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8/10
The Age of Doubt
Tweekums21 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
While driving to the harbour Montalbano comes across a traffic jam caused by a landslip; at the front of the queue he finds a woman who was going to the harbour to meet her aunt who had just arrived. Soon afterwards they get a report from the harbour saying the boat had arrived and it had found a body adrift in a dinghy not far off the harbour. Strangely the owner doesn't seem to know about a visit by her niece. There is no indication who the dead man is but Montalbano has suspicions about the boat; largely due to the mysterious niece. As the boat is in the harbour they liaise with the local authorities; mostly Lt. Laura Belladonna; an attractive woman who Montalbano soon befriends. The boat's crew seem a little rough; one of them gets arrested by the Carabinieri for relieving himself on their car then a couple of days later the same man gives Fazio a black eye! As the case continues Mimi is ordered to get close to the boat's owner and Montalbano gets reprimanded and briefly taken off the case by his boss.

This was another fun episode with an enjoyable mystery; I suspect many viewers will be able to figure out what the boat is up to before it is revealed but that isn't problem. As usual there is a fair amount to laugh at, including a surreal opening where Montalbano turns up to work to find everybody in dress uniforms because a senior officer has died… that officer is none other than Montalbano… normally I'm not a fan of dream sequences but this one I liked as it was just so strange. The regular cast put in fine performances as usual as did the guests; I particularly liked Isabella Ragonese's performance as Laura; I was rather hoping Montalbano might have ended up with her but is wasn't to be. The ending features some nice action scenes aboard a speeding motorboat that ends with a surprisingly sad moment.
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9/10
A disfigured body and a mysterious boat
TheLittleSongbird17 October 2017
Love detective mystery dramas, particularly those from the UK and US ('Inspector Morse', 'A Touch of Frost', 'Foyle's War', 'Inspector George Gently', 'Midsomer Murders', 'Law and Order', 'Criminal Minds', 'Monk' and 'Murder She Wrote' for examples, and non-English/American ones (i.e. The Swedish 'Wallander' and the Danish 'The Killing') also fascinate me.

'Inspector Montalbano' is one of the best and most entertaining examples. It is not easy breathing freshness into a well-worn genre but 'Inspector Montalbano' manages to do so with aplomb. Watching 'Inspector Montalbano' is like eating a delicious Italian meal that immensely satisfies and leaves you wanting more. There may be very familiar tropes, but in a way it's inevitable and doesn't detract from the enjoyment at all.

"The Age of Doubt" continues the high quality of 'Inspector Montalbano' without being one of the greatest episodes. The whole stuff with the boat is a little too guessable too soon, but still manages to be intriguing. There is barely anything that can be considered wrong here though.

One always expects 'Inspector Montalbano' to look good. As always with 'Inspector Montalbano', "The Age of Doubt" is beautifully shot and the scenery is stunning, making those who've never been to Italy want to book a holiday there as soon as possible and is a treat for anybody who loves all things Italian. The scenery as always is atmospheric and the use of it very clever. The music is never over-bearing or low-key with a nice atmosphere and flavour, a lot of it is very cleverly used. The sound effects are remarkably authentic.

As ever, there is a very good mix of humour, tension and poignant human drama, with a story that's continually absorbing, tightly plotted, complicated without being incoherent and never illogical. It starts with a somewhat surreal opening sequence, while the denouement is both tense and tragic.

Characters may be stereotypes but well-written ones, especially one of the most fascinating foreign detective mystery dramas titular characters there is to me.

Acting is terrific, especially from Luca Zingaretti who is a treasure in the title role, having a perfect balance of comedy and drama and playing it straight while always engaging with his material. All the other regulars turn in great work and Isabella Ragonese's Laura is a lovely welcome presence.

On the whole, great. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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