Department S is a British Crime Drama series which ran between 1969 and 1970. The titular Department was a department of Interpol which took on cases that other crime agencies couldn't solve, either because they were too baffling or because sometimes it wasn't even certain that a crime had been committed. The Department was tasked by diplomat Sir Curtis Seretse (Dennis Alaba Peters) and was headed by former FBI agent Stewart Sullivan (Joel Fabiani) and assisted by computer expert Annabel Hurst (Rosemary Nichols). The third member of the team, mustachioed crime writer Jason King (Peter Wyngarde), was given his own spin-off series.
The joy of the series came from the bizarre plots the writers thought up (sometimes involving a Locked Room Mystery, sometimes just involving circumstances that were plain weird) and the way the three main characters used their own methods of solving the crimes; Stewart Sullivan dived straight in, Annabel Hurst took a more logical analytical approach and Jason King was the ideas man. Their boss Sir Curtis Seretsenote was a cool, competent international diplomat of Nigerian extraction who sometimes took an active part in missions. At this time it was very rare to see black actors in leading roles on British television.
Had a slightly unusual format in that the Cold Open to each episode would finish with the episode title, writer and director credits before the title sequence. In most shows, of course, these would come at the beginning of Act One.
Contains the following tropes:
- Belly Dancer: Shown in the episode "A Fish out of Water".
- Cool Car: Jason King drove a red 1960 Bentley S2 Continental Sports Saloon with Swiss number plates, Stewart Sullivan drove a white 1968 Vauxhall Ventora (FD) 3.3 and Annabelle Hurst drove a white 1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupé.
- Gaslighting: "The Ghost of Mary Burnham" has an unassuming economist being driven insane to prevent him from being appointed as head of the International Monetary Fund.
- Genre Savvy: Jason King often used his experience as a crime writer to try and work out the latest plot.
- Interpol Special Agent: The characters are all investigators for Interpol, which in real life is purely an information clearing house and doesn't do any actual hands-on policing.
- Murderous Mask: In "The Man Who Got a New Face", an assassin sneaks into the home of a wealthy man and glues a comedy mask to his face. The target dies of a heart attack from overexertion in his vain attempt to remove the mask.
- Power Trio: Arguably Stewart is The Big Guy, Annabel is The Smart Guy and Jason is The Heart.
- Stock Footage: Every time there's an Establishing Shot of whatever exotic location the team are visiting this week.