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.