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84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Twisty Cases Come To Life In This Entertaining British Crime Drama
With so many crime procedurals on TV today, it becomes increasingly difficult to find ones that bring something special to the mix. Truthfully, don't you feel like you've seen every possible crime, every possible culprit, and every possible plot twist under the sun? I know I do! But, I must admit, I still love the good ones. Whether a grizzled police veteran, a cunning...
Published 14 months ago by K. Harris

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
The cast just does not match what I expected after reading Robinson's books. Don't care for Annie at all. Hope season 2 is better.
Published 3 months ago by Jack W. Walker


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84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Twisty Cases Come To Life In This Entertaining British Crime Drama, August 30, 2013
This review is from: DCI Banks: Season 1 (DVD)
With so many crime procedurals on TV today, it becomes increasingly difficult to find ones that bring something special to the mix. Truthfully, don't you feel like you've seen every possible crime, every possible culprit, and every possible plot twist under the sun? I know I do! But, I must admit, I still love the good ones. Whether a grizzled police veteran, a cunning private eye, or a new breed of truth seeker, you can always count on the protagonist to peel away the layers of a twisty investigation to arrive at a stunning revelation! Despite the overabundance of these shows, I will say that I've always had a soft spot for the British series "DCI Banks." It's not necessarily a program that reinvents the formula, it just executes it so darn well! Adopting the books of popular crime novelist Peter Robinson, the "DCI Banks" series (in its three years) covered seven of the author's titles. I don't know why they stopped there! Robinson has brought Banks to life in approximately 22 books (give or take a volume) between 1987 and 2013.

Each of the book adaptations were originally shown in two parts, with each episode being about 45 minutes or a whole self-contained story in about 90 minutes if you watch them back to back. These are what have been produced for TV

DCI Banks: Aftermath (2010): Adapting the 2001 novel Aftermath (but you probably guessed that), this was the TV introduction to the Banks saga.
DCI Banks: Season One (2011): Adopts 2004's Playing With Fire, 2007's Friend of the Devil, and 2000's Cold is The Grave.
DCI Banks: Season Two (2012): Adopts 2005's Strange Affair, 1994's Dry Bones That Dream, and 1996's Innocent Graves.

At he heart of the "DCI Banks" series is an impassioned Stephen Tompkinson as the titular lead. He plays a fairly typical archetype: a disillusioned cop right on the edge of reason. But Tompkinson imbues Banks with just the right mix of integrity and volatility. You never know quite which way he's going to go. Tompkinson exudes compassion and is obsessed with justice at any cost. His counterpoint DS Cabbot, played by Andrea Lowe, is more pragmatic and by-the-book. They begin as adversaries, and clash with frequency throughout the various cases. But adversaries will learn to respect one another and each brings something to the table that benefits the other. Sounds like a classic pairing, doesn't it? But the cast is populated by solid and likable performances, both by regulars and guest stars.

As with any episodic crime drama, some cases may intrigue you more than others. That's only to be expected. But overall, I just find "DCI Banks" to be clever, entertaining, and exceedingly well made. It doesn't shy away from brutality either, and is not for the squeamish. Over three years and 14 episodes in the seven adaptations, this is reliably solid. And it only gets better as it progresses and you get to know the characters. I don't know that every story would get five stars, but each individual season (as well as the full run) deserves it for dishing out some twisty adult entertainment.

Here's a glimpse of Season One:

Playing With Fire (Episodes 1 and 2): The discovery of two bodies in a suspected arson lead Banks and Cabbot to uncover an art forgery scheme. When another victim is found, Banks is determined to find the man behind the forgery ring before he can strike closer to home.

Friend of the Devil (Episodes 3 and 4): This one has a lot of murder. A corpse in a storage room is investigated by Banks as Cabbot takes on a mutilated body on the Moors. When the identity of the brutalized girl is revealed, Cabbot seeks to connect this death with that of someone on the force. Meanwhile, Banks has difficulty determining how his crime was enacted.

Cold is the Grave (Episodes 5 and 6): A robbery suspect is murdered, and the team must uncover a complicated series of events. Was the robbery staged? And when bodies keep popping up, it leads Banks to suspect that someone very close to him might be involved in these criminal dealings. KGHarris, 8/13.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of 2014 DVD release -Another great British crime series but be prepared for graphic violence. No SPOILERS here., June 8, 2014
This review is from: DCI Banks: Season 1 (DVD)
As I post this review (in June 2014) there are already three lengthy reviews of this DVD (from 2013), though this release - from BBC Home Video - is due to be released on June 17, 2014. (I received an advance screener from the distributor.). This is because Amazon has a policy of combining all formats (streaming and physical product) together. So you should always note the date of the review.

Since there are two fairly in-depth reviews here, including one by my fellow Amazon Top 50 reviewer K. Harris, I won't go into much detail - though, honestly, I always feel that long reviews of mystery series give away too much info. Mysteries are called that because the less you know the better. But I'll let you make that judgment call.

