Wednesday, May 22, 2013


WLIW-21, the Public Television outlet on Long Island, recently concluded its run of all the 'New Tricks' episodes currently available.  And the next season promises a major overhaul of the cast.

Only one remaining member of the original cast will remain - Dennis Waterman, who plays Gerry Standing.  Joining him will be Denis Lawson who came on board during the latest season as Stephen McAndrew from Glasgow, replacing Jack Halford (played by James Bolam).  Also new to the cast will be Nicholas Lyndhurst and Tamzin Outhwaite, who will be replacing Brian Lane (Alan Armstrong) and the head of UCOS Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman) respectively.

Redman and Armstrong decided to just quit the series, citing its creative ennui, and so and that will be addressed during the upcoming tenth season.  (They weren't even involved in the ninth season finale while Gerry and Steve went up to Glasgow for a case.)

Jack's exit from the UCOS team was played out - it turns out that he only had months to live due to cancer of the liver (maybe the pancreas?) as we learned at the end of the August 2012 episode "A Death In The Family".  By the end of the last episode, "Glasgow UCOS", we still didn't know if Jack was alive or not.

The timeline for 'New Tricks' is dependent on the British broadcast, so unless it's stated otherwise in the first episode of the tenth season, it will be almost a year since Jack Halford left the team.  And so it can be assumed that he has passed away.

Which got me thinking about other TV characters, no longer on our TV screens, who are probably dead by now.

O'Bviously characters from the long past - in Westerns, Victorian costume dramas, Roman epics, caveman days, etc. are dead and buried - unless something about them made them immortal as in 'Highlander'.  And those from TV shows set in the far future aren't even born yet.  The time periods depicted in TV shows set in the mid-20th Century - like war dramas, noir private eye shows, Eisenhower-era sitcoms - that's a grey area.  The much older characters from those shows - yeah, they'd be pushing up daisies by now.  But it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that some of the younger ones could still be alive.

So in memory of Jack Halford, I've made a Super Six list of characters who could be dead by now, most of them with indications within their shows that they were going to die soon.  But I won't cop to the admission that some of the others are just wishful thinking......


Jed Bartlet left office in 2006 but was seen again in 2009 when his presidential library opened.  (In the alternate TV dimension of 'The West Wing', the dates for presidential elections differ from the main Toobworld and the Trueniverse.  Bartlet was elected in 1997 and began serving as the POTUS in 1998.)

But he was suffering from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis which would eventually kill him.  He already made plans with his wife, Dr. Abigail Bartlet, to end his life before he was too far gone with the terminal disease.  So it could be that while he was still capable of making his own decisions, and more importantly, acting on them, former President Bartlet committed physician-assisted suicide.  (The "Death with Dignity" Act met with defeat in New Hampshire in 2011, but that was in the real world.  In the 'West Wing' dimension, it may have passed, leaving Abby Bartlet free of charges.

2]  DR. JAMES WILSON, 'House, M.D.'
At the end of the series, Wilson was suffering from terminal cancer.  So House agreed to accompany him on a cross-country motorcycle trip and to be with him until the very end.  The series ended in May of 2012 and it's likely that Wilson is now dead a year later.

And it doesn't mean that he died from the complications of the disease or through some sort of assistance by House.  He could have wiped out in a motorcycle crash, impaired by his condition.

You know what?  Even if that's what happened, I wouldn't be surprised if House might have caused it to spare his friend anymore suffering.....

3]  TONY SOPRANO, 'The Sopranos'
This HBO series came to a controversial halt when the screen just suddenly went black during the finale.  (I even jumped up thinking that something was wrong with my TV!)  But we left Tony Soprano with his family in a Jersey diner, where he was always watching the door as each person came in - never knowing if the next person to enter would be a rival mobster looking to rub him out.

"T" survived for far too long on luck, especially due to the fact that the law enforcement of the area were too stupid to find the evidence needed to arrest him.  But nobody's luck runs that long - unless of course it was Henry Weems from the 'X-Files' episode "The Goldberg Variations".  So I think by this point (since the series ended in 2007 (Has it been THAT long ago?), Tony Soprano has been killed and is probably providing support in a bridge abutment.

4]  SISTER BERTILLE, 'The Flying Nun'
Let's face it - after winning two Oscars, it's highly unlikely that we'll ever see Sally Field playing Sister Bertrille again.  The closest we came was during the 2013 presentation of the Oscars, when host Seth MacFarlane cajoled her to put on the cornet headgear one more time.

I'm thinking that eventually Sister Bertrille, the former Elsie Ethrington, might have had a tragic accident, perhaps even a mid-air collision with a bird, and that she plummeted to the ground or was dashed upon the rocks of the cliffs along the coast.  As she got older and put on some weight, she might not have realized that it would adversely affect her aerodynamics.  And she might have suffered early onset Alzheimer's and didn't properly prepare herself on that last doomed flight.

Hawkeye was the same age as the actor who played him, Alan Alda.  And Alda is still hale and hearty and working steadily in the business. However, Hawkeye was not Alda's contemporary; he was that age nearly two decades earlier.

That means he was twenty years Alda's senior (as well as many of the other Alda characters in Toobworld, like Milton Green of '30 Rock').  And if calculations are correct, then he was born in 1914 and would be 99 years old today.

The way he drank during the Korean Conflict, I doubt things changed for the better once he returned home to Crabapple Cove, Maine.  Besides, he may have made a trip down the coast to Cabot Cove and ended up a murder victim.  But don't worry - I'm sure Jessica Fletcher figured out whodunnit.

6]  BERTHE OLSSEN, "Open Window"
Don't know the name?

That commercial has been running since at least May of 2011.  So yeah... I'd say the window was left open for the old girl by now.....


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