The Sweeney is an old police drama series from the UK. That’s not so remarkable, especially not for a subject of this blog. But what’s with the name? The Sweeney? What Sweeney? The only Sweeney I know is Sweeney Todd, the murdering barber of Fleet Street. But, surely, he has nothing to do with a police series in the seventies? In fact, he does. Apparently, ‘the Sweeney’ is Cockney rhyming slang for the Flying Squad,1 the branch of the London Metropolitan Police that the show focuses on. So I guess ‘the monster of Loch’ would be what appears in the fourth episode.
Inspector Jack Regan is trying to catch Johnny Lyon, a criminal who got off on some technicality thanks to a good lawyer. And Johnny is getting quite nervous. So he visits his lawyer and together they decide to investigate the monster.
And it’s a sad, sad spectacle.2 They set the board up wrongly, but it’s worse: someone on set apparently remembered that the queen starts on her own colour. And so they let it start on e1. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. But a tiny fragment of half digested knowledge is a disaster — and that, alas, is what they had on set. Here are the moves (the lawyer has white): 1. d3 e6 2. Qc3 d5 3. Bf4 Be7 4. Qc7# so the position is this one:3
The lawyer calls this fool’s mate, but that is wrong, too. Fool’s mate is 1.f3 e5 2. g4 Qh4#. This, if anything, is closer to scholar’s mate, which would also befit the scholarly nature of the person delivering it. Then again, fool’s mate befits the director.
One thing’s for sure: these people definitely need locking up. Not only do they blaspheme against Caissa by setting up the board wrongly, they also bumble about with the grace of a rhinoceros in a sand sculpture contest. Here’s hoping they get the lawyer, too, in one of the later episodes.
Realism: 0/5 How could someone not know how the pieces are set up? Open a book, god damn it! Then put your head in it and close it real hard. Repeat until you know better.
Probable winner: White. He won the case and the game. In fact, he drops his client just before he gets mated by the police, too.
1. [Frankly, I suspect you could give any episode of any TV-series whatever name you like and claim it’s Cockney rhyming slang.] ↩
2. [A really sorrowful pair of glasses.] ↩
3. [If a fool wants to make a diagram, this is his mate.] ↩