The Maryhill CID investigates gruesome murders against the bleak backdrop of the city of Glasgow.The Maryhill CID investigates gruesome murders against the bleak backdrop of the city of Glasgow.The Maryhill CID investigates gruesome murders against the bleak backdrop of the city of Glasgow.
Killer caught the character of that city that is now long gone - the cranes, dingy streets, sawdust pubs, old tenements and schemes - and that's been the one constant in Taggart. The evolving face of the city of Glasgow...and it's implicable, unchanging, nature.
The late Mark McManus - in a first rate performance - perfectly eptimisoed the lead character and his city - hard drinking, hard bitten, tough and laconic; yet possessing a dry humour, savviness and a very real decency. In his obituary McManus was described as a sensitive, intelligent man a world away from the character - and as fondly regarded as he was by many Glaswegians, fame did not come easily to McManus. Very sadly, his association with the role led to some verbal abuse and physical harassment. Towards the end of his life he went through a series of difficult breavements.
The other lead player was always Glasgow. It's fascinating watching the evolution of Glasgow over the course of each season. Perhaps my favourite episode was 'Root of Evil' set against the backdrop of debt collectors, Morningside (in Edinburgh) and the immensely popular but now almost forgotten 1988 Garden Festival. It was great stuff...as was 'Evil Eye', ' Flesh and Blood', 'Double Jeopardy' and 'Hostile Witness'.
Also noteworthy was the guest appearances and cameos. Alan Cumming, Robert Carlyle, Diane Keen, John Hannah, Jill Gascoigne and Celia Imrie - very striking as a gangster's moll - all made welcome appearances.
Taggart was more than just a hard copper. Inspired from Glasgow's literature, particularly William McIlvanney's subtle, underrated Laidlaw series - another detective with many of Taggart's characteristics. Any coincidence that the theme song was 'No Mean City'?
In short the McManus era is definitely a worthwhile watch. It's currently playing on UK Drama - I certainly catch it when I can.
- Feb 9, 2020