Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman and her unconventional team of ex-detectives are back on BBC One next month for an eighth series of New Tricks.
Gerry Standing, Brian Lane and Jack Halford may bend the rules, ignore procedure, take risks and follow their hunches, but they get results.
Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman is played by Amanda Redman, Gerry Standing by Dennis Waterman, Brian Lane by Alun Armstrong and Jack Halford by James Bolam.
Episode 1: ‘Old Fossils’
Monday 4th July 2011, 9pm
When pathologist Bob Ruxton is suspended on the grounds of negligence UCOS are forced to reopen one of his cases. Dr Bernard Fletcher, a senior palaeontologist specialising in fossil birds at the Natural History Museum, was found dead following a corporate event in the Central Hall. The original autopsy stated his death was the result of a fall, but a new examination of the post-mortem suggests he sustained a single blow to the head.
According to his colleague Madeleine Simmonds, Dr Fletcher was a respected but outspoken scientist with a knack for rubbing people up the wrong way. Passionate about the planet, his views were often at odds with those of the museum, particularly their courting of sponsorship from companies such as Mondial Fuel, hosts of the corporate dinner held on the night of Fletcher’s death.
The investigation takes an unexpected turn when the team discovers Fletcher was embroiled in an affair with a colleague and that he was also gathering damning evidence against Mondial Fuel. With unprecedented access to the Natural History Museum, the UCOS team find themselves literally walking with dinosaurs, but it’s the valuable fossils at the museum that catch Standing’s eye. Could a long-forgotten gift from his father change his fortunes?
Episode 2: ‘End Of The Line’
Monday 11th July 2011, 9pm
When Peter Offord is arrested in connection with a warehouse robbery, DNA tests prove his innocence but link him directly to an unnamed vagrant who was strangled on a tube train 15 years earlier, prompting UCOS to reopen the case.
Having never known the identity of his father, Offord is left confused and angry when Pullman confronts him with the revelation. His mother, Iris, died in 1995, the year before the vagrant was killed, and while she had never named the young man she fell pregnant by at 18, she had never given up hope of being reunited with him. Offord reluctantly admits that he hired Roger McHugh, a dodgy private investigator known to UCOS, to find his father, but to no avail.
While Pullman, Standing and Halford pursue Iris’s sister and the man they believe to be the victim’s brother, Charles Allenforth, Lane questions the homeless community, with disastrous consequences.
Episode 3: ‘Lost In Translation’
Monday 18th July 2011, 9pm
The UCOS team are drawn into a world of immigration loopholes, Albanian gangs and family feuds when they reinvestigate the death of an unidentified male discovered on farmland in 1996.
New DNA tests on the charred remains reveal a family link to Home Office fingerprint analyst Anna King. Anna admits that the victim could be her brother, David Celaj, who brought her to the UK from Albania when she was seven. They were granted political asylum and Anna was adopted by a British couple, Rachel and Alan King, but she hasn’t seen her brother since.
The team discovers Celaj was working as a police interpreter. His last assignment was to translate for a witness, Maria Mullat, testifying in a murder case against Michael Luga, a notorious Albanian criminal.
Meanwhile, Gerry immerses himself in all things French on a cookery course but the language barrier results in a rather surprising date over a bouillabaisse.
Episode 4: ‘Setting Out Your Stall’
Monday 25th July 2011, 9pm
The UCOS team reinvestigates a highly sensitive case, when new information links the unexplained death of popular market trader Kathy Green, to a series of drug rapes in East London.
Traces of the drug Temazepam were found in Kathy’s blood when her body was discovered in her car near her market stall at Cook Street Market. This is the same drug that was used in the rapes. But with the rape case active, the team can’t touch the chief suspect, Anthony Gunnell, and are forced to explore Kathy’s private life and past for answers.
Gerry Standing sets his sights on a new suspect and declares all out war on “jobsworth” market inspector, Kevin Baxton, after Baxton has the audacity to clamp his illegally parked car.
Meanwhile, if Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman’s mother Grace was hoping for the red carpet treatment when she visits her daughter, she leaves sorely disappointed.
Episode 5: ‘Moving Target’
Monday 1st August 2011, 9pm
When psychologist Samantha Gerson arrives at UCOS to conduct a study on older men in the workplace, she is greeted by a mixed reception. But Samantha isn’t just interested in the three ex-coppers. She needs a favour and asks Pullman to look at her brother’s case.
