Jeremy Bamber looks very smug at the beginning of White House Farms finale. Hes in St Tropez sipping cocktails on a sun lounger, hes jumping into the pool, chain-smoking Marlboros and sleeping with a glamorous woman who likes paying for his drinks. He even retains this smug expression when police arrest him at the airport for the suspected murder of his family.
Seeing the details of the White House Farm investigation unfold piece-by-piece has made for a satisfying watch. The decision to draw out the series into six parts means that the evidence has been easier to follow than in other recent police procedurals. But I was hoping that it might have interrogated something beyond the murders themselves: how quick police were to believe a woman suffering from a mental illness could murder her children, for example, or perhaps the pitfalls of the drug-fuelled nihilism and excess of the Seventies. Instead, White House Farm fixated on bullet angles and breaking and entry points throughout. 
Jeremy Bamber relaxes by the pool in ITV drama White House Farm (ITV)
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The last episode sees us leave the mustard yellow and kitsch china of domestic family life for the clinical whiteness of the courtroom. Much focus is placed on wrapping up the details of the case. At points, it feels as though we are rehashing details we learnt in previous episodes. Did Jeremy leave the gun out overnight on purpose so he could grab it quickly? Why did Jeremy ring the local police station rather than 999? How did Nevill Bamber walk downstairs to call Jeremy if by that point he would have supposedly have been shot in the jaw twice? We have already been told that none of this makes sense, we dont need to be told again. 
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1/20 20. Ironside (1967-75)
Launched to much fanfare as a television movie and boasting a killer theme tune from Quincy Jones, Ironside starred Raymond Burr, who was still hot after his stint as televisions Perry Mason, as San Francisco Chief of Police Robert T Ironside, who is confined to a wheelchair after an attempted assassination. Over 199 episodes, the series followed Ironside and his team in his role as consultant to the Police Department as they sorted out the bad guys of the City by the Bay.
2/20 19. Rebus (2000-09)
Ian Rankin says he has never watched any of the television adaptions of his famously brooding, heavy drinking, loner detective because he didnt want the actors faces replacing how he envisaged Rebus in his head. Two actors have played Rebus on screen, John Hannah and Ken Stott. Hannah gives the role his best but was probably too young and lacked the cynical gravitas that Stott gave to Rebus. With similar roles in The Vice and Messiah giving Stott an identifiable acting persona, he perhaps has the same problem as Humphrey Bogart being too much like Bogart to play the definitive Philip Marlowe, but in the absence of any other candidates, Stott is just fine. Rankins central theme of the Jekyll and Hyde dichotomy of Scotlands capital city remains intact, and as in the novels, the real star of the show is of course, Edinburgh itself in all its historic beauty, showing the dark underbelly of the city behind the chintz curtains.
3/20 18. Life on Mars (2006-07)
Nostalgia might not be what it used to be, but the biggest mystery with Life on Mars is why it took someone so long to come up with this inspired paean to the pop culture and TV cop shows of the 1970s. Throw in the fish-out-of-water time travel motif and the tongue in cheek non-PC scripts and characters, and its not hard to see why the series struck a chord with audiences.
4/20 17. Luther (2010-16)
Like many of his ilk, dedicated near-genius DCI John Luther (a brilliant Idris Elba) is a tormented soul, struggling with his own inner demons, hugely affected by the stomach churning crimes he investigates. Luther is so obsessive that he will do anything to get his man (or woman, in the case of his nemesis, the psychopathic scientist Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) Both cerebral and heart pumping, Luther was created by Neil Cross and has spawned American and Russian versions.
5/20 16. The Fall (2012-16)
Gillian Anderson is the deliberate, dedicated senior detective on the trail of an equally meticulous serial killer in this controversial drama filmed and set in Northern Ireland. The Fall survived accusations of misogyny and voyeurism to lift a Bafta for best television drama and keep viewers hooked for three series, but remains a troubling, unsettling experience for many.
