Written by Roy Turse
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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

image for Marmite and Whitebread - a new detective series

Sky Atlantic has commissioned a gritty new detective series which promises to break the mould as far as stereotyping in US TV cop shows is concerned.

Marmite and Whitebread are two tough, ambitious cops who have been thrown together by the top brass in order to become the 'new face' of Baltimore policing in the 21st century. Their backgrounds may be poles apart and their attitude to police work may differ, but when it comes down to it, they both want what's right: to protect the good citizens of the city and to get the scumbags off the streets.

In the first episode we are given a window into each cop's childhood. On one side - privileged family, private education and on to Harvard. A life of promise and hope. On the other side, a poor kid growing up in a city slum. When people are not trying to find food or stop the rain coming through their patchwork roof, they're attempting to deal with the area's pervasive crime. And it becomes apparent that it's Marmite who has the privileged life and Whitebread who comes from the slums.

When the violent death of both parents during a robbery causes Marmite to re-evaluate things, university is traded in for Police School and the idea of a life in the financial sector is put to one side. As a cop, Marmite excels, and is soon promoted into a detective role. But have the traumatic events suppressed Marmite's empathy and created an overly tough and regimented cop who will always go 'by the book'?

In the dog-eat-dog world of the slums Whitebread grows up to be tough and smart. Fall over in the street and Whitebread will help you up. But pull a knife and demand cash and you'll get help - all the way to the Emergency Room. A propensity for violence only takes you so far, and in this case smart eventually wins though. Whitebread decides to try out for the Baltimore Police and at night hits the law books - by breaking into the local library.

By the second episode time has moved on. Both Marmite and Whitebread have become top rated detectives in their own right; one through meticulous procedure and scientific skill; the other using seat-of-the-pants intuition and an uncanny knack for judging character.

Their individual success prompts the Baltimore Police Commissioner to force them into becoming a team. In a blaze of carefully managed media exposure, he sees to it that the two cops get a high public profile. To his way of thinking it's a scheme that cannot fail: if the partnership works it's because he put them together, if not it's because of their undeniable and insurmountable differences.

But they do make a successful team. And not in spite of their diverse backgrounds, but because of them. They each bring a different life experience to the table, and acknowledge the experiences of the other. It may be a clash of cultures, but it's also a meeting of minds.

Who could have foretold that these two detectives would not only become such a successful team, but also overcome prejudice and break down stereotypes in the Baltimore Police Department? Susan Marmite and Janette Whitebread manage to balance their tough police work roles and their differing backgrounds with their at-home same-sex relationship.

Marmite and Whitebread will be aired later in the year, and Sky hope it will get people to question their own preconceptions and prejudice.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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