Series two of 'Gangsters' followed three years later and goes off the rails almost immediately by introducing the Chinese Triads as a new adversary for the increasingly weary looking Kline. The Triads here are ridiculous, inscrutable stereotypes that owe a lot to Fu Manchu, but this seems deliberate, as this series seem intent on examing popular cliché and subverting the idea of the crime show. This also manifests itself by some bizarre fantasy interludes, an intermittent voice over in which the writer of the show (Phillip Martin) dictates instructions to a typist and Martin later appearing as a hit man who, for cover, impersonates W.C Fields (badly) all the time. This time around, the pretty decent theme tune has turned into a pretty awful theme song.
Clever clever, occasionally infuriating, totally self-indulgent, the series ends with one of the main characters simply saying ‘well, that’s that’ and walking off set followed by the writer throwing his script into the air. It’s not a completely satisfying show in any of its forms, but it is a great example of a time when the BBC had much more faith in its creative people, and was fully prepared to fund their stupid, bizarre, brilliant ideas, as long as at least a dozen people watched it. Them was the days.