  “Take orders from a woman, do you?” he sneers at Tosh.  Their father, who cannot understand English, tries to intervene and is arrested too.  The smooth-talking brother, Kishore, evidently the man that deals with the outside world, is furious when Steele wants to see his father’s passport: “Do you carry yours around with you?”  As a local bigwig and acquaintance of Conway, he complains about the offensive way they have been treated.  “According to DS Morgan, your father carried on fighting after you’d twice told him to stop.”  “She understands Gujarati, does she?  Respect runs two ways, Mr Conway.  Your officers have got to learn respect for our people, if we’re going to respect them.”  Conway responds angrily, telling him to stop acting like he’s “the first person ever to be rubbed up the wrong way by a custody sergeant.”  But he does, nevertheless, lean on Morgan to drop the charges against the father, to ensure that the brother co-operates on the more serious offence.  “And they say there’s no such thing as racial discrimination in this country,” remarks a droll Steele.  All smiles, Kishore suggests that this shows things are best resolved behind closed doors.  Conway asks Norika to “steer him away” from this point of view: and like all the minority officers before and after her, she has to walk the difficult line between the police and her own community.  “Maybe I know Veena just a little better than you?” he snaps after she has suggested moving her into a women’s refuge.  “And maybe I do know what’s best.  It certainly isn’t for her to turn her back on her culture as you seem to have done!”  “My culture’s exactly the same as yours,” Norika protests.  “The only difference is that I’m seeing this from a woman’s point of view.”  “Listen to yourself.  The arbiter of British justice.”  “This is my job, Mr Patel.  And British justice may not be perfect, but Veena has absolutely nothing to gain from going back to Ramesh.  Unless you want to see her intimidated and confused and put back in her place again?”  Only when he is taken to the hospital, and sees the appalling injuries for himself, does he realise that he can’t cover this up.

But “the laws of this country” that Norika believes in are tested in ‘To Have and to Hold’, by Edward Canfor-Dumas: a name worth repeating if ever there was one, which is just as well since it crops up again and again in this review.  There were some years of the show where one writer became the go-to person for standout episodes, and so it is here with Canfor-Dumas, a regular contributor for the past two years.  A young woman arrives at the front desk and, unlike many of the cowed victims who struggle to broach the subject, wastes no time getting to it: “I’ve just been raped.  By my husband.”  The layers are unearthed in a captivating performance by Alex Kingston, who had a recurring role as a hospital consultant in the early half-hours (what is it with this woman and doctors?).  The woman, Maggie Fisher, says that her husband “wouldn’t accept that when I said no, I meant no.”  “I’ve been waiting for one of these to turn up,” says a glum Burnside.  “Let us know as soon as you’ve got something.  That is, if there’s anything to get.”  Maggie reveals that they have been separated for four months, but they had a meal at a restaurant the night before.  “I thought we were going to discuss, you know, selling the house and everything, but Mark…  Mark thought we were going to talk about getting back together.  Anyway, he had too much to drink and couldn’t drive, so I said he could stay at the house.  On the sofabed.  Which he did, until I woke up, at 6.17, with him climbing all over me.  I told him to get off, he wouldn’t.  He just kept saying I was his wife, and he loved me.  When I said I’d scream, he grabbed me and said I’d better not.  Then… he raped me.  Then he got dressed, and went off to work.”  “Sounds like some of the blokes I know,” remarks the ever-sensitive Carver when he hears this.  “Well face it, it’s going to come down to arguing the toss about consent, isn’t it?”  The husband is traced to a firm in Holborn, where he works as an insurance salesman.  “Well let’s hope he’s fully comprehensive then,” says Burnside.  The FME concludes that intercourse has taken place, but “nothing dramatic.”  She notes that Maggie has been in the shower for twenty minutes, but advises Norika to “give her a little longer.  Still a long way off the record.”

