sun 21/07/2024

Good Cop, Finale, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

Good Cop, Finale, BBC One

Good Cop, Finale, BBC One

Vigilante policeman reaps karmic whirlwind in delayed conclusion

Warren Brown as John Paul Rocksavage (right) with Michael Angelis as his father Robert

It was tough luck for Good Cop that the real-life killing of two female police officers in Manchester prompted the BBC to postpone its fourth and final episode, judging that its plotline of rookie cop Amanda Morgan acting as bait for a couple of knife-wielding thugs who preyed on women was too near the knuckle.

This intrusion of headline events into the progress of the drama was also somewhat paradoxical, since while Good Cop presented some of the common symptoms of the mainstream policier, these were blended with an unusual mixture of morality play and psychological speculation.

This lent the piece a broody and philosophical air, in which the nuts and bolts of policing in Liverpool (the daily station routines, banter between officers, friction between the uniformed and detective branches etc) frequently faded into the background as we zoomed in on the internal conflicts of the protagonist, John Paul Rocksavage. Perhaps giving him a name like that, which is at least one syllable too long and sounds like a hatstand for all sorts of metaphorical baggage, was writer Stephen Butchard's way of telling us that Rocksavage wasn't one Good Cop so much as a device for addressing a portfolio of questions about what the police are for and what we expect from them.

Rocksavage, played with skill and soulfulness by Warren Brown, certainly had plenty on his plate. He was looking after his terminally ill dad at home (played with Ringo Starr-esque Scouse laconicness by Michael Angelis), while catastrophically failing to come to terms with the collapse of his relationship with the ominously-named Cassandra (Aisling Loftus, pictured above). His Good Cop attributes had earned him several professional commendations - he was efficient, brave and showed plenty of initiative - but the brutal killing of his partner Andy by a bunch of low-lifes led by the loathsome Finch (a genuinely scary performance from Stephen Graham) had tipped him from being a diligent public servant into Merseyside's Dirty Harry, exacting vigilante vengeance with a gun because lumbering police bureaucracy was proving utterly unfit for the purpose of reeling in the perps.

Boosted by a cast displaying impressive strength in depth, from Kevin Harvey's Sergeant Middleton and Mark Womack's abrasive DCI Costello to Kerry Hayes's Amanda and Christine Tremarco as Rocksavage's part-time lover Justine, Good Cop lured you into feeling twinges of sympathy for Rocksavage, even if it became increasingly incredible that Costello & co still hadn't worked out that he was the one bumping off his partner's killers. Similarly implausible was the way Rocksavage smoothly juggled the frankly incompatible demands of being both an implacable assassin and a dependable form-filling copper duty-bound to follow procedure, though the strain began to tell as the body count rose. 

In this concluding instalment, police regulations meant that he was ordered give up on his high-speed pursuit of the women-attackers on their motorbike just when he was about to nudge them into a fatal accident. "What's the fucking point?" raged Rocksavage, who, aided by a tipoff from loveable car thief Kyle (Shaun Mason), duly popped out with his pistol to finish the job properly. However, this time the karmic backlash caught him at full blast as he accidentally shot the hapless Kyle, who'd blundered into his sights at precisely the wrong moment. A cynic might argue that the story had merely boiled down to the bathetic moral that murdering people, even if they are evil bastards, is a Bad Thing with dire consequences. Possibly, but a fistful of subtle performances and richly evocative use of melancholy Merseyside landscapes made Good Cop feel more substantial than that.

A cynic might argue that the story had boiled down to the bathetic moral that murdering people, even if they are evil bastards, is a Bad Thing

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Was the ending changed in the light of tragic current events or is it left hanging as a lead in to a second series ? A little disappointing after waiting a number of weeks. ( Thought Sav was going to wade out into eternity ! )

No it wasn't changed, just delayed. It certainly left several major issues unresolved.

totally agree after waiting for the final episode i was so disappointed, left us hanging, maybe shud of done extra episodes

Yeah I was left staring at tv when credits came up,thinking must be another episode ,so although I thought it was a fantastic cast and story line the ending left me empty about so what next maybe it's up to us to come up with our own conclusions on it

Was the ending a cliff-hanger though - ie test the water and see if there's another series in it? I hope not - its about time we had this soprt of ending. Mike T

very very good hope there is more

loved this series- please let there be another - far too many loose ends.

