Fitz returns to Manchester after living 10 years in Australia with his wife and youngest son. He is soon drawn into the investigation of a British soldier who may have been traumatized by his years serving in Northern Ireland.
Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison's investigation of the murder of a Bosnian refugee leads her to one, or possibly two, Serbian war criminals determined to silence the last witness to a massacre a decade before.
A series of brutal sex murders disturbingly similar to the pattern of Superintendent Jane Tennison's first major case leads to the awful suggestion that she may have caught the wrong man the first time.
This mystery series from the U.K. outlines the adventures of a psychologist employed by the police to aid them in profiling and questioning suspects. "Fitz" (Robbie Coltrane), an avowed drunkard and gambler, has an uncanny knack for boring directly into the hearts and minds of his subjects, many of whom may in fact be saner than he is... Written by
Aaron Finkelstein <email@example.com>
[to a waiter at a restaurant where Judith and Graham are on a date]
It's really very sad - see, I'm a psychologist, and she's one of my patients.
I'm NOT your patient, Fitz! I'm your wife!
Oh yeah! Hi there - didn't recognize you without your straight jacket!
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Simply the best television drama series yet produced
We've had the whodunnit and even the howdunnit but Cracker is something else - its the definitive whydunnit, a superb cocktail of wit,grit and human frailty, perfectly pitched and performed - in short: It's marvellous. If you've never seen it (and this is something you should rectify immediately) the 'cracker' of the title is no less than 19 stone of chain smoking, hard drinking, gambling addicted psychologist whose skills become invaluable to the Manchester police. This set up is established in the opening story 'the mad woman in the attic' in which Fitz (Coltrane) offer's his help to the police when one of his students becomes the latest victim of brutal murderer. The train based killing set-up is based on a real murder that took place on route to London in the early 90's and it's this borrowing from the headlines that gives the series it's sense of reality, often making for uncomfortable viewing. McGovern's character's are never allowed to stand still - they have real emotional and psychological density and the fallout from events in one story (and they're are many particularly in the first two series) are carried through into the next. Fitz is perversely selfish and flawed but is also in possession of penetrative intellect and cutting wit which makes both his domestic scenes in which he attempts to reconcile himself with the wishes of his long suffering wife Judith and the inevitable showdowns with his criminal adversaries equally captivating. It's the later you look forward to the most but there's also a terrific supporting cast to enjoy including Christopher Eccleston, Geraldine Sommrevile and the superb Ricky Tomlinson. It would be unfair to new viewers to spoil the intricate layers of each story by going into them too deeply, simply to say that Cracker was and is occasionally gruelling, always challenging television, the uniquely British sensibility of which lends it a weight (no pun on Robbie Coltrane intended) that would be impossible to replicate elsewhere. McGovern, if you had to lay one criticism at his door, tends to underwrite or caricature middle class characters but when writing about what he knows he's unbeatable. Those Cracker stories not penned by him tend not to have quite as much impact though Ted Whitehead's the Big Crunch has some memorable exchanges between Fitz and arrogant sect leader Kenneth Trant but Paul Abbot's stories, though good, aren't a patch on McGovern's best perhaps betraying his relative lack of experience in the genre at the time. This is all mere nick-picking though; Cracker is superb stuff and if you don't think so then you genuinely need to see a psychologist.
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