As is usually the case, there's a lot on DI Jack Frost's plate these days. He's been assigned a new officer, DS Terence Reid who has been transferred somewhat abruptly after investigating a university student for selling contraband cigarettes. He has other problems as well, as Frost soon learns, but generally he is a good copper. Their first case is that of a woman, eventually identified as Sylvia Carter, whose remains are found on the railroad tracks after being run over by several trains. She worked for a local sandwich maker and Frost is convinced she was having an affair with someone. Dr. Helena Gibson, a senior surgeon at the local hospital in Denton, goes missing over a weekend. From all accounts she was in on Saturday but didn't show up at a colleague's house for lunch on Sunday. She was brilliant in her field but was disliked by virtually everyone at the hospital so there is no shortage of possible suspects if in fact anything is amiss. Lastly, Jack has a lookalike who is ... Written by
As has been said by me numerous times already, 'A Touch of Frost' is a personal favourite of mine, and one of my favourite shows from the detective/mystery genre. Do have a preference perhaps for the earlier-mid-show episodes over the later ones, but none of the episodes are less than watchable and none do anything to embarrass the show.
So much appeals about 'A Touch of Frost'. Love the mix of comedy (mostly through Frost's snide comments and quips) and dark grit, the tension between rebellious Jack Frost and by-the-book Mullet which has led to some humorous moments, how he interacts with the rest of the staff, the deft mix of one or two cases and Frost's personal life, how Frost solves the cases, the production values, music and of course David Jason in one of his best roles.
There may have been people initially sceptical about whether the show would work, and with Jason (a mainly comedic actor) in a departure from usual in the lead role. Scepticism very quickly evaporated, with the first season containing three consistently great episodes, even with the darker and grittier approach with less humour, that established the tone and characterisation so brilliantly so early on with no signs of finding-their-feet. Seasons 2 and 3 continued that high standard, "Appropriate Adults" and "Stranger in House" particularly being show highlights. Season 4 was also very good, particularly "Paying the Price" and "Deep Waters", the weakest "Unknown Soldiers" still being pretty good. All four episodes of Season 5 were brilliant, especially "Penny for the Guy" and "No Other Love". Season 6 wasn't quite as consistent, but all episodes ranged from good to great, the best being "Keys to the Car".
"Benefit of the Doubt" is the second of four two parters on 'A Touch of Frost', and it is every bit as wonderful as the first two parter episode from Season 7 "Line of Fire". Can be iffy about episodes being split into half, having been done with variable execution on 'Lewis' for example, but not here.
It's a very well made episode as to be expected. It matches the dark, gritty tone of the episode beautifully with atmospheric lighting and the stylish way it's shot. The music is haunting without being over-bearing.
The script is well written, with a few very amusing quips from Frost, and is thought-provoking with lots of things you don't expect. The story is absorbing with a good deal happening while not rushing through it or trying to do too much. Plenty of suspense and intrigue, with a truly shocking end to the first half.
Frost is a remarkably well-established character , and one cannot help love his interaction with the rest of the officers and his chemistry with Bruce Alexander's stern and by-the-book Mullet, who constantly despairs of Frost's unconventional approach. Frost's new partner is a good character and works well with Frost.
Jason is superb as always and everybody else is every bit as good.
In conclusion, wonderful. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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