For those who are unfamiliar, the show surrounds the crime-solving antics of UCOS (Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad), run by D.C.I. Sasha Miller (Tamzin Outhwaite), a female police officer in charge of a handful of previously retired (and much older) male police officers who have been brought in to help solve cold cases. However, these guys are no longer actual cops, so they don't have the power to arrest anyone and that brings up certain tricky situations as they must wait for Sasha or backup to do the actual arresting.
It's a clever set-up and I can see why the show had so much charm and popularity, but almost all of the original cast is gone by this point. The first two-episode arch has the last original member of UCOS, Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman), becoming embroiled in a case that opens up some old wounds from when he was new on the force. A body is discovered, along with a lot of old secrets, and these actually lead to Gerry's departure from the show, leaving a void at UCOS. During this case, Sasha is also shot and a cop involved in the solving of the case, Ted Case (Larry Lamb), steps in at UCOS to fill Sasha's shoes during her recovery. He eventually stays on to fill Gerry's vacant spot. The remainder of the group includes Steve McAndrew (Denis Lawson, Star Wars), a charming ex-cop from Glasgow and Danny Griffin (Nicholas Lyndhurst), a brilliant nerd. Sasha's boss, D.A.C. Strickland (Anthony Calf) is always in UCOS' corner and continuously fights to keep the group open, despite pressure from those above him.
Murders this season involve topics such as interracial marriages and hate crimes, the lust and excess of stock traders in the 80's, rowdy professional athletes, jealousy between celeb look-alikes, greedy stamp collectors, unlucky lottery winners, crazy cryogenic supporters and finally, warring mental health advocates. Amidst all of this, Sasha earns a possibly unwanted job promotion, Danny takes his relationship with the lovely forensics specialist Fiona (Tracy Ann Oberman) to the next level, Steve battles financial and family woes, and Ted has a health scare.
The cases in New Tricks: Season 12 were interesting, but they just didn't have much punch. In fact, the actual punches during the action scenes were so clearly fake that they were almost laughable at times. It's a slow show and while I can see why it was so appealing earlier on, it was definitely time to say goodbye, even to someone new to the show like me. The characters are delightful and any fan will want to see how things wrap up, but I am sure long-time fans will be really disappointed in the off-handed and low-key way the show ended. That said, there is a special feature called New Tricks: Top Ten Moments that I enjoyed, although most were from seasons I hadn't seen. It's sad to see a long-running show end, but at least this show had the sense to quit while they were not necessarily ahead, but at least not behind (yes, I am looking at you, C.S.I.).