Complete A-Z list



Stars: Stephen Tompkinson, Gillian Kearney, Craig Conway, Ronnie Fox, Maurice Roeves, Ian Whyte, Mark Stobbart

Director: Vince Woods

This strange but watchable combination of stark realism and gung-ho police thriller, with a charismatic performance from Stephen Tompkinson in the lead, runs like the pilot for a tough TV series. And, given the 'created by' credit at the end, maybe it was originally conceived that way.

Still in the north-east of England, but far from the comparatively tranquil waters of TV's DCI Banks, Tompkinson plays a near-retirement sergeant (there seems little reason why has hasn't risen above sergeant, but he hasn't) returned from a Hong Kong assignment, but still grieving over the loss of his wife (to illness) and his daughter (in a fire).

It's Newcastle in 1974, the country's on a three-day week, police numbers are reduced and civil disobedience is rife. Given little support by his superiors, Harrigan is determined to whip his small team into shape, and hunt down the local loan sharks/enforcers who not only run the beleaguered district but also happen to be responsible for the death of Harrigan's daughter.

Tompkinson's cop, obviously cut from the same cloth as 'Dirty Harry' Callahan, is all things to all men here, vicious in action, but gentle in persuading a man holding his child as hostage to give himself up. At the end, Harrigan takes two double-barrelled blasts to the chest, still nabs his man and emerges with his arm in a sling. What a guy.

Without the bad language, the results would make typical TV crime-cop fare, even though this is apparently based on real events.

David Quinlan

UK 2013. UK Distributor: High Fliers. Colour by Movietech.
96 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 14 Sep 2013