6/20 15. Cagney and Lacey (1981-88)
The cop show that more than any other blew the stereotypical image of female police officers out of the water, and challenged the sexist attitudes of many executives in the television industry. Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless won the hearts of millions of viewers, and six Emmys between them, as two dedicated New York police officers who happened to be women with normal lives and challenges like everyone else. The bond between the two characters was unbreakable despite leading entirely different lives (Lacey was married with a family and supportive husband, Cagney drifted from relationship to relationship). A game changer in many ways, Cagney and Lacey explored issues such as rape, abortion and Cagneys alcoholism head on.
7/20 14. Between the Lines (1992-94)
Set in the Metropolitan Police Complaints Investigation Bureau, the Bafta winning Between the Lines follows ambitious Chief Superintendent Tony Clarke and his team as they investigate corruption within the police force. Between the Lines drew praise for the way it tackled topical issues of the day as it attempted to address the age old moral dilemma, quis custodiet ipsos custodes who will guard the guards themselves?
8/20 13. The Shield (2002-08)
The cop show that more than any other blurred the lines between the good guys and the bad guys. Rogue cop Vic Mackey leads the elite strike force of LA detectives who routinely break the law to keep the streets safe, but also to feather their own nest. There are subplots aplenty, and Mackeys downfall plays out almost like a Shakespearean tragedy.
9/20 12. Z Cars (1962-78)
Set in the fictional northern town of Newtown, Z Cars broke new ground in police drama shows, challenging the homely predictability of the likes of Dixon of Dock Green. Devised by Allan Prior and Troy Kennedy Martin, the series centred on not just one central protagonist, but rather several police officers both uniformed and plain clothed. Z Cars brought some iconic characters into the nations living rooms such as detective Charlie Barlow, PC Fancy Smith and desk sergeant Bert Lynch. The police officers themselves were portrayed warts and all, with gritty subject matter, including domestic abuse at the hands of a police officer, at the heart of the storylines. The actors became household names with the iconic theme tune whistled on everyones lips, and of course there were the Z cars themselves, the American-style Ford Zephyr and Zodiac patrol cars.
10/20 11. Prime Suspect
If Cagney and Lacey blazed the trail for female cops, then the first series of Prime Suspect in particular indicated a seismic shift in the perception of, and the attitudes towards, the female police officer. Helen Mirren is outstanding as DCI Jane Tennison who heads a murder squad hunting a sadistic serial killer, but has to overcome opposition and resentment from her team as well as the institutionalised sexism of the police department itself. Subsequent series concentrated more on Tennisons inner demons as she began to rely on alcohol to help her cope with the pressures of the job.
11/20 10. The Killing (2007-12)
This Danish police procedural and prime example of Scandinavian noir attracted criticism for its violence against women. It did, however, become an international success particularly in the UK. Viewers were gripped by the formula; that of each episode reflecting 24 hours in the same murder case, and by the cold-fish female detective protagonist Sarah Lund, while developing an almost fetishist fascination with her knitwear. The Killing paved the way for other subtitled European crime dramas and equally popular and acclaimed entries such as The Bridge and Borgen quickly followed.
12/20 9. Law and Order (1990-2010)
Filmed in New City with a two-pronged approach of the investigation of a crime and arrest of a suspect, followed by the suspects trial, Law and Order introduced one of the great small-screen detectives, recovering alcoholic Lennie Briscoe. (Jerry Orbach). The shows boast was that many of its subject matters were ripped from the headlines and it was this approach that gave it a compelling topical feel and made it the longest-running American crime series and the benchmark for police procedurals.
13/20 8. Line of Duty (2012- )
An outstanding ratings success for BBC2, Jed Mercurios masterful police corruption thriller gripped viewers from the very beginning and kept them guessing until the explosive climax to the third series. The bold, serpentine and gripping storylines provided the exemplary cast with parts of a lifetime, with the most outstanding feature of Line of Duty undoubtedly the lengthy interrogation scenes as the tension was racked up notch by notch.
