Red Cap (TV series)

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This article is about the 2000s BBC series. For the 1960s ITV series, see Redcap (TV series).
Red Cap
Series title over a blurred image of a tank
Genre Drama
Created by Patrick Harbinson
Composer(s) Hal Lindes
Sheridan Tongue
Country of origin United kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) Patrick Harbinson
Gareth Neame
Mike Dormer
William Davies
Producer(s) Sarah Wilson
Running time Pilot 90 minutes
Series 49-51 minutes
Production company(s) Stormy Pictures
Original network BBC One
Picture format 16:9 576i
Audio format Stereo
First shown in 28 December 2001 (2001-12-28)
Original release 7 January 2003 (2003-01-07) – 12 February 2004 (2004-02-12)

Red Cap is a British television drama series produced by Stormy Pictures for the BBC[1] and broadcast on BBC One. Two series of six episodes each were produced following a feature length pilot. It featured the investigations (and personal relationships) of a British Army Special Investigation Branch unit of the Royal Military Police based in Germany. Ostensibly the lead character was Sergeant Jo McDonagh (nicknamed McDoughnut), played by Tamzin Outhwaite, but the show was more of an ensemble piece, with several notable characters coming to prominence.



Pilot And Series 1[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 Pilot "Pilot" David Richards Patrick Harbinson 28 December 2001 (2001-12-28)
Jo McDonagh is the newest member of team of British Army investigators in Germany who are trying to locate a captain's missing wife.
2 1 "H-Hour" Justin Chadwick Patrick Harbinson 7 January 2003 (2003-01-07)
During a live-firing exercise Private Andy Walden a member of the Bedford Light Infantry is killed. Meanwhile Corporal Jo McDonagh is investigating the theft of regimental mascot "Augustus the 14th". Shorthanded Sergeant Major Burns grudgingly reinstates her back to the rank of Sergeant and a full member of his SIB team. Lance Corporal Stowe, who made the fatal mistake, faces a charge of murder and more worryingly it looks like he was high on LSD at the time.
3 2 "Crush" Justin Chadwick Patrick Harbinson 14 January 2003 (2003-01-14)
An exhausted Private Tracey Walters of the Royal Logistics Corps is driving an army truck full of Royal Cambria Fusiliers back from a three-day exercise. There is a commotion in the back and suddenly a car is upon them from the other direction. Walters swerves but the truck goes into the car and crushes it. SIB and the German Police arrive at the scene and it seems clear Walters fell asleep or lost concentration. Worse still, Jo finds explosive flash burns on the tarmac behind the crash site.
4 3 "Espirit de Corps" Justin Chadwick Patrick Harbinson and Ben Rostful 21 January 2003 (2003-01-21)
Willi Hartung, a German Police Sergeant is shot dead by a gunman during a failed robbery attempt - just one in a sequence of similar crimes. Meanwhile, Jo and Roper investigate the apparent suicide of Corporal Luke Gemmill the driver for Lieutenant Colonel Cosgrove CO of the Wessex Regiment. Forensics prove that Gemmill was murdered - but why was his body found in the luxury car hired from a German ex-soccer star, Kramer. When Sergeant-Major Burns learns that British guns were used in both incidents, he initiates an investigation.
5 4 "Cover Story" Martin Hutchings Patrick Harbinson 28 January 2003 (2003-01-28)
Journalist Theresa Brock goes missing after following the lives of the Derbyshires on a chemical warfare exercise. Whilst a pornographic picture comes back to haunt some of the men.[2]
6 5 "Cold War" Martin Hutchings Patrick Harbinson 4 February 2003 (2003-02-04)
Sensitive information is stolen, while Roper is under threat from an IRA informant. Roper is warned that Liam Young has leaked information to the press. Since Roper investigated Liam in Ireland, there is a real danger that Liam might contact him. With his son staying with him, Roper fears what Liam might do.[3]
7 6 "Payback" Martin Hutchings James Mavor 11 February 2003 (2003-02-11)
Jo goes undercover to investigate a drug dealer who is suspected of smuggling illegal drugs out of their base in Germany back to the UK in army postal transport crates.[4]

Series 2[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
8 1 "Betrayed" Justin Chadwick Patrick Harbinson 8 January 2004 (2004-01-08)

Sergeant Jo McDonagh is in Bosnia on Close Protection detail as part of an international operation to capture wanted war criminal Radan Vladic. At the remote farmhouse of Vladic's proposed arrest, only the slain remains of an advance Special Air Service (SAS) team are found, seemingly murdered in an ambush.

