When a student nurse with a penchant for petty blackmail is lethally poisoned during a routine procedure, Commander Dalgliesh and Inspector Massingham have to discover which, of the many ... See full summary »
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1984  
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Death of an Expert Witness (TV Mini-Series 1983)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When Dr. Edwin Lorrimer, a forensic scientist working at a private laboratory is found killed, Detective Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh is sent to investigate. Dalgliesh had been in the area... See full summary »

Stars: Roy Marsden, Barry Foster, Ray Brooks
Cover Her Face (TV Mini-Series 1985)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Chief Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh investigates the death of Alice Liddell who ran a home for unwed mothers. One of those residents is Sally Jupp who was a witness in a drugs smuggling and... See full summary »

Stars: Roy Marsden, Phyllis Calvert, Mel Martin
A Taste for Death (TV Mini-Series 1988)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Sir Paul Berowne (Bosco Hogan) - a prominent Government Minister - turns to his old friend Adam Dalgleish following a series of threatening letters delivered to his London home. The ... See full summary »

Stars: Roy Marsden, Wendy Hiller, Fiona Fullerton
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Frustrated with his career, Commander Dalgliesh is invited to Toynton Grange, a home for the disabled, by his old teacher, Father Baddeley, who is resident there. But unbeknown to Dalgliesh... See full summary »

Stars: Roy Marsden, Martin Jarvis, John Franklyn-Robbins
Unnatural Causes (TV Movie 1993)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Commander Dalgleish of Scotland Yard investigates the apparent murder of a well-known author who is found floating in a dinghy with his hands chopped off. The man, Maurice Seton, had ... See full summary »

Director: John Davies
Stars: Roy Marsden, Simon Chandler, Kenneth Colley
Devices and Desires (TV Mini-Series 1991)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Stars: Roy Marsden, Susannah York, Gemma Jones
A Certain Justice (TV Series 1998)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Dalgliesh and his team investigate the murder of a top flight lawyer with an abrasive reputation and turbulent private life.

Stars: Roy Marsden, Ricci Harnett, Britta Smith
Original Sin (TV Mini-Series 1997)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Peverell Press, respected London publishing house with two hundred years of tradition, is taken over by new management. Gerard Etienne, new yuppie CEO, wants to implement radical changes. ... See full summary »

Stars: Roy Marsden, Ian Bannen, Cathryn Harrison
A Mind to Murder (TV Movie 1995)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh has been on leave following the death on duty of a member of his team, DS Sarah Hillier. His superiors order him back to work to investigate the ... See full summary »

Director: Gareth Davies
Stars: Roy Marsden, Mairead Carty, Sean Scanlan
Death in Holy Orders (TV Mini-Series 2003)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Detective Adam Dalgliesh looks into the death of a young ordinand who died under mysterious circumstances.

Stars: Jesse Spencer, Alan Howard, Martin Shaw
The Murder Room (TV Mini-Series 2004)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Adam Dalgliesh looks into the connection between the grisly exhibits at the Dupayne family museum and the murder of adopted son Neville.

Stars: Martin Shaw, Janie Dee, Samantha Bond
Prime Suspect (TV Mini-Series 1991)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A female police detective investigates a series of serial murders while dealing with sexist hostility from her male comrades.

Stars: Helen Mirren, John Benfield, Tom Bell
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Roy Marsden ...
 Adam Dalgliesh (5 episodes, 1984)
...
 Stephen Courtney-Briggs, surgeon (5 episodes, 1984)
Sheila Allen ...
 Matron Mary Taylor (5 episodes, 1984)
Liz Fraser ...
 Sister Mavis Gearing (5 episodes, 1984)
Thelma Whiteley ...
 Sister Ethel Brumfett (5 episodes, 1984)
Andree Evans ...
 Sister Hilda Rolfe (5 episodes, 1984)
John Vine ...
 DS John Massingham (5 episodes, 1984)
Rosalyn Elvin ...
 Madeleine Goodall (5 episodes, 1984)
...
 Christine Dakers (5 episodes, 1984)
Judi Maynard ...
 Julia Pardoe (5 episodes, 1984)
...
 Maureen Burt (5 episodes, 1984)
Marcia Tucker ...
 Shirley Dalston (5 episodes, 1984)
John Pennington ...
 Len Morris (4 episodes, 1984)
Nicholas Coppin ...
 Sergeant McPherson (4 episodes, 1984)
Annette Robertson ...
 Morag Smith (4 episodes, 1984)
Graham Faulkner ...
 Staff Nurse (4 episodes, 1984)
Margaret Whiting ...
 Delia Dettinger (3 episodes, 1984)
Eleanor David ...
 Jo Fallon (3 episodes, 1984)
Forbes Collins ...
 Chief Superintendent Bailey (3 episodes, 1984)
Robin Kermode ...
 Arnold Dowson (3 episodes, 1984)
Lennard Pearce ...
 Mr. Coles (3 episodes, 1984)
...
 Staff Nurse (3 episodes, 1984)
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Storyline

