The First Season
Taggart is a long running crime drama. Set in Glasgow, Scotland, the detectives of the Maryhilll Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) trudge through one grisly murder after another that always end with a twist. The series started in 1983 with the episode "Killer". Later in 1985 another two episodes, "Dead Ringer" and "Murder in Season", followed. These episodes are dubbed as season one and are packaged together in Taggart: Killer Set.
At a first glance, I wasn't very impressed by Taggart. The show lacks the flash of modern crime dramas like C.S.I. and the intense drama from NYPD Blue. But I found once you start to get into Taggart, it quickly grows on you. The real interest comes from watching the main character unravel the mystery at hand. Taggart also does a splendid job developing the main character and the supporting cast in each episode. "Killer", "Dead Ringer", and "Murder in Season" run for approximately two hours and ten minutes each, which allows for a lot of character development and a thorough storyline.
The main character (for whom the series is named after) is Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taggart (Mark McManus). Taggart made his way in the Maryhill PD by working from the bottom. He is a veteran detective whose determination to solve the crime at hand causes him to do whatever he has to. The other characters are Detective Sergeant Peter Livingstone, a fresh detective from the university who looks at cases in a much different way than Taggart, Dr. Andrew Stephens (Robert Robertson), the Maryhill PD's pathologist, and Superintendent Jack McVitie (Iain Anders), the man who heads CID.
In the first episode, "Killer", the detectives stumble into a murder that turns into a serial killing. An unknown assailant has been terrorizing Maryhill by murdering young blonde women. The case becomes direly important to Taggart as he fears his own daughter is next. Following this case is quite intriguing, as there is also a second storyline to follow with Taggart getting accustomed to his new partner Livingstone. Taggart is an old school cop who resents the new age university-types-turned-detectives. Livingstone happens to be one of those. It is interesting to watch their relationship develop, from pure dislike to casual buddies. Also there different ways of looking at the case proves to be interesting.
The next episode "Dead Ringer" occurs sometime after the case in "Killer". The remains of a body is found buried underneath a house, Taggart and Livingstone have to unravel the mysterious past of the household. Years ago it was a halfway house for ex-cons transitioning back into society. The case leads the detectives to the woman who ran the halfway house and they find she is still housing ex-cons. Her mysterious past, as well as the previous tenets are vital clues to revealing the whodunit.
The final episode included in this set is "Murder in Season". Of the three episodes, this one takes the cake. It is an exciting to follow with lots of mystery and a few twists and turns. Unlike the past two episodes, there are two crimes to follow. In the first, a renowned opera singer returns home to find her marriage in shambles beyond repair. Her neglect to her family over the past six years has left little love. She finds her husband with a younger woman and wanting a divorce. The other woman ends up dead and the opera singer becomes the first suspect in an invigorating mystery. The other case to follow is about a man who wants to murder his wife. This episode just has a lot going on and it is intertwined very well.
Overall I was quite pleased with the three episodes included in this set. If you enjoy a good drama with a well-planned mystery than Taggart has enough to keep you glued to your seat.
2. Dead Ringer
3. Murder in Season
The video is given in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. The picture quality is good considering its age. The image is a bit soft at times. For the most part, it looks good with a slight grain and no noticeable issues attributed with video compression.
The audio in this release is in English 2.0 Dolby digital mono. The quality is decent. It sounds pretty flat and there are a few rough points and noticeable changes in volume level. The mono track offers very little in terms of dynamics. This release does not contain subtitles or support closed captioning.
The special features are not so special. They include "Cast Profiles" and "Taggart Facts". Both of which, you can easily find on the Internet.
At a first glance I didn't think much of Taggart. When I first sat down with "Killer", it took about an hour before I started to really enjoy it. By that time, I had gotten to know the characters fairly well and I had a good idea of what to expect. Once I reached this point, I found Taggart to be a lot of fun. The characters--main, supporting, and otherwise, are all enacted well and help add to the richness of the show. The storylines are also done quite well with some topnotch writing. In the end Taggart: Killer Set should be easily appreciated by any fan of a good crime drama.