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The January airing of this thrilling crime/spy investigative series' 2nd season brought back the cast's key 3 nucleus. Some of the most intelligent British women during WWII were brought to Bletchley as code breakers. They helped win the war. At that time it was a secret, hidden operation, and remained a national secret for decades afterward. This dramatic series reveaed some of the history and aftermath. In the early 1950s Bletchley gals have moved on to marriage and kids. However, the stellar code breaking abilities are yet keen in the minds of these women. That can't be forgotten so easily. And now, they operate independently, without protection of the British forces.
The second season expanded to four episodes, one more than season 1. The story continued from one episode to a second. That pattern was repeated for a second lengthy two-part drama. The suspense never slowed, so expect no difference in series two. The women that found themselves caught between wartime and post-war normalcy were tough, smart, strong, and determined. Yes, it is a female focused series, but content is for all who enjoy strong thriller/suspense and a challenge to never being sure of the conclusion. Code breaking revolved around patterns, and a pattern could change in a heartbeat. So could lives. A realistic look at what it was probably like for the gals who worked at wartime Bletchley, followed by their struggle to blend into the subdued British lifestyle after the war.
It's intense period suspense with costumes, sets, and props doing the appropriate 1950s era. I know, I lived during those years. Blood on their Hands: pt 1 & 2 Uncustomed Goods: pt 1 & 2
First off, it you have not already seen Season 1, I recommend that you do as you'll learn the background on the characters. (You can find my review on Amazon.) With that said, I will proceed with my review of this wonderful "series" but I should also point out that this is a review of the DVD version (from PBS home Video - which they sent to me) which includes bonus features. Amazon has a policy of grouping ALL review of all formats of a show (broadcast, streaming and DVD and BD). You should always sort reviews by "newest first" and then look at format the reviewer is commenting on.
A bit of background on what is here. Unlike US TV series which go on for at least 13 episodes, British TV series can be much shorter. The first season of The Bletchley Circle (TBC) was a three part story running 135 minutes. This "Season Two" DVD contains two independent "stories" (each divided into two 45 minute "episiodes"). The show was created, and aired, in the UK on the commercial ITV network (not the non-commercial BBC) and later aired on PBS in the US. To my knowledge these are the ITV originals. I did not see the US-PBS broadcast version but they are usually edited for some graphic images of violence.
I do not believe in "spoilers" and you won't find any here. Just some basic info: Season One took place in 1951 or 1952 after giving us scenes from their 1940s war years. This season bring the characters - a group of female "code breakers" who were based in Bletchley, England during World War II - up to 1953 when they are now in civilian lives during the Cold War. (There is a brief sojourn back to 1943 at the beginning to set up the story - but I can't say much more about that either.Read more ›
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During the Second World War, Bletchley Park was the headquarters of the UK's decryption organization, where various codes and cyphers were translated by a staff that was made up of 80% women. When the war came to a close they went back to ordinary life, keeping their activities during the war a secret even from their closest family members. They were extraordinary women, who not only saved lives with their diligence but were some of the world's first computer programmers.
Although "The Bletchley Circle" (rather sadly) takes place well after the war has come to a close, the protagonists are all former-Bletchley members who use their puzzle-solving skills to ferret out answers to various mysteries. In the first series Susan Grey, a wife and mother, was feeling stifled by her current life-style and eager to recapture what she considered the glory years by catching a serial killer. Alongside her former comrades (outspoken Millie, quiet Lucy, no-nonsense Jean) they managed to hunt him down, though not without a significant psychological toll.
As with the first series, the second begins with a brief prologue that takes place in the midst of the war before moving forward ten years. Another of their old colleges is in serious trouble - having been found guilty of murdering her former lover, Alice Merren now faces execution for his murder. Having gone to see her in prison, Jean is certain that she's not only innocent, but also hiding something - but what on earth would you keep secret when you're about to be hanged?Read more ›