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"Prime Suspect"
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32 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

As perfect as they come.

Author: miniwidge from Calgary
25 August 2000

This is far above the average cop series, let alone a made-for-TV cop series. Helen Mirren is, as always, outstanding as Tennyson. The rest of the series is as good as the first, which is, in itself, rare. Usually, sequels or continuations of a series try to follow the same general plot and characterizations and fail because of their lack of originality. Prime Suspect is riviting from the first to the last.

One extra note...did anyone watching it recently notice that the original victim's boyfriend was played by Ralph Fiennes? Shows that quality breeds quality.

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23 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Intelligent, political, and mercurial

Author: loth-2 from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
19 December 1999

A common problem with great British series is that as time passes, rather than become better they lose their steam or atypicality. By the time Prime Suspect 4 came about, but for the rare scene it had become virtually identical to a common copper flick.

The first series, concerning the serial killings attributed to George Marlow (With accomplices), is the most complex and riveting, more so than even Cracker's first series. I have seen the episodes through their completion on several rotations and am still finding subtle aspects of character and plot. Helen is integral and can portray a paradoxical human in every episode consistently. Almost as integral is Marlow who can just about convince you that he's innocent -- but not quite, not in the right way.

In the Prime Suspect world, everything is politics. La Plante examines the seperate realms of politics and how they interact; this is what makes up most of the running time and all of my interest. Physical details and clue tables are pushed to the side to examine one person's brain, how it reacts to the world, and how the world reacts to it. Politics, Jane, that's what it's all about.

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Excellent show

Author: Galina from Virginia, USA
7 May 2007

Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) is in charge of the investigation to uncover a serial killer who rapes, tortures, and brutally murders prostitutes in London. Tennison is put in charge after one of her fellow DCIs has a heart attack and dies. She inherits the murder case and soon comes across the connected second murder. If trying to solve not one but two rape-murder cases is not enough, Jane's work is complicated by the hostility of her staff. The members of the male-dominated police department feel humiliated and have problems following the orders of the female boss, no matter how intelligent, tough, organized, and fit for the position she is. Tennison's obsession with the cases and fighting for credibility and respect from her colleagues don't help to her relationship with the boyfriend Peter Rawlins (Tom Wilkinson), either. Helen Mirren is superb as DCI Tennison playing the character that is sympathetic, tough, vulnerable, bright, very clever, and sexy - all at the same time. Mirren was voted the sexiest 60+ star in the world few months ago. I think she's been always incredibly attractive and desirable - and always will be. She definitely lit the screen at 46, in her first season of "Prime Suspect" (1991). Creator of the show, Lynda La Plante wrote the story that ranks among the best police procedures and it is terrific - complex, dynamic, with unexpected turns, and interesting multidimensional characters. Ralph Fiennes played one of his first roles as a boyfriend of a murdered girl and he was memorable in a very emotional scene opposite Mirren. I look forward for more DVDs with the rest of the seasons coming from Netflix.

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Everything is brilliant and almost perfect!

Author: ( from United States
4 May 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watching Prime Suspect again makes me realize and appreciate every episode. Dame Helen Mirren is always worth watching whether Prime Suspect or anything else. Her role of Jane Tennison will go down in history as one of the best female roles ever written and acted by this wonderful dame. The writing is superior to anything else on television. More than ten years after its first showing in America, Prime Suspect is classic television. The series itself has also some award winning performances by Zoe Wanamaker as the unsuspecting wife of a serial killer. Even though we suspect it, it is fascinating to unravel the mystery. When we see the female corpses, it is a gruesome look into reality. For us, it is entertainment. In the real world, they are somebody's daughter and the killer is inhuman. When we finally solve the mystery in this addition, we will have more questions and answers. The biggest question is why does this happen to begin with.

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Great Series!

Author: Niche from Wisconsin, USA
22 August 1999

"Prime Suspect" is a dark, sometimes cynical, sometimes inspiring, always disturbing series. I watched most of the series on PBS a few summers back, and found myself instantly hooked. Helen Mirren is simply one of the best actresses alive today. It's a police drama with little on camera violence and true human emotion; you'd be hard pressed to find such a series on American television.

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:


Author: grendelkhan from Xanadu
28 February 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the series that started it all. When Prime Suspect debuted, it was instantly hailed as a classic and also sparked a debate much akin to the Clarence Thomas hearings in the US. At heart, this is a police drama, but it is also a story of changing gender roles and issues of harassment.

Spoilers: Helen Mirren is outstanding as DCI Jane Tennison, a rare female detective, of high rank, on the Metropolitan Police Force. Tennison has fought her way up the ranks and is just itching to get her first crack at a murder investigation. Unfortunately, she has been overlooked, side-stepped, and ignored at every turn. Fate deals her a hand and she plays it for all it's worth. Mirren brings a wealth of experience and talent to this role and she is further aided by the top-notch writing of Lynda La Plante. Mirren is able to convey so much with a look, a smile or just a movement of her head.