This volume contains three crime cases which are solved by DCI Alan Banks and his partner Annie (along with his small team of two more detectives. Each case is covered in two 44 minute episodes. Note that even though the BBC name is on the package, the series was produced by the independent commercial ITV network, which is why there was plenty of room for commercials when it aired in the UK,

The series also aired in the US on some local PBS stations (more like a syndicated series) and I can't be certain if there was an edited version that was shown. (This happens with a lot of British shows that air on PBS in the US.). But I will warn you that this is probably the grittiest and most graphically violent show I've seen in a long time. Yes, the cases are fascinating and will keep you guessing (in most cases) but squeamish viewers may want to know this. Also know that the third story has nuditity and the S-word is used. (Just alerting parents here, though there is enough graphic violence that the language is comparitively mild next to that.)

The murders -each based on a novel by Peter Robinson - are central to each story. Banks (actor Stephen Tomlinson) is a serious man who lives alone and almost no time is spent on the personal lives (or background) of the recurring characters. But that's fine too. The three cases in Season One date back to 2011 and there is a Season 2 - released in the UK. So hopefully that will be released later this year.

If you like British crime dramas, I can recommend DCI Banks; just be aware that the show is more violent than many others.

The set includes two DVDS. There are 4 episodes (2 cases, with 2 episodes each) on the first disc and the remaining case on the second disc. There are no bonus features.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark & Disturbing Drama, December 1, 2013
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This review is from: DCI Banks: Season 1 (DVD)
I found "DCI Banks" to be dark, disturbing, and intense. I bought DCI Banks rather impulsively not knowing anything about it. I was yearning for a British crime drama to feed my appetite for them. I have not read the Peter Robinson books this series is based upon (and perhaps that's a good thing because I had no expectations for it to live up to) and therefore I can't speak to how closely the award-winning books have been adapted. The (British) rating on the cover states: Suitable for persons of 15 years and over. Not to be supplied to any person below that age. Contains strong sex references, threat, and bloody injury. For American television: [I'm GUESSING,] TV-14 or MA? Unlike many American crime dramas, there is no gun-play BUT murder has many means! I'm not sure if it's because I'm overly sensitive, but I think this program is not for the squeamish or faint of heart! I'll try and sum up...there are less violent portrayals and autopsy gore than seems "normal" these days but there are many eerie and disturbing and DARK themes.

Each two-part episode was suspenseful and filled with twists and turns. I was definitely kept guessing because the audience is kept in the dark about all the details up front and only let in bit by bit. I LOVE this! So at the beginning, I was thinking, "ah-ha! I know what happened!" but then something new was revealed to make me re-think my conclusions. For this reason, I am deliberately vague in my descriptions about the cases in this series. There are four: Aftermath (the pilot,) Playing With Fire, Friend of the Devil, and Cold is the Grave. As I've come to expect from the British in this genre, the acting is top-notch. Stephen Tompkinson seems perfectly cast as Banks. The supporting cast is brilliant as well. I'm convinced that no one does this kind of drama better--for me--I love how the British weave these stories. DCI Banks does not disappoint in acting, character portrayals, and plot. It is engaging and intense. I found it easier taking a break between episodes. I was glad that each was a two-parter. I also had to close my eyes a few times during each episode. I've gotten used to that in the programs of today, which has an emphasis on graphic details. (I'm a dinosaur, I suppose.)

***NO SPOILERS***

In the pilot, Aftermath, we are introduced to acting DCI Alan Banks of the Yorkshire Major Crimes Unit. Banks is temporarily serving as DCI if and until someone else fills the position. If not, then he will. The episode opens with the ominous information that five teenage girls have gone missing over a period of some months; the community is afraid and blaming the police for not yet finding the girls and apprehending the perpetrator. Not only is DCI Banks feeling the public's pressure, he is on the receiving end of even more by his boss, Superintendent Gerry Rydell. If Banks wishes to obtain the position of DCI permanently it is hinted that he MUST solve the case of the missing girls! Not a good situation for Banks at all. But, there's more. During a domestic disturbance call, a suspect, (the husband in said disturbance,) is beaten into a coma, perhaps by one of the two Police Constables called to the scene. Rydell brings in DS Annie Cabot to investigate the actions of the PC; was the force to subdue the suspect, which resulted in coma, warranted? Rydell is "politically" motivated to keep the public off his back, and it seemed to me, even if it means throwing the PC (and Banks) under the bus to get it done. DS Cabbot is very young to be a DS and boasts that she deliberately chose to investigate her fellow officers to achieve that rank. She's extremely ambitious and appears capable and willing to climb over anyone that gets in her way. This includes not only the PC being investigated but yes, you've got it, Banks! Cabot is perfectly suited to do Rydell's politically motivated, save-his-behind, dirty work. Cabot interferes, undermines, and uses all her "wiles" to get her job done. DCI Banks is up to his neck with the missing girls' case and now with Cabot. I found myself wondering why in the world anyone would want to do what Banks does. I watch a lot of British crime dramas and almost every single one has a Superintendent someone-or-other just like Rydell. Wow! Isn't the job hard enough without piling on grief from above?

