New Tricks (2003–2015)
3 user

Talking to the Dead 

Jack Halford hopes a clairvoyant will put him in touch with his late wife. Instead he is contacted by a girl who disappeared twenty years earlier.


Jon East


Simon Block, Roy Mitchell (creator) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Alun Armstrong ... Brian Lane
James Bolam ... Jack Halford
Amanda Redman ... Sandra Pullman
Dennis Waterman ... Gerry Standing
Chiké Okonkwo ... P C Clark
Nicholas Day ... Donald Bevan
Robert Bathurst ... Martin Lombard
Saira Todd Saira Todd ... Sarah Stillman
Patrick Baladi ... Greg Johnson
Chris Coghill ... Christopher Wells (as Christopher Coghill)
Ken Bones ... Asst. Commissioner Bob Mullan
Paula Jennings Paula Jennings ... Paula
Heather James Heather James ... Alison
Jodie Kelly Jodie Kelly ... Caitlin
Carolyn Allen Carolyn Allen ... Carole


Jack Halford has been visiting a psychic in the hope of contacting his late wife, Mary, but gets information on another case. As a result, the UCOS team reopens the murder of Caroline Stillman. Some 20 years before, the young woman had been abducted and was subsequently found dead, having been locked in a shipping container on the docks and starved to death over a period of 42 days. They get little help from the dead woman's sister, Sarah, who wants to put the entire event behind her. As they interview those who were involved in the original investigation, they meet Martin Lombard, a clairvoyant who knew information that he should not have known. The original investigating officer, now an assistant deputy commissioner, thought Lombard had something to do with the girl's death, but everyone now seems to be more concerned about being embarrassed than finding a solution to the crime. Meanwhile, Brian, Gerry, and Jack must undergo mandatory psychological and physical testing for all ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Did You Know?


When Sandra and Donald are sitting in the pub discussing the reason for the testing of her men, with the camera cutting back and forth between them, his pint has foam on top when the camera is on him, and none in the reverse angle shots of Paula. See more »


[first lines]
Christopher Wells: I'm sensing a person go over in tragic circumstances.
Jack Halford: Is it Mary?
Christopher Wells: Is your name Mary? No, it's not Mary; it's a girl.
Jack Halford: A girl?
Christopher Wells: The girl's... a young woman. She's standing behind you.
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References Dad's Army (1968) See more »


Oh Gerry Boy (Danny Boy)
Written by Frederick Edward Weatherly
Performed by Dennis Waterman
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User Reviews

Dead woman talking
8 January 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been a big fan of detective/mystery shows from a fairly young age, well since starting secondary school.

'Inspector Morse', 'A Touch of Frost', 'Midsomer Murders' (in its prime), 'Law and Order', 'Inspector George Gently', 'Criminal Minds', 'Murder She Wrote', you name them to name a few. 'New Tricks' has also been a favourite from the start (despite not being the same without the original cast in recent years). Although it can be corny at times (in an endearing sort of way) it has always been perfect for helping me relax in the evenings. Something that was needed during all the hard times endured in school.

Season 1 comes to an end with "Talking to the Dead". It is a solid, very good and almost great episode, but is not one of the season's best, "Painting on Loan" and particularly "Good Work Rewarded" fit that distinction more. What brings "Talking to the Dead" down is the rather unsatisfying ending that considering all that happens feels like a cheat.

Can't fault the rest of "Talking to the Dead" though. By this point, 'New Tricks' had fully hit its stride, now fully settled with the familiar mix of humour and serious mystery fully established.

Visually, "Talking to the Dead" looks lovely, with a brighter look but never garish and always slick and stylish, with a touch of grit seen in the pilot and the first episode. The music is a good fit and the theme song (sung with gusto by none other by Dennis Waterman himself) is one of the catchiest for any detective/mystery show and of any show in the past fifteen years or so.

Writing is intelligent, thought-provoking and classy, while also being very funny and high up in the entertainment value.

Story is compelling, with its fair share of surprising twists and skeletons in the closet conflict (especially with the season's most hateable suspect in Lombard), and lively, but never rushed, pacing.

A huge part of 'New Tricks' appeal is the chemistry between the four leads and their performances. The chemistry is so easy going and charming with a little tension.

One of the show's biggest delights is Alun Armstrong, achieves a perfect balance of funny comic timing and touching pathos which was maintained all the way up to his final episode. It is also lovely here to see his role in the team and skills appreciated more all the time. James Bolam's Jack is the quietest, most sensible (mostly) and most composed of the team, with a tragic personal life that Bolam portrays very touchingly without any overwrought-ness.

The only woman on the team, Amanda Redman more than holds her own in what is essentially the boss role of the four. Dennis Waterman is fun and is adding more and more all the time to the crime solving, even if some of his methods throughout the show are not one calls by the book.

Robert Bathurst enjoys himself as Lombard and it is sad saying goodbye to Nicholas Day (even if one doesn't miss his character) and Chiké Okonkwo. Robert Calf's Strickland was a more than worthy replacement though and it shows in that he is one of the show's longest-serving cast members.

Overall, very good but the ending frustrates. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

6 May 2004 (UK) See more »

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