Fandom: The Sweeney
Pairing: DI Jack Regan/DS George Carter
Spoilers: the whole series
Notes: There's a glossary at the end for any terms that might be unfamiliar... All images were screencapped by me from my DVDs. More can be seen at the Slashden. There's also some fiction. All errors are mine, queenbamfie is responsible for poking me about my spelling and tenses, but the whole thing is londonronnie's fault for sending the episodes... (BEG) I hope you enjoy this teaser.
Background on the Show
Definition From Wikipedia:
"The Flying Squad is a branch of London's Metropolitan Police Force, a subdivision of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Its officers were originally nicknamed the "thief takers". It consists of police officers trained in high speed driving, whose task is to prevent and detect armed robbery and similar crimes. The name reflects the fact that the officers operate across the boundaries of London's police divisions. In 1978 it was renamed the "Central Robbery Squad". Its most popular nicknames are "the Sweeney" (Cockney rhyming slang for "Sweeney Todd"/"Flying Squad") and "The Heavy Mob". The squad's work was dramatised in the 1970s British TV series The Sweeney. This was the era in which the Sweeney's close ties with the criminal underworld, which had always been a necessary part of its strategy, were being exposed to public criticism. "
I first saw The Sweeney as a teenager. I've always liked Dennis Waterman (Sgt. George Carter) and that's why I watched in the first place. It was a great show; marvellous guest stars, good writing, and great acting. It was cutting edge in 1974; full of outdoor action, stunts and daring plots, and it still holds up today. The dialogue was very noir; liberally spiced with Cockney Rhyming Slang, Polari and wild 70's slang. All very exciting stuff. The Sweeney was hugely popular in the UK, responsible for such catch-phrases as "Get yer trousers on, you're nicked." and "We're the Sweeney son, and we haven't had any dinner..."
I hadn't seen it for many years until a friend in Newcastle sent me the episodes showing on
John Thaw .... Det. Insp. John Albert 'Jack' Regan (right)
Dennis Waterman .... Det. Sgt. George Hamilton Carter (left)
Jack Regan : "the best DI on the Squad" according to himself. Jack Regan is a sad, bitter, cynical man. In his late 30's early 40's, he's divorced, drinks too much, smokes too much and makes a large point of letting people know he's after birds. He is always at odds with his Chief Inspector and thinks little of his co-workers. Because of his poor attitude, his chances of promotion are slim and he knows it, despite the fact his arrest record is superlative and he's earned many commendations. Some weeks its all he can manage not to be thrown off the Force. He's concerned only with getting the villain, no matter how. Rules are not important to Jack. He will ruthlessly use any and everyone to see the villains are caught. One villain describes Jack as a mad dog. If Jack gets onto them, he either gets them or an act of God is needed to stop him. He's cranky and hostile... with everyone except his daughter and George.
George Carter: He's a rather regular bloke. Blond, nice looking and in his mid 20's, he's an avid fan of boxing and football. He's popular with the lads, his superior officers like him and his work and it seems he's destined to do well in the Force. Said superior officers try to separate him from Jack on more than one occasion, but he refuses to leave Jack. He's a bit of a rake, or at least he tries to be one, but sooner or later it just comes down to being him and Jack. George was married at the beginning of the series, but his wife was killed in a hit and run accident at the start of the second series. While she was alive, her dislike of Jack was more than apparent. On several occasions she and George had serious rows over him. When she was killed, however, Jack was right there for George. From then on, George and Jack are inseparable. Together they fight crime as well as the paper pushers on the 5th floor. They don't play by the rules and it's sometimes hard to distinguish between the lads and the villains. Many of the stories in the show reflect this, and also touch on the corruption that was eating away at the Force.
The Sweeney might not seem like a show with slash potential. Not at first glance anyway. These two spend a great deal of time talking about pulling birds, a great deal of time trying to pull them, but perhaps not so oddly, very little actual time with the women themselves.
When you look more closely, from the pilot on, Jack and George were all over each other like an old married couple. As the seasons progress they become more and more involved with each other and show less and less interest in outsiders. Even the other members of the squad begin to fade into the background. They slowly begin to spend more and more time together when off duty. They bitch and row then make up. They try to persuade the other man's woman of the moment to leave more than once. Even the fourth season credits reflect the closeness of their relationship, showing them off duty, late at night, wandering around together.
