Generally speaking, any film with ‘cop’ in the title is guaranteed to be not very good. Remember Kevin Smith’s Cop Out with Bruce Willis? Or Cop And A Half with Burt Reynolds and pint-sized companion? And Beverley Hills Cop was never as good as its reputation. The exception to this may be Robocop, which is odd because that’s what Good Cop (BBC1, Thursdays) most resembles.
Good Cop is set in Liverpool and wants you to know it. The main character is called John Paul Rocksavage (Sav for short, mercifully), which a panel chaired by Fritz Spiegl has confirmed as the most Scouse name ever. He’s the good cop of the title, running amongst the Iron Men on Crosby beach one minute and enjoying a meal with his partner Andy in Eddie Rocket’s on Bold Street the next. Now we know why that place shut down.
Also dining is TV’s Stephen Graham, now officially in every programme on the air. He’s a nasty sort with a loud posse who likes bullying the waitresses with random shouted words (“don’t you EVER blank me again”). Sav steps in when Graham follows the waitress into the ladies toilet with malicious intent. Graham isn’t happy at having his fun stopped by the forces of law and order. “The next copper I see on his own? I’m gonna HAMMER him.” Is calling the police ‘bizzies’ too colloquial for national TV?
Sav and Andy finish their no-doubt delightful meal of fake Americana to go to a morning briefing. Their sergeant assigns them the “city centre and the south”, which seems like rather a big area for just two guys. They immediately get a call to go to Mariners Quay, a clever fictional way of disguising Mariners Wharf. To get there, they go along Wapping in the wrong direction, up to St. George’s Hall, back to Great Charlotte Street and back down to the Liver Building.
The case in Mariner’s Quay features a kid who is as Scouse as Sav’s full name. “Nuttin’. I didn’t do nuttin’. Nuttin’.” But Sav is a good cop, remember, and promises to help him out rather them give him a clip round the ear. They get another call to a noisy party, presumably across the water as they go through the tunnel to get there.
There’s trouble ahead as Graham and his thugs are at the party and see them coming. Andy knocks on the front door whilst Sav goes round the back, a bad move for Andy as he walks straight into Graham’s mob-handed mob whilst Sav watches helplessly from behind the gated back door. Sav gets on the radio. “Ambulance needed for Hadley Road!” Hadley Road once again cleverly replacing the real Hadley Avenue in Bromborough.
It’s around about now that Andy would be off being made half man, half machine, all cop – but instead he just lies in a hospital bed whilst Sav describes what happened to his sergeant. “They kicked the shit out of him.” So it’s down to Sav to contemplate revenge on Clarence Boddicker Graham and his bunch of thugs, whilst walking up Mount Pleasant. Somehow he keeps walking over the water to the unguarded scene of the crime, and finds a gun under the floorboards just as Graham happens to return.
“I think you’re nicked, don’t you?” says Sav, pointing to the gun.
“No,” says Graham, mildly annoyed. “I’m not in the fucking MOOD for this.” So Sav shoots him and, freaked out, runs home; a long way from Bromborough to Crosby especially as you have to go via Runcorn.
“Not sure if I fucked up mate,” he confesses to coma-Andy. “Not sorry he’s gone. He deserved it, didn’t he?” The body is soon discovered and other parts of the police are investigating. One of them picks up Sav to identify Graham’s body. They talk about the case whilst driving down Wapping, with Albert Dock mysteriously seen out of the left and right windows. Sav identifies the body en-scene, whilst pretending he hadn’t actually caused it to be there. Graham, to nobody’s surprise, was a gangster who ran bouncers.
Later, Sav and his new partner, WPC Amanda, arrest a notorious car thief by the highly picturesque Liver Building. No background is left unadorned by landmarks. When they bring in said tea leaf, Sav spots the bad guy equivalent of Emil being brought in. Despite Graham being shot dead, he is not at all nervous. Far from it, he eyeballs Sav unapologetically. “Do you like what you see?”
The episode ends with the wholly inappropriate use of Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up, plus a preview for next week featuring Sav loading up the gun with Emil in his metaphorical and actual sights. This Murphy hasn’t a Fourth Directive.