Darren Gerson, a cycle courier, was the victim of a hit and run in May 2006 which left him with a serious brain injury and complete memory loss of anything prior to the accident. Following intense rehabilitation, Darren now believes he was a target because of the package he was carrying which he thinks was stolen from him at the scene, but he still has no recollections to substantiate his claim.
While the team look into Darren’s final pick up, Samantha continues her study and, after observing Halford, Lane and Standing being “normal” in the office, a simple word association test proves slightly more challenging.
Episode 6: ‘Object Of Desire’
Monday 8th August 2011, 9pm
Some past memories and feelings are stirred up when Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman is reunited with an old flame as the drama continues. Now head of the Met’s arts and antiques squad, DCI Larson asks Pullman and her team to reinvestigate the murder of antiques dealer Mal Baxter.
Baxter was found dead in his home, having been struck over the head in what was originally believed to be a bungled burglary. But Larson has new evidence revealing that, far from being a respected dealer running a legitimate business, Baxter was an informant in return for the police turning a blind eye to his dodgier dealings. With some unfinished business between Pullman and Larson, will she allow her heart to rule her head in this case?
Meanwhile, Brian Lane is facing his own relationship crisis when his wife’s odd behaviour and new-found interest in the internet leads him to think the unthinkable – Esther’s having an affair.
Episode 7: ‘The Gentleman Vanishes‘
Monday 15th August 2011, 9pm
The UCOS team reinvestigate the disappearance of a leading scientist when his wife receives a number of anonymous emails from someone claiming to know what happened to him.
UCL physics professor Phillip Mackenna disappeared on a train when travelling to a conference in Paris in 2004. CCTV shows him leaving his seat to go to the buffet car but he was never seen again. Mackenna was working on a revolutionary cold fusion project when he went missing. Gerry Standing reveals that such a project, if successful, could be worth millions.
Mackenna’s wife, Bea, insists her husband would never have sold out on the project, despite being approached many times by large organisations. As the team digs deeper, shadowy Whitehall figure Stephen Fisher warns DAC Strickland off the case.
Episode 8: ‘Only The Brave’
Monday 22nd August 2011, 9pm
The UCOS team reinvestigate the murder of Eddie Chapman, leader of a notorious criminal motorbike gang, The Braves, when new evidence is brought to them by an unlikely source. Stephanie Parr, the girlfriend of Eddie Chapman’s son Reece, risks her own safety to turn to UCOS with information about Chapman’s death. Reece is about to be put through the final initiation into The Braves – to avenge his father’s murder by killing the rival gang member they believe was responsible.
Desperate to stop Reece, Stephanie reveals the gang are targeting the wrong man and urges Pullman to reopen the case. But no one who speaks out about The Braves lives to tell the tale and, despite the team’s reassurances that Stephanie will be protected, word leaks out.
Meanwhile, Pullman is forced to reassess her position at UCOS when an old colleague, DS Barlow, suggests she’s wasting her career stuck in a basement investigating cold cases with a bunch of ageing misfits.
Episode 9: ‘Half Life’
Monday 29th August 2011, 9pm
UCOS reinvestigate the murder of an identified male found in a West London alleyway seven years ago when the victim is named on a website highlighting unexplained disappearances.
The victim, Christopher Collins, is named by Lisa Carlisle, wife of garage owner John, who employed Collins as a mechanic six months before his death. The Carlisles assumed that Collins had just moved on. Neither seems to know anything about him beyond the fact that he could strip a gearbox.
The investigation takes an unexpected twist when every line of enquiry draws a blank, with Collins appearing to have had no past. Then the team discovers he was in the witness protection programme having testified against a major drug smuggler.
Meanwhile, Brian Lane and Gerry Standing are distracted by looming job cuts in the Force fearing that their unit could be hit. But can Pullman get any kind of reassurance from DAC Strickland over the future of UCOS?
Episode 10: ‘Tiger Tiger’
Monday 5th September 2011, 9pm
UCOS reopen the case of zoo keeper Zac Halsey, who was mauled to death in the tiger enclosure at Harefield Zoo in 2006. Originally ruled as a tragic accident, blood found in Zac’s lodgings during a recent refurbishment at the zoo suggests he was killed before being found in the enclosure.
Not all the team are happy about visiting the zoo. It brings out the animal rights activist in Brian who soon clashes with the zoo’s PR, Tabitha Hall-Chalmers, over keeping wild animals in captivity.
A loner, Zac appeared to have few friends other than the animals he tended. But the team discover that Zac was something of an adrenaline junkie with a passion for high-risk activities, some of which contradict his animal-loving reputation.