More than a decade before he was hard-nosed DI Jack Regan on THE SWEENEY, more than two decades before he was cultured DCI E. Morse on INSPECTOR MORSE, John Thaw, still in his early 20's, starred as a cop in his first TV series, REDCAP. As Sgt. John Mann of the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police, Thaw's character was both soldier and police detective, investigating crimes both major and minor in every part of the world that the British Army had a presence.
Studio-shot, and apparently broadcast live, REDCAP (not to be confused with RED CAP, the 2003-04 series in which Tamzin Outhwaite also played a sergeant in the SIB) doesn't have the visual clarity of a filmed series, but it more than makes up for it with excellent scripts, and fine performances. It's startling how authoritative Thaw is, easily projecting leadership, decisiveness, and toughness though only a few years out of his teens.
The military background of the show is unusual for a police series, and makes it possible for Sgt. Mann to solve cases in locales as diverse East Berlin, Cyprus, and the Far East (though, as I mentioned, it was mostly studio-shot).
Highly recommended, for the gritty, pacy scripts, and for Thaw's electrifying performance.