|Index||4 reviews in total|
The storyline in this episode follows the repercussions of a
hit-and-run accident and an armed robbery in the idyllic settings of
A unique fact regarding Private Lives is the absence of many of the show's regular characters (most notably John Lyons as George Toolan, who until this edition, had appeared in every episode since the start). Nevertheless, Peter Egan puts in a cherished performance as a seemingly upset husband struggling to cope with his wife's accident, but there seems to be more to that case than meets the eye.....
Private Lives is a good enough edition in the franchise that continues the trend viewers had come to expect from Frost, with strong acting and clear conclusions.
This is about layer after layer of deceit as it affects a whole community. An attractive woman is assaulted as she walks toward her house; her family waits for her. She is hospitalized and in a coma. There is Gulf War vet in the neighborhood who has issues with combat fatigue and violence. He is immediately assumed to be the guilty party because he kills rabbits in the woods. There are a bunch of locals who hang around a pub and pass judgment on people. They see themselves as solid citizens when, in reality, they are a bigoted, dangerous lot. At some point, a series of layers begin to be pulled away and secrets are revealed. Frost must wade through the usual lies and deceptions and cover-ups from the principle characters. Watch this. It is really quite engaging, although at times it stretches reality a bit.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's much intrigue in Private Lives especially in the main plot
where a hit and run isn't what it seems at first blush. Frost knows
there's something a bit dodgy and we learn the victim worked as a
prostitute who did much of her trade in London and then some.
There's no Toolan in this episode so Frost has a temporary partner who smokes like a chimney and probably feels no reservations about chucking cigarette butts on another apartment balcony.
Miranda Pleasance, the daughter of Halloween star Donald Pleasance, appears again as WPC Holland.
The sub plot ended kind of predictably, and was no real shock.
The "Greek chorus" in the pub was amusing, as they passed comment on a military vet who takes things very seriously.
'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".
"Appendix Man" and "One Man's Meat" were pretty good, if a couple of steps down from the brilliant previous season. "Private Lives", while still not up to the same level of the previous season, is an improvement.
It does agreed stretch reality and credibility at times, especially in the nature of the robbery (Frost sums it up to a tee calling it "OTT") and the at times over the top portrayal of the villagers. Toolan is noticeably absent after being in every episode up to this point, and he is very much missed and his absence deeply felt.
"Private Lives" is typically a very well made episode however. 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 many twists and turns and things you don't expect. The hit and run case is the better executed of the two cases, with a lot of things not what they seem. The ending is a shock and to me not once foreseeable and not expected at all.
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. Sharpe is a fun partner for Frost.
Jason is impeccable, and Phillip Jackson (best known to me as Chief Inspector Japp in 'Agatha Christie: Poirot', another favourite of mine) contrasts with him brilliantly. Bruce Alexander is typically solid too, while Peter Egan gives one of the show's best supporting turns to me.
Overall, very good episode if not quite a classic. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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