When Maggie is told that she will have to go through it all again in more detail, she begins to have second thoughts.  “If you look at it logically, what he did wasn’t anything I didn’t let him do hundreds of times when we were together.”  “Force you to have sex with him against your will?”  “Persuade me, yes.”  Norika points out that it’s her decision alone, and that she may have to testify in court if it gets that far: “I don’t suppose it’ll come as any surprise that he’s saying you were a willing partner.”  “The little creep…!  All right then.  I’m all yours.”  Burnside ploughs on with interviewing Fisher, before they have taken a full statement from her.  “I think we should at least hear what he’s got to say, don’t you?” he tells a doubtful Norika.  “I mean for all we know they might have spent a night of passion together, and she’s got the ’ump because he forgot to kiss her goodbye.  Number of false alarms we get…”  Fisher has already got a lawyer, whose opening gambit is to point out that the couple are “currently in dispute over the terms of the divorce.  Obviously if Mr Fisher were in prison for rape, he’d be at a severe disadvantage contesting the terms of the settlement.”  While he maintains that the sex was consensual, Norika, investigating the woman’s side, is in her own words playing devil’s advocate: “A cosy meal for two, invitation back to your place – some people might say you were asking for trouble…  If a bloke I’d just split up from had told me he still loved me, and he’d been drinking, and I asked him back to spend the night – well, it would have at least crossed my mind that he might try something on.”  “Look, I know Mark, I’ve lived with him for four years.  It never occurred to me that he’d do anything like that!  To tell you the truth, I didn’t think he had it in him.  Besides… well, you’re probably going to find out anyway now that I’ve been ‘opened’ to the world… there’s somebody else.  Has been for about a year.  He was with me the night before Mark stayed.”  We see the problems caused by somebody who isn’t an ‘ideal’ victim: angry and brittle, but not a weeping mess, and in possession of an active sex life which can be turned against her.

Burnside begins to needle Fisher, asking who earns more out of the two of them: “She turns round and accuses you of rape because she thinks somehow that’s going to get her a better divorce settlement?”  “She does, now,” he admits through gritted teeth.  “And you think this had anything to do with your marriage splitting up?”  “No, and it wasn’t why I raped her either.  Um…” he stumbles, “I mean it doesn’t mean I raped her either.”  He explains that the hours she worked were a problem, keeping her away from home day and night.  When he adds that he can’t remember how long it was since they last had sex, Burnside pounces.  “Let me get this right, Mr Fisher.  You say that your wife went off you.  Then all of a sudden she changes her mind, and lets you make love to her.  Then immediately afterwards, she changes her mind back again, comes straight down here and reports you for raping her!”  The exchange demonstrates that while he has an inbuilt cynicism about cases like this, he won’t cling to the man’s side as a matter of course.  He knows that he’s guilty, but in the end it doesn’t matter.  “I don’t think we’ve got enough to charge.  I can shove it up to the Can’t Prosecute Service, but I can’t see them very being impressed.  For what it’s worth Norika, I think he probably did it.  But I also reckon he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong.  I mean the finger marks on the face might have swung it, but now there’s a boyfriend in the frame.”  “Well they can’t use that against her in court!”  “Oh, come on,” Jim sneers, showing what half a decade in CID has done to the wide-eyed crusader of the early years.  “They’re not meant to,” says Meadows, “but any defence brief worth his salt will try and bring it in.”  “Why don’t we put an ad in the paper?” she complains.  “If your husband rapes you don’t bother the Met, because there’s nothing we can do!”  “Well as far as I’m concerned, in this case, on this evidence, there isn’t.”  “Marital rape?  I blame the feminists meself,” says Boyden, Mr Chivalry as ever.  “Till they got going it wasn’t even a crime, was it?”

Fisher is released with advice to keep well away from his wife – but his solicitor says ominously that they have already discussed this.  The ending is perhaps the darkest twist of all.  Norika gives Maggie a lift back to her house, where they discover her husband, sitting on a sofa having a drink.  “What the hell are you doing here?”  “I live here.  I’ve decided to move back, after taking legal advice.”  “How dare you, get him out!”  “I don’t think she can, darling.  I wasn’t charged with anything.  I wasn’t even arrested.  So according to my solicitor, there’s absolutely no reason I can’t come back here, to my own home.  Is there, Constable?  Apparently it’s very important I should be living here right now, for the final settlement.  Possession being nine-tenths of the law and all that.  You don’t want to do anything you might regret, do you?” he adds after she lashes out at him.  Norika takes her outside and suggests that she try to get an injunction – but with that being the best option, she has had enough.  “I can’t stay here.  Should have kept my big mouth shut, shouldn’t I?”  Not only does the victim get no justice, she is driven from her own home by her assailant.  In the same way that The Bill highlighted muggings and burglaries over abduction and serial killings, so it observed that rape is largely a domestic crime, not a random attacker on a dark night.  It’s a point made before in these reviews, but worth repeating: these episodes were being watched by around 1 in every 4 people in the country.  A storyline such as this does well to highlight a problem, but would do absolutely nothing to encourage real-life victims to come forward, thinking that it could get as bad as this. 