The SAS Major at the scene is ready to call the deaths collateral damage and move out, but Jo thinks there is more than meets the eye and insists the area is preserved as a crime scene.
9 2 "True Love" Justin Chadwick James Mavor And Will Davies 15 January 2004 (2004-01-15)
While boar-hunting Lance Corporal Clive Morrigan becomes prey to another hunter. Investigation into his death leads from poaching to more intimate suspects; namely, his wife, his lover, and his lover's husband.
10 3 "Red Light" Justin Chadwick Nick Harding And Patrick Harbinson 22 January 2004 (2004-01-22)
SIB must determine whether the fall a British soldier took from a hotel balcony was accidental. Their investigation uncovers stolen army supplies and an underage prostitute-smuggling ring.
11 4 "Fighting Fit" Justin Chadwick Steve Bailie And Will Davies 29 January 2004 (2004-01-29)
Investigation into the death of a Private during routine training exercises reveals the existence of an underground fight circuit. Suspicion falls upon an unpopular Sergeant when evidence of extortion surfaces.
12 5 "Friendly Fire" Justin Chadwick Patrick Harbinson 5 February 2004 (2004-02-05)

Lance Corporal Paul Engels is killed by a stray mortar, and Sgt. Charlie Fleckner narrowly escapes, SIB are called in to investigate what appears to be a tragic accident. But it soon becomes clear that there are just too many suspicions to write off Engel's death - suspicions that are compounded when Engel's brother claims Fleckner's innocence might not be that clear cut.

The team's investigations lead them to some photographs that indicate Engles and Fleckner shared a secret - they were involved in an apparent war crime in Iraq. More than enough motive for murder. However, the situation soon escalates when the team uncovers evidence of an illicit love affair that involves blackmail, betrayal and retribution. An affair is ultimately the cause of Engels' demise.

Overshadowing the whole investigation is the increasing unrest within the team. Jo and Roper's relationship becomes more intense. Burns cannot decide if he should leave SIB and accept a commission, and Vicary's given the opportunity to follow in his father's footsteps and join the Coldstream guards. It appears as if the team is falling apart.
13 6 "Long Time Dead" Justin Chadwick Charlie Fletcher 12 February 2004 (2004-02-12)

A group of soldiers are sitting in a garage playing cards and drinking. Private Barham is drunk but decides he wants more alcohol and takes off in an armored personnel carrier tearing through the base like a mad man. After a high-speed chase, Barham crashes the vehicle into an abandoned building. When the Red Caps arrive, they make a gruesome discovery - there is a mummified corpse hanging from the debris.

SIB search the abandoned building and find Barham's electrocuted body; and one of the team is nearly killed in the process. It's after this accident that things begin to fall into place. The corpse is that of a known drug user, that of Private Exxner. Apparently Exxner had gone absent without leave, just before his unit was sent to Iraq.

Fictional regiments featured in Red Cap[edit]

  • Bedford Light Infantry
  • Royal Cumbrian Fusiliers
  • Wessex Regiment
  • Derbyshire Light Infantry

Army accuracy[edit]

Tamzin Outhwaite (Sergeant Jo McDonagh), according to the BBC [1] spent a week familiarising herself with Army life at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre in Chilwell, Nottingham. Training included unarmed combat, 9mm pistol training, driving, drill, and understanding the Army's labyrinthine hierarchical structure.

Red Cap's creator and writer, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Patrick Harbinson, was in the army himself and wrote 15 episodes of the hugely popular ITV series Soldier Soldier. He has also worked on ER, Hornblower and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

"With such experience, Patrick infuses Red Cap with a tangible sense of realism." (BBC)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]