14/20 7. Columbo (1971-2003)
After Bing Crosby turned the role down, Peter Falk became synonymous with the cigar smoking, dishevelled police lieutenant in a shabby raincoat, winning four Emmys and a Golden Globe. Referred to as a howcatchem by its creators, Columbo deviated from the traditional whodunit in that the audience and, it seemed, Columbo himself, knew the identity of the murderer from the start. Half the fun of the show was watching the murderer (frequently an A- or B-list guest star) underestimate the seemingly bumbling, absent-minded detective while he baited the trap to snare them. Oh, and just one more thing, as Columbo himself might say: although Columbo routinely spoke of his wife, she was never seen in any episode, but the character was later given her own, short-lived, spin-off show, Mrs Columbo.
15/20 6. The Wire (2002-08)
It has been compared to the works of Dickens and Dostoevsky and lauded as the greatest television programme ever. But the triumph of The Wire is how it tells the story of the decaying city of Baltimore through the lives of the police, drug dealers, politicians, children and the dispossessed, making no moral judgements between good and bad in a predominately grey world. The Wire may not be the greatest television programme ever, but its realism and authenticity can never be in doubt. In 2005, members of a drugs gang claimed they had studied The Wire in order to learn about the latest police surveillance techniques, surely the ultimate example of life imitating art.
16/20 5. NYPD Blue (1993-2005)
Aping its antecedent Hill Street Blues cinema verite style, multi award winning NYPD Blue was a natural progression for co-creator Steven Bochno, who along with David Milsch came up with even grittier storylines, atmospheric New York locations and warts n all characters to create a hugely compelling and influential cop show. But lets be honest, despite a terrific ensemble cast, Dennis Franz as scenery-chewing recovering alcoholic detective Andy Sipowicz, was virtually the whole show, appearing in all 261 episodes and in the process searing his psyche in viewers minds.
17/20 4. Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-98)
Baltimore native Barry Levinson was a natural fit as executive producer of this ultra-realistic police procedural, based on The Wire creator David Simons book chronicling his experiences following homicide detectives at work in the so-called City of Firsts. From the very first episode Life on the Street succeeded in dispelling the myths and stereotypes about the television cop, showing that murder and violence were just a routine parts of the job. Indeed the murder of a schoolgirl in that first episode was never solved. Aficionados rate this show even better than The Wire. Some have called Homicide: Life on the Street the missing link between Hill Street Blues and The Wire. Beg, borrow or steal the box set and find out why.
18/20 3. Inspector Morse (1987-2000)
Such is the renown of the celebrated television adaptation of Colin Dexters novels featuring the enigmatic real-ale swilling, arts loving, crossword buff detective, that theres very little left to say apart from its basically a brilliant variation on the classic English whodunit, Kevin Whatelys Lewis is to John Thaws Morse as Dr Watson was to Sherlock Holmes, and Thaw is simply wonderful.
19/20 2. The Sweeney
It has become so caricatured and parodied in recent years that its easy to overlook the fact that The Sweeney made Z Cars look as antiquated as the former did Dixon of Dock Green a decade earlier. Created by Ian Kennedy Martin, brother of Z Cars co-creator Troy, The Sweeney was shot in 16mm film and that, along with extensive location shooting, gave it a more cinematic look than other studio-bound rivals.
20/20 1. Hill Street Blues (1981-87)
Created by Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll and still celebrated, still hugely influential, and still the cop show to which almost everything that has come since owes a huge debt. From Mike Posts iconic theme and the innovative cinema vèritè-evoking handheld camera, to the brilliant ensemble cast creating beloved characters and dramatic storylines in the urban sprawl of an unnamed US city, Hill Street Blues pioneered a new wave of cop shows. Ironically, it never gained huge audience ratings, but garnered a grand total of 98 Emmy nominations. Groundbreaking, thought provoking, emotional and funny, Hill Street Blues stands tall in the canon of truly great television.
1/20 20. Ironside (1967-75)
Launched to much fanfare as a television movie and boasting a killer theme tune from Quincy Jones, Ironside starred Raymond Burr, who was still hot after his stint as televisions Perry Mason, as San Francisco Chief of Police Robert T Ironside, who is confined to a wheelchair after an attempted assassination. Over 199 episodes, the series followed Ironside and his team in his role as consultant to the Police Department as they sorted out the bad guys of the City by the Bay.