During Series 9 we see community policing from the view of the police, but not always done by them; Citizens Are Doing It For Themselves.  In ‘School of Hard Knocks’, the relief is told of a series of milk thefts in Elcott Gardens.  “Looking for someone with a lot of bottle then, are we Sarge?” Tony asks Maitland, paying for his big mouth when he is put on surveillance with June, caused by pressure from the local Neighbourhood Watch.  “Oh, it’s you two is it?” Burnside asks as they set out in the pouring rain.  “Operation Gold Top?”  “And we don’t want to hear any more about free Shredded Wheat,” snaps June.  He is after Bill O’Brien, an armed robber who lives in the same street, and wants them to keep an eye on his house.  “I hate Neighbourhood Watchers,” Tony declares as they arrive at the home of the woman in charge.  She greets them at the doorstep and delivers a monologue while they stand there dripping, before Tony asks plaintively, “Can we come in, please?”  An elderly resident, Jenner, reminds them that they are here to solve the Great Milk Robbery: “You’re supposed to be here on our behalf, watching our property – law-abiding people, not like that jailbird!”  It all stems from his ongoing feud with the local kids; when one boy stole a bottle of milk, he was grabbed and imprisoned in Jenner’s house, and they began a campaign of theft.  “I shouldn’t have to lock him up, that’s what you lot should be doing!  There’s no ‘only’ about it.  Theft is theft.  People seem to forget that these days.”  But later in the episode, the Watch leader tells June and Tony that O’Brien’s neighbour heard a row take place the night before, and then saw a delivery of boxes to his home.  Burnside realises this is proof of the counterfeiting business he has set up and pays him another visit.  O’Brien comes out wielding a baseball bat and makes a run for it – only to be stopped by Jenner, who won’t let him go.  “Leave him alone you silly old sod, he’ll kill you!” Burnside yells at him as he is walloped.  But he keeps hold long enough for the police to subdue their man, and is defiant as his injuries are treated: “There are times when you have to do your bit.”  June and Burnside are cynical about their “have a go hero”, yet the snoopers of suburbia have delivered both intel and physical aid.  This is one of the rare times where the police and the episode itself are telling us different things.  The show always affected a liberal disdain for middle class curtain twitchers; refreshingly, these ones at least can put their money where their mouth is.

‘Keeping in Touch’ develops the theme of residents tackling their own problems in the vacuum left by an overstretched police.  Tony and Polly are called to the Parkmead Estate, where an intruder has been reported in the home of a blind woman.  Her front door is opened by a guard from Pointon’s Security, assigned to patrol the estate.  “You think, she pays three quid a month just to have that plonker strutting round the streets for a few hours a day,” Polly remarks as they watch him tell off a group of kids.  “Someone’s coining it in.”  Meanwhile, Monroe deals with a complaint from a woman who declares that “one of your thugs” gave her son a slap.  “I’d say these youths probably found a Pointon’s Security man to wind up,” he tells Brownlow.  “These people have only been patrolling for two weeks, already we’ve had three complaints.  Are you telling me people can’t differentiate between a uniformed police officer and these tin-pot ‘security wardens’?”  “Well, their jumpers are certainly similar to our own – intentionally, I imagine.”  “Are they under the misapprehension that they have special powers?  Or do they just enjoy throwing their weight around?”  The security guard, Bright, is found attacking a youth who he claims has beaten up the old woman, Mrs Ellis.  She is badly injured and both men are taken into custody.  A PNC check reveals that Bright has convictions for burglary.  “That’s a great bloke to have as a security guard, isn’t it?” notes Alan.  Brownlow visits his boss, John Pointon, who is expanding offices from Manchester to London: “Streets paved with gold, and not enough people to look after them.  Business is booming.  I’d have thought you’d welcome us with open arms, Chief Superintendent.  We’re not too much different from the old Neighbourhood Watch, so where’s the objection?”  “The difference is, Mr Pointon, you’re only in it for the money.”  “We’re pros, same as you…  The people of Parkmead Estate pay me, basically, because they can’t trust you.  Truth of it is, you lot have lost touch.  You haven’t got enough resources.  Not enough people on the ground, and too many up in their ivory towers.”  “You’ve been poorly advised, Mr Pointon.”  “So you really think Sun Hill Police are going to keep an eye on people’s property and make them sleep easier in their beds?”  “I can assure you we’ll be keeping our eyes on your operations in the future.  I will do everything in my power to protect the public against any criminal element I find on the streets.”  Conway later complains that Brownlow has “managed to drive a gargantuan wedge between us and Pointon…  Look, his wardens are ensconced on the Parkmead Estate.  While the residents are paying them, they’re not gonna leave, so why don’t we try and establish a reasonable working relationship?” 

