In New Tricks, Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman) is in charge of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS). She and her eccentric team of three ex-policemen investigate past unsolved crimes. She reports to a Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Robert Strickland (Anthony Calf), who is proud of his unusual team's accomplishments, but who still tries to keep the group reined in a much as possible.
(Photo: Alun Armstrong, Dennis Waterman, James Bolam and Amanda Redman)
The rest of the squad includes Gerald "Gerry" Standing (Dennis Waterman), a former detective sergeant and a man with an eye for the ladies and an appreciation of the finer things in life. He has been married three times. He has four daughters and a grandson, Gerry Jr. Waterman also sings the series theme song, "It's Alright."
Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong) is a former detective inspector and a recovering alcoholic. He frequently gets in trouble, leaving the squad to pick up the pieces.
Former Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Halford (James Bolam) is haunted by the death of his wife Mary, who was killed by Ricky Hanson in a hit-and-run incident. He has planted a memorial to her in their garden and frequently speaks to her, while trying to work out his latest case.
The main actors have a great rapport, and the cases they investigate are a nice mix of the odd and nostalgic. It is fun to see "mature" actors being vital both in and out of the office. The show's style of filming is more open-air than most American cop dramas, which often feature scenes set in interrogation rooms or fancy deep-focus camera work hilighting gory forensics. The detectives in New Tricks get out and about, traveling throughout England to solve their cases.
Series 5, which originally aired in the U.K. in 2008, includes eight episodes on three discs:
"Spare Parts" - The team investigates an organ-donor business that seems less than honest in how it assigns its "spare parts." Ricky Hanson stands trial for Jack's attempted murder. James Fox plays an extremely canny and forceful lawyer who is representing Hanson.
"Final Curtain" - After the trial, Jack has disappeared, leaving a team of three to look into a case involving an actor who was shot and killed by his actress wife (Claire Bloom) on stage during a performance. In the course of his investigations Bran flirts with the idea of chucking police work for a life on the stage.