A Touch of Frost is yet another example of a British police procedural television show that (to me) makes most of these types of shows made in the USA look overly ambitious and… if you’ll excuse me for saying… idiotic.
A Touch of Frost began airing in 1992 and continued many years after that (2010). The shows are based on the mystery books by author R. D. Wingfield. I have read several of Wingfield’s mysteries, and highly recommend them to people who want to read a really good police procedural series. Unfortunately, there are only six in this mystery series.
The always-entertaining actor, David Jason, portrays Detective Inspector Jack Frost. This is another example of an actor who made the part his own, much like John Thaw in the British Inspector Morse television series. (See what I mean?!? Bravo to the Brits!)
I think what I like the most about A Touch of Frost is the interaction Jack has with everyone – both his superiors and his subordinates, as well as the individuals he interviews. Frost isn’t the most patient man, but his character exudes an incredible amount of empathy for others, which in a lot of television police procedurals is lacking.
He is a great detective, as well as a wonderful teacher. For some reason, Frost seems to be assigned a lot of young “newbies” to teach the ropes to. Unfortunately, some of Jack’s “ropes” include tip-toeing down the hallways to avoid his superiors (more on that later) as well as leaving piles of unfinished paperwork on his desk.
Frost’s permanent sergeant is Detective Sergeant George Toolan, played by John Lyons. There is a great rapport between these two men. However, the most interesting interaction for me is between Jack and the young detectives assigned to him. While Jack seems gruff with them, he actually is a perfect teacher for them. I always feel like those young detectives have benefited immensely from their time with unconventional and independent Jack.
As in a lot of police procedural television shows, Jack and his boss (Superintendent Mullett – played by Bruce Alexander) don’t see eye to eye. As a matter of fact, if Jack sees his boss before Mullett sees him, Jack makes it a point to slip out/hide/leave very quickly… before Mullett sees him. This makes for some comedic scenes.
My husband and two adult children watched the entire series, which of course indicates that we like it. There is one minor qualm we have with the show: for some reason, Jack invariably runs after culprits.. literally! We didn’t notice this until the final seasons of the show. We would find ourselves wondering when Jack would start running after the robust, young criminals, and when he would overtake them. (Did I mention that Jack is not a young man?) Jack would run up stairs, down stairs, through corridors with obstacles being thrown at him, etc. (Or should I say ETC?!? As in capital etc!) While I always enjoy David Jason, and I must admit he has kept himself very trim, we just found it a little odd that a man of his age could tackle/catch men one third his age. We couldn’t quite understand why the director decided to include these action-filled chase scenes.
Regardless, we all truly enjoyed A Touch of Frost, and I highly recommend it.
For more Cozy viewing ideas, click on my Cozy Mystery TV & Movies page.