A 2003 official book on the show, dedicating a large paragraph to each character, still manages to get to 20 pages for its character section. Yep, there's been that many. Oddly enough, most of them haven't died. Emphasis on most.You may start humming whichever version of "Overkill" you like best and please tell us how many you get through while reading this.Characters are placed in the location they spent most of their time- some moved between branches. Please note that female characters can only be referred to here as WPC if they were in the show entirely before 1994.A complete list of character deaths can be found at the bottom of this page (moved from the main page for reasons of space and clarity), but characters that were Killed Off for Real are also marked with (DECEASED).
Nepotism — a running gag was that Brownlow only got to Chief Super thanks to his connections to the masons, and that while he's not totally incompetent he's certainly out of touch with modern policing.
Vitriolic Best Buds: It is difficult to describe his relationship with Chief Inspector Derek Conway as anything other than the Type 2 variant.
Chief Superintendent Guy Mannion
Played by Nick Miles
Arch-Enemy — To Charles Brownlow, due to both competing for the position of Borough Commander (Which Mannion eventually won.) Also instrumental in the reformation of the entire CID department at Sun Hill following the Don Beech scandal and Charles Brownlow's forceful resignation.
What Happened to the Mouse? — after reforming the entire CID department and bullying Charles Brownlow into resigning he was succeeded in his position of Borough Commander and promptly disappeared without trace.
He-Man Woman Hater: One of his defining traits and what eventually led to his extremely dark backstory reveal and his eventual downfall. Raped at least 3 women, with absolutely no regret. The other women he had relationships with, such as D.C's Debbie Mcallister and Kate Spears, he used as no more than tools to be exploited.
And a lot of it too. Its very easy to forget that when he was first introduced in 1999, 'PC' Dale Smith was portrayed as being a bigot and a bully, who was brought into the show mainly to shake up the existing cast dynamic. He eventually left to join (as it was called then) SO 19, the Armed Response dudes of the Met, and managed to end Bob Cryer's career by an unfortunate gunshot. When he returned as a regular character in 2003, Sergeant Dale Smith was generally shown to be a very moral and totally sympathetic character, and certainly by the time it was axed in 2010 he had more or less become the defacto "star" of the series.
An interesting fact is that he was shown to be very much Bob Cryer's protégé, with the two sharing an almost father/son bond. Cryer was the one who supported Smithy's application to SO 19, and over the course of their shared time on the series it was clear that Cryer was smoothing down the rough edges on this younger officer. By the time he became a Sergeant/Inspector, Smithy had mellowed to become more or less a younger version of Sgt Cryer.
WPC/Sergeant June Ackland
Played by Trudie Goodwin
Alone Among the Couples: Her nickname (self-titled, even) was "Good Old Dependable Sexless June", for her definite lack of luck in the love department.
Long Runner: Trudie Goodwin was (and remains) the longest serving member of the cast, having been in the original 1983 pilot episode (even the second longest serving character, Reg Hollis, only appeared for the first time a year later, while the third, Tony Stamp, hadn't even become a regular until 1988).
Berserk Button — You couldn't get a more straight-laced copper than Bob Cryer. But if anybody mentioned his troubled son Patrick, with whom Cryer had some Parental Issues (most specifically I Have No Son), he was liable to get very moody with them.
Doesn't Like Guns — Cryer was never particularly comfortable with being one of the station's Authorised Firearms Officers, particularly after an incident where he accidentally shot and killed a (technically) unarmed robber. He often advised younger officers against going on firearms training courses. Ironically, he was written out of the series after getting a leg wound from friendly fire.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander — Served as one of the relief's oddballs and at first was regarded as something of an annoyance, over time he gained a lot of respect from his colleagues.
Dropped a Bridge on Him / Written-In Absence — He was written out of the series with only a couple of lines of dialogue from another character saying where he'd gone, several episodes after his final appearance on screen.
