Sunday, July 31, 2011


Since a new PRIME SUSPECT is in the works (with Maria Bello in the role made famous by Helen Mirren), I've been revisiting the first episodes from the early 90's, produced by Granada television and written by the talented Lynda La Plante.

I had never heard of Helen Mirren before I watched this series, and I've been a fan of hers ever since. Looking back now, I can see why Prime Suspect got so big, and why the San Francisco Chronicle called Detective Jane Tennison "perhaps the greatest role and performance of a female police detective, ever."

Mirren is utterly assured as the cop who wants to prove herself to a slew of sexist colleagues, but her performance is nuanced enough to show us her moments of vulnerability--moments that never happen in front of the men she must lead. I still love this series after 20 years; it is a testament to the fact that good writing and good acting produce a chemistry that lasts.

I fear the new cast has impossibly large shoes to fill, and the comparisons to Mirren's version will be inevitable. In any case, I highly recommend a look back at the original series, which you will want to plow through with obsessive speed (or at least I did). :)