Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby from George Gently TV series on Netflix
Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby from “Inspector George Gently”

“Inspector George Gently” is a popular BBC One TV show, with six complete series (seasons) and a seventh scheduled for air in 2015. It follows the familiar model (“Foyle’s War,” “Midsomer Murders”) of a an older Chief Inspector with a younger protege. Set in the mid to late 1960s, the show follows Gently, played by Martin Shaw, and Detective Sergeant John Bacchus, Lee Ingleby, as they solve murders in Northumberland and County Durham.

Like most shows based around crime solving partners, the appeal depends equally on the relationship of the lead characters and a slate of interesting cases with a few twists and turns along the way. “Inspector George Gently” succeeds reasonably well on both counts. Gently is fair minded, steady and intuitive; Bacchus is quick to react and somewhat prone to making false assumptions, but is devoted to his “guv” and career. Their respective surnames are good descriptors of their character.

The show has a definite 1960s feel, at times including the music and the font used for the credits. Gently and Bacchus have to rely on old-fashioned detective work to solve their cases, repeatedly interviewing suspects, witnesses, and tracking down leads. In the process, we get a view of rapidly shifting 1960s British culture.

“Inspector George Gently” - 1960s British Coppers on Netflix
Lee Ingleby is Detective Sergeant John Bacchus

The first two episodes of series 5, Gently Northern Soul and Gently With Class, are set in 1968 and deal with issues of race, class and privilege. They are both solid episodes and feel very much of that era. Episode 3 does not quite match up to the others, but the last of series 5, Gently In The Cathedral, reintroduces an old adversary and ends with a cliffhanger.

The show took a year off before returning in 2014 with series 6. The first episode deals with the aftermath of the previous series and starts a new case, one based on mistrust of the police and possible police brutality.

As usual on Netflix, show availability varies by country and can change as contracts expire and are renegotiated. In the U.S., George Gently Netflix viewing was, for a time, limited to series 5 and 6. Currently, all six series are available for instant streaming. George Gently episodes are about 90 minutes each. The show is based on a series of novels by Alan Hunter, with the TV version written by Peter Flannery.

“Inspector George Gently” BBC One Trailer