John Bowe is also mesmerizing as the prime suspect of the investigation, George Marlowe. He is charming one moment, desperate the next. The series keeps you guessing as to his guilt or innocence, and Bowe is able to convey both the idea of an innocent man being railroaded, and a cold-blooded killer.

This series abounds with police procedure, the mind-numbing, but vital collection and pursuit of evidence, the methods of interrogation and the building of a case. It also details the struggle of a woman to succeed in a male-dominated field. Tennison is a good cop due to an obsessive nature; but, it has detrimental effect on her personal life. Her relationship falls apart the more she becomes immersed in the case. This theme would continue throughout the series.

This series is a fine example of great writing, acting, and direction. The script is first rate and all of the actors, right down to background characters, are outstanding. It has been said that Helen Mirren's Oscar nomination for the Madness of King George was actually an acknowledgement of her work here (her role in that film was far smaller than those generally nominated in the same category). There may be some truth there. Mirren is so powerful in this role, you wish the Oscars did cover tv features.

If you are a fan of good drama, crime drama, or fine acting, check this out.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:


Author: Rick Blaine from London
1 December 2006

Normally when things are this good you predict 'it's all downhill from here' but with this series things never dip really - small bumps in the road perhaps but the quality is uniformly high.

These are close on four hour dramas. They weren't shown in one stretch on the telly but if you get the boxed set that's how they'll be presented - with no pauses in between and no signs of where they would have gone either. (Thank you British television.)

Episode I is written by the creator of the series and it's nigh on perfect with all the stacked decks where you want them and a masterful revelation of the lead character 'gradually'. Tom Wilkinson great in a small supporting role.

This one has everything and some of the sequels won't have it as well. Upon viewing the start of episode two the girlfriend immediately blurted 'one was cacophony in the station room - this one is a light hum'. You want that cacophony and this one has it.

Get comfortable for you're in for a heady four hour ride.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Superb Police Mystery drama

Author: pavanratnaker
16 October 2012

This just is the best of the lot. I have seen many a police drama but this one near perfect and very believable. The key here is the story and the in each of the 3 seasons I've seen it just gets better and better. The emphasis is here is on good old policing involving evidence gathering , deduction , and superb interrogation technique within that permitted by law. There's very minimal use of science and technology. Also the conclusions are very realistic and almost true to what happens in reality. The direction is superb and is well matched with the editing. The casting crew needs to be be given a pat on the back. And last but not the least Helen Mirren is superb . I saw all the 3 seasons in 2012 and probably was as entertained by it as anyone so would've seen it on initial release, if not more. A must watch !

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Simply the best crime series ever

Author: isoldevansteijn from Netherlands
7 September 2013

Helen Mirren portraits the female DCI with dignity, courage and flair. She ís Jane Tennisson and every episode of this brilliant British crime series is worth more then any other series ever made before or ever made since. Mirren gets into the character from the very start and she slowly builds a genuine person of flesh and blood, that moves the viewer, because we understand her anger, her enthusiasm, her frustrations. There is an American Prime Suspect series now, but I don't want to watch it, because it can never be anywhere near as good as the original and that is solely due to Helen Mirren. This can never be topped. That goes for all the episodes.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Compelling British Police Drama

Author: freemantle_uk from United Kingdom
23 August 2013

From the mind of crime writing specialist Lynda La Plante the Prime Suspect series was a critically acclaimed series in the UK and became one of Helen Mirren's most famous roles.

DCI Jane Tennison (Mirren) is a senior detective in the London Metropolitan Police who takes over of a murder investigation of a prostitute when the original investigating detective dies of a heart attack. Tennison soon has to prove a suspect, George Marlow (John Bowe), finds evidences that they might be a serial killer, question the work of her precedence and battle of the sexism of her police colleagues.

Police procedural are very common in the UK and can be at times formulaic as they do who done it story lines and have to become more inventive with the range of serial killers or rapists they have to find (if you read crime fiction in the UK you would think the nation is littered with psychopaths). What Prime Suspect works is instead of the usual cliché of finding a range of suspects, a suspect is already known and it is the police's job to find the evidence as well as finding more about the crimes the suspect has committed. This is much more realistic because normally the first suspect/main suspects are normally the personal who committed the crime.

The other focus is Tennison's personal life as the investigation takes it told on her personal life, particularly her relationship with her partner (Tom Wilkinson) and the look of the sexism in police force as few female detectives had reached a senior rank in the early 90s. We get to see Tennison's relationships with her officers as some grow to respect her and show competence whilst others are too loyal to the precedence. We also get to look at the private life of the suspect, getting to know him and doubt whether he really did it.

Prime Suspect is a very well-acted programme (bar an embarrassing heart attack scene). This is a programme that has top actors, including Ralph Fiennes in a small early role. Director Christopher Menaul keeps a great pace for the programme, using long takes and steady cam shots to add a naturalism to the preceding as it keeps a flow going whilst not

Prime Suspect is high quality police procedural drama that fans of these programs.

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