Series of novels by Reginald Hill, set Oop North in a fictional Yorkshire town. The series revolves around two detectives, Andy Dalziel (pronounced dee-ell) and Peter Pascoe. Dalziel is a grumpy, overweight, politically incorrect character, while Pascoe is a more sensitive academic with a degree in Social Sciences. (However, see the description under Noble Bigot with a Badge). A television series based on the books and characters ran from 1996-2007 and featured Warren Clarke as Dalziel and Colin Buchanan as Pascoe. There was a one-off adaptation with Hale and Pace but this is reviled by fans and even the original writer.Other characters include DC Kim "Posh" Spicer and DC Parvez "Fez" Lateef.
This series contains examples of :
Acrofatic: Dalziel, despite his huge girth, often shows himself to be graceful and agile. In one short story, he even shows off his roller-skating skills.
Arranged Marriage: Part of the backstory to Pictures of Perfection is an attempted arranged marriage between Guy Guillemard, slated to inherit Old Hall and the estate, and the far more capable Girlie Guillemard. Girlie objects, which takes care of that.
Benevolent Boss: Dalziel himself to everyone's surprise. He takes a paternal interest in all those below him; fighting like hell to push Pascoe up the ranks and ensuring that Sgt Wield is protected from genuinely homophobic bosses.
Comic-Book Time: Although it varies, the characters are aging between one-quarter to one-half "real time." When the series hit its 20th year, Hill wrote a short essay discussing the issue and a story, "One Small Step", which looked forward to where Dalziel and Pascoe might find themselves if they kept it up for another 20 years.
Coming-Out Story: Wield comes out to both of his superiors in Child's Play, after the young man with whom he has had a brief affair is murdered. To Wield's astonishment, Dalziel knew all along, although Pascoe was completely clueless. In Pictures of Perfection, Edwin Digweed tells Wield that he was outed about thirty years earlier after an affair with an unnamed lord. As homosexuality was still criminalized at the time, Digweed was prosecuted and disbarred, and eventually left the country.
Embarrassing Middle Name: Andrew Hamish Dalziel. Dalziel is visibly appalled when somebody mentions it, relatively late in the series.
Everybody Did It: Parodied in Pictures of Perfection, in which every character does something... but all of the victims are unwilling to file a complaint. This includes Wield, who discovers that Digweed has robbed the post office to cover up his detour into dust jacket forgery. Dalziel is left completely livid at the end.
Face-Heel Turn: By the end of the short story "One Small Step", set many years in the future, Pascoe turns out to have become, if not corrupt, then certainly tainted.
Dalziel suspects his love interest in An April Shroud may be a Black Widow, and Good Morning, Midnight reveals that his girlfriend at the end of Recalled to Life was also serious trouble.
The trope is played absolutely straight in Dialogues of the Dead and the beginning of Death's Jest-Book.
Faux Yay: Hinted at with the journalist in Ruling Passion.
Fish out of Water: In the novel Recalled to Life, Dalziel's investigations take him off to the United States, with predictable results. The television adaptation eliminates that chunk of the novel, for understandable reasons.
Fourth Date Marriage: In Pictures of Perfection, Digweed proposes to Wield after they've known each other for exactly two days.
Gaydar: Both Ellie and Dalziel figure out Wield almost immediately, although neither one lets on. Ironically, Wield's gaydar is non-existent.
Gayngst: Wield suffers from this until Child's Play, although it takes Pictures of Perfection for the final symptoms to disappear.
It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Tends to happen more in real-life, as a lot of people pronounce "Dalziel" as "Dal-zeel" or "Day-zee-ell" rather than its actual pronunciation. It sometimes happens in the show as well, albeit quite rarely — the writers managed to avoid the temptation of turning it into an overused running joke. In the TV version of A Killing Kindness, Dalziel knows he's in trouble when a reporter pronounces his name correctly.
Impoverished Patrician: In Pictures of Perfection, the Guillemards are fast running out of the money they need to maintain their estate, Old Hall, especially since most of their tenants are long gone. Later novels often mention Girlie Guillemard's most recent schemes for keeping Old Hall afloat.
The Jeeves: Wield. This is even lampshaded by Pascoe in one of the later books.
Jurisdiction Friction: Ruling Passion. Pascoe, who isn't on his turf, keeps stepping on the toes of the local Detective Superintendent. In the novel, Pascoe turns out to be in the wrong throughout, and the Detective Superintendent solves the crime.
Karaoke Box: Wield winds up doing a karaoke duet in Death's Jest-Book.
Kavorka Man: Dalziel, who attracts a surprising number of women over the course of the series.
Knights Templar: A group who actual call themselves this appear in The Death of Dalziel.
Wield's early annoyance about being stuck at Detective Sergeant is later retconned into being a deliberate choice.
Averted with Pascoe, who begins the series as DS, appears in one short story as a newly-minted Detective Constable, and is currently Detective Chief Inspector. The short story "One Small Step" suggests that he'll keep moving upward (but see Alternate Continuity).
Literary Allusion Title: Virtually every episode based on the novels. (Hill started his career as a lecturer in English literature, and it shows.)
My Greatest Failure: In 'On Beulah Heights' for Dalziel - the case of three missing girls fifteen years ago.
My Secret Pregnancy: Strongly hinted in the TV episode Time to Go: Mary Waddell's son may well be Dalziel's.
Mystery Magnet: When Dalziel and Pascoe take vacations, they wind up stumbling into murder cases.
Never Suicide: Averted in Bones and Silence and Good Morning, Midnight.
The Nicknamer: Dalziel—Pascoe is "Sunbeam", DC Shirley Novello is "Ivor", Wield is "Wieldy", etc.
Noble Bigot with a Badge: Played with in Dalziel, who talks like a bigot and misogynist but sometimes acts more liberal than uber-liberal Pascoe.
In Child's Play, when Wield is threatened with being outed, Dalziel reveals to him that he knew all along that Wield was gay and didn't particular care as it didn't affect his job. He then goes out of his way to protect Wield from a genuinely homophobic superior.
Justified in that Dalziel, with his working-class background, was regarded as an outsider when he joined the police, and had to prove himself the hard way; he therefore naturally identifies with and defends others who might be considered "outsiders" themselves.
Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: The adaptation of Dialogues of the Dead finally introduces Wield's partner from the novels, Edwin Digweed, only to knock thirty years off his age.
Obfuscating Insanity: Squire Selwyn of Pictures of Perfection is nowhere near as senile as he first appears.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Dalziel often presents himself as an ignorant fat slob. Woe betide anyone who believes him.
Sarcasm Mode: Dalziel and Edwin Digweed appear to be permanently stuck in this mode. Ellie Pascoe also tends to wind up here.
Scrapbook Story: Several of the novels, most notably On Beulah Height (a Yorkshire folktale that affects the plot), Arms and the Women (Ellie Pascoe's mock-epic), and A Cure for All Diseases (e-mails and iPod recordings).
Self-Insert Fic: The short story "Auteur Theory", in which a grumpy, unnamed Hill glumly watches as one of his D&P novels gets produced for the screen.
The recently uncloseted Wield wanders into here while looking for a killer.
Parodied in the novel Death's Jest-Book.
Writer on Board: While Hill usually restrains himself, he lets audiences know how he feels about experimenting on animals in The Wood Beyond, the Iraq war in Good Morning, Midnight, and the aftermath of Thatcherism in Pictures of Perfection.