“Scott and Bailey” recap (3.1): Lady detectives, plus lesbians

Scott and Bailey is a British crime drama that just started its third season, and we should all start paying attention to it for a few reasons. For a start, it’s the most female-driven cop show I’ve ever seen, ever. (Although I’ve never actually seen Cagney & Lacey — don’t throw tomatoes at me!) It stars Lesley Sharp as Janet Scott and Suranne Jones as Rachel Bailey, both DCs (detective constables) in a fictional Manchester police unit, along with their no-nonsense boss, Gill Murray, played by Amelia Bullmore. It’s written by the fantastic Sally Wainwright (Last Tango in Halifax), and most importantly, this third series includes a recurring role played by the unstoppable Nicola Walker, recently seen as Justine in Heading Out and Gillian in Last Tango in Halifax. And while Scott and Bailey are a dream for lesbian shippers in themselves, Walker’s character here is finally — finally! — a lesbian.

Of course, she happens to be a deeply disturbed, deeply sad lesbian who’s arrested on suspicion of killing her own mother, so, don’t get ready for any hot sex scenes between her and her partner or anything. (Although her partner DOES have rad hair!) But Walker’s performance in the first episode alone is absolutely phenomenal, and the writing and excellence of the show overall deserve our love. So! For the episodes Walker appears in in this series — it appears there will be five — I’ll offer up recaps focusing on her storyline, while also throwing in the best moments of Janet Scott and Rachel Bailey’s clear undying love for each other.

We begin this third season with a bang, as we watch Gill finishing some shopping at Costco and having a pleasant phone conversation with someone, la de da, when suddenly as she’s driving away, someone throws a belt over her throat and wields a knife to her face, while a voice in the backseat says, “Shut up, bitch.” And after watching this scene now several times, that voice sounds suspiciously like Nicola Walker’s. DUN DUN DUN.

We see nothing else as the screen then flashes: EIGHT MONTHS EARLIER.

In this eight months earlier world, we’re introduced to one of the mysteries of this new season, and it’s a gruesome one. Here’s the basic story: an elderly woman is found in her creepy old house with her severed head at the bottom of the stairs and the rest of her body laying at the top. Meanwhile, her bedridden husband has been laying in their bedroom for days. Janet and Rachel and Gill eventually deduce that the woman died of head trauma after being hit with a blunt object, and after laying at the top of the stairs for a while, there was no one to feed their dog and so the doggie eventually bit right through her neck and EW EW EW this was gross just hearing about while watching the show but is even grosser to have to describe in words ew ew ewwwww. You Brits really don’t hold back with this shit.