The Return of Don Beech (The Bill)

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"The Return of Don Beech"
The Bill episode
Episode no. Series 20
Episode 31–38
Directed by
  • Bob Thomson
  • Susan Tully
  • Dermot Boyd
  • Martin Hutchings
  • Ged Maguire
Written by
  • Julian Perkins
  • Tony McHale
  • Dawn Harrison
  • Chris Webb
  • Nicholas McInerny
  • Julian Perkins
  • Tom Needham
  • Tom Higgins
Original air date 23 February 2005
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Rookies and Professions"
(Episode 210)
Next →
"The Tunnel: Part 1"
(Episode 219)
List of The Bill episodes (series 20)
List of The Bill episodes

The Return of Don Beech is a storyline featured in the long running ITV police series, The Bill, which featured the subsequent return and final appearances of former-DS Don Beech, played by Billy Murray. The main storyline played out over five episodes ("Reliable Information" [#212] - "Nemesis" [#216]), with the first scene to feature Beech appearing in "Smoking Demons" [#211], and the events following Beech's escape being revealed in "Taking Flak" [#217] and "Game Over" [#218].


Manson gets a call from a prisoner at Hayesend prison, who wants to pass on information about a planned diamond robbery involving a stolen digger. When he arrives, he finds that the prisoner is none other than Don Beech, former Sun Hill detective sergeant and his former sergeant at Barton Street. Nixon and McAllister investigate when the stolen digger turns up at a transport site. Manson's suspicions are proven to be correct, but nobody else knows that Manson's tip-offs are coming from Beech. The arrival of Peter Cavanaugh, an Australian inspector on attachment to the NCIS, sets hearts a-flutter, but Meadows is furious when Manson's liaisons with Beech are revealed. CID and SO19 lie in wait for Trevor Little's team to pull off the diamond robbery, but when the raid is aborted at the last minute, Beech's information to Manson isn't looking so kosher. Meadows warns Manson away from Beech, but Manson goes to see him again when he is beaten up in prison.

After failing to capture Trevor Little and his gang after their aborted diamond raid, Manson begins to have his doubts about Cavanaugh, and informs Hunter that he suspects that Cavanaugh may be leaking information to the gang. The rivalry between the two inspector escalates, but Cavanaugh has his eye set on Nixon, and the two share a passionate kiss. Manson's suspicions about Cavanaugh continue during an obbo on the diamond heist suspects. When the suspects get away from them, Cavanaugh doesn't seem particularly concerned. Concerned for the safety of Nixon and Tait, who are undercover as waiting staff on the target boat, Manson orders Hunter on to the boat as well, when he realises that Cavanaugh has organised a police launch to aid the suspects. When the suspects work out that police are on board, guns are drawn. Hunter manages to foil the raid, and all five suspects are arrested - and Cavanaugh begins to plan his escape. Realising that Cavanaugh is about to flee the country, Manson returns to Beech for evidence to prove Cavanaugh's involvement.

Beech has the only evidence that could incriminate Cavanaugh, and Meadows is reluctant to have to rely on the slippery character, but Okaro insists he is their only choice. Cavanaugh contacts Nixon and declares his love for her, begging her to join him on the run. She agrees, but informs Meadows of his plans, thus going undercover, posing as though she has been suspended. Using her mobile as a tracking device, Meadows closes in, but when Cavanaugh realises he's been betrayed, he takes her hostage. Manson and Hunter keep their end of the deal by giving Beech a transfer to a Category C prison. They take Beech to visit Maggie Black, who has the incriminating tape, and Beech asks Manson if he can have ten minutes alone to "say goodbye" to Maggie. When Hunter goes to interrupt their little liaison, he finds himself held at gunpoint. When he awakens, he finds Manson tied up - and Beech gone. Nixon is haunted by the memory of her recent relationship with corrupt copper Cavanaugh, who gloatingly suggests that Manson deliberately let Beech escape from custody. With little evidence to prove his own innocence, Manson is forced to sit back and take the allegations being thrown at him as the DPS start a full-blown investigation. Manson is cleared of any involvement in Beech's escape, but Meadows warns him he's still on thin ice.



Preceded by
Fatal Consequences (2003)
Notable storylines
Succeeded by
Confessions of a Killer (2005)