Thief Takers

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For a private individual hired to capture criminals, see Thief-taker.
Thief Takers
Thief Takers title screen
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 25
Executive producer(s)

Ted Childs – Pilot/series 1–2

Jonathan Powell – Series 3
Running time 50 minutes approx
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3
Original release 1 February 1995 – 18 December 1997

Thief Takers was a police drama series made by Central Independent Television for the ITV network. The show depicted the work of a team in the Metropolitan Police Service's Flying Squad. Each case was a stand alone episode or sometimes spread over two episodes and continuing drama was provided by the depiction of the personal lives of the officers in the team and their families.

Production comprised a pilot aired in 1995 followed by the commissioning of three series between 1996 and 1997.

Characters and cast[edit]

With a special guest appearance by Nicole Streak



Title Synopsis Original air date
"Cash and Carry" Flying Squad officer Micky Dawes and his team trap a gang of desperate crooks specialising in supermarket heists. 1 February 1995

Series 1[edit]

Episode Title Synopsis Original air date
1 "No One Likes to See That" A heavy-duty villain escapes from jail to help pull off an audacious robbery and bump off his wife's lover into the bargain. 25 January 1996
2 "Company of Strangers" A building society is raided by three crack addicts in debt to a gangster and Oxford's investigations result in the murder of his informant Marcus. More violence erupts as the robbers turn on their boss prompting the impulsive Tate to rush unarmed into a deadly confrontation. 1 February 1996
3 "Whispers in the Dark" Three ex-Army men raid a security van and use their military training to stay one step ahead of Charlie's squad, who for once find themselves hopelessly outclassed. The case is given a tragic dimension by one of the crooks' twisted relationship with his daughter, which is casting a shadow over her life, but provides Ash with the clue she needs to get a result 8 February 1996
4 "Wild Card" Tate is shot while trying to thwart a raid on a casino and rushed to hospital in a critical condition. Harris goes undercover to nab the thugs responsible, but gives herself away by lapsing into police jargon. And as if that weren't bad enough, a highly unprofessional session between the sheets with Donachie diverts her even further away from official duties. 15 February 1996
5 "Lie Down with Dragons" Having recovered from being shot, Tate infiltrates a Chinese crime gang. Unfortunately, his cover is blown and he's forced to make a desperate deal to stay alive using a consignment of machine guns as a bargaining chip. 22 February 1996
6 "Hungry Ghosts" As the Chinatown robberies continue, Charlie takes a desperate risk, asking New Scotland Yard for a consignment of dummy weapons to lure the Big Circle into a trap. Tate reluctantly agrees to continue working undercover, but at the crucial moment crime boss Chan Ming realises he's wired for sound and it takes a bloody shoot-out to resolve the situation. 29 February 1996
7 "The Outcasts" Two teenagers pull a string of audacious armed robberies, soon adding arson and murder to their list of crimes. Charlie and his squad race helter-skelter to catch them, scouring London's population of rent boys and underage prostitutes for leads but getting a result proves easier said than done. 7 March 1996
8 "Wasteland" A bank is ram-raided in broad daylight and Charlie's investigations lead him to a fanatical religious cult whose members are prepared to die for their charismatic leader. While wife Steph is in hospital giving birth to their first child, he spearheads a raid on the sect's base but a gunfight breaks out and it soon starts to look like he won't be around to enjoy the pleasures of family life. 22 July 1996

Series 2[edit]

