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"A Near Vimes Experience" is the premiere episode of the first season of BBC America's The Watch. It premiered on January 3, 2021, immediately followed by the second episode, "Ook." It had an advance release on December 31, 2020 on the streaming service AMC+.


Capt. Sam Vimes' life in the City Watch is changed forever when a figure from his past returns to Ankh-Morpork

Plot summary[]

Somewhere in a distant secondhand dimension, Captain Sam Vines comes before Death himself. He asks how he got there and is told simply to watch.

Some 20 years in the past, Sam Vimes, Sergeant Swires, Captain John Keel and Carcer Dun all stand outside the headquarters of the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork. In a series of flashbacks, it is shown that that Vimes joined the Watch on Carcer's orders; he was supposed to kill Keel and free the other members of their street gang who had been arrested, but after a month he still hasn't done it. Carcer urges Sam to go through with the plan, telling him that the Watch is just another gang, but Sam had come to believe in the Watch. When Sam declared that he was arresting Carcer, Carcer shot at him with a crossbow. Keel took the shot instead and died, leaving Vimes as captain of the City Watch. Vimes then pursued Dun to the top of the Unseen University library tower. After a fight, Dun slipped over the edge, and hanging on by his fingertips shouted for Vimes to arrest him. Vimes hesitated, and Dun fell through the magical thunderstorm around the tower, seemingly to his death.

Twenty years later, Captain Sam Vimes looks much like the roughed-up version of himself who has found himself before Death. Having consumed copious amounts of alcohol and lost numerous brain cells, he is reduced to chasing after stray dogs. Unnoticed by Vimes, Constable Carrot Ironfoundersson, a new member of the Watch just arrived in the city, chases after a thief and brings him to The Watch House. The thief - Urdo van Pew - is quickly released by Corporal Angua von Uberwald, who tells Constable Carrot that the man he has just captured is head of the Thieves' Guild. As the man leaves, he warns Corporal Angua that Lord Vetinari will hear about his arrest.

Captain Vimes and Sergeant Detritus meet with Vetinari, who takes them to task for Constable Carrot's actions. Captain Vimes explains that Carrot is new, and Vetinari excuses him, but gives the Watch a mission - they are to retrieve a library book stolen from Unseen University, identifiable by its red scalehide cover. Meanwhile, Carrot takes a walk with Corporal Angua, who gives him the rundown on how things work in the city of Ankh-Morpork. About twenty years ago, the city experienced a massive crime wave so bad the City Watch couldn't keep up, so Lord Vetinari legalised the ancient guilds, including the Thieves' Guild, Assassins' Guild and Alchemists' Guild, who all issue official receipts and keep crime to within acceptable quotas.

Shocked by the nature of the organization that he's joined, Constable Carrot announces his immediate resignation. While trying to find Vimes, however, he discovers a letter from his father - he wasn't personally requested by Vimes, but rather his own adoptive father asked Vimes to take him in. He's a human who was adopted by dwarves, but his size was causing problems in the mine and - unbeknownst to him - scaring the dwarfs of the mine. He learns from the others that taking in misfits like him is what Captain Vimes does. Each of them has found a place within the Watch, despite being different: Corporal Angua is a werewolf, and Cheery didn't fit "under a beard" in her dwarf mine.

While Carrot learns the nature of the Watch, Captain Vimes pursues a lead, believing he saw Carcer Dun in the Mended Drum. He follows Carcer's trail to a dead alchemist, but he is knocked out and abducted by Lady Sybil Ramkin, a self-proclaimed "terrorist" who brings those involved in the Guild system to her "Sunshine Rescue Centre for Broken & Bedraggled Things" to "reeducate" them. She explains to the group they've been brainwashed into believing that crime is a legitimate profession. Vimes explains to her that he is not, in fact, a criminal, but the captain of the City Watch, and manages to enlist her aid. Together, the two investigate the alchemist's death and eventually meet with Throat Dibbler, learning that someone has been stockpiling the narcotic known as "Slab" and means to trade it for something. This turns out to be the missing library book the Watch was tasked with finding, and the person coming to collect it is indeed Carcer Dun - looking no older than when he died twenty years ago. Meanwhile the members of the City Watch follow up a lead regarding a blocked fountain and discover another deceased alchemist, leading them to the same conclusion. But Carcer has Vimes and Sybil in his sights, and fires his crossbow at Sybil; Vimes steps in front of the bolt...leading to his audience with Death.

Cast in order of appearance[]


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