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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A long-running British detective series, running from 1983 to 2011 (ITV have withdrawn their funding and until/unless STV can get a replacement backer, we have to call this show cancelled).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, nor with yet another 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 MacPherson had a brief appearance as a young DC Mike Jardine in "The Killing Philosophy", before becoming Taggart's assistant for the rest of the Mark McManus episodes following the departure of Neil Duncan as DS Peter Livingstone. After Mark McManus died, 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
  • Berserk Button: Occasionally Taggart or his colleagues will break a rule or two in order to pin a suspect or two. However, woe betide anyone who rigs evidence in one of his investigations, as DS Kenny Forfar discovered in "Death Call" after burning a receipt which would have exonerated a suspect. When Forfar confessed all, Taggart furiously threw Forfar out of his office and out of the force. When Forfar reappeared as a private detective in the following series in the story "Funeral Rites", it's clear that there is still hostility between the former colleagues.
  • 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.
  • The Bus Came Back: Taggart's original sidekick Peter Livingston made a one-off return in the 1993 episode "Forbidden Fruit".
  • 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.
  • 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 (Mark McManus), to begin with. When he died, his sidekick Mike Jardine (James MacPherson) 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 (Alex Norton), 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".
  • Video Inside, Film Outside: For the Killer pilot and the first two series. Shot entirely on film from the third series onwards.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Only often more calculating than usual.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The episode 'Gingerbread' was a modern retelling of 'Hansel and Gretel'