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George Gently: Series 6

Release Year:        2013
Studio:        Acorn Media
Format:        Colour; NTSC
Rated:        Not Rated
# of Discs/Episodes:        4 / 4
Running Time:        369 Minutes Plus Bonus
DVD Release Date:        April 1, 2014
Creator:        Peter Flannery
Screenwriters:        Timothy Prager, Jess Williams, Steve Lightfoot, Mike Cullen
Directors:        Nicholas Renton, Bill Anderson, Tim Whity, Ben Bolt
Actors:        Martin Shaw, Lee Ingleby
DVD Features:        CC; Wide Screen
E:Top Picks Rating:        10 / 10

Studio Write-up:    
Detective Chief Inspector George Gently (Martin Shaw, Death in Holy Orders) returns to the job six months after he and his sergeant, John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby, Place of Execution), were gravely injured in the line of duty. Both officers appear to be on the mend, physically at least. But while Gently is intent on putting the incident behind him, Bacchus clearly is not–and shocks his boss by submitting a letter of resignation.

At a time of changing attitudes and values in Britain, Gently and Bacchus are undergoing transitions of their own. In these four new episodes set in 1969, Bacchus lets a new constable’s (Lisa McGrillis, Hebburn) modern ways of policing get under his skin, while an aging Gently finds himself more and more adrift in a rapidly evolving world. Guest stars include Jemma Redgrave (Bramwell) and Robert Pugh (Game of Thrones).

BONUS Behind-the-scenes featurettes (18 min.) text interviews with the cast, 1969 facts and a photo gallery

Jon Ted Wynne Review:    
After the stunning cliffhanger at the end of Series 5, it is with great satisfaction to find that the four episodes of GEORGE GENTLY Series 6 maintain the same high standard of quality as the previous programs. Gently Between the Lines, the first of the new episodes, shows the aftermath of Gently and Bacchus’ respective recoveries. Gently, a war veteran, is able to take things in stride and move on, whereas Bacchus clearly suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and wants to leave the Force. This provides some immediate conflict between them.

The episode opens with a riot scene in which it is interesting to note there isn’t a false moment to be found. Often in such scenes involving a lot of actors, the background performers can frequently be seen to be either over doing it or looking self-conscious. Such is the meticulous attention to detail–a defining aspect of this series–that this is not the case. Every actor plays the sequence with the utmost conviction.

The attention to period detail (the series is now up to the year 1969) is completely convincing, including such bits of dialogue when a female police officer is called “Pet”, an example of ’60s sexism, though interestingly in the series VERA, another Acorn Media release, Vera refers to almost everyone as “Pet”. This is a double standard, to be sure, but there you go.

After a young man dies in police custody, Gently and Bacchus must investigate to see if they can shed light on the situation, especially as it appears the young man may be linked to the severe injury of a police constable who was at the riot scene. Gently’s investigation is not appreciated by the local police, who feel the young man was responsible for the wounding of the constable and should not be given any special investigative consideration. Needless to say, there is more to the situation than meets the eye. The actual suspect is set up early on in the episode in a throwaway line of dialogue that is easy to miss. Such is the subtlety of the writing.

Of course, Bacchus must confront his fears to watch Gently’s back in the climax of the episode. This gets things back on track for the series to continue with their strained father/son relationship at the core.

The second episode, Blue for Bluebird, involves the murder of a young woman working at a family resort and involves the attempts of the resort owners to keep the investigation quiet (much like in JAWS). A charming ’60s dance routine is the big set piece here. It’s another involving, cleverly-plotted addition to the growing GEORGE GENTLY canon.

Gently with Honour is another excellent episode, this time centred around secret drug testing by the military. Bacchus is particularly caustic in many of his remarks, which provides some comic relief.

Some outstanding guest stars, particularly from Jemma Redgrave, make this episode arguably the best of Set 6.

Lastly, Gently Going Under involves a murder in a mining town and puts Gently’s life in great peril. With pressure from his superiors to transfer to a desk job, Gently remains determined to continue doing what he does best: solve crimes and catch the bad guys, whatever the cost.

GEORGE GENTLY is a great series. The powerful presence of Martin Shaw as Gently is the rock upon which the series is built, but he is matched all the way by Lee Ingleby’s Bacchus and a production team that spares no attention to detail. After six series the show still has legs. It will be interesting to see if the show continues at the end of the ’60s or if it will cross over into the 1970s. In one of the excellent bonus extras Martin Shaw says he doesn’t think the show will work set in the ’70s. We shall see…

Meantime, GEORGE GENTLY continues to enthrall as one of the best police dramas in the current marketplace.