2/20 19. Rebus (2000-09)
Ian Rankin says he has never watched any of the television adaptions of his famously brooding, heavy drinking, loner detective because he didnt want the actors faces replacing how he envisaged Rebus in his head. Two actors have played Rebus on screen, John Hannah and Ken Stott. Hannah gives the role his best but was probably too young and lacked the cynical gravitas that Stott gave to Rebus. With similar roles in The Vice and Messiah giving Stott an identifiable acting persona, he perhaps has the same problem as Humphrey Bogart being too much like Bogart to play the definitive Philip Marlowe, but in the absence of any other candidates, Stott is just fine. Rankins central theme of the Jekyll and Hyde dichotomy of Scotlands capital city remains intact, and as in the novels, the real star of the show is of course, Edinburgh itself in all its historic beauty, showing the dark underbelly of the city behind the chintz curtains.
3/20 18. Life on Mars (2006-07)
Nostalgia might not be what it used to be, but the biggest mystery with Life on Mars is why it took someone so long to come up with this inspired paean to the pop culture and TV cop shows of the 1970s. Throw in the fish-out-of-water time travel motif and the tongue in cheek non-PC scripts and characters, and its not hard to see why the series struck a chord with audiences.
4/20 17. Luther (2010-16)
Like many of his ilk, dedicated near-genius DCI John Luther (a brilliant Idris Elba) is a tormented soul, struggling with his own inner demons, hugely affected by the stomach churning crimes he investigates. Luther is so obsessive that he will do anything to get his man (or woman, in the case of his nemesis, the psychopathic scientist Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) Both cerebral and heart pumping, Luther was created by Neil Cross and has spawned American and Russian versions.
5/20 16. The Fall (2012-16)
Gillian Anderson is the deliberate, dedicated senior detective on the trail of an equally meticulous serial killer in this controversial drama filmed and set in Northern Ireland. The Fall survived accusations of misogyny and voyeurism to lift a Bafta for best television drama and keep viewers hooked for three series, but remains a troubling, unsettling experience for many.
6/20 15. Cagney and Lacey (1981-88)
The cop show that more than any other blew the stereotypical image of female police officers out of the water, and challenged the sexist attitudes of many executives in the television industry. Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless won the hearts of millions of viewers, and six Emmys between them, as two dedicated New York police officers who happened to be women with normal lives and challenges like everyone else. The bond between the two characters was unbreakable despite leading entirely different lives (Lacey was married with a family and supportive husband, Cagney drifted from relationship to relationship). A game changer in many ways, Cagney and Lacey explored issues such as rape, abortion and Cagneys alcoholism head on.
7/20 14. Between the Lines (1992-94)
Set in the Metropolitan Police Complaints Investigation Bureau, the Bafta winning Between the Lines follows ambitious Chief Superintendent Tony Clarke and his team as they investigate corruption within the police force. Between the Lines drew praise for the way it tackled topical issues of the day as it attempted to address the age old moral dilemma, quis custodiet ipsos custodes who will guard the guards themselves?
8/20 13. The Shield (2002-08)
The cop show that more than any other blurred the lines between the good guys and the bad guys. Rogue cop Vic Mackey leads the elite strike force of LA detectives who routinely break the law to keep the streets safe, but also to feather their own nest. There are subplots aplenty, and Mackeys downfall plays out almost like a Shakespearean tragedy.
9/20 12. Z Cars (1962-78)
Set in the fictional northern town of Newtown, Z Cars broke new ground in police drama shows, challenging the homely predictability of the likes of Dixon of Dock Green. Devised by Allan Prior and Troy Kennedy Martin, the series centred on not just one central protagonist, but rather several police officers both uniformed and plain clothed. Z Cars brought some iconic characters into the nations living rooms such as detective Charlie Barlow, PC Fancy Smith and desk sergeant Bert Lynch. The police officers themselves were portrayed warts and all, with gritty subject matter, including domestic abuse at the hands of a police officer, at the heart of the storylines. The actors became household names with the iconic theme tune whistled on everyones lips, and of course there were the Z cars themselves, the American-style Ford Zephyr and Zodiac patrol cars.
