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->''"We're the Sweeney, son, and we haven't had any dinner. You've kept us waiting, so unless you want a kicking, you tell us where those photographs are!"''
-->-- '''DI Jack Regan'''

A classic British CopShow from the 1970s featuring CowboyCop Inspector Jack Regan (John Thaw) and his sidekick Sergeant George Carter (Dennis Waterman) of the [[UsefulNotes/ScotlandYard Metropolitan Police]] Flying Squad (Rhyming slang: "SweeneyTodd" = "Flying Squad", hence the title), an elite detective unit able to be stationed at any location where an armed robbery is likely.

The characters were rough, hard-drinking and, by modern standards, highly sexist. Regan, while over forty, greying and divorced, was successful with women as [[AmanIsNotAVirgin part of his macho image]] (although his sex life became a plot point sometimes). Carter was married and a bit more stable and reliable than his "Guv'nor". In fact, Regan's "Guv'nor", Superintendent Haskins, felt Carter should be reassigned because Regan was a bad influence on him.

British television cop shows had been undergoing a steady evolution from the light-hearted ''Series/DixonOfDockGreen'' to the relatively gritty ''Series/ZCars''. ''The Sweeney'' took this to the next level, with an unprecedented level of violence, cynicism, and bad language (albeit that it was still PG-rated; "bastard" was as bad as it got). There was at least one car chase, fist fight or gunfight per episode. Unlike most British policemen, Regan and Carter were often armed, but the squad frequently took down criminal gangs in brutal hand-to-hand battles fought with pick-axe handles, iron bars, fists and boots. Unlike the almost-contemporary ''Series/StarskyAndHutch'' the violent action did not have a ''Film/JamesBond''-movie feel to it, being instead down-and-dirty, and sometimes quite shocking. Gunfire was seldom [[OnlyAFleshWound non-lethal]] and people who got hurt stayed hurt. If a car crashed and burned, the people inside didn't climb out as in ''Series/TheATeam'', either!

Detective work was mainly a matter of asking informants, many of whom lived in fear, or of following people, or simply "knowing the manor" so well that the heroes could just ''guess'' who was the most likely suspect. Not much Franchise/SherlockHolmes or Literature/HerculePoirot stuff happened, but it was often quite close to ''[[TruthInTelevision real]]'' police work.

Blatantly parodied in ''ComicBook/TheInvisibles'', where Jack and George of Division X are Carter and Regan to the life. [[LampshadeHanging Explained]] by saying that the invisibles created their cover identities from old '70s cop shows. Their boss Mr Crowley is a {{shout out}} to George Cowley of ''Series/TheProfessionals'', another British police drama of the time. (Their fellow agent Mister Six, meanwhile, is a {{shout out}} to Jason King of ''Series/DepartmentS''.)

Gene Hunt of ''Series/{{Life on Mars|2006}}'' and ''Series/AshesToAshes'' is a fairly obvious ShoutOut to Jack Regan and his ilk. (One is tempted to call him an AffectionateParody, but he'd call one a poof for saying so. He'd call one a poof for saying "one" instead of "him" anyway.) Gerry Standing, Dennis Waterman's character in ''Series/NewTricks'', is another AffectionateParody of what the characters from ''The Sweeney'' (George in particular) might look like thirty-odd years down the track.

The show was recorded entirely with film, and the production had a heavy reliance on location shooting, both of which were very unusual features at the time. Although it was extremely popular, a combination of high production costs and creator burnout meant that it only lasted for four series. Nonetheless it was very influential, directly inspiring ITV's successful ''Series/TheProfessionals'' and the BBC's relatively unpopular ''Series/{{Target}}''.

Two spin-off movies were produced during the show's run: ''Sweeney!'' in 1977 and ''Sweeney 2'' in 1978.

A [[Film/TheSweeney movie adaptation of the show]] has been released in 2012.