When a student nurse with a penchant for petty blackmail is lethally poisoned during a routine procedure, Commander Dalgliesh and Inspector Massingham have to discover which, of the many guilty secrets held by the staff and students at Nightingale House, was a strong enough motive for murder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

9 March 1984 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Døde nattergale  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(5 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Connections

Followed by Original Sin (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

"Shroud" ain't for my crowd
29 October 2010 | by (Southeastern Massachusetts) – See all my reviews

Being 5 hrs. long, shot on "live" film stock resembling soap operas and taped plays, and having a cast of typically good British actors, a miniseries like "Shroud for a Nightingale" (SfaN) is certainly a unique and potentially very good viewing opportunity. SfaN falls far short of that potential, however.

Since adaptations of mystery novels often suffer from short running times and insufficient consideration of clues, you would think a 5-hr. miniseries format would be ideal for letting the viewer try to solve the mystery herself. Thus it's disappointing when, after investing so much time, SfaN gives up on the "fair play" solve-it-yourself aspect, choosing simply to reveal the answer in a way that no viewer could discover. (And it's not the only Dalgliesh miniseries to do this.) Strangely, SfaN goes on and on for 5 hours but never seems to think about clues any more than a 90 minute movie.

In fact, SfaN fails to maintain coherence or resolve some basic questions, even as it wastes time on redundant scenes. A character's mysterious knowledge of a victim's private financial details is treated as suspicious, then never explained. Certain innocent suspects act excessively secretive for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, events that could be conveyed in seconds are given minute upon minute of dead time. In the end, there's no reason this program should be 5 hrs. long.

One "mystery" is why sidekick Massingham, typically so accommodating to his bossy boss, suddenly spazzes out a couple of times. Goodall remarks that fellow nursing student Fallon is old compared to most students, yet Goodall looks at least 40. Weirdest of all is the scene of a drunk dancing to music from "The Godfather!" This precedes a sudden, absurd turn to bedroom farce, only enjoyable because it takes the priggish Dalgliesh down a notch.

Speaking of whom...

Lots of film fans understandably chafe at formulaic Hollywood conventions, like the insistence on making main characters "likable." However, doing the exact opposite, and having a main character who is completely unlikable, simply isn't viable for a 5-hr. miniseries. SfaN does this, and it's a serious detriment. Dalgliesh here may be the most insufferable, imperious detective protagonist I've seen. He acts like his greatest aspiration is to treat suspects as disrespectfully, even cruelly, as possible. Most of the time, my reaction was, "(insert vulgar phrase) this guy"...and to think, "Why should I spend my time with this character?"

He's associated with another series problem. Reactionary moralizing seems to surface now and then in the Dalgliesh shows I've seen. It feels just as weak and outdated as the appearance of Dalgliesh himself -- balding, mustachioed, forever in 3-piece suits and blue tie.

SfaN is not as bad as another Dalgliesh series, in which Dalgliesh went up to a sexually active bachelorette who was unconnected with the crimes, and basically blamed her promiscuity as partly responsible for what happened. Still, when one or two promiscuous people in SfaN question if Dalgliesh disapproves of their activity, he only stares at them stonily for a moment, then asks something else.

In a series that gives the soapbox to no less than three anti-abortion advocates, it would've been nice to also have at least one person stand up for a prochoice outlook. Predictably, but still annoyingly, no less than a minister persuades the pregnant woman to change her mind and not have her abortion. A holy roller proves to be a hypocritical blackmailer, but the series quickly brushes her off as an anomaly from a tiny radical sect. This time around, lesbians lose out on the sympathetic portrayal they got in "Death of an Expert Witness" -- here, they're all misandrist, crooked, and/or dirty old women.

The one challenge to this reactionary tinge is a scenario made from the blackest of irony -- a character prays for God's guidance to a good life, literally at the same time s/he unwittingly finishes his/her murderer's job with his/her own two hands. The angriest of atheists would avoid writing such a scene as too contrived!


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