1 9 9 7 – 1 9 9 8 (USA)
16 x 60 minute episodes
He was a revoltingly fat, lumbering booze and gambling-addicted drunk with a failed marriage and the occasional ability to dredge the criminal mind through the bottom of a whisky tumbler.
But Robbie Coltrane’s Fitz in Cracker had an earthy charm. In every area in his life, but when reading psychopathic minds, he was a pathetic case, with a tragic barfly face that sagged towards his bulging waistband and screamed cardiovascular nightmare. Still, viewers loved him.
But the US version of Fitz – in the shape of Robert Pastorelli – was a slim, eight stone lighter heart-throb who was fancied by every woman he came across including the psychos. Even more, like the President, he apparently had the right to ride roughshod over every police investigation. The thing is though, he was deeply stupid.
His debut involved him being stalked by a beautiful psycho lab technician killer of male students. She hated men because they failed to live up to her father, who rejected her by molesting her sister.
Fitz managed to muddy the issue and make his tedious analysis last for an entire programme.
Enter our man looking more fraud than Freud in his sneakers and casual t-shirts – and a tortuous merry-go-round plot that seemed to go twice around the campus and all the way back to the cell where psycho beauty was being held.
And still, Fitz and the cops could not find his son, who was about to be fried, trussed up to an electric current, lying naked in her bed.
Two things: why did the camera tell us she did it as it lingered on the psycho lab technician in the first half-hour, as dopey Fitz scratched his designer, unshaven chin wondering whodunnit? And why, after the cops had untrussed Fitz’s geeky son, was the pseudo shrink still flirting with Miss Psycho in the cells, trying to unravel her disturbing mind?
Cracker‘s Fitz was fed through a wash to make the US version sunnier, glamorous and socially acceptable. But he ended up with the colour and grit completely drained out of him, to make a bland imitation of a great character.
Gerry ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald
Detective Danny Watlington
Det. Hannah Tyler
R. Lee Ermey