11 user 6 critic

Prime Suspect: The Scent of Darkness (1995)

A series of brutal sex murders disturbingly similar to the pattern of Superintendent Jane Tennison's (Dame Helen Mirren's) first major case leads to the awful suggestion that she may have caught the wrong man the first time.


Paul Marcus


Guy Hibbert
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen Mirren ... Supt. Jane Tennison
Pip Donaghy Pip Donaghy ... Len Sheldon
Tim Woodward ... George Marlow
Stephen Boxer ... Supt. David Thorndike
Hugh Simon ... Chief Inspector Finlay
Alan Leith Alan Leith ... Supt. Howell
Stuart Wilson ... Dr. Patrick Schofield
Penelope Beaumont Penelope Beaumont ... Dr. Elizabeth Bramwell
Christopher Ashley Christopher Ashley ... Antony Bramwell
Glen Berry ... Wayne
Joseph Kpobie ... Al
Otis Munyangiri Otis Munyangiri ... Pete (as Otis Munyang'iri)
Rebecca Thorn Rebecca Thorn ... Policewoman 1
Scott Neal ... Geoff
Christopher Fulford ... DCI Tom Mitchell


A series of horrific murders of women in a pattern very similar to a previous series of murders Superintendent Jane Tennison (Dame Helen Mirren) investigated lends support to a growing popular feeling that she arrested the wrong man, who has always claimed his innocence. Jane refuses to accept that possibility and orders her team to investigate the new murders to the exclusion of reviewing the older ones. The growing friction of the suspicions of her fellow officers and her own convictions lead to her being taken off the case as being biased. Now, she must try to restore her professional reputation while investigating elements of the case on her own. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Did You Know?


The program Jane's (Dame Helen Mirren's) boyfriend is watching, as she tries to solicit his advice on her case, is an early Lee Evans sketch/stand-up show. See more »


Chief Supt. Kernan: I have absolutely no choice but to suspend you from all duties. Please give me your warrant card.
Supt. Jane Tennison: [Looks at Mike] I shall, of course, vindicate myself at the earliest opportunity.
See more »


Followed by Prime Suspect 1973 (2017) See more »


Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)
Written by Harry Dacre
Background music at Pier
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User Reviews

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23 May 2006 | by UACWSee all my reviews

I previously wrote that part 2 in this set was going to be the most gripping for myself - without even having seen this one, part 3. I liked the premise of part 2 and could not imagine I'd find another better.

But OK: I give in. I admit it: this is far and away the best of the three. It is everything part 2 is and more. It's just so juicy seeing Mirren have to haggle with these creeps who are simultaneously her superiors. She says herself that acting is no big deal, but try telling that to all the two-bit actors out there who never seem to get it. Did Chuck Norris ever say acting was no big deal? (Come to think of it, he would say that, wouldn't he?)

Tennison is up against it in this one. Everything's at stake, and the plot follows a classic (but not worn out) story line found in many whodunits of this nature, namely Tennison's integrity is called into question. And the case has her really upset. And things fly in all possible directions. And you have to really stay on the edge of your seat to get all the clues. Meaning it's a bit of an intellectual challenge, in addition to everything else it gives you. Which is only good.

There's no contest: even if you don't particularly like the format, odds are you'll still be 'glued to the tube' for this one and unable to break away.

The writing, the direction, the acting - and above all (and it's a lot) Mirren stand out and shine.

The UK have come out with some amazing detective series over the years, and this is one of their absolute best.

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Official Sites:

PBS/Masterpiece Theatre





Release Date:

15 May 1995 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Epäilyksen polttopiste: Pimeyden haju See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television, WGBH See more »
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