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Series of novels by Reginald Hill, set Set Oop North in a fictional Yorkshire town. The series revolves around two detectives, Andy Dalziel (pronounced dee-ell) and Peter Pascoe. Dalziel is a grumpy, overweight, politically incorrect character, while Pascoe is a more sensitive academic with a degree in Social Sciences. (However, see the description below under Noble Bigot with a Badge). A television series based on the books and characters ran from 1996-2007 and featured Warren Clarke as Dalziel and Colin Buchanan as Pascoe. There was a one-off adaptation with Hale and Pace but this is reviled by fans and even the original writer.

Other characters include DC Kim "Posh" Spicer and an Asian character (name needed), who was killed off recently.


This series contains examples of :

  • Action Girl: Shirley Novello.
  • Affectionate Parody: The novels Pictures of Perfection and A Cure for All Diseases, both loving send-ups of Jane Austen.
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: spectacularly averted in both the novels and the series--Wield has a grand total of three love interests.
  • Always Murder
  • Alternate Continuity / Canon Dis Continuity: "One Small Step," seeing as how we're long past 2010 and Pascoe is still in Wetherton...
  • Animal Testing: The Wood Beyond.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Despite The Wood Beyond's dislike for Animal Testing, the animal rights activists (aside from Cap Marvell) don't exactly come off well themselves.
  • Animals Hate Him: In the novels, Edwin Digweed vs. Monte and Tig.
  • Anonymous Killer Narrator: Dialogues of the Dead.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Auteur Theory," which is about the fate of a Dalziel and Pascoe novel.
  • Breakout Villain: Franny Roote (novels only).
  • Clueless Deputy: The terminally inept Constable Hector.
  • Comic Book Time: Although it varies, the characters are aging between one-quarter to one-half "real time."
  • Coming Out Story: Wield comes out to both of his superiors in Child's Play, after the young man with whom he has had a brief affair is murdered. To Wield's astonishment, Dalziel knew all along, although Pascoe was completely clueless.
    • In Pictures of Perfection, Edwin Digweed tells Wield that he was outed about thirty years earlier after an affair with an unnamed lord. As homosexuality was still criminalized at the time, Digweed was prosecuted and disbarred, and eventually left the country.
  • Connect the Deaths: Dialogues of the Dead.
  • Continuity Nod: Dalziel's eventual girlfriend from Recalled to Life turns out to have a small but important part in Good Morning, Midnight, where she appears as a corpse.)
    • Franny Roote's reappearance in Arms and the Women, after not being seen since the second novel, An Advancement of Learning.
    • Wield himself lampshades that his subplot in Death's Jest-Book revisits Child's Play.
  • Cowboy Cop: Pascoe in the TV episode Under Dark Stars.
  • Da Chief: CC Raymond.
  • December-December Romance: Dalziel and Cap Marvell. Wield and Digweed also qualify, although Digweed is a decade older.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Franny Roote in An Advancement of Learning.
  • Driven to Suicide: a subplot in Bones and Silence.
    • Crops up again in On Beulah Height, for much less sympathetic reasons.
  • Electrified Bathtub: A variant in Dialogues of the Dead.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Andrew Hamish Dalziel. Dalziel is visibly appalled when somebody mentions it, relatively late in the series.
  • Face Heel Turn: By the end of the short story "One Small Step," set many years in the future, Pascoe turns out to have become, if not corrupt, then certainly tainted.
  • Fair Cop: In the early episodes, Sanjay Singh is a male example.
    • In the novels, DC Shirley Novello deliberately subverts this by leaving off makeup and wearing baggy clothes.
  • Fake-Out Opening: Pictures of Perfection.
  • Fatal Attraction: Dalziel suspects his love interest in An April Shroud may be a Black Widow, and Good Morning, Midnight reveals that his girlfriend at the end of Recalled to Life was also serious trouble.
    • The trope is played absolutely straight in Dialogues of the Dead and the beginning of Death's Jest-Book.
