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DS Jane "Panhandle" Penhaligon (Played by Geraldine Somerville)



DS Penhaligon, or Panhandle, as Fitz takes to calling her, is probably the detective who suffers most through her time at Anson Road Police Station, through the death of DS Giggs and then more notably, DCI Bilborough. As virtually the only female office amongst men, Penhaligon has battled to get promotion ever since the first series - and was often given the "woman's job" such as talking to bereaved relatives etc. even when she was more than capable of doing the job better the likes of Jimmy Beck. We heard briefly in 'White Ghost' from Wise than she had finally earnt her promotion to Detective Inspector which was probably long overdue after everything she had been through. By the end of the third series, it was obvious she had changed a great deal from when we first met her in 'Mad Woman In The Attic', not surprising after the rape she suffered at the hands of DS Jimmy Beck, the murders of colleagues and the times she'd experienced. 


Then of course, there was the long running storyline of her relationship with Fitz which turned from initial friendship to an affair but fell apart soon after. Although initially the one who pursued the relationship from Fitz, it was her who finally ended things in 'True Romance', after the various times Fitz had let her down (the holiday, Fitz not being there for her after the rape) and seemed determined to move on. (The novels of Best Boys/True Romance have several scenes between herself and DC Temple - so it's assuming he is "the other person" she meets). Not much family background is known about Penhaligon. Her father died (presumably a short time before she meets Fitz), she grew up along three brothers and doesn't seem as if she had much contact with them or her mother. And she was involved with Peter, throughout series one (and he is seen briefly in 'Men Should Weep') but it clearly doesn't work out. Penhaligon was, ultimately, the second most important person to the series next to Fitz, and any Cracker fan will confirm that it would never of been the same without her.


The Unofficial Guide To Cracker 1999-2006