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'Dalziel and Pascoe: Season One'
(Warren Clarke, Colin Buchanan, David Royle, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / BBC Home Video)

Overview: Superintendent Andy Dalziel is no typical supersleuth; though canny and observant, he's also crude and pushy to the point of brutish--but in the hands of Warren Clarke, the lumpy yet charismatic actor who plays Dalziel, he's the driving force of a very-long-lived British crime series. His partner is Detective Inspector Peter Pascoe (Colin Buchanan), who approaches crime from a more educated, intellectual perspective.

DVD: The Dalziel and Pascoe mysteries' greatest strength is the relationship between one of television's most interesting odd couples. One would expect the bombastic Dalziel to take an instant dislike to the young, educated, sophisticated and smart Pascoe, but exactly the opposite happens. It is the unexpected nature of this relationship and unexpected nuances of both characters that keep this series interesting.

This series succeeds in keeping the viewer guessing about the motivations of not only the suspects, but of the lead detectives as well. Pascoe's girlfriend, later wife, may not be my choice for the detective, but the character adds a real dimension to the show and is not there merely to support the lead actors.

All in all, an outstanding series, especially considering that I did not care for Reginald Hill's books. My only disappointment is that there are only three episodes in this series - which I still don't understand how that can add up to one 'complete first season'?!

Anyway, the series starts off with a high-standard that it managed to maintain almost to the end ... before sadly the BBC ended it! The acting and banter between the two main leads is a continual joy with Buchanan's educated young officer locking horns with Clarke's apparently ham-fisted detective.

Happily the series starts with the moment the two leads meet for the first time and the instant friction between them is excellently played, especially if you've seen only later episodes where they have both learnt to respect each others' abilities and so there's less banter between them.

The first two episodes are the strongest featuring a murder connected to Dalziel's rugby club and on old buried secret at a college. The third is the so-called weak link, for it simply isn't a standard D&P tale. Feeling, and for all intents and purposes, looking more like an Agatha Christie style whodunnit in a stately home, Pascoe is largely absent for the entire tale.

That said, this third, and last of the first season episode is hilarious in that there are so many one-liners coming forth from Dalziel that it'll make your head spin! Continually wet, always on the end of a snarky, upper crust comment, and eventually falling into bed with the lady of the house, the episode may not be a typical one, but it sure fires on all cylinders ... for me, at least.

On a personal note, the lady that plays Pascoe's wife is someone I find irritating beyond all belief ... as she speaks, and acts in a VERY smug way that doesn't make her believable as someone Pascoe would marry. There, I said it! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.