New Tricks – British Television Mystery Series

If you want to watch a tongue-in-cheek police procedural television show that makes light of aging “coppers” while also showing that people with age and experience make the best workers >>> then the British television series called New Tricks is probably exactly what you are looking for. (I happen to be a big fan of this British, humorous police procedural dramedy.)

New Tricks features one middle-age detective (Amanda Redman) who recently botched a large hostage operation. Because of this embarrrasement to the police force, she is assigned to head a cold case department. The three men she is assigned to work for her are policemenn who retired years ago… years and years ago! (Dennis Waterman, James Bolam, and Alun Armstrong play the retired coppers.)

Alun Armstrong plays Brian – a manic/depressive (I believe). He is a sort of walking computer. He can recall facts, names, dates, just about everything that was pertinent to the cases when they occurred years ago. Brian is fine… when he’s on his medications.

Dennis Waterman plays Gerry, an aging Lothario. I have lost count of how many ex-wives he has. He is the (somewhat) tough copper… who still considers himself to be quite the lady’s man.

Jack Halford’s character (James) is still in love with his best friend and wife… who has been dead for several years. He has built a shrine to her in his back yard, which he visits regularly.

As for Amanda Redman’s character (Sandra) – while she respects these older men, she also has to keep them in check >>> reign them in, make them follow the politically correct rules that are enforced in today’s police department. These three … I guess “codgers” is the term I’m looking for – policed during the days when it was “acceptable” to rough-up suspects. Sandra has her work cut out for her!

Of course, this cold case squad has a tremendous success rate. What else could we expect? But, the cases aren’t as important (to me!) as the characters’ interactions. What is that old saying? “Getting there is half the fun.” Well, in this case, all the fun is getting there!

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  1. Karen says

    Hi, Danna, I agree with you completely. This is a great show. My husband and I originally found it on Netflix. We like it so much that we purchased all four seasons currently released for our DVD collection. We can’t wait for season five!

  2. Anne says

    This is my favorite of all the British shows. Well, ok, next to Midsomer Murders. I want the theme song on my iTunes list and am still looking for it. I’m hoping season 5 is released in America soon.

    • Cindy says

      The song, “It’s Alright”, has not be commercially recorded – unfortunately. However, if you go to You Tube, you can find an recording of it performed by a fan of the show who located the complete lyrics. (the link is

      If you have only seen New Tricks as broadcast by PBS, you haven’t seen a full episode ever. Because this is a BBC1 program, each episode runs for 58 to 59 minutes (just like PBS programs before they started running the non-commercials between programs). To see full episodes, you need to beg borrow steal rent or buy the DVDs. FYI, Season 5 is scheduled for release on September 27 (not too far off). The better news is that this past week, the BBC announced that seasons 9 and 10 are ordered for broadcast on BBC1 in 2012 and 2013. (Season 8 broadcast it’s final episode on September 5 on BBC1.)

      More good news for US fans – Season 1 was a mere 7 episodes. Seasons 2-6 had 8 episodes each. Seasons 7 & 8, along with the on order seasons 9 & 10, have 10 episodes each. Why the increases, because New Tricks consistently wins it time period ratings week after week. In fact, it is often the highest rated dramatic program in the U.K. Happily this means more episodes for US based fans as well.

      • Danna - cozy mystery list says

        Thanks, Cindy. Those captions look like something I would have expected those New Trick characters to be saying!

  3. Carrie says

    I love this show. The interaction between the principal characters is wonderful and the wealth of acting talent is a joy to watch.

    Trivia fact: Dennis Waterman who plays Gerry in the show also sings the theme song!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Are you serious, Carrie? I love that type of “Trivia fact”!!! I’ll definitely listen more carefully…

    • Cindy says

      Dennis Waterman has been a professional working actor since 1960 (dob 2/24/48) – and has a ‘reputation’ for singing the theme song for many of the tv programs in which he has appeared. I’ve trying to come up with a US equivalent to Dennis, and I think the best would be the late Jerry Orbach (best known for his last role as Lennie Briscoe on ‘Law & Order’) Jerry’s career lasted 49 years, he is best known for playing cops & tough guys, and is less widely known for his work on the stage in musicals (he created the character of El Gallo in ‘The Fantasticks’ introducing the world to “Try to Remember (the kind of September)”). Dennis has a career that spans 51 years (and counting), is best known for playing cops & tough guys (commencing with “The Sweeney” in the mid-1970s with John Thaw [Inspector Morse]). He musical career is a little more high profile than that of Jerry Orbach – but that is bound to happen if you record the theme song for many of the series in which you appear. :)

      • Danna - cozy mystery list says

        Cindy, and how about Jerry Orbach’s wonderful portrayal of Lumière in the Beauty and the Beast movie!

  4. Carrie says

    If you read the credits at the end of the show his name appears as the singer.

    He has also sung several other theme songs for shows that he has appeared in, most notably Minder with the song “I Could Be So Good For You”.

    Another trivia item is that Dennis Waterman’s daughter, the actress Hannah Waterman also appears in New Tricks from time to time. She plays Emily who first shows up when she claims that Gerry is her father and he has a paternity test to find out if she is correct. If you haven’t seen that episode I won’t spoil it for you by revealing what happens next!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Carrie, I am going to start looking for Hannah Waterman. The producers must love making this show!

      • Danna - cozy mystery list says

        Sometimes I can actually feel Sandra’s exasperation with these three politically INcorrect, medicine-toting men!

  5. Sheila says

    Ah, another favourite of mine too. A wonderfully, fun series, though it does have a couple of very serious episodes revolving around Jack, but i can’t remember which season!

