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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' fellow officers who are modern police and often defends Dangerous from their taunting.
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  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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: Take a wild guess.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.