The show also tackled homosexuality in canon. Several villains are portrayed as gay and it's done in a very matter of fact manner. Some of the offers to come Jack and George's way evoke moments of, "No way was this on TV!" Some of the things they say to each other evoke a similar response.
* While George's wife was alive, she hated Jack very, very much. She would glare at him as one glares at a competitor. The hatred was mutual.
* Jack is very protective of George. He knows when he's about to get into hot water and always sees to it that George is taken care of.
*A large chunk of Jack's grasses are gay. Some are very, very familiar with him. Some of them would like to be more familiar with George.
*There are several instances of George staying overnight with Jack; even while he was married.
*There's the prerequisite loathing of the other's girlfriend and the mutual attempts to get the other's attention over that of the woman.
*Jack sees women as something to be tolerated. For all his whining about a happy marriage, it's obvious he doesn't like women very much.
*There is almost no personal space between Jack and George when they are alone. There's not much space even when they are in public.
*Their co-workers refer to them as Ratman and Dobbin... Not too flattering but I think it says plenty.
*When Jack acts out, George is the only one who can bring him back to earth.
*There are many instances of clothing migrating between them, mostly from Jack to George then back to Jack... sometimes in the same episode. It's almost as if they grabbed the first piece of clothing that came to hand while dressing as quickly as possible.
*There's the photo Jack has of both George and himself, obviously while having a night on the booze. (see below) It starts out next to his family picture as a 4x5; It grows over time to 8x10 and eventually is the only picture you see in Jack's flat.
From the opening of the pilot to the last episode of the series, Jack and George fight like an old married couple. They look at each other with such deep affection it's just lovely. They open up to each other and only each other. Jack doesn't trust anyone but George and as the series progresses, George depends more and more on Jack, as well as supporting him more and more. When George's wife is killed, Jack is the one who stands at his side, to the point of staying with him that first night after the accident. When Jack is in trouble with the department, George will risk his own career to help him out. There's also the fact that the drunker they get, the more they hang all over each other. They're drunk a great deal...
Meta: (I'm not so hot on meta... but hopefully this will show some basic themes.)
There's tons of denial here. In 1974 one was not gay. Working class lads like Jack and George were definitely not gay. Blokes on the Police were extremely not gay and one was even more extremely not gay when one is a Detective Inspector on the Flying Squad. Jack has a great deal of trouble dealing with this as evidenced by his forced relationships with women. He doesn't like them and it shows, but he knows he has to play the game. The only person he does really relate to is George. Fortunately no one thought it odd in 1974 that a divorced man and a widower would spend so much time together. As long as they were seen to play the game, they could live as they liked.
There is also the older/younger dynamic to play with. Jack is at least 10 years older than George. It's apparent he sometimes feels he's endangering George's future, ruining him, as it were. Jack has become cynical and world weary. George is still seeing life with hopeful eyes.
Then there's the superior/inferior dynamic. Jack shouldn't touch George. He's his boss. But they become very close, unable to stay away from each other. Jack is responsible for George's growth in the Squad, and by being his favourite, he's exposing George to danger and jealousy from his fellow Detective Sergeants on the Squad. This might bring about speculation as to why George is Jack's favourite.
Finally, George may love Jack but he also still loves women. Jack doesn't. This creates a great deal of friction and jealousy. They both vie for each other's attention and become petty and unpleasant with each other when a woman comes between them.
I like this pairing very much because it's a very real relationship, ups and downs aplenty, but the deep affection is extremely obvious and wonderful to see. There's ample room between and during jobs to explore different facets of their relationship, have some rip-roaring rows then lots of hot makeup sex. It fits in perfectly with their characters and the canon as shown. Sometimes they are so pissy at each other you can just see the UST crackling. I also happen to think both lads are beautiful and I'd certainly throw money at the prospect of them naked and all over each other.
Choice Quotes: (In order of appearance, except for the last one)
*At their first meeting in Regan (pilot), Jack says to George, "I'm not trying to start an affair with you Mary, darling..."
*In The Placer (1st season) - Jack is undercover as a lorry driver, sporting a cute little moustache. At an outdoor meet George says, "I fancy you meself with that moustache" to which Jack smiles indulgently and replies, "Give us a kiss then."
*Stoppo Driver (1st season) - Chief Inspector Haskins tells Regan to "... get Carter, go home and settle for Match of the Day."
