Today, I will be reviewing another English detective series, Inspector George Gently. Set in 1964 England, the show starts with DI George Gently contemplating retirement after his wife is murdered by a hit and run driver. He hears that the prime suspect in his wife’s murder was around when a similar crime was committed in the North East. He postpones retirement to investigate further.
Inspector Gently is old school, even by 1960s standards and can have a brutal, black and white view of life. He also has quite a few prejudices, especially against younger generations. He has a strict personal sense of honor and justice. This doesn’t always mesh with the opinions of his superiors or the town he works in. He has a sharp mind and the instinctive street sense of a veteran police investigator.
Powerfully built, he gives off a sense of barely restrained power and is more than capable of handling himself in a fight. Usually striking with brutal efficiency. Fast, low blows and kidney shots being his preferred method of ending a fight. This tendency to brutality frequently alarms his assistant, DS John Bacchus.
Bacchus has a few skeletons of his own. A frequent story-line in the show is DS Bacchus being tempted to bend the rules a bit to help a mate, or to benefit himself. He also has a tendency to play fast and loose with the truth when it suits him. This tends to get him in trouble with DI Gently, who spends a fair bit of the first season getting his assistant squared away to his satisfaction.
The show is set squarely in the 1960s with the hip Bacchus wanting to fit in with the emerging Beatles and Mod generation. Often having to explain their culture and slang to a befuddled Gently. As the show progresses the investigators begin to deal with more of the dark side of the 1960s. Drugs, mobsters, contract killers, cults and serial killers all come out of the woodwork.
One of the things I really like about this show is the evolution of the main characters. Gently and Bacchus feel like real people, they have good and bad days. They have their own personal demons to conquer.
The sound and visuals are superb in this series. Period accurate costumes, architecture and vehicles give the series a distinctive look. The stories frequently borrow from events and concerns of the period. The soundtrack has some period music but features quite a few new tracks by artists with a vintage sound. A good example is this track by vocalist Roo Saville. Featured in the episode “Gently with class”.
Verdict 4 Gavels out of 5
Excellent mystery series with deep characters, involving stories and a fascinating setting.