  • Faux Yay: Hinted at with the journalist in Ruling Passion.
  • Fish Out of Water: In the novel Recalled to Life, Dalziel's investigations take him off to the United States, with predictable results. The television adaptation eliminates that chunk of the novel, for understandable reasons.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: In Pictures of Perfection, Digweed proposes to Wield after they've known each other for exactly two days.
  • Gaydar: Both Ellie and Dalziel figure out Wield almost immediately, although neither one lets on. Ironically, Wield's gaydar is non-existent.
  • Gayngst: Wield suffers from this until Child's Play, although it takes Pictures of Perfection for the final symptoms to disappear.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Franny Roote.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Warren Clarke (Dalziel) played Alex's droog Dim in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, which is rather funny, as Dim ended up becoming a policeman in the film.
  • How We Got Here: Pictures of Perfection.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY" : Tends to happen more in real-life, as a lot of people pronounce "Dalziel" as "Dal-zeel" or "Day-zee-ell" rather than its actual pronunciation. It sometimes happens in the show as well, albeit quite rarely -- the writers managed to avoid the temptation of turning it into an overused running joke. In the TV version of A Killing Kindness, Dalziel knows he's in trouble when a reporter pronounces his name correctly.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Ruling Passion. Pascoe, who isn't on his turf, keeps stepping on the toes of the local Detective Superintendent. In the novel, Pascoe turns out to be in the wrong throughout, and the Detective Superintendent solves the crime.
  • Kavorka Man: Dalziel, who attracts a surprising number of women over the course of the series.
  • Knights Templar: A group who actual call themselves this appear in The Death of Dalziel.
  • Last-Name Basis: Wield, with everyone except his partner.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: Wield's early annoyance about being stuck at Detective Sergeant is later retconned into being a deliberate choice.
    • Averted with Pascoe, who begins the series as DS, appears in one short story as a newly-minted Detective Constable, and is currently Detective Chief Inspector. The short story "One Small Step" suggests that he'll keep moving upward (but see Alternate Continuity).
  • Literary Allusion Title: Virtually every episode based on the novels. (Hill started his career as a lecturer in English literature, and it shows.)
  • Locked Room Mystery: Played with in Good Morning, Midnight, which features a suicide made to look like a locked room murder. Dalziel Lampshades this when he accuses Pascoe of 'being at the John Dickson Carr.'
  • Long Runners: The first novel, A Clubbable Woman, appeared in 1970. The next one was slated for summer of 2013, but given Hill's death in January of 2012, it's not clear yet if he left it in publishable state.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The killer's technique in Deadheads.
  • Market-Based Title: Happened to the novels twice:
    • The Death of Dalziel (UK) = Death Comes for the Fat Man (Canada and some other markets).
    • A Cure for All Diseases(UK) = The Price of Butcher's Meat (USA).
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Wield in Death's Jest-Book, although not by his partner.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Dalziel briefly pretends to be gay in order to throw a homophobic superior off Wield's trail.
  • Motive Rant: Ruling Passion.
  • My Greatest Failure: In 'On Beulah Heights' for Dalziel - the case of three missing girls fifteen years ago.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Strongly hinted in the TV episode Time to Go: Mary Waddell's son may well be Dalziel's.
  • Mystery Magnet: When Dalziel and Pascoe take vacations, they wind up stumbling into murder cases.
  • Never Suicide: Averted in Bones and Silence and Good Morning, Midnight.
  • The Nicknamer: Dalziel--Pascoe is "Sunbeam," DC Shirley Novello is "Ivor," Wield is "Wieldy," etc.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Played with in Dalziel, who talks like a bigot and misogynist but sometimes acts more liberal than uber-liberal Pascoe.
    • In Child's Play, when Wield is threatened with being outed, Dalziel reveals to him that he knew all along that Wield was gay and didn't particular care as it didn't affect his job. He then goes out of his way to protect Wield from a genuinely homophobic superior.
