Judge David Johnson taught his old dog how to juggle.
Our reviews of New Tricks: Season One (published October 12th, 2009), New Tricks: Season Two (published February 4th, 2010), New Tricks: Season Four (published May 18th, 2011), New Tricks: Season Five (published September 8th, 2011), New Tricks: Season Six (published January 12th, 2012), New Tricks: Season Seven (published May 24th, 2012), New Tricks: Season Eight (published September 20th, 2012), New Tricks: Season Nine (published June 15th, 2013), and New Tricks: Season Three (published February 9th, 2011) are also available.
Old farts solving old crimes.
New Tricks, as in "Old dogs not learning." That's the hook for this hour-long procedural from the BBC. The series revolves around a group of crotchety gray-hairs who are in a special investigative unit charged with digging up and solving crimes from years ago. They are a cold case unit, made up of retired cops and they're here to save the day. Or at least screw over some geriatric criminal who though he got away whacking some dude thirty years ago.
The show has a following obviously, as this set brings the tenth season and some quick research tells me that the series is still plugging along. Which makes sense, because as far as procedurals go, New Tricks isn't bad.
Since the approach here is to investigate cold cases, there's an unending supply of procedural grist to grind and the writers serve up enough sleuthing to keep any fan of the genre engaged. As an added bonus, cases tend to have some manner of personal connection with the investigators, so it all doesn't feel necessarily like a one-and-done, bad-guy-of-the-week scenario.
The big differentiator is the group of characters doing the crime-solving. Their gimmick is that they're old and retired, but the extra-day-job activities have been invested in; these aren't just cardboard cutout cops punching the clock, but folks with back stories. Whether you care at all about their stories, well, that's going to be up to you. Nothing particularly stood out to me—standard-issue family melodrama and the like—but the actors are top-notch and the dialogue is well-written.
Lots of changes happen in the universe through these ten episodes, with major characters getting swapped out and plotlines getting wrapped up. So at the very least you know that no one is sitting on their laurels.
One big complaint: the terrible opening theme song. This may sound like a nitpick, but the goofy jingle that precedes each episode makes the series sound like a borderline comedy romp—"Haha, look at these funny old people solving murders while their backs seize up!" Nope. There are some isolated patches of levity, but New Tricks pretty much plays it straight.
The set: three discs, 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a photo gallery.
Not guilty. If the procedural game grabs you, New Tricks is worth a gander.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
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