Dir: Tom Hooper
Has it really been six years since the last Prime Suspect? This series along with Cracker show how differently the British and the Americans see their police dramas. Although Prime Suspect is clearly Detective Tennyson’s show, the fleshing out of her fellow squad members and of the victims and suspects really give the show a novelistic touch. Detective Supt. Tennyson is not a super-genius, but we thrill at her bullheadedness and determination, while her moments of self-doubt and even defeat round out her character humbly.
There are very few chases–the ones that happen resolve themselves quickly (suspect escapes, suspect caught)–very little gunplay, though there are guns. Tennyson wanders around potentially dangerous areas without a gun drawn, confusing the American viewers. Major clues are not exclusively the domain of the lead–often a member of the team finds them.
Steadily, steadily, the case is built, in this case around an obvious suspect in the murder of a Bosnian Muslim women who immigrated to England 10 years before only to find the war followed her. Interrogations don’t produce immediate results. The media is out of the investigation’s hands and ruins leads. And one major tactic that PS does over and over to some effect is never allowing the audience any release through the protagonist. As stones are lain in her path, Tennyson gets more and more frustrated, but very little do we see her exploding in anger. Instead another, sometimes disconnected, scene begins and we carry over that emotion with us. No wonder the show is so bleedin’ tense.
Helen Mirren is great, just great, a real hero, always thinking.
Dir: Tom Hooper