Bright is interviewed and insists that he saw the youth, Walsh, standing over the woman and attacked him in a fit of rage.  He observes that some kids are the kind who’ll throw a stone today, mug an old lady tomorrow.  Greig brings up his own criminal past: “And you’re different, are you?”  “Yeah, of course I am!  I want to help you lot.  I fight crime, I don’t commit it.”  He turns out to be one of the show’s familiar figures, the police wannabe, who wanted to join up but failed his entrance exams.  “Bad marks and his criminal record, more likely.”  Greig visits Mrs Ellis in hospital and, not for the first time, extracts useful details from a blind witness.  She was saving up money for a holiday in Cornwall but wouldn’t tell the intruder where it was hidden, even when his oily hand was around her throat.  When it comes to The Bill’s guest artists we usually single out the familiar faces, but the standard of jobbing actors over the years deserves more credit – especially in interview scenes, where the goal of extracting a confession is always the same, the crimes a variation on a familiar theme.  Lee Whitlock’s performance as Walsh, a gaunt, acne-ridden weasel drawing on a cigarette and swearing “on me muvver’s life” that he’s innocent, turns what could be an identikit thug into an absorbing and all too believable figure.  After Greig gets permission to smell his hands – “Do what you like, mate” – he is told of the woman’s description and his confidence fades.  “What’d she want it for?  Money.  I’ve been keeping me eye on her.  She’s got some tucked away, I mean old dears always have a stash somewhere.  I get eighty quid a week down that poxy garage; a hundred and sixty quid to go on holiday.  There ain’t no point in her going on holiday, is there?”  “Why’s that then?”  “Well she can hardly go sightseeing.”  Bright is released with a warning to watch his temper, and is keen to “get back out on the beat.”  His offer of help in the future gets a guarded response from Cryer, but implicit in the story is the question: can the police afford to be choosy about their allies?  Brownlow’s distinction between an officer of the law and a tin-pot heavy may be lost on people in need of help – and they can’t be left to solve their own problems.  When power slips into the hands of the ordinary citizen, it rapidly goes out of control. 

The cost of vigilantism is a recurring theme throughout this year.  Philip Palmer’s ‘The Fortress’ features another war between a gang of youths and a curmudgeonly man, this time the owner of an off-licence.  Maitland and Loxton arrive to find him kneeling over a boy who he caught stealing.  The latter claims he was tripped and kicked, and is taken to hospital with an injured arm.  Maitland arrests them both, a decision that goes down badly with everyone.  Boyden admits to being “a bit puzzled, that’s all.  Don’t really see why you had to bring him in here.  He was only…”  “Defending his property?  Don’t give me all that.”  “Yeah, well it’s true.  I’d do the same in his shoes and so would you.”  “No.  You’re wrong.  I wouldn’t.”  “Ah, you’re such a stickler aren’t you John?  I bet you wouldn’t cross the road if the green man was flashing.”  “I just don’t want Clark to think he’s got a licence to go round beating people up.”  “June?” asks Boyden, rubbing it in.  “You cover that robbery at Poplar Mansions yesterday?  Do us a favour, would you – go and arrest the householder for aiding and abetting.”   He slips Clark a few words of advice on the way to his cell: “Just between you and me, you can walk away from all this.  No court appearance, no conviction.  All you have to do is go guilty.  Innocent means you have to go to court and argue your case, but you say, ‘Yeah, I did hit him a bit hard’, you get away with a caution.  No sweat.”  “That’s blackmail!”  “That’s the system.  But if you want to do it the hard way…”  Maitland insists that “it wasn’t reasonable force, it was a beating,” and tells Monroe why he is making such a big deal of it.  “Fact is I had a case like this before, a burglar who ended up in intensive care.  Three brothers came home and found him on the premises.  We took them to court, they were acquitted.  Always stuck in my throat, that.  It’s not justice, it’s the lynch law.”  “Maybe, but what would you have done?  If you found an intruder standing by your wife’s bed?”  “I’d knock his block off.  I wouldn’t gouge his eyes.  I wouldn’t jump on his fingers.  I wouldn’t beat him with a club till he lost consciousness.” 

