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|Index||17 reviews in total|
2007 Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries,
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries, and Outstanding Writing for a
Miniseries, Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act is as dynamic, brilliantly
written, directed, paced, and acted as the rest of the series that
started in 1991. The Final Act is filled with the unexpected plot turns
and introduces interesting complex characters. Prime Suspect 7 was
dedicated to the memory of Tom Bell (Otley) who returned as Sergeant
Bill Otley and who died two weeks before the episode was screened. As
in all Prime Suspects, Helen Mirren owns the screen as Detective
Superintendent Jane Tennison working on her last case before
retirement. This time, Jane investigates the missing of a 14-year-old
girl while struggling with her alcoholism and coping with her father's
death from incurable cancer. She dedicated all her life, talent,
energy, and heart to her work where she had proved to be the best but
the price she paid is incredibly high. The Final Act introduces a young
actress Laura Greenwood (born in 1991) as 14 years old Penny. The
scenes she shares with Mirren are "nothing short of phenomenal,"
according to David Bianculli of the New York Daily News, and I hope
that her following roles will be as impressive as her first work next
to one of the greatest modern actresses.
Too many police dramas nowadays are becoming formulaic, predictable,
tasteless and plain cheesy. Enter Jane Tennison. A multi-layered,
practical, and ageing detective, she is the anti-cliché of the U.S CSI
cop. She is superbly played with grace, depth and honesty by the great
Det. Supt. Jane Tennison is on the eve of her retirement when a tragic murder case of a young schoolgirl presents itself on her desk. It will be her most difficult case yet as she must juggle both physical and psychological weariness of work, compensation for these chasms in alcoholism, and the realisation of her dying love-lost father; with personal regrets and professional mistakes.
While the murder investigation forms the frame of the story, the most intriguing and compelling part involves observing Jane struggling with her professional judgments while juggling her personal demons. In fact Jane's moral dilemmas are the essence of the story and provide most of intricate and poignant moments of the show. Ultimately, they also end up greatly affecting the outcomes of the murder case.
Helen Mirren is achieving accolades left, right and center for her performances on the small and silver screen this season. I admit what got me most interested in seeking out this show was only from the great admiration of Mirren's work as Queen Elizabeth 1 & 2. I pleasantly charmed and beguiled by her guile and artlessness in Prime Suspect 7 and was actually quite entranced by her astute personality and I must admit fetching looks even at 61(!).
Never (ever!) seeing any of it's predecessors before was pleased to find a detective show that along with a masterful and bewitching lead was also finely and crisply directed. Not to mention it actually did keep me guessing towards the end. This was a refreshing change from the nauseating CSIs and shoot-out cop shows, blessed with Mirren's beauty and terrific portrayal.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A 14 year old girl has gone missing in London with the presumption of
foul play. The case attracts the attention of Superintendent Jane
Tennison (Helen Mirren) who is nearing retirement and battling her
personal demons. While several suspects are investigated Jane develops
a personal connection with one of the girl's young friends.
There is considerable time given to the character of Jane Tennison, most of which is insightful and well presented. Though it did seems at times that this episode might have taken things a little too far in these developments, despite the fact her character has always been obviously somewhat flawed.
Both Robert Pugh (DS Alun Simms) and Frank Finlay (Arnold Tennison, Jane's father) return in their respective roles from Prime Suspect 6 providing a measure of continuity. There is also a somewhat surprising and welcome return by another character/performer not seen for several episodes. The cast overall as to be expected from the previous episodes in the series is first rate.
The Final Act presents an interesting investigation of a devastating crime, which is certainly very tragic but not as compelling as it could have been. Thus while it provides a solid conclusion to this wonderful series it is not the strongest of episodes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hfk from Oklohoma, another contributor here, describes seeing this the
first time it aired and being a bit underwhelmed, but then seeing it
again was really impressed.
I totally agree with this comment!
Have just finished watching it and feel compelled to write a review to encourage anyone to have a look at this, because:
1. Like all first class television, the Prime Suspect series in general picks up on contemporary themes in culture and society and holds them up for us to see them closer. This final Prime Suspect does this so beautifully it will prove a rich source of information for future social historians. When we first meet Jane Tennyson she is a woman up against ingrained sexism in the Police Force, about 40 years old. When this was made (about 1991), it picked up on the generation of women who chose a career over the more traditional life map of marriage and children. Fast forward to 2006 and the ideology of the programme seems to have shifted. The writers almost appear to be punishing the character at times for pursuing a career.
