We've picked the most important New Tricks moments that give us insights into the characters, their backgrounds, their strengths, and their weaknesses. Warning: this contains spoilers...
1. WHEN RICKY HANSON IS FOUND GUILTY FOR JACK'S WIFE'S DEATH
When Jack Halford joins the force, he is still tormented by the death of his wife, Mary - particularly as the hit and run driver responsible was never found. Jack's heartbreak is clear from the beginning of the series, as he often talks to his wife's grave and discusses cases with her. We all knew that, despite being acquitted, Ricky Hanson was the culprit. For Jack, proving Hanson's guilt is the difficult part. The criminal's painfully explicit description of the crash tempts Jack to take matters into his own hands and run Ricky over, but luckily he doesn't go through with it. When Frank Patterson reveals evidence that ties Ricky and his son, Luke, to Mary's death, Ricky is sent to prison. Although Jack never gets over the death of his wife, the culprit's incarceration gives the detective the peace of mind he deserves.
2. WHEN SANDRA LEARNS THE TRUTH ABOUT HER FATHER
With her failed love affairs and lack of domestic skills, Sandra Pullman initially comes across as a workaholic with no personal life. But her character is shown to have hidden depths when her troubled background is revealed. Sandra's father, Gordon, died when she was 14 of what she believed was a heart attack, but her mother's stroke leads her to question what actually happened. She eventually learns that Gordon committed suicide after he murdered a criminal and was under investigation for the subsequent cover up. Even more damaging is the revelation that a trusted member of UCOS was directly involved in the incident. This plot point is significant in remind us that, despite her tough exterior, Sandra has secrets and vulnerabilities just like the rest of the force.
3. WHEN JACK LEAVES UCOS
Jack is one of the most experienced members of the force, and he acts as a trusted mentor to many of his colleagues. Jack's honesty and reliability is comforting to Sandra and the others throughout years of conspiracy and secrecy. When the beloved detective announces his retirement, every member of the force is shocked and saddened. A further blow comes when Brian learns that the reason for Jack's resignation is a terminal illness. Jack's departure is a turning point in the series, and it reminds us how much the officers care about each other personally as well as professionally. Jack even appears to Sandra as a phantom after his death to advise her on her career one final time, proving the incredible impact his absence had on those close to him.
4. WHEN ROBERT STRICKLAND JOINS THE GROUP
When DAC is brought in as the team's boss one year after UCOS is set up, the group dynamic changes. Strickland is more concerned with reputation than the other detectives, meaning that the cases brought in for the team are initially judged by the potential for recognition and acclaim. Nevertheless, Robert is a great boss and protects his team from Whitehall's interference. Eventually, his belief in UCOS means that his political motives and desire for glory take a back seat to letting the detectives do what they do best. The introduction of Robert means that more structure is brought to the force and the officers face consequences for their actions, such as when Brian is let go. That's why this is one of the most important moments in New Tricks.
5. WHEN THE ANTHONY KAYE CONSPIRACY IS UNCOVERED
Anthony Kaye's death and its aftermath are the driving forces behind most of Brian's decisions throughout New Tricks, and the loose ends of the case continue to haunt him up until this plot point. Brian is obsessed with uncovering the truth from the very beginning of the series, attempting to access a locked evidence room to find the case file. True to his nickname, Brian 'Memory' Lane never forgets the injustice, physically assaulting an officer he thinks might have orchestrated the cover up. When the detective finally proves that the officers responsible for Kaye failed to check up on him, he uncovers the conspiracy and set up. But being the most eccentric detective on the force, Brian deals with the revelation in an unconventional way. Even though this plot point leads to Detective Lane having to leave the UCOS, its significance is huge: Brian has done what he rejoined the police force to do, and his mind is finally at rest again.
6. WHEN THE FORCE COMES TOGETHER
The earliest and most important plot point, Sandra's assembly of the UCOS is the event that sparks years of crime solving, tears, laughter, and friendship. Bringing these officers out of retirement lets them complete unfinished business and finally escape from their ghosts. Even Sandra, who never left the force in the first place, learns a valuable lesson: there is more to life than work. Most importantly, they form lifelong friendships with each other and grow more than they did when they were detectives the first time round. That's why most important moment of New Tricks comes in the very first episode when the members of UCOS are re-recruited and brought together to form one of the best crime-fighting teams in TV history.