After more coaching from Boyden, Clark sees Monroe.  “We are considering a charge of Actual Bodily Harm,” he is warned, “but if you’re willing to admit the offence then a caution might be more in order.”  “Well that suits me better.  I haven’t got time to appear before a magistrate, I’ll take the caution.”  “It’s not intended as a prize in a game show!  It will go on your record.”  Monroe reads him the riot act, emphasising that his behaviour was “vicious and unnecessary.”  The boy, Billy Hall, is interviewed once he has been released from hospital, to the disgust of Steve who has had to play nursemaid outside the ward.  He protests that he is not a thief, but is argued down with inescapable Loxton Logic: “Look, face facts pal, you come from a slag estate, you go nicking, that makes you a slag, end of story.”  But Monroe hears a different story from the local kids, of how Billy’s younger brother was beaten up by Clark and he went in to take something to get his own back.  Monroe tells Maitland that his instincts were right, though he has sympathy for Clark: there have been repeated thefts and vandalism of his store, but he is targeting the wrong group of kids because they hang around nearby.  A mob descends on the off-licence, threatening to smash it up.  “Clear out, will you?” Steve yells as he tries to get inside.  “Or I’ll show you how we play Coppers and Minors!” [I think that’s with an ‘o’, I couldn’t be sure without recourse to the script…]  Monroe goes over to reason with them, to the disbelief of Tony: “He’s going to get himself killed, we need back-up!”  Billy threatens him with a broken bottle, egged on by his mates.  But Monroe stands his ground and he backs down.  “We’ve contained the situation,” Monroe announces, refusing to make arrests.  “Let’s call it a day.”  “Fair enough.  Save it till next time, shall we?” replies a lippy Steve.  The story is summed up neatly in an exchange between Stringer and Boyden, when Billy’s father has come down to get him from the station and he runs off.  “Ten to one that lad gets a hiding tonight.”  “Good.  That’ll teach him.”  “No it won’t.”  “No, you’re right – it won’t.”

The same problems occur even when it’s just the grown-ups playing.  In ‘Out of Court’ by Mark Holloway, a man and his girlfriend are in the dock accused of assaulting an Asian taxi driver.   Jim cannot believe that the jury haven’t questioned why the defence made no character reference to the woman, Jenks, who “has more form than Desert Orchid.”  Sure enough, the man, Westbrook, is found guilty and gets three months, “Madam a one hundred and fifty pound fine and a severe talking to.”  The jury then listen in dismay as the prosecuting counsel reads from her three-page list of convictions, citing GBH and drunk and disorderly behaviour.  Westbrook’s father Len grabs her and has to be restrained.  Later in the pub, June is amazed that the driver kept his cool after the verdict.  “I don’t know, maybe he’s just a nicer person than I am.  When you see someone you know has attacked you walking away scot-free, it just…”  She trails off, burying her own memories of the Everton Warwick case.  There follows what can only be described as a flagrant breach of ‘the rules’.  While Jim is at the bar, out of both sight and earshot, Jenks goes up to the jury to thank them for their sterling work.  “Get her a drink, a big one,” a man in a blazer says, pointing to the forewoman.  “It’s her you’ve got to thank.  According to Lady Muck here, you never laid a finger on that man.”  The forewoman rushes off, with Jenks mocking her behind her back.  “If I’d had my way, they’d have locked you up and thrown away the key,” the other juror declares – and after this important exchange has been delivered to us, the audience, but not the police, we return to their perspective.  The forewoman finds June in the ladies’ and asks her if she’s going to do anything about Jenks, who is “out there, doing all she can to cause trouble.”  “Well if she breaks the law, I could nick her.  But the chances are I’d be wasting my time, because the next jury she goes in front of could do exactly what you did.”