*Abduction (1st season) - "George, you're the only one I can trust," and this after George's wife practically bars his way in. She hates him and makes no secret of it. George has been home ill and against orders, does Jack's bidding with no questions.
*In Abduction (1st season) - Jack is giving a right kicking to the man who kidnapped his daughter. Only George is able to talk to him and pry him off.
*In Supersnout (2nd season) - Jack is cooking a nice steak for George, music on, wine flowing, in exactly the same way he had done for the woman of the minute but a few scenes before. You see them later all undone and mussed, well pissed and talking about life. The odd thing about this is that George's wife was still alive at this point.
*In Big Brother (2nd season)- One of Jack's grasses, Betty, the male hairdresser, offers to relieve some of George's tension. Jack tells him, "Don't you touch that." in a most possessive manner.
*In Visiting Firemen (3rd season) - Jack and George do a Jimmy Durante number that involves a great deal of drunken fondling and ends up with Jack sprawled on top of George.
*In Bad Apple (3rd season) - When bent copper Perrant whacks George in the gut with a plank, Regan all but tears him apart in a fury.
*Also from Bad Apple (3rd season) - George is trying to get Jack to go with him to see the blue movies nicked by the dirty squad. "The Greek Street ones?" says Jack. "The gags may be old, it's just the walk that's different..." says George as he camps towards the door. Jack calls him back by yelling, "Oi Sailor..."
*In May (3rd season) - Jack is getting drunk with the wife of an old mate. They talk about Jack and his mate dressing up like a couple of old tarts. George sits opposite and scowls at them looking quite jealous.
*From Pay Off (3rd season) - George is very pissed and trying to pick up a pretty dealer in a casino. Jack is visibly annoyed by this and makes several harsh comments. He treats George terribly throughout the episode until it's clear the girl has dropped George. Only then does he apologise and offer to give George a lift.
*From the first movie The Sweeney - Jack is bare arsed on George's landing. George is not even remotely shocked to see a naked Jack in his flat. He is shocked to see a woman in his bed. Only then does he get upset.
*Also from the The Sweeney - Jack takes the cigarette right out of George's mouth to smoke it.
*In Trust Red (4th season) - Jack tenderly looks after a severly sozzled George on his birthday. This scene is so sweet it's almost painful.
*Also in Trust Red (4th season) - It's obviously the morning after and Jack is looking tired and shaving in his kitchen. George is still mussed and giggly and cooking away. When Jack grumpily asks what the hell he's doing George says, "Making eggs for my Johno..." The Squad calls Jack's flat looking for George. The fellow on the other end proceeds to tease George about Jack's ill temper he quips, "Nah, 'e's lovely". This hardly looks to be the first time it's happened. They are mashed together on the sofa in a very charming manner.
*From Feet of Clay (4th season) - George awakens in his girlfriend's bed to someone tenderly stroking his face. It's Jack who's touching him up, not the girl. He doesn't look remotely surprised.
*Also from Feet of Clay (4-9) - "It's a delicate bit of machinery, the family unit", says Jack. "Good thing I'm gay..." says George.
*In One of Your Own (4th season) - Jack sleeps with George's girlfriend and then sets her up with one of the other lads on the squad, with the obvious intent of getting rid of her.
*In Hearts & Minds (4th season) - a transvestite stripper takes a fancy to George and offers to rub him up the right way. George points at Jack and squeaks, "I'm with him..." The stripper goes eye to eye with Jack and says, "Lucky you..." Jack simply looks smug.
*In the second movie, Sweeney 2, when the woman hides Jack's front door key in his pants, Jack mumbles George's name as she unzips his trousers.
*From Bait (4th season)- Vic Tolman has a gun to Jack's head. George says, "You so much as bruise him and you'll need an embalmer, not a brief. "
Well... that sort of sums it up don't you think?
Sadly not a great deal in the resource department.
The Sweeney is out on DVD and available from Amazon UK.
From IMDB : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071059/
The Unofficial Website: http://www.missingimages.com/thesweeney/
my site for The Sweeney: http://slashden.com/sweeney.html
Birds - women
Pulling a Bird - getting a date ;)
Nicked - arrested, sometimes means stolen
Coppers - policemen
Grass - informant
Pissed - drunk
Dirty Squad - the vice squad
DI - Detective Inspector
Bent - crooked / on the take
Brief - lawyer
Polari - gay/underworld slang
Pants - underpants
Trousers - pants