Have always adored detective dramas/mystery series. This has been apparent from an early age, half my life even, when getting into Agatha Christie through Joan Hickson's Miss Marple and David Suchet's Poirot and into 'Inspector Morse'.
Whether it's the more complex ones like 'Inspector Morse' (and its prequel series 'Endeavour') and anything Agatha Christie. Whether it's the grittier ones like 'A Touch of Frost' (though that is balanced brilliantly with comedy too). And whether it's the light-hearted ones like 'Murder She Wrote'. 'Taggart' is one of the biggest examples of the grittier ones, especially the Mark McManus years and the earlier James MaPherson episodes.
"Death Without Dishonour" is a decent episode, albeit not one of the best, for me it was among the lesser ones at this point of the show's run. There is not much to add to what has been said. There is not an awful lot new here but that's not really the problem.
It is agreed that the momentum is not always there and focusing less on the too dragged out cab war stuff (which was intriguing but took up too much of the episode's time).
Suspects are too few, uncharacteristic for relatively early 'Taggart', and are introduced far too late. Then the surprises are not as much as it becomes more obvious. Was not surprised by the identity of the killer and knew the motive long before it was revealed.
Enough though of what made 'Taggart' such a good show when it was in its prime is evident here. The characterisation here is meatier than seen pre-Jardine era, therefore more interesting with more development to Taggart and a lot of things here work.
Really like the slick, gritty look and Glasgow is like an ominous character on its own. The music matches the show's tone and has a good amount of atmosphere while the theme song/tune is one that stays in the memory for a long time. Really like Taggart and Jardine's chemistry here, which sees some priceless exchanges with them, and have always found it more interesting and settled than with Taggart and Livingstone. The relationship between Jardine and Reid was always blossoming nicely and had blossomed by this point, showing promising signs as to why it was one of the best things about the era when Jardine was in charge.
As to be expected, "Death Without Dishonour" is thoughtfully scripted with nothing ridiculous happening and things being taken seriously without being too morose. The story is involving in its complexity and intricacy with nothing being what it seems, making the most of the long length (have generally found the 2000s episodes too short and rushed) without padding anything out. Some parts are not for the faint hearted, but nothing feels gratuitous and the investigations are compelling and with enough mystery to stop it from being too obvious most of the time.
Good acting helps, with Mark McManus being a suitably tough and blunt presence throughout and James MacPherson being every bit his equal. Blythe Duff has well and truly settled beautifully, it was great to see her more prominent all the time, and Iain Anders is suitably hard-edged. Robert Robertson as ever steals scenes. All the supporting cast are solid.
Summarising, decent but something of a slightly underwhelming standard when many early 'Taggart' episodes were very good to excellent. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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