The one hundred and fourty-sixth TV show: #314 The Chinese Detective

In theory, the concept of this show should have appealed to us. A Chinese detective in the Metropolitan police - a distinct minority, especially in the eighties - faces prejudice as he does his job. He's also a maverick and pursues the case of his father being thrown off the force unfairly and the corruption that underlies it.

In practice, the case of the week structure doesn't blend well with the ongoing plot and while the two can inform each other, it feels like usually, the weekly case gets removed and stays unresolved in exchange for a favour or two. It's missing some connective tissue and I think the show was made a t a time where this structure hadn't necessarily developed far enough yet. It feels like it's best when it avoids that plot and deals with a maverick detective who also fights against prejudice - creating enough of a tension to work. However, just as much of it seems to come down to Ho's father abusing him, the chief going a bit further just to be mean and it all feeling unnecessary. I guess I may have missed part of the timing, but all in all it was too much of a mixed bag to keep diving into.

The show was the first British show to feature a British Chinese lead and, I believe, might still be the only one to do so, and it's certainly notable for that. When it addresses that, the show is as interesting, as the way John Ho deals with it in the context of its day works well, but it doesn't do enough to elevate the story - an ongoing plot that built further on that might have suited better.