In episode two, Playing With Fire: We see that after a month's ordered leave upon solving the missing girls' case, Banks is now DCI and has added DS Cabbot to his team. (Trust me, if you are anything like me, you'll be asking him: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?) The crime scene is two burned out boats, inside one is a body and the other, derelict and abandoned has sunk to the bottom of the canal. We know that it is arson with the intention of murder and so does Banks. When another body floats to the surface of the canal, who the intended victim was meant to be becomes the focus of the investigation. It only gets more complicated from there with many reasons it could have been either victim, or both, and for several different reasons!

In episode three, Friend of the Devil, Banks finds himself with two cases on his hands at the same time. While he takes on the murder of a young woman in the center of the city, he assigns DS Cabbot as the Officer in Charge of the murder of another woman outside of town. The victim in Cabbot's case is known to Banks and inexplicably his case and Cabbot's connect. The drama is both eerie and cold. This one definitely made me shiver.

Episode four, Cold in the Grave is by far the toughest on Banks and therefore it was the toughest on me. I always get involved in the main character's "life" and root for them in some way. Unfortunately, it involves the daughter of Superintendent Rydell (making it SO stressful for Banks, to say the least.) In this episode, we see a different side to Rydell and meet his beautiful wife and daughter. It seems that Rydell has a heart after all and even, dare I say it, trusts DCI Banks to handle his "family matter." I felt more than a little uneasy during several scenes of this one. Whew!

Throughout the four episodes I found myself simultaneously liking Banks and muttering advice to him about what I thought were foolish choices he continually made. I thought a man of his age (late 40's early 50's maybe? I'm horrible at guessing age) and rank should know better! All in all, I liked him. That's how I prefer it. He seemed to be the "still waters run deep" sort with occasional emotional outbursts! He could go off at any minute. He is sufficiently intimidating when needed in the face of some particularly rough characters. There were times when I rather thought that hasty retreat was the better option! However, he stood firm, clenching his jaw with resolve. In one episode he is threatened by a shotgun poking him in the nose! He ultimately is a caring and dedicated man...a worthy "good guy." I thought he was the kind of guy I'd want on my side. As I kept asking myself, considering all the grief he goes through; WHY, WHY, WHY would he want his job? Banks answered me; for justice.

I have DCI Banks: Season 2 sitting on my DVD player right now. I'm taking a break so I can recover! Caroline Catz joins the team, and as a fan of hers (I loved her in Murder in Suburbia and Doc Martin); I'm looking forward to seeing her again in something new. I see that this series is coming soon in the US/Canada format but if you can't wait....Amazon sells multi-regional DVD players for as low as $40!

Update: DCI Banks: Season 2 is brilliant! Five stars!
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DCI Banks Season One, November 11, 2013
This review is from: DCI Banks: Season 1 (DVD)
Happen to run across this on PBS over the weekend and gosh what a great series. I was glued to my TV all afternoon. I watched three of the four episodes and will be buying this and season two as soon as they are available for US viewing. The stories were interesting, acting was fantastic, great chemistry, cast was very believable. Just great acting and great murder mysteries. I can hardly wait!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man on a mission, August 18, 2014
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This review is from: DCI Banks: Season 1 (DVD)
DCI Banks is that chief inspector whose investigations both past and present all seem to run together at times like tendrils of smoke from a fire until he can trace them to their origin and make an arrest. A boat fire to cover up an art theft turns into a double murder when a second burned body is found floating in the river. That leads to an even more heinous crime. Then his own medical examiner is falsifying her findings to cover her own crimes. And on it goes. The acting is excellent and the scenes of the English countryside are stunning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DCI Banks and company, August 6, 2014
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This review is from: DCI Banks: Season 1 (DVD)
I LOVE it!! I am in the process of reading the "Inspector Banks" series by Peter Robinson. I have purchased season one and I find, as far as film can be faithful to novel, they have done a great job! This is a truly interesting series. It's not so bloody and gory, as most of Americans seem to need from "cop shows", but more cerebral. The acting/actors, scenery, etc., are all incredibly good and the shows hold my interest from start to finish. Anyone who enjoys British detective novels and shows will enjoy this series as well. I hope more become available soon.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Question, February 3, 2013
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This is a terrific show - currently on PBS in the US. I am curious though about Aftermath. They showed it on PBS and tell me that is only 1 1/2 hours and there is no part two - which they did say originally there was a Part 2. So I would like to know how long Aftermath actually is. After watching what they showed, it definitely seemed like it ended in the middle. Anyone know?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 12, 2014
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This review is from: DCI Banks: Season 1 (DVD)
Came quickly, had no issues, played well...would definitely use them again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 11, 2014
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This review is from: DCI Banks: Season 1 (DVD)
enjoyed this series very much. looking forward to season 2
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 10, 2014
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This review is from: DCI Banks: Season 1 (DVD)
good show--should be more of them on this disc. The 3 episodes were very good
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DCI Banks: Season 1
DCI Banks: Season 1 by Various (DVD - 2014)
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