Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Of all the characters in TV's "unlikely detective" genre, the leading character of the British cop series Cracker may well have been the unlikeliest. Robbie Coltrane starred as Dr. Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald, a brilliant psychologist -- not to mention a chronic gambler, alcoholic, chain smoker, overeater, and serial philanderer. Despite these shortcomings (and others too numerous to mention), Fitz was much revered by the local constabulary for his talent as a "cracker," using his professional skills to solve crimes so complex that they invariably left the official police totally baffled. Others in the cast included Barbara Flynn as Fitz's long-suffering wife, Judith, Geraldine Somerville as Fitz's police contact and sometimes lover Det. Sgt. Jane Penhaligon, and his other colleagues DCI Charlie Wise (Ricky Tomlinson) and Det. Sgt. Jimmy Beck (Lorcan Cranitch). When Beck was murdered at the outset of season two, he was replaced by DCI David Bilborough (Christopher Eccleston). Debuting September 27, 1993, on ITV1, Cracker originally aired in a weekly, one-hour format, with its storylines taking up two to three consecutive episodes. These were re-edited as "TV movies" when Cracker was subsequently rebroadcast in the United States. The series ended after three seasons and a one-off special, "White Ghost," which first aired on October 28, 1996. An American TV version of Cracker, starring Robert Pastorelli in the old Robbie Coltrane role (rechristened Gerry Fitzgerald) was briefly telecast by ABC in 1997.