Follow TV Tropes


Series / Cuffs

Go To

A 2015 British Police Procedural which airs on BBC One, being the first police related show to air on the network since The Bill, which also occupied the same 8pm slot.

Set in Brighton and the surrounding areas, it focuses on the daily lives (on and off the job) of both uniformed officers and CID detectives in the Brighton Central station of the fictional South Sussex Police.

The characters deal with a wide range of incidents typically faced by modern front line police officers, ranging from the serious to the mundane. It also acts to an extent as social commentary, highlighting problems regional police forces in the UK face in the midst of severe budget constraints.

The show has been cancelled, but a petition has been created in an attempt to encourage the BBC to create another series.


This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: PC Donna Prager, who is also the authorised Taser officer.
    • Ryan's deceased wife, an Army combat medic who served two tours in Afghanistan.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Michael, the man who kidnaps Lino and seriously injures him with an IED, is a former soldier suffering from severe PTSD, in addition to untreated paranoia and psychotic disorders, and is unaware of what he is doing before it is too late.
  • Amoral Attorney: Most of the cops at Brighton Central dislike Simon Reddington, the duty solicitor, as he often defends everyone they arrest. Ryan even views Jakes relationship with him as "sleeping with the enemy". It doesnt help that Simon himself is a bit of an arrogant jerkass.
  • Artistic License – Law: Whilst chewing out PC Draper, Chief Superintendent Vickers angrily tells him that as a police officer he has a "duty of care to the public". This is not the case in UK law, as courts have ruled that imposing a duty of care on police officers would impede them from effectivley doing their jobs.
  • Advertisement:
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: When two robbery suspects he is tailing attack his car, Chief Superintendent Robert Vickers knocks down one of the assailants with a single punch to the face.
  • Bad Boss: Chief Superintendent Vickers to an extent. He sleeps with a coworker whilst his wife is undergoing cancer treatment, often shows blind favouritism to his son (a police constable) and in multiple cases neglects to give officers permission to do their jobs properly.
  • Big Fancy House:
    • The Vickers family residence, a large mansion on the Sussex coast equipped with a swimming pool.
    • Lino and Donna are called to a fancy estate in the Sussex countryside by a man claiming there is a robbery taking place. However, when they arrive it is revealed he is simply a bored busybody who was calculating police response time, and there was so crime being committed.
  • Boarding School: DI Kane and DC Hawkins investigate a case involving several students from the local boarding school falling victim to a spite of muggings. It is later revealed DI Kane was sent there as a child (3 days after his mothers funeral no less), and hated every minute there.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Three main characters (Jake Vickers, Donna Prager and Simon Reddington) and one minor character ( Ryan's son) are all gay.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: In one case, an elderly woman, who has been robbed and harassed multiple times, shoots an attacker who breaks into her home. However, due to limited UK laws regarding self defense and firearms, she is arrested and charged with murder.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Chief Superintendent Vickers. Despite being shown sat behind a desk, and being unable to relate to field experience (to the extent of issuing orders preventing officers from doing their jobs properly), when faced with two attackers he knocks one out with a single solid punch.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lino, especially when dealing with a drunken off duty London officer with a superiority complex who is harassing a traffic warden.
    PC Lino Moretti: PC Prager, have you seen Buckingham Palace at all recently?
    PC Donna Prager: Nope, haven't seen it all day.
    PC Lino Moretti: Oh right, that must be because we're not in London. Look, if you're gonna break the law do it on your own patch.
  • Defective Detective:
    • DI Felix Kane is probably the worst example. He has a strained working relationship with his colleagues, often acting in an unemotional and stoic demeanour. Additionally, he has a toxic relationship with his terminally ill father, which he routinely visits BDSM prostitutes to let off steam. It is later revealed the stress from taking care of his father has also caused him to self harm.
    • DS Jo Moffat is engaged in an extramarital affair with her boss (Chief Supt Vickers), which is made even worse by the fact his wife is struggling with life threatening cancer.
    • DC Carl Hawkins has a failed marriage under his belt, a bratty teenage daughter who routinely gets into trouble with the law, and is trapped in a relationship where he is unable to voice his desires to not have more children.
  • The Determinator: DC Hawkins is able to chase a perp for a considerable amount of time, despite being in recovery from a very painful vasectomy.
  • Education Father:Ryan is very strict with his children when it comes to their schoolwork, furiously chastising his son when he finds out he skipped his physics mock exam.
  • Faked Kidnapping: One of the cases CID deals with is that of a bank manager, whose disabled wife has been kidnapped and held at ransom for £100,000 which he is expected to steal. It is later revealed she orchestrated the whole thing, claiming her husband was abusive and controlling, and the only way she could get the funds to escape was by faking her own kidnapping.
