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Series / DCI Banks

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DCI Banks is a British crime drama series produced by Left Bank Pictures for the ITV network. The series is based on Peter Robinson's Inspector Alan Banks novels and stars Stephen Tompkinson as Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks.

The tenacious and stubborn DCI Banks unravels disturbing murder mysteries on the Yorkshire dales aided by his young assistants, DS Annie Cabbot and DI Helen Morton.


DCI Banks contains examples of:

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  • Being Good Sucks: The cops in DCI Banks seem to be treated very coldly by the general public in Eastvale; absolutely thankless when cases are cracked, and apportioning blame and scorn when even the smallest thing goes wrong.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: The second series introduces DI Helen Morton, replacing DS Annie Cabbot during the latter's maternity leave. At first, DI Morton feels no need or desire to share anything about her personal life with her colleagues, but she is eventually convinced to seek that human connection.
  • Cold Cash: In "The Buried", Banks and his team are searching a suspect's flat and find a bag of cash hidden in the freezer. Banks makes a joke about 'frozen assets'.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Several examples here.
    • DS Winsome Jackman abruptly disappears with no explanation after Season 2. She is replaced by DC Tariq Lang, who gets no welcome or introduction, and just 'appears' as part of the team one day.
      • Lang himself then drops off the face of the earth after Season 4 in the same fashion, and is replaced by DC Vince Grady (but Grady does get the luxury of being formally introduced to the team by CS Anderson).
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    • The same also happens to CS Ron Mclaughlin, a regular recurring character for the entire first four seasons of the show. He vanishes after Season 4, and CS Anderson suddenly shows up in his place in Season 5, again without any introduction of Anderson's character, or any explanation for Mclaughlin's disappearance.
  • Edible Bludgeon: In "What Will Survive", DI Morton subdues a suspect in a fishmonger's by clocking him with a bag of frozen cockles.
  • GPS Evidence: In "The Buried", a footprint left behind at the scene of a crime contains the mixture of the chemicals used in match heads. This leads the police to the only old match factory in the area.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: In "Friend of the Devil", Jackman arrives at a hotel looking for the father of a victim. After getting no answer to a knock at the door, she opens the door and the man suddenly appears holding a pillow over his crotch.
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  • I Have Your Wife: In "Bad Boy", Banks' daughter Tracey is kidnapped in an attempt to get him to remove a gun being held in the evidence store.
  • Internal Affairs: DS Annie Cabbot starts off as an IA officer, investigating a young PC for police brutality at Banks's station. When she deliberately loses the evidence and lets the PC avoid jail, to stick one up the PR-focused chief constables, Banks offers her a transfer to his CID unit.
    • She is later forcibly seconded back to IA in season 3, to investigate DI Helen Morton's handling of a botched raid at a house. Once again, she chooses the team over promotion, and goes out of her way to ensure Morton is exonerated.
  • Letterbox Arson: Fuel and fireworks dumped through a letterbox are used to start a fatal House Fire in "What Will Survive''.
  • Locked in the Bathroom: In "The Buried", DI Morton locks herself in a stall in the ladies room after she receives divorce papers from her husband. Banks somewhat timorously follows her in to find out what is wrong.
  • Mystery of the Week
  • My Greatest Failure: DCI Alan Banks has a bad habit of making stringent promises to grieving families that justice will be delivered, only for circumstances to inevitably conspire against delivering the promises. It usually earns Banks liberal amounts of scorn, hatred and blame from everybody, from grieving widows to the wrongly-accused.
  • No Social Skills: DI Helen Morton, as demonstrated by Banks' advice in "Dry Bones That Dream":
    "You actually want me to tell you how to fit in? (sigh) Well, um... Suffer a trip to the pub for a start. Using nicknames is good, or at least don't refer to your colleagues by their rank all the time. Crack a joke or two, preferably at someone else's expense. Buy a round of coffees, it's really not... (notices Morton is taking notes, looks away in disgust) ...rocket science."
  • ...Or So I Heard: In "Ghosts", the squad are discussing the lap dancing club the Victim of the Week had visited before being murdered. Kenny wonders how a student could have afforded to go there, and mentions the exorbitant cover price. This earns him a significant look from DI Morton, and he adds "...or that's what I've been told".
  • Phone Booth: In "What Will Survive", the missing Estonian woman is making a panicked call for help from an extremely isolated phone booth when she is grabbed by her abductor. Tracing the call, the police find blood on the floor of the booth.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Punk in the Trunk: "Ghosts" opens with the camera following a car as it drives through the streets of the city, passing the revelers coming out of the pubs and clubs. The car drives out into the country where it stops. The driver gets out and opens the boot, revealing a dead body. the driver then drops the body down a ravine and drives off.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: In "Innocent Graves", the killer murders a second girl using exactly the same M.O. as his first killing. The second killing is designed to make it look like a serial killer is at work.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: In "Wednesday's Child", Banks and his team investigate the abduction of an 11 year old boy. As the investigation proceeds, they discover the boy has been delivering heroin for a local dealer and helped to bury one of his friends who had died of an overdose.
  • The Unfavorite: Alan Banks is disliked by his father primarily because he became a policeman, which the father regards as joining the enemy because of the miner's strike during the Thatcher years. However, it also seems that even as a boy, nothing Alan did was good enough. Alan's younger brother was always the father's golden boy, despite becoming a venture capitalist, which should have been an anathema to the staunchly unionist father.
  • Witness Protection: In "The Buried", Banks and his team are baffled when a murder victim seems to have no history before five years ago. He turns out to be in the witness protection program. His new location was uncovered when he was photographed running a marathon in his new identity and the photo ran in the newspaper.

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