Cracker by Jimmy McGovern

bookshelves: summer-2014, britain-england, manchester, psychology, mystery-thriller, series, film-only, families

Read from June 19 to 24, 2014


NB This is the original TV series starring the excellent Robbie Coltrane, not the lame US replication called ‘Fitz’.

1.1 – “The Mad Woman in the Attic”. A young woman is brutally murdered on a train, the victim of a serial killer. The prime suspect is an amnesiac man, who cannot confess to the crime if he cannot remember committing it unless Fitz can crack him.

1.2 – “To Say I Love You”. While his own marriage is falling apart, Fitz goes up against a young couple who would literally kill for their love, leading to an equally literally explosive climax.

1.3 – “One Day a Lemming Will Fly”. The disappearance and death of a 13-year-old boy inflames the local community as a teacher becomes the prime suspect. But Fitz begins to have doubts about the teacher’s guilt and attempts to convince Billborough that the truth is more important than a mere result that seems to fit.

2.1 – “To Be a Somebody”. A Pakistani shopkeeper is killed and a skinhead seen leaving the premises. The police are at first convinced that it is a racist killing until a white, English psychologist helping out with the case and DCI Billborough are murdered by the same man. Fitz, while facing his own problems with his family and a hurt Penhaligon, is brought in to investigate, convinced that the killer is not a mere racist hood but actually an ordinary citizen gone horribly wrong.

2.2 – “The Big Crunch”. A young girl missing for several days is discovered naked, covered in strange symbols and quoting the Bible. The trail leads to a fringe Christian sect and its charismatic leader.

2.3 – “Men Should Weep”. The case of a serial rapist who wears a mask, yet tries to develop a relationship with his victims strikes at the heart of Fitz’s personal and professional life when Penhaligon is raped and the rapist, apparently acting on Fitz’s advice, starts to kill as well. Meanwhile, Penhaligon begins to discover a connection between her rapist and Jimmy Beck.

3.1 – “Brotherly Love”. The brutal murder and violation of a prostitute quickly leads to an arrest, but while the suspect is in custody, an identical murder happens. At the same time, the death of Fitz’s mother reunites him with his brother Danny, and Jimmy Beck, under long time stress from Bilborough’s death, finally reaches his breaking point, leading to a devastating climax.

3.2 – “Best Boys”. When the older Stuart Grady meets the teenage Bill Nash, the instant attraction between the two leads to murderous consequences. Meanwhile, the birth of Fitz’s new son is not the solution to his marital strife that he expected, and Judith begins to seek solace with Danny.

3.3 – “True Romance”. Fitz is the target of a secret admirer who is willing to kill – and keep killing – to get his attention, understanding and love, even if it means targeting Fitz’s loved ones.

Extra Episode – “White Ghost”. While in Hong Kong on a lecture tour, Fitz is asked by the local police to help investigate the murder of a Chinese businessman.

Extra Episode – “Nine Eleven”. Fitz returns to Manchester for his daughter’s wedding, but is soon involved in another murder investigation when an American comedian is killed, apparently without motive.

See also Prime Cracker Comic Relief

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