    • Justified in that Dalziel, with his working-class background, was regarded as an outsider when he joined the police, and had to prove himself the hard way; he therefore naturally identifies with and defends others who might be considered "outsiders" themselves.
  • Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: The adaptation of Dialogues of the Dead finally introduces Wield's partner from the novels, Edwin Digweed, only to knock thirty years off his age.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Dalziel often presents himself as an ignorant fat slob. Woe betide anyone who believes him.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Roote in Cure for all Diseases.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop
  • Old-Fashioned Copper: Dalziel himself.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Pictures of Perfection. Not only does every subplot track back to Jane Austen, but the whole thing sends up the rest of the series' Always Murder mode.
  • Overtook the Series: not because Hill stopped writing novels, but because the television producers found the later ones almost impossible to adapt.
  • Police Procedural
  • Politically-Motivated Teacher: Ellie Pascoe was this up through Under World.
  • Power Trio: Dalziel, Pascoe, and Wield. Lampshaded in the novels, where they're nicknamed the "Holy Trinity."
  • Put on a Bus: Happens to Singh in both the TV series and the novels when Dalziel notices that Wield has fallen in love with him. Wield is not amused when Dalziel owns up to this in Child's Play.
  • The Quiet One: Wield.
  • Rank Up: Pascoe.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Dalziel and Edwin Digweed appear to be permanently stuck in this mode. Ellie Pascoe also tends to wind up here.
  • Scrapbook Story: Several of the novels, most notably On Beulah Height (a Yorkshire folktale that affects the plot), Arms and the Women (Ellie Pascoe's mock-epic), and A Cure for All Diseases (e-mails and iPod recordings).
  • Self-Insert Fic: The short story "Auteur Theory," in which a grumpy, unnamed Hill glumly watches as one of his D&P novels gets produced for the screen.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Pascoe and Dalziel, but also Digweed and Wield.
  • Serial Killer: Deadheads, "Dialogues of the Dead.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Digweed, partly as a self-defense tactic.
  • Sesquipedalian Smith: DC Ethelbert "Hat" Bowler, who definitely thinks he has an Embarrassing First Name.
  • Shout-Out/To Shakespeare: Hamlet plays an important role in A Killing Kindness.
  • Snuff Film: The novel A Pinch of Snuff.
  • Straight Gay: DS Edgar Wield.
  • Straw Feminist: Ellie Pascoe slides into this a lot during her initial appearances.
  • The Mole: One of the subplots in Dialogues of the Dead involves Dalziel's search for a mole in the police department who is passing on information to a crusading journalist.
  • The Perfect Crime: Deadheads. Successfully. So much so that in the novels, the killer is still living a few doors down from Pascoe, many years later.
    • Bones and Silence. Not so successfully.
    • Dialogues of the Dead. Successfully again, although in Death's Jest-Book Dalziel realizes, with some horror, who the killer must have been. Too late, however, to do anything about it.
  • The Summation: Pascoe tries it in the adaptation of Ruling Passion, and nearly gets shot for his pains.
  • Three Plus Two: With the addition of Shirley Novello and Hat Bowler to the original Power Trio.
  • Title of the Dead: Dialogues of the Dead.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: "One Small Step" is set in 2010, with a manned space flight to the moon and a European wide police force headed up by Pascoe.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: Deadheads (the killer is never caught) and Dialogues of the Dead (wrong solution).
  • Twist Ending: Dialogues of the Dead, which reveals the killer's real identity to the reader, but not the detectives.
  • We Would Have Told You But: Dalziel's secret drug investigation in Exit Lines.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: The recently uncloseted Wield wanders into here while looking for a killer.
    • Parodied in the novel Death's Jest-Book.
  • Writer on Board: While Hill usually restrains himself, he lets audiences know how he feels about experimenting on animals in The Wood Beyond, the Iraq war in Good Morning, Midnight, and the aftermath of Thatcherism in Pictures of Perfection.
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