10/20 11. Prime Suspect
If Cagney and Lacey blazed the trail for female cops, then the first series of Prime Suspect in particular indicated a seismic shift in the perception of, and the attitudes towards, the female police officer. Helen Mirren is outstanding as DCI Jane Tennison who heads a murder squad hunting a sadistic serial killer, but has to overcome opposition and resentment from her team as well as the institutionalised sexism of the police department itself. Subsequent series concentrated more on Tennisons inner demons as she began to rely on alcohol to help her cope with the pressures of the job.
11/20 10. The Killing (2007-12)
This Danish police procedural and prime example of Scandinavian noir attracted criticism for its violence against women. It did, however, become an international success particularly in the UK. Viewers were gripped by the formula; that of each episode reflecting 24 hours in the same murder case, and by the cold-fish female detective protagonist Sarah Lund, while developing an almost fetishist fascination with her knitwear. The Killing paved the way for other subtitled European crime dramas and equally popular and acclaimed entries such as The Bridge and Borgen quickly followed.
12/20 9. Law and Order (1990-2010)
Filmed in New City with a two-pronged approach of the investigation of a crime and arrest of a suspect, followed by the suspects trial, Law and Order introduced one of the great small-screen detectives, recovering alcoholic Lennie Briscoe. (Jerry Orbach). The shows boast was that many of its subject matters were ripped from the headlines and it was this approach that gave it a compelling topical feel and made it the longest-running American crime series and the benchmark for police procedurals.
13/20 8. Line of Duty (2012- )
An outstanding ratings success for BBC2, Jed Mercurios masterful police corruption thriller gripped viewers from the very beginning and kept them guessing until the explosive climax to the third series. The bold, serpentine and gripping storylines provided the exemplary cast with parts of a lifetime, with the most outstanding feature of Line of Duty undoubtedly the lengthy interrogation scenes as the tension was racked up notch by notch.
14/20 7. Columbo (1971-2003)
After Bing Crosby turned the role down, Peter Falk became synonymous with the cigar smoking, dishevelled police lieutenant in a shabby raincoat, winning four Emmys and a Golden Globe. Referred to as a howcatchem by its creators, Columbo deviated from the traditional whodunit in that the audience and, it seemed, Columbo himself, knew the identity of the murderer from the start. Half the fun of the show was watching the murderer (frequently an A- or B-list guest star) underestimate the seemingly bumbling, absent-minded detective while he baited the trap to snare them. Oh, and just one more thing, as Columbo himself might say: although Columbo routinely spoke of his wife, she was never seen in any episode, but the character was later given her own, short-lived, spin-off show, Mrs Columbo.
15/20 6. The Wire (2002-08)
It has been compared to the works of Dickens and Dostoevsky and lauded as the greatest television programme ever. But the triumph of The Wire is how it tells the story of the decaying city of Baltimore through the lives of the police, drug dealers, politicians, children and the dispossessed, making no moral judgements between good and bad in a predominately grey world. The Wire may not be the greatest television programme ever, but its realism and authenticity can never be in doubt. In 2005, members of a drugs gang claimed they had studied The Wire in order to learn about the latest police surveillance techniques, surely the ultimate example of life imitating art.
16/20 5. NYPD Blue (1993-2005)
Aping its antecedent Hill Street Blues cinema verite style, multi award winning NYPD Blue was a natural progression for co-creator Steven Bochno, who along with David Milsch came up with even grittier storylines, atmospheric New York locations and warts n all characters to create a hugely compelling and influential cop show. But lets be honest, despite a terrific ensemble cast, Dennis Franz as scenery-chewing recovering alcoholic detective Andy Sipowicz, was virtually the whole show, appearing in all 261 episodes and in the process searing his psyche in viewers minds.
