The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

prime suspect

I just finished working my way through all six installments of the British TV series PRIME SUSPECT that are available on DVD here. (A seventh installment aired late last year on Masterpiece Theatre and should be available soon.) As most people know, it stars Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison, a high-ranking detective on the London police force, and for all of its superficial resemblance to a procedural like LAW AND ORDER it's of a much higher quality. The writing isn't brilliant, but it's better than most American cop TV shows (except for THE WIRE, which is in a category of its own); the acting is great, with the exception of Mirren, who is just brilliant as always. I first saw her in THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE, AND HER LOVER back in that film's theatrical run, when I was in college in Portland and used to go to the KOIN Center Cinemas downtown and catch two, three, four movies in a row. It's a Greenaway film, which means that it's much more about the visuals than the acting, and so her performance wasn't one that demonstrated her talents. She's just won a Golden Globe and will probably win an Oscar, and many critics have said that she has never been better than in PRIME SUSPECT. I haven't seen enough of her work to know. (A good profile of her appeared in the NEW YORKER last year.)

Anyway, PRIME SUSPECT is great. Of the six installments I've seen, I think the best are the first and the sixth, and the fourth is the only one that isn't really essential. But they're all quite good. I now want to see THE QUEEN to see how she does in that role.


  • At 10:35 PM, Anonymous anna said…

    I just decided to forego going to the Queen tonight, actually, and instead am doing some non-profit work. I love Mirren, and the role of Jane Tennison was made for her. Each one of those is great- I love the political struggles and her issues with lifestyle. Ah!


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