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Series / By Any Means

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Note: This page describes the 2013 drama series, not the 2008 spiritual sequel to Long Way Round

By Any Means is a British series (akin to Leverage or perhaps The Equalizer) in which a shadowy group of people, not officially connected to police, "rectify" miscarriages of (in)justice. The series features Warren Brown as Jack Quinn, the leader of the four-person group he is part of, which includes Andrew Lee Potts as the hacker "TomTom" Thomas Tomkins, Shelley Conn as Jessica Jones and Elliot Knight as Charlie, the newcomer. Also, an M-like figure in the background is Gina McKee as Friend on the Force and Reasonable Authority Figure Helen Barlow. Six episodes were aired and produced but the series was not renewed after the first season.

Tropes used in this series include:

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Jessica plays this role to good effect in 1x05 on two separate occasions. The first time, she play-acts a lower-class mum who has two rambunctious kids. The second time, she acts for all the world like she's a prisoner's girlfriend who's had his kids.
  • Batman Gambit: Some episodes depend on this.
    • In 1x04, the group "convinces" the target and her husband there is a fire in their house. As a result, she immediately runs to grab the money, which is in cash under the sofa, and then exits the house, money in her arms, in full view of anyone who shows up.
    • In 1x05, placing the criminal in question near the scene where he got caught, and ensuring he would want to find the same gun he used to kill a harmless old man. He's still got it with him when the police show up to bust him under the reopened case.
  • Bound and Gagged: In 1x03, Jack knocks out the Colombian ambassador's chauffeur and leaves him bound and gagged with duct tape when he 'borrows' the ambassador's limo.
  • Boxed Crook: TomTom is working with the team instead of doing prison time after being convicted of computer embezzlement.
  • British Brevity: One season of just six episodes of an hour each.
  • Buddy Cop Show: Of sorts; given that the group is a group of four and not a twosome there are additional social dynamics at play.
  • Covert Group: The team does not officially exist.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: The Victim of the Week in 1x02 is chloroformed by an attacker hiding in the back of her car.
  • Dirty Cop: One is feeding information to the Big Bad in episode 1x06. Helen takes a particular pleasure in having him arrested.
  • Doubling for London: Birmingham stands in for the capital, with cutaways of landmarks such as The Shard and the Palace of Westminster to invoke the Eiffel Tower Effect.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: In episode 1x06, Jessica and Charlie persuade a drug dealer to talk by hanging him by his ankles of the top storey of a high-rise block of flats.
  • It's Personal:
    • Jessica in 1x03. She has a real hate-on for the slumlord who buggered off to the Ecuadorian Embassy rather than go on trial for his crime. She used to live in similar housing, and as a result she has strong feelings about the way the upper-class rip off working people.
    • Practically the premise of the last half of 1x06, as the entire team of four rally against the episode's Big Bad, a crime lord.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: In the first episode the villain the team are trying to put away levels a shotgun at two of them and pulls the trigger. The gun clicks empty and the undercover man they had placed in the gang holds up the shells he had removed from the gun.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: The team's mission is to either find some way that the criminals can be charged with their original crime, or find some other crime they can be charged with.
  • Lipstick-and-Load Montage: One is seen at the start of 1x02. The twist is that it turns out to be Charlie preparing to go undercover as a transgender person. Except he isn't: it's a joke to welcome him to the team.
  • London Gangster: In 1x01, an innocent family is terrorised and their father murdered in cold blood. Everyone knows that ruthless criminal Nick Mason is behind it and when Mason, known as the 'Teflon Man', walks free from his trial for the third time in five years that he has evaded justice, Helen Barlow, convinced Mason has at least one corrupt police officer on his payroll, calls on Jack Quinn and his team for help to take Mason down and get him off the streets.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer after 1x02 made it look like 1x03 was going to be about an Expy of Julian Assange. Instead, it turns out to be a property developer with a habit of skullduggery but is also hip-deep in connections, who scarpers to the Ecuadorian Embassy as soon as the ink's dry on the arrest warrant.
  • Non-Action Guy: TomTom. He's usually at the computers back at HQ while Jack, Jessica and Charlie are out and about.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Celia Butler reveals she caught on to the "rat catchers" being a surveillance team, because she used to be a codebreaker during World War II. She carries off the "set in her ways old lady" schtick rather well.
  • Punk in the Trunk: In 1x02, a young girl, Kimberley Brooks, is found dead in the boot of a car belonging to a well-respected judge, Peter Hopkins, in what seems like an Open-and-Shut Case. Helen is suspicious and calls in the team to investigate, convinced the judge has been framed by an ex-policeman.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Charlie does this in episode 1x02; disappearing when the DI he is talking to turns to look at the tied-up villain in the boot of a car Charlie has just delivered to him.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security:
    • A paranoid crime boss turns out to have a poorly secured home wireless network.
    • A judge accused of a murder has an easily hacked home computer.
    • A target's Smartphone is casually tapped into by TomTom so he can keep track of the phone numbers called on that mobile.
  • Token Minority: Averted. Several police officers, including Jessica and Charlie, are people of color.
  • Tricked into Another Jurisdiction: In ep. 1x03, the team have to find a way to extract a shady real estate developer who has taken refuge inside the Colombian Embassy. although it initially appears that they are planning to abduct him during a an embassy party, their real plan is to fake an abduction attempt to spook him into attempting to get out of the embassy and accept the ambassador's offer of a plane ride to Colombia. Only after the car has left the embassy does he realise it is not heading for the airport. When he starts to object, Jack, Jessica and Charlie pull a Not My Driver by lowering the screen between the front and back seats before leaving him handcuffed to the railings outside a police station.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Aspects of catching the bad guy in flagrante delicto involve things not revealed until after the denouement, when we learn what has happened through a series of flashbacks.