If you are looking for a mystery series to watch that has heart— then try The Last Detective. We found this series quite by chance, and we are absolutely delighted that we did. It is based on the novels written by Leslie Thomas.
The series stars Peter Davison (from All Creatures Great and Small and the Campion series) as the “Last Detective.” I am not going to ruin it by telling you why he is called this, but there actually is a reason for the title of the series.
Davison’s portrayal of “Dangerous” Davies is brilliant. He actually looks the part of a middle-aged policeman in a dead-end job. (He’s quite unlike the beautiful, buff 28 year old actor they would cast over here in the U.S.A.!) Dangerous is someone we would actually trust if we were in a predicament which required us to interact with the police.
[On a huge aside— why is British television so much more believable than the fare we get over here?]
Dangerous has a… how would I describe him… crazy, kooky, out-there… side kick named Mod (after Tchaikovsky’s brother) who is delightfully played by Sean Hughes. Their (almost) philosophical conversations are… again, for the lack of another word…. believable.
In Season One (2003) we are introduced to the major players in the series. Dangerous, Mod, Dangerous’s boss, coworkers, and ex(?) wife… who has custody of their St. Bernard, which Dangerous is “allowed” to take on lengthy walks with Mod. Even Dangerous’s landlady is deliciously three-dimensional, although she does not have a lot of screen time.
The Last Detective’s Season Two (2004) continues with four more wonderful episodes. I am always very happy to find a series that is able to continuously deliver a great product. I just cannot say enough about Peter Davison’s excellent portrayal of Dangerous. Not only is Dangerous believable, but so are the plots.
As for Season Three, although we already own it, we are taking our time to watch the four episodes. We really don’t want to get to the point of not having anymore Dangerous Davies shows to watch!
The good news is that Season Four has already aired in Great Britain and the discs have just been released! (As for a Season Five… When I initially filed this review I had found something that said they were working on the fifth season. Of course, now I can’t find that information… so it could have just been a bit of speculation that I saw… Let’s keep hoping that they are working on the fifth season!)
This series focuses on character and plot. If you’re looking for a series that you can add to a list that would include Inspector Morse, Foyle’s War and Brother Cadfael—then this is a series you should definitely check out.
Although in the past, I have been dismayed as to why British television only makes a small number of episodes per season, I now understand why they prefer that system over ours. Our television shows put out an hour episode each week for the entire season (except of course, when they tirelessly repeat the shows), and the characters are interchangeable, two-dimensional. Why not put out four or six two-part shows that are truly worth watching!?!
Knock on wood >>>> If I am ever in a position in which I have to be questioned by the police>>>>> I hope I get a policeman just like Dangerous. I hope that Dangerous Davies is truly not The Last Detective.
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*****I wrote this review way back in 2007, but we still think it’s a terrific series. If you are a member of Netflix, they have the DVDs. Also, your library might just carry the DVDs. It truly is an exceptional British television mystery series. June 2014