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Series / The Last Detective

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"Dangerous" because he's not, and "The Last Detective" because he's the last detective they'd send on a case.

British mystery series starring Peter Davison as Detective Constable (DC) "Dangerous" Davies; based upon the novels and characters of Leslie Thomas. Davies is a gentle, somewhat old-fashioned officer who clashes with his Jerkass colleagues, and is a rare example of a Butt-Monkey protagonist, facing a separation with his wife and various incidents of ill-luck along with his colleagues' taunting. Despite this, he is a clever detective and always solves the case, often aided by his genius slacker friend Mod.

There had previously been a Made-for-TV Movie called Dangerous Davies, the Last Detective starring Bernard Cribbins.

Contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Rather a lot of it, often tragic. However, since the description of the death usually comes from the perpetrator, it's not always clear if the victim fell or was pushed.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: DC Davies is a genuinely nice man who cares about the people who want police help, but he's still a copper. He's also a bit of a prick to his wife's boyfriends.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: A crime boss shot in his own swimming pool.
  • Butt-Monkey: Nearly every episode begins with something undignified happening to Dangerous.
  • Cowboy Cop: Dangerous' DI is a washed-up, alcoholic Gene Hunt type who misses the good old days of honorable London Gangsters and Police Brutality. He's also an interesting version of Noble Bigot with a Badge though, as he's actually less prejudiced than Dangerous' more modern fellow officers and often defends Dangerous from their taunting.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Dangerous is called that "because he's not".
  • Deadpan Snarker: There's a strong undercurrent of snark beneath the niceness.
    DI Aspinall: And the silly cow's got the cheek to complain about us - about me! Complain about me, can you credit that, Davies, somebody complaining about me?
    Dangerous: As you say, it's hard to credit.
    DI Aspinall: And do you know what I say?
    Dangerous: I don't know, Guv, probably something beginning with 'bollocks'.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The episode "Lofty".
  • Deadly Prank: A non-lethal variation. In one episode, Dangerous sees his wife dancing with one of her boyfriends, and in a fit of pique, pulls the building's fire alarm to trigger the sprinklers, drenching them. In the resulting chaos, however, the boyfriend gets injured and has to go to hospital, which Dangerous feels guilty over.
  • Defective Detective: Dangerous' willingness to go after police corruption when he finds it leads to him being seen as one of these. His alcoholic boss, DI Aspinall, is a straighter case: at one point he gets into serious trouble when he loses a casefile in a pub.
  • Dies Wide Open: Deconstructed when a still, open-eyed woman is taken for dead, which turns Disposing of a Body into Accidental Murder.
  • Dirty Cop: Any officer considered a mentor or friend by Dangerous' DI will turn out to be one of these.
  • Dog Walks You: Dangerous and his pony-sized dog, and Mod, who never walks less than a dozen dogs at a time.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Mod is short for Modesty (after Tchaikovsky's brother).
  • Enhance Button: Used somewhat realistically in the episode with a Snuff Film.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Dangerous has one at least once per episode, generally during conversation with Mod.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": DS Pimlott and DC Barrett may be grown men, but when it comes to this trope they're mental ten-year-olds, and anything from innuendo to Pac-Man is grist to their mill.
  • Gag Penis: One episode has Mod's current girlfriend inform Dangerous' wife that Mod is rather well-endowed.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: With Dangerous as the good cop and the other officers as the bad ones.
  • Godzilla Threshold: A weird inversion. Davies being assigned to cases is not supposed to mean "he's the only detective who can solve the case" so much as "all of the other cops care jack about helping you".
  • Genius Ditz: Mod is extremely well-read, but lacking in practical social skills.
  • Identical Stranger: One episode has Dangerous investigating some gangsters, aided by an informant who looks a lot like Mod. Mod ends up getting badly beaten by the gangsters, who mistake him for the informant.
  • Ironic Nickname: Detective "Dangerous" Davies gets two, one of which ("The Last Detective", as in "he's the only detective who cares about taking your case") is the Title Drop.
  • Kavorka Man: Mod frequently manages to hook up with gorgeous women (sometimes shown on camera, sometimes not) despite being an utter slacker.
  • The Last DJ: Dangerous himself.
  • The Last Title: The title. An odd application of this type of title in that it's an insulting nickname.
  • Translation by Volume: After the other detectives introduce themselves to a deaf woman, DC Barrett steps in with this trope. She asks, not unreasonably, if he's simple.
  • Male Gaze: The episode "Christine" has Davies and DI Aspinall interviewing a financial advisor with a very short skirt. Several shots were from behind her legs and showed (as well as the aforementioned limbs) the DC and DI with suspiciously rigid expressions.
    • The same episode presents a gender-flipped version in which Mod's legs get an airing. Viewers may differ as to the results.
  • Motive Rant: Averted as generally the criminals (generally murderers) will have understandable reasons for their crimes and accept arrest with calm resignation.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The preview for "Dangerous and the Lonely Hearts" seems to set up a Clear Their Name plot for DI Ray Aspinall. In the episode proper, his connection to the crime was tangential at best and he's never under any real suspicion.
  • No Name Given: Dangerous' real first name is never revealed. His dog's name is never revealed, either.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Detective Davies is constantly called "Dangerous" if anybody calls him anything other than "Davies", and his first name is never revealed.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Mod
  • Reading Lips: Helps identify the unknown victim of a snuff film, with the twist that the translator can't understand what she's saying. The sounds, written down phonetically, are eventually recognised as Polish.
  • Snuff Film: The plot of "Dangerous Liasons" revolves around a 20-year-old snuff film and the murdered man who apparently recorded it.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The title character of the episode "Tricia" who almost messes up Dangerous' life as badly as she had that of several previous men.
  • Tarot Troubles: At the beginning of the episode "Dangerous and the Lonely Hearts". As is common for this trope, Dangerous' card isn't as bad an omen as the script seems to think: he gets the Hanged Man, associated with (among other things) transformation and hard-earned wisdom.
  • Those Two Guys: DS Pimlott and DC Barrett, Dangerous' rivals on the force. They're not nice guys.
  • Yandere: The eponymous character in "Tricia" is also one of these.
  • You Do Not Have to Say Anything: In the first episode, Dangerous starts saying this after chasing down a perp, but is so winded the perp completes the reading for him.