The Last Detective

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This article is about the television series. For the Elvis Cole novel by Robert Crais, see The Last Detective (novel).

The Last Detective is an ITV drama starring Peter Davison as Dangerous Davies. The first series was aired in 2003, with three more seasons following it. The first season consisted of a pilot and three episodes, the second and the third series each consisted of four episodes, and the fourth series increased the run to five episodes and the duration of each episode to 90 minutes, as opposed to the previous 70-minute format. The series had 17 episodes in total. Granada, the company that made the programme, has stated that the fourth series was the last.

The series is based on the "Dangerous Davies" series of novels written by Leslie Thomas and was filmed in the north London suburbs of Willesden, Neasden and Harlesden. Its gentle but engrossing nature was in stark contrast to other harder-hitting police dramas, leading to a surprise success in the UK.

The Granada series was not the first time "Dangerous" Davies had appeared on television. In 1981 a TV movie, Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective, was produced, starring Bernard Cribbins.


The series follows Detective Constable "Dangerous" Davies. Davies discovered a crime committed by a fellow officer at the opening of the series, and is treated as a pariah by his colleagues as a consequence. Moreover, he is committed to his work and is staunchly humane, leading to a view of his being soft by colleagues,[citation needed] and a degree of grudging respect from local criminals. Recurring themes include Davies solving the apparently minor crimes he is given, often resolving more complex and associated crimes (historical or contemporary), and Davies repeatedly being the target of practical jokes by younger but more well positioned detectives in his unit.[citation needed]

As the series progresses his reputation improves with his superior, Detective Inspector (DI) Aspinall, who realises that Davies' intelligence and fair but determined methods make him the best policeman in his squad. A strained mutual respect develops between the two characters as Davies increasingly finds the time to try to understand the troubled, hard drinking DI and his history (and demons).

The other major aspect of the series concerns Davies' private life, which centres on his estranged wife, Julie (played by actress Emma Amos). The storyline regularly integrates Davies' attempts to address the loss of his wife's respect and to repair the damage done to their marriage after his career stalls in the Metropolitan Police Force;[citation needed] for instance, the estranged character returns to pick up a dog whose custody he shares with Julie (see below), to serve as her occasional chauffeur, and to carry out routine household maintenance at the family home (occasionally intersecting with Julie's new relational interests).[citation needed]

His work and personal life intertwine in interactions with his friend, the irreverent and rather feckless Mod (short for Modesty) Lewis, played by the Irish comedian Sean Hughes, which include their park bench talks about cases and life,[citation needed] Davies' chauffeuring the unlicensed Mod, and Davies' walking his dog—an unnamed, but consistent character, a Landseer in early episodes, and later a St Bernard. Other recurring plot elements are the now "semi-detached" Davies' interactions with various female characters, episode by episode,[citation needed] and his relationship with Mrs Fulljames (Elizabeth Bennett), the romantic daydreaming landlady of the Bali-Hai Guest House, where he resides for a period.

Recurring cast[edit]


Series Episode Air date Title
1 1 7 Feb 2003 Dangerous Davies
1 2 14 Feb 2003 Dangerous By Moonlight
1 3 21 Feb 2003 Tricia
1 4 28 Feb 2003 Lofty (special guest star Norman Wisdom)
2 1 13 Feb 2004 Christine
2 2 20 Feb 2004 The Long Bank Holiday
2 3 27 Feb 2004 Benefit to Mankind
2 4 5 Mar 2004 Dangerous and the Lonely Hearts
3 1 29 May 2005 Friends Reunited
3 2 5 Jun 2005 Towpaths Of Glory
3 3 12 Jun 2005 Three Steps To Hendon
3 4 19 Jun 2005 Willesden Confidential
4 1 3 May 2007 Once upon a Time on the Westway
4 2 10 May 2007 Dangerous' Liaisons
4 3 17 May 2007 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Willesden
4 4 24 May 2007 The Man from Montevideo
4 5 31 May 2007 Dead Peasants' Society

Home media[edit]

The Last Detective: Complete Collection was released on Region 1 DVD on 20 January 2009 and includes all 17 episodes of the TV show, the earlier TV movie, and other features including an interview with Peter Davison. The DVD set is distributed by Acorn Media UK.

Further reading[edit]

  • Robert Lloyd, 2009, "What You're Watching, DVD reviews: 'George Gently' and 'The Last Detective,'" LA Times (online), February 18, 2009, see [1], accessed 27 May 2015.
  • Lars Walker, 2012, "Netflix Review: 'The Last Detective,'" Brandywine Books (online), October 30, 2012, see [2], accessed 27 May 2015.
  • Lawrence Russell, 2007, "The Last Detective," Culture Court (online), August 2007, see [3], accessed 27 May 2015.
  • Anon., 2015, "The Last Detective," TVTropes (online), see [4], accessed 27 May 2015.

External links[edit]