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The Sweeney: Jack or Knave (ITV 28 Dec 1978, with Barrie Ingham)



In Jack or Knave, the final episode of the entire series, the Squad are on the trail of a gang of vicious armed robbers who are not afraid to use the “shooters” they carry.

Meanwhile an old allegation of corruption in 1968 is revived following a newspaper article and it threatens to derail Jack’s career for good. He is charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and taking a bribe to ensure an acquittal.

On top of that Detective Chief Superintendent Canning who Regan worked with years before puts in a complaint against Regan of insolence and indiscipline. Regan and Canning worked together at the time of the complaint and Jack is convinced Canning is out to get him for some reason.

The thing about Jack all along though is that despite not always doing things by the book (let’s face seldom doing things by the book) he would never take a bribe – he hates villains far too much for that. With Jack suspended from duty it’s up to George to save the day. It quickly becomes obvious that it was Regan’s now dead former boss that was up to good and the charges are dropped.

It’s an excellent final episode and with something of a sense of closure too. For Jack this is the final straw. After having told Haskins exactly how he feels Jack walks out of the squad. Out on the pavement George tries to persuade him to go for a drink but Jack makes it plain that he needs time away to think. As Regan leaves in a taxi Haskins joins George outside. “He’ll be back,” he says “He needs the job like an alcoholic needs booze.” George isn’t convinced.

classic quote
“I’m gonna have to be reinstated and what do you bunch of bleedin’ double eyed hypocrites want now. You want me to crawl back to work and be terribly grateful that I didn’t get nicked for something I didn’t do. Well you can stuff it.”

The Sweeney Jack and Knave

Jack has finally reached the end of the line…

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Thursday 28 December 1978 at 9.00pm

Writer: Ted Childs / Director: Tom Clegg

Series: The Sweeney Season 4 Episode 14

John Thaw as Jack Regan
Dennis Waterman as George Carter
Garfield Morgan as Frank Haskins
Barrie Ingham as Canning
Richard Griffiths as Harries
Jo Warne as Gloria
Ralph Nossek as Duxbury
David Casey as Jackson
Andrew Downie as Bishop
Jane Cussons as Sonia
Dan Gillan as Desk Sergeant
Anna Nygh as Jean
Matthew Scurfield as Kennedy
Andrew Paul as Teenager
Peggy Ann Jones as Lady
Frank Lee as Driver
Stephen Gordon as Driver’s mate
Linda Hooks as Ivy

TV, ITV, The Sweeney, Tom Clegg, Ted Chllds, Thames, Barrie Ingham, Richard Griffiths, Anna Nygh,