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Jack vs. Gene

A brief rundown of the series main characters.

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Jack Regan (John Thaw)
 
 

Detective Inspector Jack Regan is the Flying Squad's chief thief-taker. He's a tough no-nonsense copper, who is often frustrated by Scotland Yard red tape. Heavy drinking and smoking (comically, Jack is more often than not stealing other people's cigarettes), Regan also has some success with the ladies, although not as much as George Carter. He has an ex-wife, Kate, and a daughter, Susie. Regan is a hardman but he is human, and his sympathetic pushing enables his boss Haskins to ask for help when his wife goes missing after a breakdown in Victims - it is Regan who finds her. Regan repeatedly bends the rules in order to achieve the desired result, e.g. fabricating evidence and arranging for a criminal to be kidnapped in "Queen's Pawn" or illegally entering private properties and threatening to lie about being attacked by a prisoner in order to get information in "Regan." Despite this, he is unwilling to cheat for purely personal gain and refuses to take advantage of a bung. At the end of the series he quits the force in disgust.

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George Carter (Dennis Waterman)

We learn from numerous episodes that Detective Sergeant George Carter  comes from South London, e.g. Regan seeks him out in the pilot episode based on his knowledge of the South London area. His age is given in the "Hit and Run" episode as 26. In the series' timeline we learn that George had previously been in the squad but had quit for family reasons (cf. Regan and Jigsaw). George was married to Alison Carter a school teacher but is widowed as of the episode "Hit And Run" when Alison is murdered by accident by a gang of diamond smugglers. He is a former amateur boxer as we see from the pilot "Regan" and is described as having professional boxing potential in the episode 'Chalk and Cheese'. Like his superior he is fond of drinking, football and womanising (after the death of his wife). He is regularly seen questioning Regan's maverick methods and is occasionally at odds with him, but the two have a deep mutual respect and friendship that is obvious throughout the series.

Frank Haskins (Garfield Morgan)

Frank Haskins is married with 3 children at boarding schools, is Jack Regan's immediate superior. Prior to the series timeline the character had done "National Service in the Royal Navy in a minor intelligence role". He is frequently seen at odds with Regan in preferring more conventional policing methods, although in later seasons has softened to Regan's tactics.

The main Haskins episodes are "Golden Fleece", where he is set up to be the victim of a corruption enquiry, and "Victims", where his wife suffers a mental breakdown due to memories of a miscarriage. Although appearing in the credits of every episode, he did not air in all of them.

In later series, when Haskins was not present, his role was often taken by other superiors like Detective Chief Inspector Braithwaite, played by Ben Whitrow.

 

Minor characters included DC Jerry Burtonshaw played by Nick Brimble, DC Daniels, DC Matthews, and Superintendant Maynon played by Morris Perry.