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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Taggart: Set 2'
(Alex Norton, John Michie, Blythe Duff, Colin McCredie, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / (2003) 2010 / Acorn Media)

Overview: A hard-driving cop drama with a hard-edged Scottish burr, Taggart deals in a world of prostitutes, drug dealers, crime lords, and killers. In eight tightly crafted episodes, a team of Glasgow detectives use their collective wits and street smarts to tackle murder in this very tough town. Sometimes that means taking on hardened crime bosses, sometimes innocent victims with years to plot their revenge. Each time it means getting inside the mind of murderers - how they think, how they act, how they kill.

DVD: In what is actually Season 20 of this long-running TV series, Set 2 (in the US) begins with, 'Penthouse and Pavement' - when a famous novelist is found murdered in an alley the morning after a prestigious book launch and the police team's only lead is a drugged and confused prostitute. In truth, one of the baddies here is obvious from halfway through, and whereas the ending is revealing, it is also too fake looking for comfort. Up next is 'Atonement - Billy McCree is murdered in his work-shop and his severed hand is found next to him. The obvious suspect is just out of jail, thanks to Billy's evidence. The opening is very brutal (beware!), and it seems that the camera loves the Forensics Office, Gemma as she tends now to become more of a regular - and her clothing is getting flimsier and flimsier! Anyway, Burke investigates the Naysmith gang whilst Robbie is flattered when Mary, a young law student, asks to shadow him. And therein lies another guessable interest, but I'll leave that one to you to get into. Visually, this is a great episode, and the ending is very good, very tight.

'Compensation' is next - The team travel to rural Fenmore after a farmer is suspiciously killed in a house fire, but find few clues and the villagers unwilling to offer any information. And wow, they all really do get to leave the sound stage and spread their wings! But, and being that this is indeed a country tale, the pace plods along with it. A fiery tale is slow burning for nearly an hour, the bad guy not evident (thankfully), and come the end who it is will shock you! Up next is 'Saints and Sinners' - When lawyer Richard Fleet is shot dead suspicion initially falls on his widow Adele and his partner Charlie Muir who were having an affair. However, when Muir is also murdered, Burke uncovers a wholly different motive. A massive slow-plodder here which further sees a group of residents taking a company called Arcadia to court on the grounds that they had caused pollution, leading to illnesses such as leukemia.

Next up is 'Puppet on a String' - Dr. Mellor is attacked by a masked assailant carrying a syringe full of lethal drugs. Dr Mellor points the finger at rival doctor Thomas Finn, but Finn has an alibi. Dr Mellor is found dead the next day. Finn again has a cast-iron alibi. Here, the killer is obvious beyond a shadow of a doubt come the 43rd minute, as too much evidence is shown, too many excuses given. In 'The Wages of Sin,' a taxi driver is found dead outside a Jeweler's shop and the team discover links to the underworld. Eventually, of course! In this one, the killer becomes obvious in the 47th minute - all because of a simply 'we split u' statement! Regardless, this is a great storyline. Come 'The Ties That Bind,' we get a brand new, retro-feel set of opening credits! The storyline centers around the body of a man found behind the wheel of his car - deep in the Clyde! The trouble is, and via an apparent hit and run, it appears that the victim had been tied up and was already dead before the car hit the water! The reason may not be guessable for this twisted, suburb tale, but the killer is, sorry! DCI Burke gets a fake story told against him, fights it as best he can, but the suspenseful ending all makes up for it.

In the final 'season ender' episode, 'In Camera,' Robbie is all set to spend a romantic weekend with his new lady love Eve Hamilton. Unfortunately the mood is soured when the corpse of a young man, a photographic assistant, is discovered at the romantic hideaway. With the main plot here the actual subplot re: Robbie and his new girlfriend, this is one great case to end the 'season' with. Robbie looks to be drowning here, his fingerprints everywhere, his relationship with the prime suspect set to bust wide open, and his career due to expire any second. A brilliant third act brings us full circle on the tale, subsequently allowing us to breathe easy in the fourth and final act. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but does not come with any Special Features: