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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes It Pays to be Generous

Author: Rick Blaine from London
10 May 2006

Sometimes it pays to be generous. This part of the series might not be perfect, but who are we to complain when we're already getting so much? A quick glance at the US 'twinkie' counterpart Law & Order reminds us of how grateful we should be.

These are alternately gritty and fancy cases. Some are almost too realistic, others play like Dame Agatha.

But above it all is Helen Mirren. Dench may be the better known of the two right now, and I do like the work Dench does, but no one will ever compare in my book to Helen Mirren. She's just too much. Too sexy, too charismatic, too powerful - she may be years older than me but that doesn't matter: she's still the most attractive woman alive. She's an inspiration to watch. Her every movement whispers 'class'.

The first part of part 4 was directed by John Madden of Shakespeare in Love fame. This is the kind of quality entertainment sent your way. These are not easy, two dimensional comic book stories in the spirit of Dick Wolf; if these aren't real, then it doesn't matter, for they seem real. They're fully three dimensional.

The part we're watching right now is part two of part four. To me it's even better, although everyone says wait for the final third part which is the crowning achievement. I don't care: this one's got me totally wrapped up. The conflicts they put in these things - so subtle, so cunningly portrayed.

A 10 out of 10 may be technically inaccurate, but sometimes it pays to be generous. This is still entertainment, it's still drama, in an age where everything's devolved into Big Brother, American Idol, and more ads than playtime - and with all that goes with it: cheap tricks, garish ways to grab your attention, etc. Prime Suspect works from the radical concept that the show in its entirety should be entertaining. Movie quality on the television screen. Don't miss it. Buy each and every one. There's no way you can lose on this one. And watch Helen Mirren do her stuff. Imagine if you will what she and Sean Connery could do together. Wow.

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Mirren continues to be exceptional

Author: Chaitanya Komanduri (ckomanduri) from Newark, NJ
30 April 2001

In this "Prime Suspect" movie, Helen Mirren continues to show why her Jane Tennison is nothing less than one of the greatest characters in the history of television. "Inner Circles", while not one of the better stories in the series, is still worth watching just to see Tennison confront human darkness once again, this time in an upper-class milieu.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

The series begins to stumble, but Mirren doesn't.

Author: grendelkhan from Xanadu
28 February 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this second episode of Prime Suspect 4, we begin to feel the loss of creator Lynda La Plante. The episode is weaker than previous series and the first episode of the current series. Helen Mirren continues to shine and the supporting actors are all good, but the writing is not up to par. The story becomes a bit muddled and the ending is a bit hard to swallow.

Spoilers: This time, Tennison is called in to investigate what at first appears to be a break in and murder, but turns into a look at political corruption and scandal, as well as class struggle. When a man is found dead in his home, of what appears to be autoerotic strangulation, all is not what it seems. It is quickly determined that the manner of death is a cover up for what really happened. Tennison enters a world of wealth and privilege, surrounding a country club and nearby neighborhoods. At the fringe of this well-to-do community, is a low-income housing estate. The housing estate is at odds with its wealthy neighbors, who also control the local council.

Tennison ends up caught between the "haves" who try to brow beat her and manipulate her investigation, and the "have-nots" who appear to be her prime suspects. Added to the mix is a young female detective who came out of the low-income area. Tennison solves the case, although the final solution comes across more like a pulp novel than the type of drama we are used to.

Mirren rises above the material, as do the supporting performers, but this episode is less satisfying. The ending is too muddled in double-crosses and manipulation. The writer tries too hard to add layers to what is a straightforward crooked real estate deal and murder. Unfortunately, this fourth series resembles a downward slope as it progresses. The next episode would fall even further.

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