Review: New Tricks, Last Man Standing

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Written by Joss Woodend

BBC favourite New Tricks is back for a twelfth series and proving that sometimes you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks.

Last Man Standing 

The opening episodes of the new series saw the exit of original member of the team, Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman). Standing, who has always provided the laughs, faced an uncharacteristically serious storyline when suspected of involvement with the murder of DI Martin Ackroyd (Michael Schaeffer).

Aptly named ‘Last Man Standing’, the two-parter explored police corruption and Standing’s earlier career. After the discovery of Ackroyd’s body, over 30 years after his disappearance, the UCOS team are flung into drama, endless twists and 1980s gangsters.

Outstanding acting

It was up to Sasha (Tazmin Outhwaite), Danny (Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Steve (Denis Lawson) to get to the bottom of the mysterious death and Standing’s involvement. Lyndhurst and Lawson’s characters improved dramatically, going from moments of seriousness to the hilarity of being stranded in the office with Standing’s baby grandson.

Viewers were also pleased to see long-standing character Strickland, (Anthony Calf), play the biggest role in determining Standing’s guilt or innocence. Strickland’s loyalty to Standing shone through, bringing strong emotion to the two-parter.

A perfect balance 

It’s a shame that the decision has been made to axe New Tricks, especially as these first two episodes have been outstanding. Julian Simpson’s slick script combined with a sad, but fitting, exit for Gerry Standing has proved that the show has so much to offer. 

With the addition of Larry Lamb to the cast as Ted Case, taking Standing’s place, it is set to be an explosive and exciting series. Most likely the best yet.

New Tricks airs on Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC One.