  • Fictional Counterpart: 'Sussex Police', who are responsible for policing Brighton in real life is replaced by the fictitious 'South Sussex Police' in the series.
  • Formerly Fit: Lino, before he began over-indulging in his family's Italian home cooking. It gets to the point when it interferes with his work, being unable to aid Donna in chasing down a perp.
  • Friend on the Force:
    • The private school boys are evidently well connected, as they are able to secure police orders preventing them from being prosecuted for drugs possession in exchange for giving evidence about a gang of muggers.
    • The young woman Lino and Donna arrest in a nightclub repeatedly shouts at them that her dad is a detective and will get her out as she is being remanded in custody. It later turns out her father is DC Hawkins.
  • Gay Aesop: Ryan, despite showing no problem with Jake and Donna's sexual orientation, goes crazy and assaults a guy he finds his son kissing by the pier. He later confesses to Jake that he isnt comfortable with his son being gay, dismissing it as a 'phase', much to Jakes chagrin.
  • Gayborhood: The series is set in Brighton, the unofficial "gay capital" of the UK.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Subverted. When Jake tackles a suspect being tasered and gets shocked himself, he realistically spends the rest of the shift aching and feeling light headed.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The whole station ends up directing electricity related puns to Jake after finding out he got inadvertently electrocuted by Donna's Taser.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Donna and Lino are called to an alcohol related disturbance, where the perp is a very drunk off duty cop from London. He flashes his Met Police warrant card at them to try and get them to leave, berating them for being small town cops. It naturally doesn't go down well.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Donna ends up in a Mexican Standoff with a pistol wielding perp, she realises she is outgunned and promptly drops her Taser.
  • Nepotism: PC Jake Vickers is the son of the Chief Superintendent, which allowed him to be placed straight on patrol after graduating the police academy, much to Ryan's chagrin. Despite this, Jake slowly grows to hate the fact his father gives him preferential treatment.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: PC Lino Moretti.
  • Police Brutality:
    • Bethany Hawkins accuses Lino of this after he peppersprays her. However, he was completley justified, as she attacked him with a high heel shoe after multiple warnings not to.
    • PC Ryan Draper goes crazy and assaults a teenager he catches kissing his son. Jake has to physically pull him off the guy, and later says he should have reported him.
  • Police are Useless: An underlying theme of the series is negative public perception of the police, in addition to how their jobs are made more difficult by severe budget cuts. Most of the accidents made by officers are not completely their fault either, but the fault of their superiors for refusing to authorise specific protocols for them to carry out their duties effectively.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • After Jake punches a perp threatening Ryan with a metal pole, he is in considerable pain instead of just shaking it off.
    • If you are inadvertently shocked by a Taser, you won't be able to shake it off immediately, and will feel like crap for the rest of the day.
    • Police helicopters are not always available at the drop of a hat, even if the ongoing incident is a serious one. This is especially evident in an era of serious budget cuts to the police.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Inspector Mike Webb.
  • Retired Badass: Ryan, who reveals to a former soldier he arrests that he served in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan before joining the police.
  • Running Gag: The officer's food and/or drink arriving just as they get a call.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: DI Kane, who acts in a cold and professional manner towards both his colleagues and his father, but is very compassionate when it comes to dealing with victims, especially those who are vulnerable. He later develops a closer friendship with DC Carl Hawkins, who aids him in getting the help he needs to look after his father.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Poor Tom Atu. First, he is mugged by thugs who steal his money and drugs. Although his school is able to secure a police order stating he wont be prosecuted for possession, CID later find evidence in his dorm that he has also been dealing. This leads him to panic and steal a teachers car to escape, made worse by later trying to reverse away from a roadblock and running down a pedestrian, seriously injuring her.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Inspector Webb and Chief Supt Vickers refusing to give Ryan and Jake permission to go onto some railway tracks to rescue an escaped Alzheimer's patient, when there is a train approaching. They then discipline him for disobeying the order, despite the fact that had he obeyed it, the woman would have been crushed to death by the train.
    • Ryan going beserk and assaulting a male teenager he finds his son kissing.
    • Jake makes the stupid mistake of placing a witness in a room with a picture of the suspect openly on display, thus making her non-impartial and useless in the prosecution of a wife beater.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Chief Superintendent Vickers is having an affair with DS Moffat, despite the fact that his loving wife is undergoing treatment for serious cancer.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: