Thursday, April 21, 2016

Scott & Bailey

Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp.
Premise:  Detective Constables Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) work on the Major Incident Team (MIT) for the Greater Manchester Police. Janet is an intelligent, experienced veteran with an apparently steady personal life. She is married to a geography teacher and has two daughters. Her co-worker Rachel is single, eager to learn, and only recently joined the MIT.  Their tough-but-fair boss, Detective Chief Inspector Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore), oversees the  MIT's investigation of grisly murders and sex crimes.

Running Time:  45 minutes.

Status:  Debuted in 2011 and is still being broadcast. As of April 2016, there have been 33 episodes over five seasons. Seasons 1-4 of Scott & Bailey are available on DVD in the U.S.

Production Notes:  Star Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay (who plays Bailey's sister) developed the idea for a police procedural built around two strong female characters. Television writer Sally Wainwright (Last Tango in Halifax) worked with Diane Taylor, a Manchester-based former Detective Inspector, to create a series featuring realistic cases and a detailed look into the operations of a major crime investigation unit. Nicholas Gleaves, who plays Janet's eventual lover Detective Sergeant Andy Roper, is Lesley Sharp's husband in real life.

Our Review:  Scott & Bailey is an extremely well-written, well-acted police procedural that places equal emphasis on the private lives of its three female protagonists. We see the effects of the long work hours on Janet's home life. By the time she gets home at 10 p.m., she's too tired to cope with her daughters' dilemmas and takes her hard-working husband for granted. It doesn't help that Janet's detective sergeant, Andy, has long been smitten with her. As for Rachel, she is presented as a woman who makes some terrible personal decisions, but who is also a gifted detective capable of seeing patterns where others don't (Janet sometimes refers to her as Sherlock). Finally, there's DCI Gill Murray, played impeccably by Amelia Bullmore as a supervisor who takes no guff, but is also willing to mentor her junior detectives. She conveys passion, conviction, and control  while still coming across as human when discussing life as a single parent. The cases are not complex mysteries; typically, there are only two or three suspects. However, the investigation details are fascinating and you'll find yourself quickly drawn into the lives of the characters.

Our Grade:  A.


  1. Sounds like an intelligent, realistic drama. I haven't watched too many British detective series, but this sounds like one to watch for.

  2. My wife and I are serious fans of British crime drama, and this is an excellent one. We are watching it using the Britbox app on our trusty Roku box. Highly recommended for its great writing and solid acting.

  3. Excellent. The best British police show I’ve seen- and I’ve watched many. Sorry to see it didn’t last longer.