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Series / Taggart

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"There's been a murder".

A long-running British detective series, running from 1983 to 2011 (ITV have withdrawn their funding and until/unless STV can get a replacement backer, we have to call this show cancelled).

Set in Glasgow, Scotland, it had a very bad case of Never One Murder. The series was named after its original main character, Jim Taggart, who was killed off due to the death of Mark McManus, who portrayed him. Rather surprisingly, the show carried on longer without him than it did when he was alive.

According to The Other Wiki, the show is frequently summed up by saying "murder" in a very strong Glaswegian accent (e.g. a parody in The Fast Show consisted entirely of policemen standing around a corpse and saying "He's deeed, he's bin mudded!").

Like The Bill for Britain as a whole, every Scottish actor worth their salt has had a role on this show at some point. Except for, of all people, David Tennant, who failed the audition fourteen times.


Not to be confused with Dagny or James Taggart.

This show provides examples of:

  • Artifact Title: Jim Taggart no longer appears in the show, due to actor Mark McManus' death.
  • Ascended Extra: James McPherson had a brief appearance as a young DC in 'The Killing Philosophy', before becoming Taggart's assistant for the rest of the Mark McManus episodes. After Mark McManus died, Mike Jardine got promoted to DCI and became the main character for the next few years.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: One of the coroners tends to do this.
  • Beneath Suspicion
  • British Brevity: 100 episodes in 25 years. Taggart episodes are kind of like buses. Buses that are twice as long as normal shows, mind. A single 'episode' was normally 2-4 hours in the days before it was serialised down to an hour.
  • Clean Food, Poisoned Fork: In one series a serial killer uses snake venom to poison his victims, and in a scene near the end of the series, it's revealed that he administers the poison by sharing a meal with the victim and poisoning the victim's spoon.
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  • Detective Drama: The early episodes centred around Taggart and his sidekick but as the series progressed more characters were added until it was almost an ensemble piece.
  • Exposition Victim: in "Forbidden Fruit"
  • Lead Police Detective: Jim Taggart, to begin with. When he died, his sidekick gained a promotion to Detective Inspector and to the lead role. Subsequently, he died too and was succeeded by a new character, DCI Matt Burke, who saw out the show's last decade.
  • Never One Murder
  • Never Suicide: Averted in "Double Jeopardy".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Matt Burke is a tough, old school and uncompromising policeman much like Jim Taggart was.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "No Mean City".
  • Violent Glaswegian: Only often more calculating than usual.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The episode 'Gingerbread' was a modern retelling of 'Hansel and Gretel'