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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
In, "PRIME SUSPECT" Helen Mirren makes the show as Tennison. Obsessed, work-driven, feminist attitude, course, in-your-face drive, believable. Most is man-like rather than the occasional romantic portion which does exist. She's a drinker, and almost never smiles. The cases may not always end to your satisfaction--just like real life crimes and punishment. But you will be on the edge of your seat while you watch. "Prime Suspect" is compelling viewing, ruthless in the detail, definitely not for children and the squeamish, blatantly course visually and in dialogue, but oh, so realistic.
Police drama was changed forever by Helen Mirren's as Jane Tennison.

1-Brutal murders, & DCI Tennison gets promoted to head of the murder investigation team after the present leader dies. She takes on a botched investigation, a slippery suspect, a home-front relationship, and proves to have more than what it takes, even being a woman, to male surprise. Loads of blood, mutilated bodies, bare chests (including star Zoe Wanamaker), graphic scenes and language. It's unrated-but be warned. Introduces the woman-at-the-head cop.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2013
Having recently discovered the excellence of such American TV series as The Wire, or Sopranos, I was keen to have a look at one of the first such series, the English one called Prime Suspect, with the fabulous Helen Mirren. Finally I managed to watch series 1 of 1991, not without misgivings: can it have aged well, would it not be dated and antique?
No, it is still as fresh as if it had been done recently. Some things have changed of course. The star looks like 40, not like the queen. And her female cop Jane Tennison struggles against male ignorance among her colleagues on an unimaginable level. No current show would dare to depict men as such stupid idiots.
The 200 minutes of the first series are not broken up in hourly or 45 minutes dosages, but come in just two installments. The plot focuses on just one case. It is a whodunnit, but it is also a procedural and a character study and a social study. Tennison is ambitious, selfish, vain, smart, and we see how she has to be better than her male colleagues in order to get things done. Mirren is outrageously good. If I can I will watch the other seasons too.
If I have to find fault with something: the mood switch among her colleagues, from rejection of her leadership to total support, comes too suddenly out of nowhere. The process could have been shown more convincingly. I think the series The Closer with Keira Sedgwick handled that same motive much better.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2013
This review is for the whole series ... the first episodes are enjoyable if you like British Police Procedurals. There is a sub-plot of the lone female detective in the "boys club" of the police department ... but after a few episodes the series itself seems vaguely sexist in a creepy way. EVERY murder was some sort of lurid sex-crime rape. EVERY victim in EVERY show is a female who is brutally raped and murdered. I quit watching after the repetition of the rape/murder plot wore thin. This series might have been good if they let Tennison solve different types of murders ... male victims ... money ... blackmail ... drug running ... a little variety might have saved this series. As it is ... it was like watching the same show over and over again ... oh ... another female victim? Let me guess ... she's been brutally raped, tortured, and murdered, right? One show like this I can understand ... but a whole series? Creepy ... and not in a good way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2014
Helen Mirren is a consummate actress, with the absolute ability to infuse each character she portrays with simultaneous steely determination and touching vulnerability. She is magnetic and riveting to watch. As the ambitious Jane Tennison, we watch her character's struggle to combine the demands of her job as a police detective with her responsibilities as a partner in a romantic relationship -- a challenge in which she does not succeed. But her promotion to DCI -- a supervisor over other male homicide detectives --and her struggle to outwit both her colleagues' chauvinistic attitudes and the suspect's wiles -- culminate in an outstanding series. Don't miss this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2014
Believable characters, portrayed on professional and personal levels, making this a realistic story. Most of us have professional lives that are often in conflict with our personal lives and responsibilities. Mirren is a wonderful actress as her face shows her inner conflicts as she struggles to prove herself in a male dominated profession, and to hold her personal relationships together, and at the same time, she is striving to outsmart a serial killer. This is riveting viewing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Helen Mirren is in my mind the best actress of our time.. I cannot think of a film where she did not shine! She is able to take on the personna of the character she is playing, she is believable, honest, intelligent, and quite lovely.

I recently reviewed the first couple of episodes, and in the first series, the difficult time that DCI Jane Tennison had breakng into the old boy's network, comes full force. The smirks, the lies, the deceit from the men who were so afraid of a woman taking over. When she had her first win, and the men in her department greeted her with cheers and champagne, I ffelt tears in my eyes. I was a woman in the 60's and felt the discrimination and had the bottom pitching. I knew exactly what she went through. Tom Ball who plays DC Otley, the most despicable liar of the entire team has his comeuppance and none too soon. The other big distinction between the time Helen Mirren plays Tennison and now, is the amount of smoking that took place. A clig in everyone's fingers was not out of place. We see a little bit of the personal life of Tennison and we cheer her on. She has a difficult time. Always well groomed and well dressed, Tennison is the kind of woman we all want in our lives as a mentor and friend.

From an early review of 'Prime Suspect', I found this from the New York Times, "THINKING back to the impression Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison made when the British crime drama "Prime Suspect" first reached America in 1992, it's easy to focus on strength: the hard set of her jaw as she took on the sexism and cronyism of a London police force that, in real life, had only four female detectives out of a total of about 500 at the time.". Sets the mood for the series.

'Prime Suspect remains one of my favorite series, certainly because of Helen Mirren, but also the strong, wonderful character she plays, DCI Jane Tennison.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 09-01-12

State of Play

The Debt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2014
This show from the 1990's is still a great show - it lets you see why Helen Mirren is such a great actress - it is much better than the Law and Order shows and the other crime series that are on TV today
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2014
In very few short statements: Five stars for main plot and the quality of actors' performance. Helen Mirren is splendid but others shine as well.

Not so many stars for inclusion of "side plots" that have nothing to do with the main topic, such as family life of the main character. This was well intentioned, I'm sure, and in principle made sense by placing main plot in the broader context but it was executed in such a way that it made the movie a bit too long and action too slow.
Five stars for directorial work, actors, four minus for screenplay.

Some reservations notwithstanding the film is very entertaining. Strongly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The cast in this series is top-notch and the writing is excellent. Each episode has kept me interested and wanting more. I have always been a Helen Mirren fan, but as a rule do not watch series television. However, I took a chance with this series, and am so pleased that I did. The action and the drama are evenly paced and, the actors all seem to actually listen to one another and feed off one another in their interactions. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good police procedural with a some occasional intrigue thrown in for good measure. I am watching the rest of the series, and so far they are only getting better!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I came to Prime Suspect first later in the series. It is fun to go back and see the beginning and marvel at how good Helen Mirren was even then. All the things I remember from the later seasons were already there - the intensity to the exclusion of everything and everyone else and the underside of success. I am trying to watch the following seasons to see the evolution.
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