Episode Title Synopsis Original air date
1 "Going Under" Armed gang members discover Alan Oxford's true identity, police infiltrator. 10 October 1996
2 "Nasty Boys" Following a spectacular but unsuccessful raid on a security depot, Tate decides to infiltrate the gang responsible. He makes the acquaintance of their getaway driver and persuades him to turn informer little suspecting the multiple crises of loyalty his actions will trigger. 17 October 1996
3 "A Dead Man" Charlie makes a disturbing discovery while investigating an audacious robbery an old enemy he thought he'd killed years ago is very much alive and out for revenge against him and his family. The race is on to bring the villain to book before more corpses are added to his already impressive tally 24 October 1996
4 "Bad Blood" Two female crooks raid a security van, temporarily taking a handsome passer-by hostage while they make their escape. DC Harris interviews him about his ordeal and succumbs to his charms, ending up spending the night at his flat a lapse of judgement that ultimately proves very costly indeed. 31 October 1996
5 "Remember Me" A man Donachie arrested on a rape charge 12 years earlier is released from prison and sets out for revenge, committing an armed robbery and setting up an elaborate plot to pin the blame on his old enemy. The outraged detective insists he's innocent but is his conscience entirely clear? 7 November 1996
6 "Black Russian" Ruthless Russian gangsters determined to carve a niche in London's underworld steal items worth millions from a safety deposit centre, with a little help from the crooked manager. Dryden poses as a prostitute to flush them out and finds herself forced to confront demons from her past. 14 November 1996
7 "Collateral Damage" The Squad get their knuckles rapped for arresting an Irish ex-terrorist who turns out to be working undercover for Special Branch and DS Tate's further investigations lead him into some very murky waters indeed, uncovering a conspiracy involving his first wife and the faceless spooks of MI5. 21 November 1996
8 "Déjà Vu" The trial of DI Scott's arch-enemy Frank McGrath gets under way, with the smooth-talking defence lawyer leaving the police testimony in tatters. Following the inevitable acquittal, Scott considers his future in the force but it becomes all too clear that McGrath is not about to let bygones be bygones. 28 November 1996

Series 3[edit]

Episode Title Synopsis Original air date
1 "Shadows" DI Glenn Matteo takes over from DI Scott as guvnor of the Met's Armed Robbery Squad immediately finds himself caught up in a robbery case with racial overtones. 23 October 1997
2 "Fashion Victims" Gun-toting robbers gatecrash trendy designer's fashion show and make off with thousands of pounds' worth of clothes, leaving the Flying Squad with a puzzle on their hands. Investigations are hampered by a visiting Dutch policeman bent on catching a murderous arms dealer until a possible link emerges between his obsessive quest and the haute couture heist. 30 October 1997
3 "One Last Hurrah" DCI Hall believes the theft of plastic explosives is the work of ruthless armed robbers he tangled with back in the 1970s. Matteo isn't convinced until several violent incidents suggest rival underworld gangs are gearing up for a full-scale shoot-out. 6 November 1997
4 "Sisters in Arms" A pregnant woman is so disgusted at her husband for committing a violent robbery that she goes off the rails herself, shooting a security guard during a bungled hold-up. Persuaded by her no-good sister to persevere in her life of crime, the mixed-up mother-to-be heads for the nearest jeweller's where she promptly goes into labour. 13 November 1997
5 "Road Rage" Villains kill two patrolmen during a shoot-out and compound the felony by taunting the Flying Squad about their crimes at every turn, leading to a final tense showdown at a service station. 20 November 1997
6 "After the Goldrush" The squad's investigation into an audacious bullion robbery leads Matteo to probe the relationship between a veteran armed robber and a stripper, while Hall faces danger among the local Asian business community. 4 December 1997
7 "Black Mist" Japanese crooks try to kidnap a leading stock market trader and the squad's investigations soon take on a deadly international dimension. Pitted against two of the world's most feared and formidable crime cartels, they face a fight for survival and the odds are made worse by tensions in their own ranks. 11 December 1997
8 "Brand Loyalty" DC Oxford fights alone and unarmed to save the witnesses, while DI Matteo jeopardises both personal and professional relationships in his desperate search for Takahashi. With an all-out war between the Mafia and their Japanese Yakuza counterparts looming, the squad find they have to use every trick in the book just to stay alive. 18 December 1997

See also[edit]

External links[edit]