    Dennis Waterman had a shortlived pop career a while back (a few decades back!) and has sung a theme tune before, for Minder. The theme tune for New Tricks is, i believe, a reworking of a song called The End of the Line by the Traveling Wilburys. I’ve searched and that is the nearest i can find to it.

  6. Bob says

    Alexandra Roudybush
    For both Cozy & general mystery genre there is no better writing.

  7. Eva says


    I just love, love, love this show. The first time I saw it, I immediately got hooked; it is so different in concept. I missed it when I didn’t see it anymore. I hoped they would continue adding to the series so that we could all enjoy it for a long, long time.

    • Cindy says

      As of September 5, 2011, 68 episodes have been broadcast by BBC1. Ten more have been ordered for 2012, and another 10 for 2013. The down side to the U.K. method of producing programs is that a ‘season’ is much shorter than here in the States. On the other hand, I think it keeps the programs fresher because the writers, directors & actors aren’t stuck churning out episode after episode after episode each year. Once the order for 2013 is fulfilled, 88 episodes will be in the can. In the US, that is 4 seasons, not the 10 that New tricks will have run. I think that as much as we’d all like more rather than less New Tricks as fans of the show, we benefit from the less is more approach because the program is as fresh today as it was in the beginning.

      • Danna - cozy mystery list says

        I totally agree, Cindy, with the “churning out episode after episode after episode each year.” I have dropped several USA shows because of this very same problem: Law & Order was one… it seemed like the only “fresh” element in the shows was the rotating door of beautiful assistant prosecutors…

  8. Donna says

    I really like this show but our local PBS station pulled it and started airing MI-5 instead. Just can’t get into that one, hoping they will bring back “New Tricks”. But my newest favorite UK show is a Britcom, “The Old Guys”. Kind of an Odd Couple as senior citizens, and absolutely hilarious!

  9. Maria K says

    Count me in the list of those who enjoy New Tricks! I borrowed a couple of seasons from the library. Also, I know the new Doc Martin series has been filming. I can’t wait until we get to see it! I also want to ask a question. A friend told me about a mystery series that has a female detective ala Kinsey Milhone, V I Warshawski, Stephanie Plum but I forgot the author’s name and the name of the author. Can’t remember who told me about the series. Any suggestions?

  10. blake says

    Hi, Just found this site and the comment about this show intrigued me. I’m an American who loves British television. Does anyone know where I can watch this show online? I’ve searched with no luck. Also, I love the premise of The Old Guys. Will have to look for that, as well. Cheers.

  11. Danna - cozy mystery list says

    Looks like New Tricks has a lot of followers here in the USA. I love the novel premise of the show…

  12. Leslie says

    After reading a post about this show, I checked my netflix account and it wasn’t available. While flipping channels this Sunday I was happy (surprised) to see it on our PBS station in San Diego. Now I will be busy on Sunday nights. Also I’m glad to hear they are filming more of Doc Martin. Love that show.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Leslie, you are one of the lucky people to have access to this show on your PBS station. Our station hasn’t shown it – that I know of…

      (I really enjoy New Tricks, can you tell?)

  13. Sheila says

    The latest season of New Tricks has just finished airing in the UK. It was a brilliant season, one of the best and it got very large viewing figures (at one point it reached 10 million and was the most watched tv show of the week). The BBC have just announced that they will be making more and that there should be new episodes in 2012 and 2013, which is great news.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thanks, Sheila, for the great news. I’m already looking forward to the New Tricks season you just watched in the UK… I wish we could get them right after you watch them, but we always seem to be at least one season behind…

  14. says

    Please help. I love all these “Cozy” TV -DVD Broadcasting Shows, such as Morse, Midsommer Murders, Lewis, I can go on and on….the only place I know to get any of it to watch is either the occasional PBS….lately it has been that <Masterpiece Classics, the Upstairs Downstairs or whatnot , but that is it. I can get some of the older stuff at the public library….but I am so hooked to BBC Shows, etc Please tell me if there is another way to watch these shows? Any other BBC Channels ??? BBC1??? What is that? Anywhere that anyone knows of would be so grateful , I am starving here.

  15. Christy says

    I have loved Dennis Waterman since he played in “Minder” in the 80’s, another show for which he sang the theme song. Great actor, great voice!

  16. Kay L says

    I’ve been told that “New Tricks” was originally a series of novels. Do you know the name of the author?

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Kay L, I would love to know if New Tricks was originally a series of mysteries. As far as I know, it wasn’t. Here’s hoping that someone knows if it was, and if so, who the author is.

  17. Joppy says

    The 2013 series starts on BBC1 tonight (30/7). I won’t say more than – it will be different. Tonight the gang go to Gibraltar for a two-parter.
    I’ve always been a crime series fan and am pleased to see that a number of early series are now beginning to appear on DVD. Some are old enough to be in B/W. I am looking forward to receiving my order for ‘Bulman’ and ‘The Men in Room 17’ – I hope that eventually the ‘Odd Man’, with the non-speaking hitman comes out eventually.

  18. Linda says

    I have been a fan of New Tricks since it first appeared on PBS on this side of the pond. Now the complete series is available here on DVD. I am trying to find out which series where broadcast here so I can pick-up were I left off and not miss anything.

  19. Buffy says

    It’s back on TV, PBS in the USA, at 8pm, season 11 is just starting. But only Gerry is the original cast member still on. Darn it.

    • says

      Buffy, thanks for telling us about New Tricks. I just looked it up to see when it would air on my PBS station, and it looks like just a few sections of the USA are going to be lucky enough to get season 11. I am guesing that you might live out in California…

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