Saturday, 8 June 2019
The Sweeney: Jackpot
Jackpot begins with extended footage of the delicate treatment of suspects for which our constabulary were so famed in seventies, and since. The opening scene feels both ridiculously old fashioned (because of the vehicles, clothes and the way the suspects are told to take off their braces when they arrive at the nick) and incredibly postmodern at the same time because the scene is being filmed by a copper. We see the scene through the lens and Regan breaks the fourth wall when he tells the camera to get out of his way. I particularly love the bit where Regan is hauled over the coals for managing to lose a bag of money. The actor Morris Perry could have been born for those sort of boss roles, and I don't mind that he appears in so many shows because he turns into a sort of symbol for the establishment.
Regan of course represents all that is maverick, and much of the point of this episode is the conflict between the maverick and the establishment. This conflict largely underpins this episode: as long as he captures all the crooks Regan doesn't mind how he gets there. His bosses want him to play by the rules. Ironically I have a feeling that the establishment couldn't cope without characters like Regan, but don't know how to deal with him. My own opinion is that the only way to deal with Regan is to keep him inside pissing out, because who would want Regan against them? Ironically it is of course Regan who is the person who cracks the problem of where the missing money has gone.
The visual equivalent of this disagreement about ways of seeing is that this episode also revolves around what is seen, particularly in the form of the film of the action. For the sake of the story I think the viewer should ignore the rather strange situation that one police officer with, presumably, a cine camera has somehow managed to film the raid from multiple angles and the film has managed to be edited into a smooth record of events, which looks exactly as if it was made for television! The different ways of seeing things show fault lines in the flying squad which begin to widen under the strain of this case.
In common with all Sweeney episodes this one is superb because of the seventies milieu alone. I have been surprised to find mixed reviews on the internet, with people describing it as strange and finding it flawed because of the camera plot element. Perhaps I just like TV to be unreal because I can fully see that this episode wouldn't hang together in reality but if TV was strictly real it wouldn't be an escape would it?