Loved this program. Want to see more.maybe the idea of the ending is to leave u wanting more. Draw ur own conclusions, end it all happy Sav gets away with it, gets Cassie and his daughter, other attacker is caught OR dad dies, copper brain heamorage, Cassie goes back away and he goes to prison for multiple murders. Good Cop real life drama.

is this going to be repeated as missed the last 15 minutes.....?

It's on BBC iplayer.

I watched it and I wish I had of missed it. What a waste of 4 hours of my life after that ending. Might as well have woke up in a cold seat and said and it was all a dream. So dissapointing

Agree. Ending disappointing but overall really liked the series. I'm surprised that the reviewer didn't realise that Costello knew that Sav was the killer but was looking for another suspect that would fit the frame and the conviction. This is why he was annoyed when Sav was getting involved as it was making it harder to separate Sav from the case. This was a slick move by the filmmakers to add to the "portfolio of questions" that Good Cop asked

Good cop had a cop out ending. Too many fascinating contradictions meant it was impossible to reach a definitive conclusion. Don't think we were left hanging and can't see a second series out of this, at least not with the excellent Brown/Rocksavage as the central character. I think they just ducked the enormous challenge they had set themselves - didn't want a suicide off the roof, like the homeless person, and couldn't let our "hero" go to prison, Equally, impossible to see him with Cassie, so we're just left with Sav's own agonising limbo.

Well what can I say? Excellent series and northern quality actors. I think the ending was perfect, the frustrations of any professional who just wants to do their job are left screaming into an abyss. Getting rid of the bad guys wouldn't have to resort to vigilantism if those with wonderous powers actually used them wisely!

The four episodes showed the gradual mental breakdown of an individual who witnessed the murder of his best friend. Caught in a situation that he did not engineer, he spiralled out of control and there was no way back. Would be very surprised if there was another run of this. The ending showed a man who was destroyed, everything he stood for was gone and it finished a epic piece of BBC drama.

Oh, was that the ending?

Was wondering where episode 5 was - looked online to see that it's ended - oh well (ending suggested a 5th episode)

I think it was a great series, a plausible set of events, with excellent writing, strong characters and vary good actors. Warren Brown was brilliant and a good cop driven to his extreme search for justice. It ended a little predictably with a relative innocent victim court in the cross fire of John Paul, but I do believe their is another series their for this character, with the end less predictable. Is it in the pipeline?

Episodes 1 2 & 3 kept me on the edge of my seat but after the long wait the final episode was very disappointing, the story seemed all over the place it felt as though someone else had written this episode.I didn't like the ending there were too many loose ends to draw a conclusion we need another series.

really don't understand the series... the adverts shows him jumping off a roof of some sort, but he never does that in any of the episodes! if thats the ending, it was a pretty rubbish one.

I thought this was a brilliant series, it had my heart racing in places. I am sure the ending DID have an assumed conclusion: that he was going to kill himself. His dad was dieing, his bird wasn't keen in committing, he couldn't get to know his daughter and so the only thing he had was his job so surely it showed he was so far out of his depth with all the murders that he was going to have to commit suicide as he would lose his job! He was slowly losing his mind. And obviously his judgement too, after killing the innocent man with a van. My partner doesn't agree and thinks it was a cliffhanger ending awaiting another series. Who is right? (Either way, bring back another series!)

I thought it was brilliant. Yes, there were many factors where you'd think 'that wouldn't of really happenend/ why did he do that' etc but would of that made it watch-able? I think not. I hope there is a future series with as many of the previous actors as possible, especially Rocksavage.

How do I see the last episode at this late stage

I was so happy to see three of my male lead actors in this ,I'd seen it before and was so long ago I'd forgot how amazing these actors are,plus what a tour of Liverpool great city,as for the programme like most comments was left like a deer in headlights at end thinking WTF has just happened here,I'm thinking they are leaving it up to each viewer to give there own ending in there heads and that way it's how they wanted it ,my ending was he gets away with it ,feels so much guilt for killing Kyle,and keeps being a vigilante at night with out the killing

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