Not as You Know Them — She was written out of the series in 2002, following her role in the 'Dave Quinnan' exit storyline. Then she was brought back a whole year later, having supposedly been "on leave" for all that time, only to immediately be plunged into a storyline where she commited murder and lost her job as a cop. And THEN she was brought back again a few months later as a "civilian" worker at the station, where what little dignity the character still had left was systematically removed, before she was finally dumped for good in early 2004. To anyone who grew up watching the optimistic and loveable WPC Page of 1992-2001, it was like we were watching the same actress playing a completely different person.
Aborted Arc: Very near to the end of Paul Marquess' time as executive producer of the series (2005), there is an episode where WPC Kapoor and PC Valentine work together to uncover the corruption of a uniformed Sergeant over at Barton Street nick. The episode even ends with a Sequel Hook, with PC Valentine informing her that he'll support her if she chooses to follow-through with her allegation, although it will likely drag both of them through the mud (coppers who grass on other coppers, even ones who are genuinely in the wrong, tend to be looked on very unfavourably by their colleagues). Given the heavily serialised nature of the programme at that stage, you might have expected this storyline to be followed up in further episodes, exploring the fallout of this affair. But it wasn't. It was dropped completely. The (off screen) outcome did get a belated mention in WPC Kapoor's final episode three years later, though.
By-the-Book Cop: See above example. She came to the series having already grassed on a corrupt colleague at a previous nick, and with all the emotional baggage attached to that.
Jerkass — Unlike his predecessor at Sun Hill, DI Roy Galloway (see below), Frank Burnside has no sense of esprit de corps. He'll very happily spit-roast a member of his own team if he thinks it'll get him brownie points with his bosses, and a continuing theme of his time on the series is the distrust that the officers under his command have of him, and of his methods. And that's just the way Frank likes it.
Put on a Bus — Twice. His first departure (1993) seen him vanish between episodes with only a perfunctory "after the fact" explanation, while his second departure (2000) happened because he was moved over to a Spin-Off series. Which was then cancelled. His ultimate fate was never revealed.
Commuting on a Bus — As noted, he came back for a series of semi-regular guest appearances in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Rabid Cop — He occasionally comes across this way.
Retcon — Arguably. His character was portrayed as being extremely dodgy in his first few guest appearances in the series. But after they made him a regular character, they gave him the backstory of it all having been part of his undercover duties (his job having been to weed out other corrupt officers). None of which excuses the fact that he continues to do pretty much the same kind of things after his promotion, of course...
Torture for Fun and Information — He was doing it years before Gene Hunt came along, though. Most noteably, one of his most well known tactics for getting confessions out of suspects was to flush their heads down the toilet.
Detective Inspector Roy Galloway
Played by John Salthouse
I don't give a shit about reliefs, over-time budgets, or any of your petty arguments. All I want to do is cut the crime on my manor. That IS the job we're being paid to do, remember?
Jerk with a Heart of Gold — Roy Galloway exhibits many similar outward personality traits to Frank Burnside. The difference being, underneath it all, he's generally a more amiable person... he just allows the stresses of his job to get to him from time to time. When push comes to shove, he always supports those under his command. He does have conflicts with his fellow officers in the course of his duties, which makes him appear abrasive. But he'll always make it up to them, apologising and buying them a drink after work. And he's always quick to give praise to others, when he thinks its due.
The Other Darrin: Played by Robert Pugh in the 1983 pilot episode, played by John Salthouse in the series proper.
Put on a Bus — Between seasons three and four. Its interesting that he was never given any kind of departure storyline (or even an explantion as to where he went), given he was such a pivotal character in nearly all of the first 36 episodes.
Drives Like Crazy — Galloway pushes his motor to its limits in nearly every episode. This was eventually Lampshaded when, in the middle of one Chase Scene, the thing flat out refused to go any longer, and he had to spend the next fifteen minutes of the episode desperately trying to convince a car dealer to trade it in for something else. When called out on his aggressive driving, he was prone to protest "what are you talking about? I'm Hendon trained".
