Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Mark McManus as DCI Taggart.
Premise:  "I live with murder. It's ugly. It's cold," says Jim Taggart, a savvy, no-nonsense detective chief inspector in Glasgow. Taggart is a blue-collar policeman, having worked his way through the ranks. He knows Glasgow, having grown up there (and often refers to it as "my city"). He's not an easy man to work with and his detective sergeants have to show their mettle to earn his trust. Taggart's college-educated wife Jean is wheelchair-bound, a result of paralysis during childbirth. Their adult daughter Alison works as a hospital nurse. In the series' first episode in 1983, Peter Livingstone is introduced as Taggart's new detective sergeant. Over the years, Taggart has had different detective sergeants. Actor Mark McManus died in 1994, with his last appearance as Taggart being in the 1995 episode "Prayer for the Dead." The Taggart TV series continued without for 16 more seasons, with other characters being the primary investigators.

Running Time:  Varied from 60 to 125 minutes.

Status:  An impressive 27 seasons of 110 episodes broadcast between 1983 and 2010. They're available on DVD in the U.S. (though the titles can be confusing, e.g., Taggart - Set 1 is not from the first season). Some of the episodes can be streamed on Acorn TV.

Production Notes: In a 2011 interview, series creator Glenn Chandler said: "I'd been putting on plays at the old Soho Poly when I was asked to create a series about a Glasgow detective. When I pointed out that I actually came from Edinburgh, I asked if I could set the series there. But on grounds of cost, it had to be set in Glasgow. So I took a crash-course in Glasgow speak, doing my research by hanging around in bars. But there'd still be moments when I'd be told that what I'd written was pure Edinburgh and it needed translating into Glasgwegian."

Our Review:  Like its original lead character, Taggart is a straightforward detective series that offers little that's unique beyond its gray Glasgow setting. To its credit, the mystery plots hold interest thanks to a plethora of suspects and red herrings. Overall, one's enjoyment of the series will hinge on one's acceptance of the lead characters. Personally, we grew a little tired of DCI Taggart (and admittedly have not watched the episodes without him).

Grade: B (McManus episodes only).


  1. How can you comment that you 'grew a little tired of DCI Taggart' when you have not watched any episodes with him in them?

    1. That was a typo, which is now fixed. Thanks.

  2. DCI Taggart, played by Mark McManus was one of the best things about this show. His laconic delivery, great accent, Glasgow wit, thousand yard stare, no nonsense approach and personality was great. I loved the way he'd say "There's been a murder" in the Glaswegian accent and his sharp retorts Glasgow style. When told by his superior officer that there had to be high fliers in the force as well as old war horses he said "Aye, I'll be back for my sugar lump by 12 (noon)"