17/20 4. Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-98)
Baltimore native Barry Levinson was a natural fit as executive producer of this ultra-realistic police procedural, based on The Wire creator David Simons book chronicling his experiences following homicide detectives at work in the so-called City of Firsts. From the very first episode Life on the Street succeeded in dispelling the myths and stereotypes about the television cop, showing that murder and violence were just a routine parts of the job. Indeed the murder of a schoolgirl in that first episode was never solved. Aficionados rate this show even better than The Wire. Some have called Homicide: Life on the Street the missing link between Hill Street Blues and The Wire. Beg, borrow or steal the box set and find out why.
18/20 3. Inspector Morse (1987-2000)
Such is the renown of the celebrated television adaptation of Colin Dexters novels featuring the enigmatic real-ale swilling, arts loving, crossword buff detective, that theres very little left to say apart from its basically a brilliant variation on the classic English whodunit, Kevin Whatelys Lewis is to John Thaws Morse as Dr Watson was to Sherlock Holmes, and Thaw is simply wonderful.
19/20 2. The Sweeney
It has become so caricatured and parodied in recent years that its easy to overlook the fact that The Sweeney made Z Cars look as antiquated as the former did Dixon of Dock Green a decade earlier. Created by Ian Kennedy Martin, brother of Z Cars co-creator Troy, The Sweeney was shot in 16mm film and that, along with extensive location shooting, gave it a more cinematic look than other studio-bound rivals.
20/20 1. Hill Street Blues (1981-87)
Created by Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll and still celebrated, still hugely influential, and still the cop show to which almost everything that has come since owes a huge debt. From Mike Posts iconic theme and the innovative cinema vèritè-evoking handheld camera, to the brilliant ensemble cast creating beloved characters and dramatic storylines in the urban sprawl of an unnamed US city, Hill Street Blues pioneered a new wave of cop shows. Ironically, it never gained huge audience ratings, but garnered a grand total of 98 Emmy nominations. Groundbreaking, thought provoking, emotional and funny, Hill Street Blues stands tall in the canon of truly great television.
HBO miniseries Chernobyl also ended inside a courtroom, but it got away with such an enclosed setting by unveiling new evidence on the podium and through a series of dramatic turns where people you considered cowards decided to speak out against injustice. As is the problem with dramatising a crime so heavily publicised, we always knew Shelias memory was saved, we always knew Jeremy did it and we always knew Julie will speak out against him.
DS Stan Jones watches Jeremy Bamber trial in ITV drama White House Farm (ITV)
Granted, it is very satisfying to watch a woman who’d been whittled down by emotional abuse confront her tormentor. Freddie Fox is great as the sharp-tongued and theatrical Jeremy Bamber, and though hes never sweating, you do get to see the smirk wiped off his foppish ex-private schoolboy face. Julies character transition is an interesting one: she goes from hiding in the corner of parties as Jeremy flirts with other women, to pushing past paparazzi camera flashes to tell the world of the horrors he is capable of. But as the episode comes to an end, theres a slightly confusing reversal. Having been pushed to recognise the bravery involved in Julie speaking out against the man she loved, we are then made to think of her as a money-hungry vulture, wholly undeserving of the £25,000 she receives from publicity.
Julie Mumford enters the courtroom in ITV drama White House Farm (ITV)
After the penultimate episode sees him taken off the case, I thought we had seen the last of Stephen Grahams DCI Thomas Taff Jones. But we are forced to sit through another few minutes of Grahams lukewarm Welsh accent. The cynically careerist bad cop has come to the office to congratulate his rival DS Stan Jones (Mark Addy) on Bambers arrest: I guess its my turn to take my leave he snarls. It should be a satisfying moment: the weary and unappreciated good guy has finally been proved right, but the script renders both characters too cartoonish for even talented actors such as Graham and Addy to pull it off.
You get the impression that Bamber would be quite pleased with his presentation in White House Farm. The only humiliation he suffers the removal of his tie and shoes as he moves into the blackness of his cell. Though Bamber has complained that the series could potentially damage his latest appeal of innocence, you cant help but think a narcissist such as he would delight in the attention. After all, according to Julie, the first thing Bamber said after committing his crimes was: I should have been an actor. I imagine he still looks pretty smug in his cell in HMP Wakefield.