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FITZ & PANHANDLE (Contains Spoilers)


Part of what made Cracker so great wasn't just the crime stories or the sheer brilliance behind the character of Fitz, but it was also his ever erratic personal life involving his marriage to Judith and relationship with Penhaligon. Fitz and Panhandle's friendship/affair, which ran throughout the entire series, made up one of the most interesting and best on-screen relationships to have graced a television screen - all of which was greatly assisted by the genuine on-screen chemistry between Robbie Coltrane and Geraldine Somerville.


After meeting in 'Mad Woman In The Attic' and immediately establishing a good working relationship which would see them confront many of the criminals they went after, the first real signs of what will be happen appear in 'To Say I Love You'. They are clearly attracted to each other and seem to enjoy each other's company, but at the time Fitz is very reluctant to give up on his marriage to Judith and won't venture any further than innocent flirtation with Panhandle. 'One Day A Lemming Will Fly' is one of the episodes in which things really start to develop - mainly when Panhandle asks Fitz to go on holiday with her instead of her boyfriend Peter. Fitz, still struggling to recover from Judith's revelation that she slept with her therapist Graham agrees, and right up until the last minute plans to go. He eventually doesn't and ends up leaving Panhandle stranded at the airport. 



Cue the second series, and Panhandle is still not talking to Fitz when he re-appears into everyone's lives in 'To Be A Somebody' to assist in tracking down Albie Kinsella, but following Bilborough's death she begins to slowly let him back into her life again. 'The Big Crunch' concentrates mainly on their relationship as far as Fitz's personal life goes. Judith announces that she is planning to sell the house, has taken Katie with her and left Mark living with Fitz. News Fitz doesn't take particularly well. After working closely together in order to somehow get a confession from the Trants in regards to the murder of Joanne Barnes, they finally sleep together. But from there on, it's all downhill. The repercussions from Bilborough's murder lead Jimmy Beck to an act of rape against Panhandle in 'Men Should Weep' and her relationship with Fitz is further strained when Judith turns up again, this time five months pregnant and Fitz takes her back.


The aftermath of those events lead to series three and having not forgiven Fitz for not being there for her after the rape, Panhandle has barely even spoken to him for 4 months - he's now back with his family complete with new born baby. But as the third series progresses, things change. Judith, fully of aware of Fitz's relationship with Panhandle, finds their affair hard to forget and nobody is quite sure if it is really even over. Judith herself meanwhile begins to find herself becoming attracted to Fitz's brother Danny. After Beck's suicide, his funeral in 'Best Boys' sees a drunk Panhandle willing to re-start their relationship again, but Fitz feeling she's not ready turns her down. But by the time 'True Romance' comes round the tables turn. This time it's Fitz who, amid a even more turbulent marriage to Judith, wants some kind of reconciliation with Panhandle but she, in one of the most memorable scenes from the series, tells him she's no longer in love with him and it seems like nothing more will ever come of their relationship. Fitz and Panhandle's relationship is still one of the most enjoyable aspects of Cracker and still one of the storylines that needs to be properly finished off. 


The Unofficial Guide To Cracker 1999-2006