Defective Detective — Quite a few of Sun Hill's finest had noticable flaws. But Tosh's flaws were often the ones that the average viewer at home might have found the most relatable: he never had enough money (one episode seen his wife making quite a scene at a bank when they refused to give her any more credit), resulting in him having to work oodles of over-time in order to keep his five kids feed, which meant that he was constantly tired at work; and his own love of fast food often ended with him being unable to take part in major chase scenes without serious risk of having a heart attack. But through it all, Tosh had a keen copper's instinct, which made him an indispensable member of the team.
Due in large part to its frequent cast turnover, the series has killed off a lot of its characters during its 26+ year run. Here is a list of these fatal casualties.
PC Ken Melvin- Blown up by an IRA car bomb.
PC Pete Ramsay - Shot down in the middle of a bank raid gone wrong, while saving DC "Tosh" Lines' life.
PC Phil Young - Gassed himself in a car.
DC Viv Martella - Killed by armed robbers.
DS Jo Morgan - Shot by a hitman (who was shooting at Ackland).
PC Cathy Marshall - Fell in the river and drowned while chasing a suspect by the docks in the middle of the night. Strongly implied to have been pushed.
DC Rosie Fox - Strangled.
PC Eddie Santini - After getting off for murder, he was shot by a Dirty Cop.
DS John Boulton - Got his head smacked repeatedly against a concrete floor by Dirty Cop Don Beech.
SC Terry Knowles - Stabbed to death in his fourth episode.
Chief Inspector Conway - Got a petrol bomb thrown in his car.
Inspector Monroe - Killed in the fire.
DC Kate Spears - Killed as a result of the fire.
PC Ben Hayward - ditto.
DC Paul Riley - ditto.
PC Di Worrell - ditto.
PC Sam Harker - ditto, although Taviner seriously considered switching off his life support since he was a witness to his actions (see his own entry).
Superintendent Tom Chandler - Shot himself in the head after it emerged he had covered up a rape. Before that, he'd raped his pregnant (who conceived with him in a disabled toilet at a memorial service) new wife and taken her hostage.
PC Cass Rickman - December 2002, strangled by the Sun Hill Serial Killer.
Sergeant Matt Boyden - Shot in the street in a drive-by, involving his own daughter.
DC Juliet Becker - Stabbed in a van. Guess being bisexual is not a good thing to be in Sun Hill.
PC Des Taviner - Actually responsible for the Sun Hill fire (he'd chucked a petrol bomb in to destroy some fake currency and failed to realise there was a gas cylinder in there). Was beaten to death by a mentally-ill cell mate.
PC Kerry Young - Shot by Gabriel Kent outside Sun Hill nick. He'd earlier raped her. To top it all, she was pregnant.
DC Rob Thatcher - After shooting the woman who had killed his father many years ago, committed Suicide by Cop.
DC Ken Drummond - In a van filled with petrol that was driven into the front reception by a racist, sacked officer.
PC Andrea Dunbar - Left to die in the petrol-filled van incident by Gabriel Kent. It had just been revealed to the others that she was an undercover journalist.
SRO Marilyn Chambers - Killed in the same incident, just as Reg Hollis was going to propose to her.
PC Gabriel Kent- Really went to town on the whole Dirty Cop business. Used a false name to join up, seduced June Ackland, then pretended he was her long-lost son (he wasn't, he just lived with him) and was responsible for the deaths of two officers (see above), as well as raping two others. Decided to jump off a high-rise rather than face justice.
PC Lance Powell - Strangled by another Serial Killer. Being gay and Christian isn't a good thing in Sun Hill either.
PC Honey Harman - Shot dead by Zain Nadir's criminal lover.
PC Billy Rowan - July 2007, throat cut. In his first episode, no less.
PC Emma Keane - Was the last one out of an exploding building. As well as the final death in the series.