Scott & Bailey On BritBox Streaming

Nov 14, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze, TV

by Kathleen Costa

BritBox continues to surprise me or maybe I surprise myself, and all for a very reasonable monthly ($6.95) or annual membership ($69.95). I search the various lists of comedies, dramas, detective and police procedurals, documentaries, and movies to find interesting and engaging entertainment: from classics like Are You Being Served? and Are You Being Served, Again! to As Time Goes By (RIP Geoffrey Palmer), from everything in Agatha Christie’s literary universe to good cops and bad cops, from decades past like Taggart to brand new productions like Shakespeare & Hathaway. I even was fascinated by Docs on British history, countryside lifestyle, and Mary Berry! My new “Why haven’t I seen this?” moment is finding the five seasons (thirty-three 45-minute episodes) of Scott & Bailey (2011-2016). Another detective gem that makes my membership so well worth it!

Send in the Girls!
It’s North West England, and murders from gangland conflicts to family scrabbles from crimes of passion to serial killers to historical cases are investigated by Syndicate Nine Major Incident Team (MIT) as part of the Manchester Metropolitan Police. The group is lead by Detective Chief Inspector Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore; credited for some writing) whose tough, by-the-book manner is tempered with keen intellect, compassion, and a bit of a sharp tongue. Her team includes several capable professionals, but not without their weaknesses and flaws. Two major members of the team are Detective Constable Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and her partner Detective Constable Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones; credited for helping with the original idea) who, despite their differences in styles, marital status, and penchant for smoking and drinking, are partners, confidants, and friends. Together they theorize, deftly interview suspects, and ponder the sergeant’s exam.

Scott & Bailey earns 5+/5 Crime Scene Gear…Engaging & Compelling!
This series is brilliant! The drama. The realism. The cast. Each episode follows the investigation of a major crime or two combining insights into the professional routine and personal issues among the MIT team. Although several storylines begin with reports of a missing person or discovery of a body, follow the investigation, and end with indisputable evidence or a confession, there were three investigations that took several episodes to conclude in shocking fashion: thirty-year historical case, an affair gone wrong, and a gruesome discovery in a cellar. The series offers a realistic view of the hierarchy of command, the routine detectives follow, and a glimpse into British law enforcement. Women are held in key roles that may not be common, but it is refreshing. Although “gritty” in its theme and in some discussions, the gore, in my opinion, is not an “in your face” element, and the “B” word along with “bloody” this and “bullocks” don’t insult my sensibilities. But, it’s the cast that has made this experience well worth every moment from Scott’s calm demeanor as a detective and mother of two teens with marital issues to the contrasting personality of Bailey’s damaged personality and dysfunctional personal relationships. The show rivals any American production.

Did You Know? (Resource: Wikipedia-Scott & Bailey)
Suranna Jones (DC Bailey; alumni of Coronation Street 2000-04) and Sally Lyndsey (English actress; alumni of Coronation Street 2001-06) are credited with the original idea having discussed the need for more roles for women other than the typical wife, mistress, mother, etc. Lyndsey reportedly was a fan of the dynamics found in the American show Cagney & Lacey (1982-1988) which focused on the personal and professional lives of two New York female detectives. Expanding the idea, popular writer/producer Sally Wainwright (HBO’s Gentleman Jack) came onboard with Diane Taylor, a former Detective Inspector from Greater Manchester Police. Lyndsey was slated to play DC Scott, but she became pregnant. She does, however, play the reoccurring role of DC Bailey’s sister Alison offering an interesting “what-if” conversation. Jones later remarked the show was “the Cagney & Lacey of Manchester,” but grittier and realistic. Amelia Bullmore (DCI Murray; alumni of Coronation Street 1990-92) added “head writer” to her show’s involvement writing seven episodes in season four.

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)
Lesley Sharp (DC Scott) was in The Full Monty in the supporting role as the wife. She is also married to Nicholas Gleaves who plays DS Andy Roper (series 1–2) with whom DC Scott has an interesting personal relationship.

Suranne Jones (DC Bailey) played the lead role in Gentleman Jack (2019-present) for HBO.

British version of “Miranda Rights” is an interesting contrast…”Don’t Lie!”
“I am arresting you… You don’t have to say anything, but it may harm your defence [defense] if you do not mention, when questioned, something you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence against you.”

Cast of “Scott and Bailey”

Season 1-2 A double “Did you notice?” moment. Downton Abbey’s Mr. Molesley (Kevin Doyle) has a reoccurring role as one of DC Scott’s childhood friend with a secret, and Sherlock’s Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) frequents as a barrister and Bailey’s lover/ex-lover with, of course, secrets.

Season 3 Exceptional performance from Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax; MI-5) who has a reoccurring role as a damaged women whose dysfunctional family is key in several investigations.

Season 3.3 Do you recognize Carol Holman, the coroner and in the final episodes the wife from Inspector Lewis?

Literary Connection
This television series began in 2011, and with its popularity, no wonder novels were contracted to be written by Cath Staincliffe, who is also the creator of another female-led drama Blue Murder. The novels are 350-400 pages in length, found in almost every version, and seem to incorporate the essence of the television show, but books always do better delving more into characters, side-dramas, and additional twists to the crimes. Each book is unique and not a longer version of one of the series episodes.

Dead to Me (2012) The two detectives begin their partnership assigned to an egregious murder of a teenager, but they also need to navigate threats, conflicts, and personal demons.

Bleed Like Me (2013) Another multiple murder case, but is the missing innkeeper a witness or a killer? Personal lives become complicated risking the team’s success and their lives.

Ruthless (2014) In the ashes of a local chapel the team finds a body. Scott and Bailey are both dealing with drastic changes and horrifying tragedies, then…another building goes up in flames.

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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


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