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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:

  • 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).
    • 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.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: Annie receives an important phone call and tries to tell DCI Banks. He asks, "Can it wait?" and she says, "Yeah." (She is murdered that night).
  • 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.
  • 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 ets 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''. So it seems at first, but only the fireworks were dumped in and they didn't start the fire; it was ignited later from inside the house as a murder/suicide attempt.
  • 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.
  • The Mole: Vince Grady, blackmailed over a crime committed by his father, spies on the team for the gangster Steve Richards.
  • 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."
  • Office Romance: There is an on-and-off relationship between DCI Banks and DS Cabbot.
  • ...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".
  • 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.
  • Retirony: DS Annie Cabot. It's not retirement, but it's something she looks forward to. Annie is married to the father of her baby, but the marriage is breaking up and she states her intention to get back with Banks after a short time to clear things up. She is tragically murdered before the last episode of the series.
  • Role Called: DCI stands for Detective Chief Inspector.
  • 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.
  • Sexual Extortion: Chief Superintendent Colin Anderson shows up at DI Helen Morton's house with a bottle of wine one evening and offers to help her study for her DCI promotion hearing. When she refuses a second glass of wine and starts to send him away, he asks if there is anything he can do to change her mind, "even as [her] boss." The next day, she calls him out for being inappropriate. He tries to sabotage her promotion hearing, but she passes anyway.
  • 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 Un-Favorite: 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.
  • Vigilante Injustice: "Friend of the Devil" features a vigilante on the loose the new forensic pathologist Dr Elizabeth Waring. Having been the victim of a Serial Rapist in their youth, they killed the rapist and now execute predators by slitting their throats with a scalpel. Whilst sympathetic it soon becomes apparent that despite their claims of helping remove dangers, all of this is just an unhealthy coping mechanism for their own trauma, leading to them kidnapping and executing Lucy Payne even though a paralyzed Lucy had already been arrested. Then they become convinced that a teen's murder means there yet another serial offender on the loose. Their attempts to kill them result in the accidental murder of an innocent detective (who ironically was also there trying to stop the mythical serial offender). On top of that their efforts to avoid capture only interfere with the original murder investigation so that the real culprit almost gets away. They even nearly murder Sergeant Cabbot in a last desperate attempt to escape.
  • 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.