Frank Ross has just got out of nick after doing an eight stretch: although he was caught bang to rights pulling a bullion job, he is set on finding out the filthy grass what shopped him. Over six episodes Ross tracks down his former members of his old firm, while causing plenty of aggravation to the two slags now running his South London manor, and the bent filth who put him away. He also has to deal with a wife and son sent dysfunctional by his prolonged absence at Her Majesty's pleasure...
Possibly Trevor Preston's - and Euston Films' - finest hour outside of 'The Sweeney', the screenplay and acting are taught and assured, and every performance crackles with cred. Watching this for the first time in 30 years, I found I could recall stretches of dialogue as though I'd heard them only last week. My only reservations are 1) having spent the first 29 years living in and around Frank Ross's locale, I'd say much of the slang is more East- than South London; b) the casting of John Junkin as Ross's buddy/heavy - he just doesn't look tasty enough to put down geezers half his age; c) the final episode is a bit compressed, as Preston pulls all the plotlines together, and the action hurtles toward a slightly uneven denoument.
As with a lot of telly of that era, characters carelessly booze and smoke their way through scenes. The 1978 16mm print could have done with a bit of superficial restoration, but generally it holds up well. Superb theme and incidental music by George Fenton at a fairly early stage in his esteemed career.
So if you like brown lambskin car coats, green Ford Granadas, wide-lapelled suits with flaired trouser legs, talk of slags, aggravation, faces round the manor, then forget 'Life On Mars' et al - this is the real deal.