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The 7 Oddest New Tricks Cases

Given that their combined age is around 978, you'd be safe in assuming the retired detectives of New Tricks have seen some strange cold cases in their long, long careers.

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1. The dead girl who talks to Jack

BBC

The whole sub-plot about Jack grieving the loss of his wife Mary usually gets us right in the tear ducts.

Talking To The Dead (S1 Ep7) is solemn and subtle and rather beautiful – except when it’s really flippin’ weird. We’re thinking specifically of the episode where Jack decides to have an actual séance to contact Mary in the spirit world, and is apparently contacted by a murdered teenage girl. Who then gets him to re-open the investigation into her death. Now that’s what we call a cold lead.

2. The apparent killer who’s basically Fanny Cradock

BBC

Fanny Cradock was an early TV chef. Think Delia Smith crossed with Cruella de Vil – ie, completely terrifying. As well as giving the nation pastry-themed nightmares, she’s still notorious for having her husband bumble around behind her like some kitchen Igor.

Oh, and she turns up in New Tricks (Old And Cold S2 Ep4) as a murder suspect, except here she’s called Kitty Campbell and she’s played by Honor Blackman. Hmm. Seeing as New Tricks will probably run for another few decades, can we expect to see a pair of homicidal Hairy Bikers turn up around the year 2046?

3. The librarian who is maybe a witch

BBC

When a dead man is found lying under a tree with his head bashed in, there’s standard police procedure to follow. And that doesn’t usually include checking to see if witchcraft was involved.

Luckily, the New Tricks squad get wise to the Wiccan implications, in a case (Wicca Work S3 Ep5) which also involves several references to a kind of tree-god. Every good police show needs references to a tree-god.

4. The maybe dog-organ thief

BBC

Organ harvesting is generally a bit peculiar. You’d be surprised if it happened to you, let’s be honest. But what’s even more unexpected than a bit of organ harvesting is a bit of dog-based organ harvesting. Which is what the team seem to be up against in an episode (Old Dogs S3 Ep3) involving an opened-up pooch discovered on Hampstead Heath.

We hereby apologise for any mental images the phrase “opened-up pooch” may have evoked.

5. The unexpected ringmaster’s feet

BBC

Circus ringmasters are a bit like astronauts or chocolate factories: it’s strange to think of them actually existing outside of childhood fantasies, in the boring old real world. Even stranger is a circus ringmaster being found reduced to cinders in his caravan (Big Topped S4 Ep8) – apart from his still-intact feet. Quite an enigma for the New Tricks team. Just add this to the growing list of “stuff that never seemed to happen in The Wire”.

6. The time Gerry wins a case in a card game

BBC

The standard way they pick cases in New Tricks is to flick through police files from long-ago and pick whatever looks like it’ll give them the biggest headache to solve. They’re suckers for punishment that way. But there’s also the time that Gerry Standing loses a poker game against a bookie (Eyes Down For A Full House S2 Ep6). Moral: never play a poker game against a BOOKIE.

Gerry winds up wildly in debt, which he can only clear by solving the murder of the bookie’s dad.

7. Art attack (unfortunately not featuring Neil Buchanan)

BBC

While Sandra Pullman is a classy type, the idea of Gerry, Jack and Brian hobnobbing in the art world is a bit like a gaggle of penguins trying to work out how to use a toaster.

Unlikely and bizarre. Two words which sum up the case involving a fake painting in the Queen’s art collection (Painting On Loan S1 Ep3), and a curator called Sir Timothy. Such a thing should never happen, because it’s hard to imagine Gerry Standing inhabiting the same planet as anyone called Sir Timothy, let alone the same room.