Friday, October 9, 2015



In order to solve a mystery in which an unidentified dead body was found among the officially donated corpses at a medical school, the UCOS squad called in a member of the E-Crime team: Xander Levine.  

(Jerry Standing scoffed when he heared that name.  He couldn't believe it was real.)

Unlike Detective Inspector Sandra Pullman, the UCOS members were all in their late sixties, early seventies, retired coppers.  So Xander was certainly different - probably still in his twenties and unkempt in almost a hipster sort of way. Apparently he came to the noticce of the E-Crime unit because Xander once walked along the dark side as a hacker, so he certainly had the chops to fight cyber-crime.

He was exceptionally observant when it came to his job - twenty seconds in the main office of the medical college, where the password was changed daily to log in, and Xander knew what that day's password was.  That's because he saw it across the aisle, written on a post-it note attached to the terminal of one of the workers.  From that, Xander gleaned that the worker's home password was probably "PASSWORD" and that he was a security risk.  (He advised the man who ran the administrative side of the medical college not to let that worker take any important documents home with me.)

Another two minutes in the system and Xander quickly found what he was looking for - the identity of the insider who allowed the body dump and security video wipe to happen.  There was no need to take his time on an investigation when he was in his element, the cyber-world; Xander was no Columbo.

He also approached his work with a sense of excitement and whimsy.  After following the SWAT team into the house of their chief suspect to be a cyber-terrorist, Xander gazed at all of her equipment and sighed, "I think I'm in love!"

American TV has a show about cyber crime investigations already, 'CSI: Cyber'.  And the most gripping episode of Kenneth Branagh's series 'Wallander' dealt with computers as well ("Firewall").  As soon as I had the thought that I would not mind seeing a return visit from Xander, it occurred to me that he could have been brought into the story in order to do a back-door pilot for a new series about cyber-crime.  One of the writers for 'Body of Evidence" was Julian Simpson, who had also written 16 other episodes for 'New Tricks'.  I think it pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that Simpson was assigned by the showrunners to come up with a premise for a potential spinoff from the long-running 'New Tricks'.

I've seen pilots set up like that before, using such a character to intrigue the audience enough to try out the new show when it (hopefully) debuted the following Fall.  And if there was an 'E-Crimes' show, Xander Levine wouldn't have to be the main character.  There could be an ensemble cast with a big name star as the head of the team, with Xander as a supporting but still colorful player.

And being the crossover fanatic that I am, I have a suggestion for a guest appearance in connection to Andy Rush's role as Xander Levine.  Besides any former members of the UCOS team stopping by*, I would suggest Alan Davies as Jonathan Creek.  Why not have it turn out that Jonathan had a son he never knew about - and that could be Xander......

This is nothing more than wish-craft on my part.  The final season for 'New Tricks' has already launched in the UK and I'm sure every episode has been locked in place.  And since Xander appeared in only this one episode back in the 9th season (2013), if there ever was an idea to create an 'E-Crimes' show, then it must have been scuttled - more likely deleted - soon after the episode aired.

But I'm sure we'll be seeing more Andy Rush in the future... just not as Xander Levine.


* In its final season, 'New Tricks' doesn't have a single member of the original cast involved.  And of the replacements, only Denis Lawson as Steve McAndrews was involved in the "Body Of Evidence" episode.  So he would be the most likely to show up in the first episode of such a spin-off.  But they could also have called back Alun Armstrong as Brian Lane - who should have been given his own spin-off show, with Susan Jameson as his wife Esther (who would also be his partner in a private investigation business!)

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