Soon afterwards, Jenks is found in the car park, mown down by a car that failed to stop.  Suspicion falls on Len Westbrook, who claims not to have done it but is happy to buy whoever did a drink.  Burnside questions his moral high ground: “‘Your Sean’ toe-capped some poor bod halfway to Hammersmith!  And then he got nicked because he was too tanked up to leg it before the Panda car arrived!  What do you expect us to do, give him a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award?”  Len insists that his son never behaved like that before he came under Jenks’ malign influence, and he himself was going to teach her a lesson.  “But somebody else got there first – not that I’ve ever hit a woman!” he adds hastily.  “Oh, well that does restore my faith in human nature.”  He is cleared when the forewoman, Vanessa Bennett, turns up at the front desk to report an accident, which initially panicked her.  “And after you stopped ‘panicking’, you still didn’t report it,” points out a sceptical Burnside.  “You drove your car at her deliberately.  She’d humiliated you and you couldn’t take it.”  “You’re making me out to be like her.”  “Aren’t you?” snaps Jim.  “You both think you’re above the law.  You both lie when it suits you.  And you’re both arrogant enough to think you can get away with it!”  Rather too quickly to be plausible, she goes into a hysterical fit and has to be calmed down.  “Give me an honest blagger any day,” Burnside tells Carver, doubtful that they will make the charge stick.  “She’s just spent two weeks sitting in the Crown Court, watching the professionals at it.  She knows that if she shuts up now, no jury’s going to convict her.”  This has further echoes of the Warwick case, c.f. the exchange between Monroe and Cryer – the former criticising policemen who sit tight and deny misconduct, the latter saying it works for the villains, so why not them?  It demonstrates how the ruthlessness of ‘the criminal classes’ seeps into those who deal with them.  But the non-police scene arguably undermines the story, making the woman’s enmity plain early on, rather than having it exposed as the layers are peeled back near the end.  This way, as was the case back in Series 1, we, the audience can see far ahead of the officers, which neuters some of the suspense. 

This philosophy of ‘can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ reaches its logical conclusion when vigilante behaviour comes to Sun Hill itself.  It’s not hard to see who the culprit would be; while Boyden may talk a good game, only one man is reckless enough to try it.  ‘By Hook Or By Crook’ opens with the trial of the vicious David Slater for beating a policeman.  A witness describes how he kicked and punched him, before picking up a metal post and smashing his legs, which left him in a wheelchair.  No sooner have we heard this grotesque account than the story cuts to Slater swanning out of court, telling reporters that “British justice is the best in the world!  Cheers mate,” he adds, extending a fake-out handshake to Roach.  “Our eye witness was standing six feet away,” Ted tells Burnside.  “And the prat of a judge tells the CPS that it would be too dangerous to convict based on the strength of what he saw.”  Roach is keen to ensure that another pending charge of GBH against Slater doesn’t go the same way – but is told by a CPS lawyer that in this case too, his evidence is thin and depends on a sole witness.  The fate of the disabled officer, PC Milsome, is discussed in the canteen.  “He’ll get chucked out of the job.”  “Not like the old days, is it?” muses June.  “They used to look after you then, give you a cushy desk job or something.”  “He’ll get criminal injuries and a pension,” says George.  “Reduced pension,” Steve corrects him.  “Might pick up a DAC’s commendation if he’s lucky, as they chuck his arse out of the back door!” he declares, unaware the man is passing by.  Milsome talks with Brownlow, who acknowledges a slight flaw in his much-vaunted £1.3 million Station for the Nineties: “Unfortunately the architects didn’t think to install a lift.”  “I don’t suppose they were expecting to cater for coppers in wheelchairs, sir.”  “Look, Nick… if this does mean an end to your active police career, I hope you realise that we won’t be turning our backs on you.  There are other jobs.”  “Yeah.  And with respect sir, if you look outside in the big wide world, there are three million people looking for one.  Only difference is, they can walk up and down stairs.”

