NEW TRICKS (2013)

Season 10

Produced by: Wall to Wall Television.

Created by: Roy Mitchell and Nigel McCrery.

Directors: Brian Grant, Metin Hüseyin, Philip John, Dan Muirden, Andy Hay, Brian Grant

Writers: Simon Allen, Roy Mitchell (creator), Michael Crompton, Julian Simpson, Marston Bloom, Julian Unthank

Cast: Alun Armstrong, Denis Lawson, Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman, Anthony Calf, Susan Jameson, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Storme Toolis, Tamzin Outhwaite...

Guest Stars: Phyllida Law, James Bolam, Serge Hazanavicius, Phoebe Nicholls, Ronan Vibert, Emily Joyce...

Runtime: aprox. one hour each episode

Genres: Modern British TV Crime drama (on-going series)

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

** Spoilers for Season #9 and #10! **

This long-running crime drama about retired police detectives working as civilians to solve cold cases for the Metropolitan Police Department (London) has undergone several character changes. Jack Halford (James Bolam) left the series after appearing in the first episode Season #9. More cast members are leaving the series in Season #10.

I'm not the target audience for this series but the formula seems to appeal to plenty of people. I've grown tired of the dragged out personal story arcs. First there was Jack's obsessive search for the hit-and-run driver who killed his beloved wife, Mary. Eventually that storyline became downright silly when the writers started ignoring their own facts to manipulate and drag out the dramatic encounters between Jack and Ricky Hanson. Brian obsessed over who allowed a suspect he'd arrested to die while in a jail cell while Brian was too drunk to even notice. The will he or won't he take a drink or go on a bender quickly became tedious. Brian's an alcoholic. Fact. The UCOS team always hangs out in a pub after hours. Fact. Do the writers really think the viewers want to watch Brian endlessly trying to avoid alcohol in a pub? Jerry has his own problems. Some people think he's a bent (corrupt) cop. Sandra has a never-ending drama going on with her bitter mother. Sandra loved her father more than she loved her mother. Waaah! Sandra is searching for the "truth" about her father. It seems everyone knows except her. Sigh.

In Season 9, when Jack (James Bolam) left the show, he was replaced, on the UCOS team by Steve McAndrew (Denis Lawson). Now in Season 10, Brian and Sandra are leaving the long-running series, and Esther, too, for that matter. Brian's replacement is another brainy type who knows everything about everything, Danny Griffin (Nicholas Lyndhurst). Sandra's replacement is DCI Sasha Miller (Tamzin Outhwaite). I've liked the actress in other programs (especially in Red Cap) and in an earlier episode of New Tricks (where she played a different character — a ruthless mother intent on making her daughters into worldwide tennis stars, no matter what) but she doesn't seem to fit New Tricks in a leadership capacity in name ("Sasha"... really? Wasn't that her lover's wife's name in Red Cap?), appearance, or personality.

It's early days yet. I'm not saying I'm not going to watch Season 11 when it comes out on DVD but if Season 10 were the beginning of this series, I doubt there would ever have been a Season 2. I am attracted to the program because of the cold cases the team tries to solve not the drama in the characters' personal lives.

One other new character has been added to the mix in Season 10. Storme Toolis plays the role of Holly Griffin, the daughter of Danny Griffin (Nicholas Lyndhurst). Storme has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair and portrays her character Holly as such.

There are 10 episodes in Season10. Several were quite well done or at least had interesting bits here and there. However, with so many comings and goings among cast members, it is difficult to say how well the series will fare from here on. Things may gel, or they may continue to be jarring to viewers. I guess only time will tell.

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