Also, the wonderful interrogation of teenage life in London. People will look back and laugh at the 'innit' speech of the kids here. Also, the over the top excessive use of the new technology: mobile telephones and constant texting. All excellently held up for us to ourselves and our world at the time.
2. The acting is just outstanding. Even the bit parts are spot on here. Helen Mirren's performance here, well, put it this way, several times I muttered: 'What a brave performance' - just incredible. At a time where even young actors are getting botox and 'fillers' and starving themselves into submission, Mirren stares down the camera - and 'stares down' a film and television celebrity culture which insists on a cartoonish perfection. Remarkable.
3. The emotional fall out as this programme goes on is almost unbearable to watch at times. You empathise with these fallible human beings. It says a great deal for the writing that no one here is completely innocent or guilty. It says even more that you care so deeply about them all. Even the Headmaster. It would have been so easy to make him a nasty piece of work wouldn't it? He makes a terrible error of judgement.
4. Which brings me to: 'The Final Act' - the very title holds connotations of a Shakespearian Tragedy......and this final act is a Tragedy. Literally. (A tragic figure for example is brought undone by the fatal flaw in their character) Tennyson and Otley: alcoholism. The Headmaster, a desire to escape his middle aged suburban responsibilities and falling for a student.
5. The thematic threads which link Jane's fondness for Penny and the Headmaster's infatuation for Sallie are beautifully realised. When Penny breaks into Jane's father's house late in the piece and mirrors the earlier scene of a drunk Jane dancing with her police hat on, I just marvelled at it all to be honest. Jane and the Headmaster both look to extreme youth to try and reclaim their own lost, carefree youth.
6. Finally, when so many television programmes constantly show people 'having a relaxing glass of wine' to 'unwind' from the stresses of their job, how refreshing to see alcohol in it's altogether more nasty guise. That hangover at the beginning - I could feel that nausea.
Oh......loved the intertextual reference to Helen Mirren playing The Queen (Elizabeth 2), when she quips: 'Don't call me Ma'am. I'm not the Queen.'
Give it another go if you only saw it in 2006. You will very likely (like a couple of us here) be shocked at just how emotionally wrenching this is to watch.
It was a decent conclusion to years of great TV drama...But I expected
better based on what I saw in the last episode....It did stay the
course in that it was hard hitting, tough, real, the hallmarks of the
Tom Bell as Bill Otley was the connection from Episode 1 to the present....He was simply brilliant....The script, although very good, introduced elements which were new to Jane's story....That really through me off....The sister and niece....They never were significant characters in any of the other episodes, unlike Bill Otley and Jane's father....So be it....All in all, I hate to see this series end....I'll probably start watching them again next year, beginning with the first episode....One a year...It will be like revisiting a dear, dear old friend.....well, friend, I don't know about calling Jane a friend......a dear, favorite book....that's more like it....In my dreams, she retires to the isle of Majorca (not Florida, please), and relaxes, unwinds, is friendly, until she sets up a small private eye agency....Don't I wish......
Well it was to be expected that over the fours hours less adverts she would not go out in a blaze of glory and rather more time was spent on Jane Tennyson herself than the investigation. Not on a par with earlier in the series Helen Mirren was nevertheless superb and a new star in the making is Laura Greenwood. The storyline is only adequate and her squad was the smallest yet. Excellent performance also from Mr Tompkinson who continues to impress. But for me there was too much shouting and focus on the parents anguish. Yes it should be portrayed but I thought it excessive. So much so that towards the end the scenes seemed rushed. So I expected and hoped for more but it was good to watch all the same.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Helen Mirren was superb in this - she was tough but broken. Scenes like when she went to the local shop but could barely raise the energy to shop for food, and quietly broke down while reading a Pot Noodle carton, were totally original. The thing is, compared with earlier episodes, the story was no good. It really plodded along and it was obvious who had done it from the start. Also, what an error when Tennison receives the phonecall from her niece, who is being attacked, and seconds later is able to pull the attacker off! I mean, this is London - unless she was in the next street it could've taken her ages to get there, and we're meant to believe her niece was being attacked that whole time? Hmmmmm.
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