The Force of Change

© By Gary Mitchell

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Caroline is a Detective Sergeant in the RUC. Used to doing battle against the ingrained sexism of her male colleagues, she begins to suspect something much worse: systemised collaboration between the RUC and the loyalist terrorists of the UDA.

MARK. What’s going on?

CAROLINE. Bill’s fucking me about.

MARK. Is this your paranoia kicking in again?

CAROLINE. I wish it was.

MARK. The Inspector doing this report is really going for
your nerves.

CAROLINE. They’re having meetings behind my back. Talking
about me.

MARK. It’s probably unrelated.

CAROLINE. That would be some coincidence.

MARK. Bill’s not exactly the perfect cop. Seems to me that
the Inspector would be calling him in to tick him off privately on a regular
basis. Who knows what it might be this time?

CAROLINE. I don’t think so.

MARK. It’s more likely that he’s keeping an eye on Bill. It
happens. I was five years in before I worked with a female detective. It’s
boy’s own club and all that. (MARK watches CAROLINE frown.) Don’t let it get
you down. The Inspector knows he has to work against all that nowadays.

CAROLINE. What are you trying to say? That he’ll give me a
good report just because I’m a woman.

MARK. Give me some credit. What I’m saying is that he’ll
give you a report based on your ability. If there is an important factor that
swings it then it’ll be your most recent cases. It always goes like that because
that’s what’s going to be fresh in his mind.

CAROLINE. Well that’s my problem. My most recent cases have
been disasters. Mostly caused by Bill.

MARK. He’ll know that. I mean you don’t see him recommending
Bill for promotion, do you?


MARK. I worked with a Catholic Detective once. This guy thought
everybody was watching him, everybody was out to get him .

CAROLINE. But surely he must’ve been right.

MARK. No, what I’m saying is he thought it was everybody and
all the time. Not just when promotion boards came round.

CAROLINE. How long ago was this?

MARK. That’s not the point.

CAROLINE. If you’re going to sit there and tell me that
nobody was really out to get this Catholic guy then . . . (Almost laughs.)

MARK. Caroline, lots of people were out to get him, of
course they were, it was a different world back then.

CAROLINE. Oh of course I forgot we’ve got peace now, we’ve
got progress. Mark, if that’s what you want to believe then go ahead and
believe it but don’t talk to me because I live in the real world.

MARK. I live in the real world too Caroline.

CAROLINE. What about you and this Catholic guy, how did that

MARK. I liked him. I thought we worked well together. Once I
learned how to deal with his little outbursts, you know.

CAROLINE. Is that what you’re doing with me?

MARK (laughs lightly). No.

Publisher: Nick Hern Books (2000)
ISBN-10: 1854596160, ISBN-13: 978-1854596161

Further Infomation


​Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, London, 6th April 2000
Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, London, 2nd November 2000






“Gary Mitchell, that dourly persuasive voice of Northern Ireland Protestantism, is back with a play that mixes visceral excitement with a coolly provocative analysis of political issues”
Daily Telegraph

“Gary Mitchell has produced his best play to date, a high-voltage, disputatious examination of the Royal Ulster Constabulary”
The Observer