23 January 2005 | Bagpuss42
Find out where your tax money goes.
There's been quite a lot of nice stuff written about this programme, about how dazzlingly stylish and witty it is. Now that's all true, but what really makes it stand out is that it's probably the most accurate portrayal of the criminal justice system yet to hit our televisions.
Steve Coombes, the creator, spent a good deal of time hanging around police stations and magistrates courts so he could find out what happens and bring it to our screens. So what we have isn't your normal crime show's clever criminal gangs, but a succession of hopeless drug addicts and neglected kids. The big fish might occasionally show up, but are easily distinguished by the fact they get to walk.
Into this world are thrown a few characters: Dunbar, the cynical, amoral one; Gulliver, the idealistic rookie and Sarah Beckenham, the tough, ball-breaking career woman. So far so cliché, but the wave of coolness and comedy, not to mention the nigh-perfect casting, keep Outlaws from feeling tired.