6 Detectives Whose Origins We'd Love To See


There’s a feeling among older people that police officers look younger every day.

So they’ll be doing a double take when a prequel to Prime Suspect comes to our screens on ITV before the year is out.

Tennison marks the 25th anniversary of Lynda la Plante’s brilliant police procedural, which starred national treasure Helen Mirren as the no-nonsense detective, Jane Tennison, from 1991 to 2006.

Stefanie Martini (Doctor Thorne) takes on the lead role, as we see a 22 year old Tennison beginning her career in tough 1970’s Hackney, dealing with the chauvinism of high ranking officers along with the violence of the criminal fraternity. ITV assure us we’ll find out how she became such a complex and formidable character in the Metropolitan police.

Inspector Morse has already been given the youth injection, with Endeavour first appearing on our screens in a pilot film in 2013. A loyal audience enjoys seeing the younger Morse solving typically complex crimes and upstaging superior officers, and Series 4 has already commenced filming.


I took a look at the iconic detectives keeping us safe way past what would have been considered their prime, to see what we might expect were they subjected to the prequel treatment.

With David Jason retiring Jack Frost in 2010 - he was already 8 years older than the usual retirement age - a trip back in time for this popular, gritty series would be more than welcome. The rascally Frost had quite a way with the ladies, so it’s fair to assume his younger self would have been less frosty and more Jack-the-lad.


The irascible Vera may not always have been so obsessive about her work. Once upon a time, she may have even been quite easy going, driving her senior officers to distraction and flirting outrageously with colleagues.

Now who wouldn’t want to see a green, wet-behind-the-ears, afraid-of-his-own shadow neo feminist PC Gene Hunt? No, me neither. A gloriously full blown Gene Hunt at his most arrogant, new to the force? Absolutely, yes!


Foyle is one of those quiet, unassuming types who can find a home in any era. Having worked his way through World War II and the Cold War, wouldn’t it be interesting to follow his story as an enlisted soldier in World War 1?

And how about our non-police but equally effective detectives, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Poirot? As an avid reader of the crime queen’s books, I’d often wonder what both were like as youngsters.

Miss Marple was initially introduced as a gossipy old woman but matured into a much kinder soul as the books featuring her grew in number. It stands to reason then - with two younger sisters to lead into mischief - that her early days may have seen a much less subtle investigator, prone to blurting out her deductions in company.


I imagine that fussy little Hercule Poirot would have been as fastidious as a young man as he was when we knew him. But wouldn’t it be great to see him as a scruffy loud mouth, irritating the hell out of school friends with his correct deductions regarding what really happened to their homework?

Which classic character would you like to see brought back in a prequel? Let me know in the comments, or find me @Scattyjan on Twitter.

Images: BBC/ITV