The Sweeney

It’s funny how we find music, movies, and TV Shows. As I’ve said before I first watched a TV show in 2007-2008 called Life On Mars and not only was the show great but I also found some music I never heard before. The show was about Sam Tyler…a 2006 cop that got hit by a car and woke up in 1973. It remains one of my favorite shows of all time.

Life On Mars was based on a UK seventies cop show… this show… called The Sweeney. It took me a few years but I decided to check The Sweeney out. I love it. It’s gritty, dirty, and realistic. No cop shows at the time in America could be compared to this one. Shows like Kojak were more sanitized than The Sweeney. Filmed right on the streets of London, with plenty of graphic violence, the series nearly defines the expression “gritty drama.”

Many episodes had a bittersweet ending, with perhaps one villain caught, but justice rarely served for everyone, and plenty of loose ends as the credits rolled. And you could count on the heroes getting a pretty good thrashing in most episodes, though they gave as good as they got in fights.

The two main characters were Jack Regan (John Thaw) and George Carter (Dennis Waterman). Jack was Detective Inspector Regan who had little regard for protocol and would not think twice about getting criminals legally or otherwise. Detective Sargant George  Carter worked under Regan and tended to go more by the rules and was sometimes Regan’s conscious…when he listened.

As the series went along you could see the characters grow and even Regan started to go more with the guidelines. It’s a great show and the writing from episode to episode is consistent.

The show ran from 1974 through 1978 with 54 episodes plus two full length movies released in 1977 and 1978.  Although it was extremely popular, a combination of high production costs and creator burnout meant that it only lasted for four years.

For those of you who have seen Life On Mars…Gene Hunt was Regan…Hunt was more bombastic but the thread is there between the two. I could even draw comparisons to Sam Tyler and Carter trying to convince their boss to do the right thing. Life On Mars even used a Ford Capri as The Sweeney did.

This show would probably be an HBO series now if it were produced today…give it a try.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

46 thoughts on “The Sweeney”

  1. haven’t heard of it,but what you say makes sense. Reminds me of ‘Cracker’… it was a cool British police show with Robbie coltrane, who was a very smart but very flawed psychologist- going through divorce, gambling problem, drank too much, way overweight… but London police called on him to help profile criminals and he was good at it because he was so understanding of less-than-noble feelings and people. The US tried to copy it and came up with a bland, short-lived imitation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The US tried to copy it and came up with a bland, short-lived imitation.”… I’ve seen that over and over.
      Life On Mars….the same thing happened to that. The British version is far better…America got it and it was weak as water.

      Dave if you ever get a chance…watch Life on Mars…it’s only 16 episodes…it’s great. People I’ve recommended it to love it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds about right…only one or two we got right…All In The Family was one of them


      1. No he didn’t…it’s probably too old for him…I will ask him though if he has seen it.


  2. I will be checking this out. And the trail continues, Max, as Dennis Waterman in that show is a guy called Gerry in a cop series I’ve been watching and just finished S10 of! It’s called New Tricks, where it’s an unsolved crimes unit where the young female is the boss of 3 retired detectives and he’s one of them. I bet you’d love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That does sound really good! Waterman is really good in this. I see where Life On Mars came from now…you really see it in this. Regan is Hunt…just not as over the top.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I will have to watch this show. I loved Life on Mars (the music was great) and I enjoy shows and movies featuring Dennis Waterman. He even sang the theme song in New Tricks (a good, gritty TV series).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was my introduction to him…some other people have commented on him. He is great in this series. Life On Mars is my favorite show of the 21st century…but I watch mostly old lol. I think you will like this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s good CB…the one I would really say watch is the English verison of Life On Mars…it’s up my alley…gritty cop show with non-political correct characters in the 70s….they based it on the Sweeney.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had a friend recommend that years ago and I didnt bite. Cool thing is, you cab find just about anything now. I have a few others on my list. Been digging some cool flicks lately. I love realism not this censored shit (A CB slip).

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The Gene Hunt character in the show is legendary and it was made in 2006. His hero in the show is Gary Cooper of High Noon…its a great watch.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Good review (even though I didn’t watch it 🙂 ) – I liked slicker shows, and preferably with a fantasy element, but I must admit the US cop shows cliches used to get on my nerves. The obligatory 5-minute car chase. The “knocking people out” as if it never resulted in death or brain injury in real life when bottles are smashed over people’s heads, for example. And most of all the sheer numbers of murders, none of which had any sense of realism when it comes to the horror of gunshot wounds. At least The Sweeney had a better portrayal of reality and consequences!

    And don’t get me going on the Hollywood obsession for jumping through windows. The human body was not built to jump through glass without getting seriously slashed. It’s fine for Superman and invulnerable super-heroes, it’s just annoying when it’s supposedly human beings! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks.. that is why I liked it so much. Of course I found it because of Life On Mars…I saw where they got the characters.

      The shows like Kojak were very smooth…this show is like the Wild West…

      Liked by 1 person

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