Update June 5, 2019: Scott & Bailey is no longer streaming on THIRTEEN
“The world spun off its axis, and I need to put it right.”
Sound like something Wonder Woman would say? Guess again. The source of that superheroic declaration is Detective Constable Janet Scott, half of the fearless, female crime-fighting duo in the British detective series Scott & Bailey. The hit drama is available to stream for members of PBS station THIRTEEN, starting July 1 and ends December 31, 2017. The badge to all five seasons at once is through the member benefit THIRTEEN Passport, which includes an extended library of series and programs that stream on desktop and the free THIRTEEN Explore app on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and mobile devices.
Hailed as “the British Cagney and Lacey,” Scott & Bailey follows the personal and professional lives of Rachel Bailey and Janet Scott, detectives with Manchester Metropolitan Police’s prestigious Murder Investigation Team. The edgy investigative drama was the highest-rated new British drama when it premiered in England in 2011, attracting an audience of 9.4 million viewers. “It’s both pleasingly sudsy and deliciously grisly,” raved The Telegraph,” but manages to transcend both the soap and detective genres.
Here’s the 411 on the gripping crime drama that serves up compelling murder mysteries “with a healthy dollop of wit, intelligence, and humanity” (The Guardian).
Meet The Detectives
Detective Constable Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones), age 30, is hot-headed, impulsive, and single. She’s a hardworking, committed detective whose love life is like a mash-up of Smart Women, Foolish Choices and He’s Just Not That Into You with a touch of Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Detective Constable Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp), age 40, is subtle, reliable, and a diplomatic thinker with a wry sense of humor, which makes her the perfect foil for Rachel. She’s married, and the mother of two teenaged girls. A traumatic event from her childhood inspired her to become a detective: her friend was murdered and the crime has never been solved.
Detective Chief Inspector Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore) is their boss. She’s divorced, unflappable, blunt, and plays by the rules. Rachel’s nickname for her? Godzilla.
The First Cases
In the series premiere, Rachel and Janet investigate the murder of a pregnant Turkish teen that was made to look like a suicide. Rachel is dumped by her lover, a barrister named Nick Savage (Rupert Graves, Sherlock on Masterpiece) – and his cheating heart is the least of her problems. Janet is approached by old friend, Geoff Hastings (Downton Abbey’s Kevin Doyle) to reopen a cold case concerning the murder of her school friend, Veronica. Was she the victim of a serial killer?
In future episodes, the intrepid duo tackles grisly murder cases involving a porn star, a wealthy businessman with a double life, hate crimes, and a deadly speed dating service while dealing with romantic entanglements, family drama, precinct politics, and more. Is it any wonder these hardworking, crime-solving superwomen head over to the local pub for much-needed dishing, venting, and confession sessions over red wine?
A “True Crime” Experience, Straight from a Detective’s Notes
Why is Scott & Bailey such a huge hit? Because its co-creator Diane Taylor – the inspiration for the character of DCI Gill Murray — is an ex-Detective Inspector at the Major Incident Team at Greater Manchester Police. Thanks to her “true-crime” experience, the series brims with “rigorous authenticity” in its depiction of investigative procedures. In a 2012 article in The Telegraph, Taylor said she normally doesn’t watch police dramas because the false notes and histrionics drive her crazy, such as the detective who does the classic “beard stroke” while having a crime-solving epiphany or the detective who, full of sound and interrogative fury, slams a fist on a desk while questioning a perp. (Dramatic: yes; realistic: no.)
Taylor takes great pride in the gritty, painstakingly accurate reality of Scott & Bailey. Colleagues in her former career love and praise the show. “The police all talk about it on their shifts the next day, which to me is the biggest compliment anyone could pay,” she said in the article. This authenticity extends to the shooting locations, which have included the local mortuary and the HMP Risley prison in Warrington, Cheshire, England. “”I’ve been refused access there before for another programme,” James Muirhead, the series’ location manager, told The Telegraph, “but the lady from the prison service loves Scott & Bailey, because it’s very true to life.”
The Cast: Where You’ve Seen Them Before
If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey and other popular British dramas, you may recognize some familiar faces on Scott & Bailey.
Suranne Jones (DC Rachel Bailey) first rose to fame playing Karen McDonald on the popular British soap Coronation Street.
Lesley Sharp (DC Janet Scott) appeared in the Masterpiece series Cranford, starring Judi Dench.
Rupert Graves, who plays Rachel’s heartbreaking beau, Nick Savage, is perhaps best known to public television viewers as Scotland Yard detective Lestrade on Sherlock on Masterpiece starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and has also appeared in Last Tango in Halifax starring Derek Jacobi.
Kevin Doyle, who appears in Season 1 as Janet’s childhood friend Geoff Hastings, was a fan favorite as Downton Abbey’s unlucky butler-turned-footman Molesley.
Broadway fans may recognize Tracie Bennett, a 2012 Tony Award nominee for her portrayal of Judy Garland in End of The Rainbow, when she joins Scott & Bailey in Season 3 as Rachel’s estranged – and extremely unhinged — mother.
How to Watch Scott & Bailey
Start binge-watching this thrilling British detective drama starting July 1.
All five seasons of Scott & Bailey will be available at once for THIRTEEN members who have activated their THIRTEEN Passport benefit. THIRTEEN Passport is a benefit that gives access to a streaming, on-demand library of our best programs, including archival THIRTEEN productions that have never streamed anywhere else. Watch on Thirteen.org or our Thirteen Explore app for tablets, Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV (Amazon).
Become a Member
See our THIRTEEN Passport page for Frequently Asked Questions and a link to become a THIRTEEN member. The THIRTEEN Passport page also highlights a few of our Passport programs, including The Great British Baking Show, British dramas from Masterpiece, NOVA and Nature programs, and more.