Have always adored detective dramas/mystery series. This has been apparent from an early age, half my life even, when getting into Agatha Christie through Joan Hickson's Miss Marple and David Suchet's Poirot and into 'Inspector Morse'.
Whether it's the more complex ones like 'Inspector Morse' (and its prequel series 'Endeavour') and anything Agatha Christie. Whether it's the grittier ones like 'A Touch of Frost' (though that is balanced brilliantly with comedy too). And whether it's the light-hearted ones like 'Murder She Wrote'. 'Taggart' is one of the biggest examples of the grittier ones, especially the Mark McManus years and the earlier James MaPherson episodes.
"Forbidden Fruit" is an excellent episode, if not quite one of my favourites, the pace could have been tighter in spots. What made 'Taggart' such a good show when it was in its prime is evident here. The characterisation here is meatier than seen pre-Jardine era, therefore more interesting with more development to Taggart and everything here just works.
Really like the slick, gritty look and Glasgow is like an ominous character on its own. The music matches the show's tone and has a good amount of atmosphere while the theme song/tune is one that stays in the memory for a long time. Really like Taggart and Jardine's chemistry here, which sees some priceless exchanges with them, and have always found it more interesting and settled than with Taggart and Livingstone. The relationship between Jardine and Reid was always blossoming nicely and had blossomed by this point and then accentuated with Jackie further blossoming it, showing promising signs as to why it was one of the best things about the era when Jardine was in charge. Livingstone's return was a nice touch and did add a lot to the episode.
As to be expected, "Forbidden Fruit" is thoughtfully scripted with nothing ridiculous happening and things being taken seriously without being too morose. The story is involving in its complexity and intricacy with nothing being what it seems, making the most of the long length (have generally found the 2000s episodes too short and rushed) without padding anything out. Some parts are not for the faint hearted, but nothing feels gratuitous and the investigations are compelling and with enough twists to stop it from being obvious. The ending is unexpected.
Good acting helps, with Mark McManus being a suitably tough and blunt presence throughout and James MacPherson being every bit his equal. Blythe Duff continues to impress and Iain Anders is suitably hard-edged. Robert Robertson as ever steals scenes and Alistair Duncan makes one forget that he had ever left, having not lost Livingstone's characteristics. Support is fine.
In conclusion, excellent. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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