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!!The TV series provides examples of:
* ArmedBlag: A common source of plots (unsurprisingly, since armed robberies were what the Flying Squad specialised in in real life).
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: The pilot movie Regan ended with Regan beating a confession out of a suspect for the murder of an undercover police man....and then threatening to do him for not paying his car tax.
* BangBangBang
* BarBrawl: Often! Once involved two police units who hadn't recognised each other.
* CatholicSchoolGirlsRule: DS Carter makes some lurid comments about the attractiveness of girls in school uniforms in "Taste of Fear". On another occasion Jack Regan is meeting an informant in the park when a couple of schoolgirls walk by and one of them [[PantyShot bends over to pick something up]]. Seeing Regan's distraction, the informant quips: "I could be arrested for doing what you're thinking!"
* CowboyCop: Regan on a ''good'' day. Carter and pretty much everyone else on the squad.
* DaChief: D.S. Haskins, and above him, "The Commander".
* DisguisedInDrag: In one episode a character played by Warren Mitchell (better known for ''Series/TillDeathUsDoPart'') escapes from villains by dressing up in his girlfriend's clothes and a wig. Regan and Carter turn up. "Ooh Mr Wardle, you do look nice!"
* EndingTheme: A slower and mellower version of the opening theme was used on the end credits, accompanying images of Carter and Regan packing up their stuff and going home for the night.
* FingertipDrugAnalysis
* GoodCopBadCop: degenerating into Bad Cop, Worse Cop and even Bad Cop, Rabid Cop.
* LondonGangster: Several of the villains.
* MookChivalry: Strictly [[AvertedTrope averted]]; nobody fought fair on this show!
* {{Oireland}}: The series gains a touch of the Oirish in an episode involving TheTroubles.
* PerpSweating: Lots of sweating, along with plenty of punching, kicking, and banging against walls.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: In the episode "Thin Ice": "That's. Not. My. Dog!"
* RabidCop: Regan on a bad day.
* SixIsNine: The "6 with a screw missing turns into a 9" gag is used in a scene where a very respectable family are eating dinner when armed policemen crash into their home, and are just as surprised as they are because they were expecting to meet armed criminals. After the mistake is cleared up, the officers leave with apologies and the family calmly return to their meal. Moments later, a crash is heard in the distance, and the father comments that it sounds as though they've found number 9.
* SmokingIsCool: As modelled by both the leads.
* SpecialGuest: MorecambeAndWise. (John Thaw and Dennis Waterman found it hard to keep a straight face around them; they also did a spoof of ''The Sweeney'' on their sketch programme.)
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!!The 1977 and 1978 movies provide examples of:
* BigDamnMovie: The 1977 movie featured a complex espionage plot with an attempt to assassinate a foreign ambassador. However they seemed to realise this was silly, so in the second spinoff they went stuck to foiling ''particularly nasty'' bank robberies.
* BloodSplatteredInnocents: Jack Regan suffers this in the 1978 movie when an armed robber evades capture by putting a sawn-off shotgun in his mouth. And it's not just blood either. Regan realistically freaks out and frantically scrubs his face clean.
* ItsPersonal: Regan at the climax of the first movie. After seeing the only witness of the killings [[spoiler:(who he'd shagged earlier)]] murdered, Regan is told by a government official the BigBad would be assassinated by his own hitmen upon being arrested. What does Regan do next?
* TheMovie: Two theatrically released films were made between seasons, both made by the same cast and crew as the television show and both DarkerAndEdgier (the second film has a higher body count than the whole TV run combined)
* SawedOffShotgun: In the second movie the criminals use gold-plated Purdey shotguns stolen from a rock star. There's a notable scene where the blagger sticks his sawn-off in a bank manager's face.
-->"Hold it right there, squire. You are privileged to be looking down the barrels of a gold-plated Purdey shotgun. Now as a bank manager, you'll appreciate that any man capable of cutting a gun like that in half wouldn't think twice about cutting you in half."
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