On television this morning the question, who is the best TV cop was asked and members of the panel put forward various suggestions starting with Dixon of Dock Green and showed a clip which was in colour.
Not a bad choice I thought as I was brought up with Jack Warner playing Sergeant George Dixon as a child, starting when I was so young I was allowed to sneak back down after my brother and I were put to sleep and the programme was in black and white, probably some time in the 1950’s.
My how things have changed from those days when a villain could be apprehended with nothing more than a small wooded stick or truncheon as it was called and the utterance of the phrase “your nicked me lad,” who in response would say, “okay guv, it’s a fair cop.”
In these more modern times we need at least three Police cars, a helicopter and the assistance of a Police dog and even then most of the time the criminals seem to get off with a very light sentence or sometimes are let go with a warning, my how times have changed.
The next suggestion was for Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect which was the Line of Duty drama of its day but I have very little recollection of watching it, although I believe I did.
Moving on to the next offering, Luther starring Idris Elba which I have never watched at all so am unable to comment upon, however I believe it was very popular, it probably clashed with Top Gear or some other car programme which might explain why I never watched it.
Something I did watch in the day was Columbo, starring Peter Falk as Lieutenant Columbo who always wore the same slightly grubby raincoat and for car lovers drove an old and even more battered Peugeot 403. Just when you thought the dastardly villain was going to get away with it, Columbo would turn round and utter his catch phrase, “just one more thing,” and ask the vital question that would have the criminal in handcuffs and carted off to the nick in double quick time.
Amazingly the show ran from 1968 to 2003 and Peter Falk had a hand in writing some of the episodes, I think it safe to say, he had his moneys worth from Columbo as a character.
As the panel had been discussing Line of Duty endlessly during the programme some of the characters were put forward but didn’t get onto the blackboard of choice.
Whilst all these actors have put in sterling work with their various characters there is for me only one detective who can lay claim to the title, best TV cop and that is Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, written by the fabulous author Anthony Horowitz and played so splendidly by Michael Kitchen.
Set in wartime Britain in Hastings, together with his trusty right hand man Detective Sergeant Paul Milner played by Anthony Howell and his driver Samantha Stewart played by Honeysuckle Weeks they make a formidable team and make for extremely enjoyable viewing.
I therefore nominate Christopher Foyle as my choice for best TV cop.