The Sweeney (1974–1978)
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Thou Shalt Not Kill 

The day before the start of a new term, the university branch of the National Mercian bank is robbed. Regan and his squad arrive and catch or shoot most of the gang but known killer Wands ... See full summary »


Douglas Camfield


Ranald Graham, Ian Kennedy Martin (creator) (as Ian Kennedy-Martin)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... Det. Insp. Jack Regan
Dennis Waterman ... Det. Sgt. George Carter
Garfield Morgan ... Det. Chief Insp. Frank Haskins
Ronald Lacey ... Barry Monk
Dean Harris Dean Harris ... Jimmy Wands
Harriet Philpin Harriet Philpin ... Julia Coulson
Barrie Cookson Barrie Cookson ... Assistant Commissioner
Olive McFarland Olive McFarland ... Mrs. Dowland
Nick Brimble ... Det. Con. Gerry Burtonshaw
Nicholas McArdle ... Inspector Wilson (as Nicholas McArdie)
Iris Russell Iris Russell ... Miss Jennifer Lewis
Hubert Rees Hubert Rees ... Reginald Dowland
Christopher Crooks Christopher Crooks ... Frank Gough
Mike Lewin Mike Lewin ... Johnson
Stuart McGugan ... Hicks


The day before the start of a new term, the university branch of the National Mercian bank is robbed. Regan and his squad arrive and catch or shoot most of the gang but known killer Wands and simple side-kick Monks are still inside with the manager and two women hostages. Haskins' hesitancy in ordering the police marksmen to fire on the robbers leads to a car chase and fatalities, causing Regan to round on his boss. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Comedy | Crime | Drama


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Barrie Cookson (Assistant Commissioner) later appeared with Dennis Waterman in Minder: Poetic Justice, Innit? (1982) as Parsons. See more »


Dean Harris's character was credited as Jimmy Wands but referred to throughout the episode as Terry Wands. See more »


[Haskins arrives on the scene. Wands is dead and Monks is cradling him in his arms]
Det. Chief Insp. Frank Haskins: How did it happen?
Det. Insp. Jack Regan: It happened the minute you gave in to them. If you'd have ordered us to fire when you had the chance, Dowland would still be alive, that girl's face wouldn't be scarred for life, a policeman wouldn't have been smashed up - and more important, the chances of a villain ever taking hostages again would be a lot less than they're gonna be now.
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Written by Keith Mansfield
From the album "Metropolis"
Courtesy of KPM Music
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User Reviews

A Rather Simplified Episode With A Political Subtext
29 August 2010 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

Ranald Graham is something of an auteur when it come to writing for THE SWEENEY . His episodes aren't usually ones that are simplistic tales of the Flying Squad catching slags doing a blag - they're often of political importance . Supersnout sees some West German detectives find out how their opposite numbers in Britain operate , though it's slightly let down by failed attempts at humour . Nightmare is one of the most violent pieces of television ever made in Britain featuring a drugs cache and the IRA . Graham also scripted THE SWEENEY film from 1977 and that was more akin to a political thriller with the characters from the shoe clumsily shoe horned in . Perhaps these aren't criticisms but it's noticeable how different some of the writing style is from episodes by other writers . One can' help thinking Graham would have been more at home in Hollywood writing thrillers

This episode Thou Shalt Not Kill is easily seen as being inspired by The 1972 Olympic Massacre in Munich . A bank is raided and the armed robbers realising they're trapped take some hostages and it's left up to DCI Frank Haskins to try and resolve the situation . There is a slight problem with the episode and that is that things are painted a bit too simplistic . The episode ends with Jack Regan whining that if Haskins had only listened to hi advice the outcome would have been very different . But would it have ? We all know that hindsight is the best sight of all and perhaps the episode doesn't focus enough on dilemma Hskins faces

It's also interesting how cold cruel and callous the robbers Wands and Morris are . They're not the old style mythical " we don't hurt women and kids guv " type of criminal - they're portrayed as out and out psychos very much in keeping with the character of the show , but it's revealed they've been treated rather leniently b the authorities in the past and this compassion from the state as had no effect upon them . It makes for an interesting political subtext and one that might be deemed as unacceptable for television nowadays though the problem I had has nothing to do with the politics , rather in the simplistic way they're presented . It could have been the best episode ever from the show but it isn't despite it being very good

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Release Date:

24 November 1975 (UK) See more »

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Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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