Scott & Bailey is a British detective series set in the fictional police division of the Major Incident Team (MIT) in Manchester. Our two lead characters are the eponymous DC Janet Scott and DC Rachel Bailey. They are (inevitably)
a chalk & cheese pairing
, Rachel being a free spirit and intermittently single
, while Janet begins the series with a husband and with two children. Their boss
is also a woman, DCI Jill Murray.
Although undoubtedly glamourised from real life, the show takes pains to get many aspects of police procedure correct - it's usually a case of breaking apart a suspect's alibi through tedious accumulation of evidence rather than any "Eureka" moment providing the critical breakthrough.
While the detective work is idealised (inevitably, they almost always get their man), the Married to the Job
aspect is not. The series has shown the gradual breakdown of Janet's marriage, and Rachel clearly loves her job rather than any of the men she has relationships with.
The series premiered in 2011 and is still running.
This show provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Joe and Eunice Bevan.
- Apron Matron: Janet's bossy but loving mum.
- Amoral Attorney: Nick Savage, Rachel's annoying boyfriend ins Series 1.
- Ascended Extra: Pete, Mitch and Lee have very few lines in Series 1, but gradually get more from Series 2 onwards.
- Asshole Victim
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Every interviewee in every episode. Even the innocent ones.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rachel and Kevin
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Rachel's mother is a Alcoholic Parent who abandoned the family when Rachel was a child. Rachel's dead father was a Domestic Abuser, and her brother is a minor criminal. Rachel and her sister are White Sheep, however.
- The Bevan family. Joe and Eunice kidnapped and sexually tortured young men, murdered one of their daughters and their son, made another daughter help in burying her brother and to cap it all off Joe murders Eunice decades later
- Brand X: Rachel uses "Net Searcher" to look something up on the Internet in S01E05, and there is an Internet site that is both used for dating and selling items in S04E04 called "Clicker".
- Buddy Cop Show
- Da Chief: Murray can be like this.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Andy initially seems like this to Janet. Sean to Rachel.
- Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Deconstructed - see Old-Fashioned Copper below.
- Elder Abuse: S03E06 centres around this problem.
- Expecting Someone Taller: A retired police officer comments to Rob "you're very young to be a sergeant," much to Rob's embarrassment.
- Fair Cop
- Hero of Another Story: Gill's friend DSI Julie Dodson, who leads Syndicate 3.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Janet and Rachel.
- Hufflepuff House: The people in the background in team meetings. Presumably they're other MIT team members from different shifts, or perhaps officers from other divisions sitting in.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Andy to Gill.
- I Coulda Been a Contender: Rachel's sister Alison. She could have gone to college, but she had to leave school and get a job because Rachel and Dominic were 12 and 10, their mother abandoned them, and their father was a depressed alcoholic. She is understandably furious with her mother over this.
- I Didn't Mean to Kill Him
- Infodump: We learn a huge amount of plot information from MIT team meetings.
- Iron Lady: Gill. And for all Rachel's grousing about her, she's actually a Reasonable Authority Figure.
- Odd Couple: Janet, the loving family woman, and Rachel, the Hard-Drinking Party Girl.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Mitch. You have to watch the credits to find out his name is actually Ian Mitchell.
- Lovely Angels
- Married to the Job
- My Local: "The Old Grapes", where the MIT crew wind down.
- Name and Name
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: There are a pair of murderers in Series Three that are quite clearly modelled on Real Life serial killers Fred and Rose West. Their daughter seems to be loosely based on the West's daughter Anne Marie Davis.
- Noodle Incident: Why do Julie Dodson and Kevin hate each other? It is implied he was originally in her syndicate, and made a mistake, or series of mistakes, however we never find out what.
- Old-Fashioned Copper: Gets a mention when a rapist and serial killer who was active in The Seventies is caught. The team are disgusted by the police report of the time, which is scornful of the one male victim who managed to escape. Rob's retired father is also one (see Perp Sweating below.)
- Oop North
- The Other Darrin: "Scary" Mary Jackson was played by Julia Deakin in Series 2, and subsequently by Judy Holt.
- Panty Thief: In one murder investigation, a neighbor is discovered to have several pairs of the victim's underwear. He's not the killer.
- Perp Sweating: Averted - interviews are conducted by calmly talking to suspects. The trope is desconstructed in S04E02, when the team reviews a tape from 1991 that essentially consisted of a police officer shouting at an (innocent) suspect. When asked about the tape, the now retired officer replied defensively, "you listen to any tape from 1991, it'll sound like that. That's how the job was done." (Rather awkwardly, he's Rob's father, and Rob does not take kindly to the team criticising his dad.)
- Police Procedural
- Rape as Drama
- Real-Life Relative: Lesley Sharp (Janet) and Nicholas Gleaves (Andy) are married in Real Life. Lesley Sharp has stated in an interview that the casting was a coincidence.
- Remember the New Guy: DC Chris Crowley, who must have joined the team sometime between Series 3 and 4, but doesn't get an introduction.
- Ripped from the Headlines
- Right Behind Me: Subverted - Murray never caught Janet and Rachel calling her "Godzilla" behind her back.
- Serial Killer:
- The man who killed Janet's childhood friend Veronica.
- Jeremy Leach in S03E03, who had been caught 13 years previously.
- The Bevans.
"What were you doing in the pub in the middle of the afternoon? What do you think this is? Life On Mars
- Spot of Tea: Pretty much everyone seems to have a mug at any meeting and Gill tells everyone to "finish your brews" at the end of one. A "brew list" can be seen in the background in S04E04. (Rachel's top of the list, so perhaps she was the one who wrote it.
- Speed Dating: Janet tries this in Series 4. Unfortunately, you can take the girl out of the police station, but not the police station out of the girl:
"So have you been to this Speed Dating
Hapless Speed Dating Guy: "Um, not really."
Janet: "You just said "the usual" when asked about your day, and that included coming here. It's just...you seem a bit...inconsistent."
- Stalker with a Crush: Andy to Janet.
- Stalking Is Love: Deconstructed, as Andy's behaviour to Janet is definitely not portrayed as being appropriate.
- Stupid Sexy Friend: Kevin is this to Rachel. Mainly because he really is thick.
- Turn in Your Badge: Subverted with DCI Murray; when she hands in her warrant card (which her boss then cuts in two), she's retiring and can do so with her head held high.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension:
- Whole Episode Flashback: S03E02, which is mostly about how Rachel came to get married. We only see a couple of scenes relating to the Mystery of the Week.
- Would Hit a Girl
- Wrong Genre Savvy: An innocent suspect in S04E05 gives a magnificent speech to Janet about how she thinks the police are going to attempt to blame her for a murder, as she is a working-class black woman. (She is quite wrong in this, as the team are simply investigating everyone who could have committed the crime.)
- You Can't Fight Fate: Sean jokingly says this word-for-word to Rachel when trying to convince her to marry him.
- Your Cheating Heart: Adultery features in a number of episodes. It never ends well.