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DCI Jericho is a brilliant detective and a darling of the media. However, he is haunted by the memories of his father, a policeman whose murder Jericho witnessed as a boy. Never married, and alone since his childhood sweetheart left him for another during WWII, Jericho is obsessed with his work at Scotland Yard. Yet, he finds himself drawn to his beautiful French neighbor Juliette - a prostitute with a tortured past. Set amidst the social upheaval of post-war 1950s London, Jericho unravels headline-grabbing mysteries. His diligent team includes faithful friend and colleague Detective Sergeant Clive Harvey and the ambitious young Detective Constable John Caldicott, whose warm relationship with his fiancÈe starkly contrasts Jericho's lonely nighttime vigils. Written by
In my home, we are long time "Mystery" and "Masterpiece Theater" fans. And, I absolutely loved Robert Lindsay in all of the "Hornblower" series.
My only beef with "Jericho"--which we are currently viewing in the States, now--is that the program format seems too choppy, too breakneck and--dare I say it?--too "Americanized" in its filming style.
For example, some of the traditional blisses of watching British television over American television are the LACK OF: overly-numerous, screechy, noisy car chases/crashes/explosions; characters emoting choppy, stale love/hate dialogues about as spontaneous and mature as Saturday night in dead bar, and the endless "bedhopping" on American television shows that seems to come (no pun intended) into play every ten minutes. On British television, intimate relations do appear to occur because they are ESSENTIAL to a plot; and when they do happen, British television is surprisingly honest in hiding nothing and revealing everything (Good Show, I Say!).
These having been stated, one of the joys of watching "Foyle's War," for example, is the almost subconsciously-leisured pace of each mystery. Even when explosions do occur, Inspector Foyle takes his own time to ruminate upon all of the evidence, the suspects and the motives for the crime. If Inspector Foyle has to visit London, nothing changes--he continues his proved thought-processes, even while the city's activities roil around him. And, he takes you along for the ride...at a good digestive pace.
However, I do understand that Inspector Jericho is a "high-energy" character. Like Inspector Foyle, he has very little supervisory support, very little time--and probably funding--for his constabulatory efforts, and he appears to be in an uphill battle to continually prove his investigatory worth to the outside world. In personality, he certainly is very extroverted...not an Inspector Foyle, at all. Hence, the rush-around pace of things on the show.
But, as we "Mystery" fans know, even extrovert/introverts like Hercule Poirot, or Sherlock Holmes, never abandoned that "thought process" link with their viewers, in exchange for overly-clipped scenes and a high speed chase--even when our heroes were forced to really "hoof it" through London streets. There was always time for the viewer to ABSORB the facts and ENJOY the absorption: to soak up conflicting character reactions; taste the atmosphere of a crime scene and ponder any family crises/relationships that might wreak effect upon "the criminal act." In short, television viewers were allowed the luxury of thought with time.
That's the problem with "Jericho." The plot is sound, the atmosphere--what I have time to see and feel of it--is very accurate for the period that it's depicting and--yes--the empathy is there to care about Inspector Jericho, both publicly and privately. But, that's about all that there is time for. Main characters and supporting characters are not allowed the time to really SHOW their emotional and physical depths. So, by the time the program's over, you feel like you rode 300 miles with Michael Schumacher at a steady 395 miles per hour.
Which brings me to a final plea: if there are writers and producers of British television reading this, you do not have to Americanize/"short attention span" my British programming; if I liked the former, I wouldn't bother watching the latter. I know all of the Aaron Spellings of America would disagree with me, but that's why I don't watch their shows in my own country! If traditionally-paced British television wasn't my sort of style, I wouldn't be pleading and critiquing with this letter! That having been said, if you were forced to speed through the production of a program because of a deadline, or lack of funding...well that's out of everyone's control, isn't it? Just ask Inspector Jericho.
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