7 Reasons You Need To See Taggart From The Start

Chances are you’ve caught random episodes of Taggart over the years, but proper crime buffs will want to watch this epic series from the very beginning.

Taggart

YOU LEARN TAGGART'S BACKSTORY

Catching the series from its kick-off point means you get to follow Jim Taggart's own personal story arc. People often forget this is far more simply an episodic procedural with stand-alone stories - Jim's home life with wife Jean is every bit as important as what happens out on the streets of Glasgow. Jean herself is a headstrong lass who - despite being confined to a wheelchair after being paralysed while pregnant - manages to have plenty of adventures of her own. Their often tense and strained marriage is a compelling focus of the show's early years.

YOU MEET HIS ORIGINAL SIDEKICK

Jardine is arguably the sidekick who springs to mind first when you think of Jim Taggart. But watch from the very beginning, and you'll meet Peter Livingstone - his original underling, who quite frankly deserves a medal for putting up with Taggart's moody personality day after day. They have an amusingly Dalziel and Pascoe-style partnership, with Taggart often at odds with his university-educated smoothie of a sidekick. It also probably winds Jim up that Livingstone is so much taller than him. In the end, it all gets too much for poor old Peter, paving the way for the later "generation" of the show.

AND HIS BOSS, "THE BISCUIT"

It's hard to accept that the doggedly stubborn Jim Taggart has to kowtow to anyone. But kowtow he does, to Jack McVitie - nicknamed "The Biscuit" for obvious reasons. Following their brittle relationship is one of the joys of the earlier stories, especially as we slowly realise the Biscuit isn't quite as hard and gritty as we initially think. Just wait till you see him all done up in Chinese garb for a fancy dress party...

THERE'S SO MUCH 80s NOSTALGIA

There's a fashion at the moment for contemporary TV shows set in the 80s. But Taggart is the real thing - a show that started in the middle of that decade. So, while most our attention is on the gory and brutal cases, it's also fascinating just to see how people dress, talk and live in the world of the show. Some episodes are even set against the backdrop of contemporary events, like the Glasgow Garden Festival of 1988.

YOU SEE HOW JARDINE AND REID ENTERED THE PICTURE

Watching the episodes in the right order will let you see how the series evolves into a very different beast after two beloved characters enter the scene. We're talking, of course, of Mike Jardine and Jackie Reid. Although the pair are inextricably tied in our minds, Mike actually joins the team a few years before Jackie, and you'll get to see him bed down in his new digs. Jackie Reid's first appearance is also rather interesting, because we initially see her as a beat cop, in WPC uniform. Who'd have thought it?

James MacPherson as Michael Jardine and Blythe Duff as Jackie Reid.

James MacPherson as Michael Jardine and Blythe Duff as Jackie Reid.

THERE'S ALSO THE WHOLE MIKE AND JACKIE "THING"

Speaking of Mike and Jackie, their "will they or won't they" relationship forms another long-running story arc, which is well worth seeing from start to tragic finish. From the very beginning it's clear they have feelings for each other, but the pressures of the workplace means they keep things platonic. At least physically. Is there a burning, unspoken passion, or are they really happy to remain "just good friends"? Fans continue to disagree, so watch and see what you think.

AND TAGGART'S FUNERAL

One of the most famous things about Taggart, the show, is that it continued long after the death of its central character. This was due to the untimely passing of star Mark McManus. The whole significance of this can be appreciated when you watch the episodes leading up to his death, and see how the team adjusts to the loss of their tough but noble leader. Indeed, the funeral is one of the two most poignant moments in the history of the show. (The other is the funeral of another leading character... wait till you see that.)