The Vice (TV series)
|Created by||Barry Simner
|Country of origin||England, United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||28|
|Running time||60–120 mins|
|Production company(s)||Carlton Television|
|Original run||4 January 1999– 1 July 2003|
The Vice is an ITV police drama about the Metropolitan Police Vice Unit. It ran for five short series (3 to 7 episodes each) between 1999 and 2003. It tells the story of the London Metropolitan police force's vice squad, where prostitution, underage sex, and other such organized crime are regular occurrences. Most episodes end in such a way where the main villain is caught but often not in a 'naturally' concluded way that you would expect with other TV dramas, and often ending an episode with more questions unanswered than answered.
The small dedicated team is led by Detective Inspector Pat Chappel (Ken Stott) who struggles to manage the balance between his home life and his work life - as do the other members of the team. Working in the seedy underworld leads to a continual dilemma for the team - the tension between the Vice Squad and the vice-related crimes that they investigate runs throughout the series and gives the show a rich viewing experience. The programme often blurs the line of the team staying on the right side of the law, as almost every member of the team at different points submits briefly or permanently to the temptations of either sex, drugs, money or honey traps. Sometimes with drastic consequences.
The show experimented with different formats: three series of two-part, one hour episodes; a single series of ninety minute episodes, and then a final extended series of self-contained one-hour episodes. The show was not continued when Ken Stott decided to leave at the end of 2003.
The Portishead track "Sour Times" is used as the theme music to the show. It also starred Caroline Catz (PC Cheryl Hutchins), David Harewood (Sgt Joe Robinson), Tim Pigott-Smith (DS Frank Vickers), Marc Warren (Dougie) and Rosie Marcel (Kirsty).
Series 1 (1999)
|Daughters||DI Chappel has to contend with a dead prostitute and a turf war between two violent pimps. He needs a prostitute to give a statement, but she is torn between her affection for Chappel and her fear of the pimps. Chappel gets personally involved as tries to protect her from her pimp - supposedly a respectable family man.|
|Sons||PC Hutchins takes on more than she can handle while working undercover, when she discovers that a night club boss has a side line in S&M films, one boy in particular is involved whose parents are not helping either. This brings back painful memories to her boss Pat Chappel, who remains haunted by his failure to protect a rent boy from death at the hands of Alex Davies. Dr Weir tells Chappel that her personal life is conflicting with her role counselling his staff. Chappel responds by taking their relationship from a professional to personal level.|
|Dabbling||The Vice Squad is seconded by the Drug Squad to crack an escort agency that is working as a cover for drugs trafficking and prostitution. PC Raymond's professional interest in the escort business quickly turns personal, and jeopardises the whole operations.|
Series 2 (2000)
|Home is the place||Chappel’s team discover a child working as a prostitute in London. Chappel discovers that the girl is from a children’s home in Sheffield; and along with DS Joe Robinson, Chappel travels there to discover what led the girl to working as a prostitute in the capital city. In Sheffield, Chappel and Robinson discover a web of child abuse that affects not only the home’s current residents but also its former inhabitants.|
|Walking on water||The team investigate an illegal gambling den that is being run out of a pub. Working undercover, DS Robinson and DI Chappel try different methods of infiltrating the gang who are running the gambling den; their scam begins to pull together when they realise that their former colleague Dougie is already working for the gang, and they decide to use Dougie’s connections as a way in - with fatal consequences.|
|Betrayed||Chappel’s team raid a brothel that is run by a powerful man named John Harrison. The brothel specialises in providing its clients with the services of young women who have been smuggled into the country from refugee camps in Eastern Europe. However, the prosecution of Harrison doesn’t go to plan, due to Chappel’s leniency with the brothel’s madam and Robinson’s increasing attraction to one of the Eastern European ‘working girls’, as his own marriage falls apart. Further complicated by the fact that he had surveillance of the brothel as an excuse to use their services.|
|Lovesick||When a pimp is murdered, suspicion falls on DS Joe Robinson. Robinson has had a run-in with the pimp before, and Robinson’s increasing tendency for violence and aggression seem to make him the prime suspect. Chappel sets out to clear the name of his friend.|
Series 3 (2001)
|Out of Mind||DI Chappel runs into former boss DS Frank Vickers in a Soho brothel, past secrets are unearthed that threaten to destroy both the vice squad and Chappel's personal life. Investigating the death of a prostitute, Chappel tries to enlist the help of an ex-girlfriend, but she has moved on from the sex trade.|
|Into the night||Chappel is at court for the trial of a prostitute accused of murdering her pimp. Girlfriend Jane loses her job with an investment company and decides to go back to the vice trade. DS Robinson strikes up an inappropriate relationship with PC Morgan.|
|Force of nature||Chappel goes undercover in a prison to flush out the ringleaders of a prostitution racket thought to be pimping young women to inmates. PC Hutchins, posing as Chappel's girlfriend, is targeted by the group.|
|Falling||Chappel resolves to resume his relationship with Jane, now working as an escort, but the corrupt DS Vickers is sniffing around her too.|
Series 4 (2002)
|Trade||The Vice Squad investigate a series of murders of street prostitutes. Chappel gets involved with a young prostitute and is convinced that an arrogant city slicker who has befriended her is behind the murders.|
|No Man's Land||DI Chappel targets a former porn baron who is still involved in prostitution. PC Morgan goes under cover as a party prostitute but takes the role too far.|
|One more time||DI Chappel goes under cover as a lodger to investigate a suspected porn merchant, but PC Hutchins discovers the house is the base for a paedophile ring.|
Series 5 (2003)
|Hooked||DI Chappel has been transferred to a desk job and DS Vickers has been drafted into the Vice Squad. PC Hutchins goes missing during an undercover operation into a pornographer, due to herself becoming a drug addict. Chappel risks everything to save her.|
|Control||Inspector Joe Robinson returns to the Vice Squad, and attempts to nail a violent pimp. The mother of a young prostitute threatens to reveal details of her lurid past with DS Vickers.|
|Gameboys||The Vice Squad investigates an amusement arcade manager suspected of recruiting young runaways as rent boys. PC Sparkes is mistaken for a punter.|
|Untouchable||The manageress of a pole-dancing club suspects her uncle of using it to run a prostitution racket. DI Robinson sends DS Vickers under cover to investigate but is concerned that his boss may be colluding with the suspect.|
|Outcast||The Vice Squad assists the Serious Crime Squad to investigate the murder of a prostitute is murdered, with PC Morgan acting as liaison to the senior investigating officer.|
|Birdhouse||DI Robinson investigates a club owner suspected of encouraging drug dealing on the premises, only to find that the club is a base for human trafficking.|
|Lust||PC Johnstone's relationship with a known pimp is discovered. DS Vickers attempts to use her for his own ends.|
MPI Home Video has released the first two seasons on DVD in Region 1.
|Season 1||3||June 24, 2008|
|Season 2||4||March 25, 2008|
In Region 2, Network DVD released the complete series on DVD in the UK on February 20, 2006.
- Paul Lewis, 2008: Review of the DVD release of the second series of The Vice. DVDCompare
- The Vice at the Internet Movie Database