This show is set in the Complaints Investigation Bureau (C.I.B.), the department responsible for investigating other police officers, of London's Metropolitan Police [the British counterpart to the Internal Affairs Bureau (I.A.B.) of a U.S. city's police force]. The first two seasons had stories based around various different aspects of the darker side of the police, ranging from such topics as petty corruption, racism, and sexual harassment through to grand conspiracy, with some plot threads running through the season over several episodes. The series also dealt with the personal lives of it's less-than-clean-cut characters, particularly the womanizing lead character Tony Clark, and is also notable for its inclusion of a lesbian character in a major role. In the third and final season, the focus changed significantly, moving away from the police force to other areas of security and espionage. Written by
It seems unlikely anyone would be able to make a series like this in today's television climate, given the preference today for light drama with happy endings, which this series eschewed almost constantly, almost masochistically so. Yet no series made since this one ever felt as real and believable as this did. The second series moved away from police complaints to the increasing involvement of MI5 and managed to be even better. Certainly the portrayal of Box 500 here seemed much more real and convincing than "Spooks". Indeed this is the series that "Spooks" wishes it was and the plot lines featured were much more gripping and believable than "Spooks" managed without having to resort to our heroes saving London and/or the world every week. Even the maligned third series, where Clark, Naylor and Connell go private, is still better than most dramas today. The producers had the good sense to call it a day after the third series and at least every episode ever made is preserved for posterity on DVD to be savoured again and again. When will something of the quality of this series ever get made again? Not for a long time, if ever, I fear.
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