Gil Mayo mysteries: ha ha ha. Wait, that’s not funny!

Elena Tucker
7 min readJun 24, 2022
I just took a screenshot.

It’s no secret that I watch a lot of British mysteries. I watch so many, I consider myself a connoisseur (pardon my French), which is really just a classy word for snob. And because I am spoilt for choice — so many streaming networks, I usually give new shows (new to me) a very quick look. I either like it or not. The chemistry is either there or it is not. And if I don’t like the characters, the writing, the actors, or the setting, I don’t suffer for long.

But, in comes . . . The Gil Mayo Mysteries.

This was a one-season, 2006 detective dramedy starring Alistair McGowan in the lead role, with Jessica Oyelowo, Huw Rhys, Louise Brealey and Lucy Evans in the supporting roles. There were only 8 episodes made, which makes perfect sense.

Just now, I did some research and found out that the show was based on a series of books by Marjorie Eccles. I am going to order the books through the library, because I am genuinely curious,

But the show! Oh, the show! OK, I feel compelled, indeed called, by the Universe itself, to write about this show.

I do not, personally, know the writers of the Gil Mayo show, but I feel safe to say that I have figured it out: These very old men (and there must be at least two to three of them as co-lead writers per episode — that’s how disjointed and cobbled-together episodes seem) have never seen any police procedurals. I will be kinder … have not seen any police procedurals since the late-1970s. I believe the time period the series is set in is 2006, the year it was made. There are cell phones, personal computers, and other modern technology. Everything (EVERYTHING) else about the show is stuck in a time warp vacillating between the 1970s and 1980s: the clothing, the make-up, the haircuts, the dialogue, the police, the victims and the bystanders are not trying to be retro, but seem awkwardly out of place in the post-turn of the century world. For example, one of the junior detectives has carried a yellow pages telephone directory with him as he used it to find one jewelry business and then another — I am being absolutely serious, and not ironic in any sense. One of the oddest features is the police van that triples as the interrogation room, the incident room and the coffee room. All glass, dark and chrome, and…

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Elena Tucker

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.