Cock a hoop after his victory, Slater arrives at the front desk and asks to see Roach.  The young Neil Stuke delivered several memorable performances in the show, and this swaggering thug is the best of the bunch.  “The ’fing is, Sgt. Roach, I’ve been talking to my brief.  He tells me that I ought to seriously think about suing you lot for unlawful arrest.”  This induces the psychotic gleam in Roach’s eye that is normally brought on by another failed board.  “You gotta be off your flipping trolley, mate.  Every inch of you smells of guilt!”  He yanks him to his feet and Slater holds out his cigarette.  “Make my day,” Ted hisses, as Meadows enters just in time.  “Anyway Sergeant I’d better be going, gotta organise that old celebration drink-up, you know what I mean?  Come along about half-seven, Duke of Marlborough.  Ooh – invite your mate if you like.  He can get legless!”  Determined to get even, Roach visits an old associate – and after checking him for a wire, makes a proposal.  “You remember the good old days, Mick?  We were on different sides of the fence then, but we still had a sort of respect for each other; a code of honour.  Yeah, there was justice in those days,” he says, referring to his formative years in the 1970s when, he reminded Galloway wistfully in Series 3, you could sort out evil slags by planting shotguns on them.  “These are difficult times, Mick.  It’s us now, the coppers, who are on trial, while the guilty men go free…  You remember the Cranleigh Street job?  You’ve built yourself a nice little life since then, haven’t you, while your two fellow blaggers languished in Parkhurst.”  Once again Roach calls in an old debt, like he did with his former colleague Harkness in Series 7.  This devious side is what makes him such a compelling character; underneath the boozing and brawling is a ticking brain that logs every favour he grants someone, copper or villain, so that it can be used as leverage in future.   He wants Mick to walk into his nearest station and say that he saw “this man”, i.e. Slater, attacking an Asian man.  “So that there’s no mistaking the ID, I want you to eyeball him first.  The Duke of Marlborough – he’ll be in the public bar.”

On his return to the nick, Ted is given the third degree by Meadows, suspicious as ever of what he does in both police time and his own.  “Look Ted, just take it easy will you.  We put ’em in court, the system lets them go; it’s not a professional failure on our part.”  Roach visits the injured man, Hassan, and his angry brother, who threatens to get justice himself.  Ted’s ensuing rant is a perfect précis of his character: righteous anger used to shield a conniving streak.  “Slater’s laughing at us – all of us.  Your brother’s not the first to suffer at his hands.  And he will be down the Duke of Marlborough tonight celebrating with his friends, having crippled one of my colleagues!  So please don’t tell me I don’t care!  The problem is, I’m just a copper.  I can’t do a damned thing about it.”  Leaving that thought with them, he pretends to pull an all-nighter in the office.  Once alone, he slips off to the pub to apply the finishing touches to his scheme.  Following Slater into the gents’, he turns down his offer to have a go: “Nah, I’m not going to hit you, David.  Someone came forward.  Someone who heard you bragging about your attack on Mr Hassan.  And he’s going to testify against you in court…  Someone you know?  Someone you hang around with, perhaps?”  When Slater returns to the bar, Hassan and his brother come up, the latter spoiling for a fight, but he is dragged away.  The optimism on Roach’s face, spying from across the room, starts to fade.  Then the villain himself falls into the trap, proving that beneath the swagger is a paranoid little man.  One of his drinking cronies moves the snooker balls and he is less than amused: “What other jokes you been telling, Nige?  You – talking to the filth!  You tried to grass me up!”  He chucks a tray of drinks at him, then batters him with a cue.  “Dial 999,” Roach tells the landlord.  Hassan trips up Slater as he runs, and Roach arrests him with a pub full of witnesses.  The next day he is called into Meadows’ office for a debrief.  “Tony Hassan, his brother, some ex-con called Mick Crombie, just happened to be there to help you nick Dave Slater, did they?”  “Coincidence?” shrugs Roach.  “I can’t prove anything against you, not even a disciplinary offence – but by hell, you’ve marked your card with me.”  Roach hits back with fire of his own: “I nicked Slater fair and square, sir.  Now he’s not walking away from this one unscathed.”  “Maybe the reputation of the CID around here isn’t unscathed either.  But I don’t suppose that entered your head.  Our job is to nick villains, but we nick ’em straight, by the book, or not at all!”  Roach storms out, heading in only one direction: the finish line