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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2014
After leaving the police force, Jimmy Griffin (Kevin Whately) is forced to scramble for a job to provide support for his ex-wife Sally (Annette Ekblom, Fever Pitch) and their kids. Jimmy and his private investigation team—Vinnie (show scripter Al Ashton, A Fish Called Wanda) and Harriet (Sarah-Jane Potts, Kinky Boots)—start investigating claims for a local insurance firm, which puts him in back in contact with Gabby (Michelle Fairley, Game of Thrones), whose affair with Jimmy broke up the man's marriage. Acting as an insurance investigator, Jimmy soon learns, has quite a bit of overlap with to the life of a cop in the danger department.

The Broker's Man originally aired its episodes in two 50-minute blocks. Series 1 assembles the episodes into three movie-length wholes:

"Double Dutch" (96 minutes)—When Dutch criminals steal a ton of digital audio tapes from a warehouse, Jimmy is hired to investigate insurance fraud. Betrayal and murder soon follow.

"Dangerous Bends" (94 minutes)—Jimmy investigates the circumstances surround a deadly accident, which leads to the world of illegal dirtbike racing. He enlists his team to help figure out if the claims against a water treatment plant have any merit.

"Siege" (96 minutes)—During a getaway designed to mend the soured relationship to his family, Jimmy struggles to stop a ring of car thieves and a deranged veteran of the Falklands War.

The notion of insurance investigators taking on mysteries is a novel enough idea, especially with a likeable actor like Kevin Whately in the lead. But it only took about twenty minutes for me to realize that, despite the good stuff going for it, The Broker's Man was really just a boring procedural in a different package.

In each of the three episodes, Jimmy Griffin and his team get hired to look into possibly fraudulent insurance claims that quickly dissolve into chase scenes or gunplay. Good think Jimmy is an ex-cop. The episodes usually find a way to tie all of the cases together and wrap them up neatly, too. Some of the plotting is deft—the subplot in "Dangerous Bends" involving water contamination, for instance, unfolded quite nicely (and fit the show's premise to boot). But otherwise, The Broker's Man suffers greatly when it plods along and takes the most obvious route possible to get somewhere.

Jimmy is surrounded by supporting characters with no depth, from his vanilla team to the one-note insurance company people who serve as this show's police commander. Even Michelle Fairley's Gabby does do much besides pine after Jimmy and make a few flirtatious remarks per scene. The Griffin family fairs a bit better, thankfully, and the drama surrounding Jimmy and Sally's marriage is maybe more captivating than the actual mystery stuff. (Though the number of awkward comic moments the show tries to wring out of Jimmy's old affair with Gabby is cringe-worthy.) It helps that Whately has such a friendly and genial presence on the screen, and he has enough dorky charisma to wipe away some of the show's sins. Only some.

Acorn Media's two-disc set of The Broker's Man: Series 1 is as threadbare as it gets. The 1.55:1 letterbox presentation is subpar—the picture quality is anything but sharp, with several nighttime scenes looking especially bad. (Worth noting: the picture is windowboxed on HD televisions.) The Dolby Digital stereo track fares betters with a quite average sound quality, though the super sexy saxophone music that dominates the score tends to drown out some of the softer dialogue from time to time. If you were hoping for extras, tough luck.

Jason Panella, DVD VERDICT

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 11, 2014
Insurance companies benefit from this ex-cop digging into questionable claims. Jimmy Griffin Investigations handles fraud. But the boss fails miserably at family relations. He's a brave investigator who gets the tough jobs done. He's also divorced but inwardly wants a second chance with his ex. She can't forget the "other woman."
You get suspense, mystery and humor amid tons of Brit drama. It's a unique crime drama approach. It works as believable.

Cast is led by Jimmy (Kevin Whately -Inspector LEWIS; Insp Morse). Ex is Sally (Annette Ekblom -Holby City) with the Ins/mistress connection being Gabby (Michelle Fairley), a pair of beauties. Jimmy's office staff is bubbly Harriet (Sarah-Jane Potts) and fat Vinny (Al Ashton) who also co-writes the 3 episodes. Toss in guest-stars creating fine performance all-round.

SDH SUBTITLES for all feature-length episodes
1- Double Dutch: A million-$ shipping container theft gets `Godzilla' (Peter Firth `MI-5') hiring Jimmy. A late 90's period, VHS tapes involved. Jimmy, desperate for cash, is behind on child-care. A Dutch crime ring may be behind murders as well as bin theft. Post divorce relations conflict. Conspiracy big enough to baffle the best mystery viewer's mind. Claudette (Jill Baker) continues in all episodes.

2- Dangerous Bends: Auto/cycle impact leaves a death and injured who leaves the accident scene. This insurance case and a second (water plant accident) keep Jimmy hopping 2 directions. Danger develops as clues begin to reveal truth. And constantly, Jimmy's personal life tracks like a train wreck.

3- Siege: Sally & Jimmy relationship mends a bit. Hope? Stolen weapon investigation offers a vacation potential. With Sally & kids? With a past mistress nearby? Will this guy never learn? Jimmy takes on another local case unapproved by Sally. Will he put his kids in harms way? 2 Downton Abbey actors guest star: Michael Cochrane & David Robb. A 2-second nude man's backside is a comic flash.

Good enough I'm hoping for a second DVD series someday in the future.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
In THE BROKER'S MAN, Series One, (1997-98), a British television series, the likeable actor Kevin Whately (INSPECTOR MORSE, INSPECTOR LEWIS), stars in the title role, as Jimmy Griffin. This British mystery/ crime drama presents the actor as an ex-cop, (well, did you ever), turned insurance investigator. He's still relying on his bag of tricks from his years on the job: cunning and insight, an ability to think on his feet, the ability to remain cool under fire. So, no wonder he always succeeds in this winning TV series. This boxed DVD set of two discs features three feature length mysteries and runs approximately 288 minutes. There is a modest amount of coarse language and nudity. And thank goodness, and more to the point, thank you RLJ Entertainment/Acorn, it's got subtitles, as these transatlantic ears and eyes guess it's set and filmed in the British Midlands.

A strong cast of actors plays some compelling characters in this entertainment. Annette Ekbom, (HOLBY CITY), plays Sally, Griffin's estranged wife. She has divorced him, as he was having an affair with his co-worker Gabby Rodwell, played by Michelle Fairley, the beloved Caitlin Stark of GAME OF THRONES. Unfortunately, even as Griffin is struggling to rebuild his family and keep them safe from the perils his work engenders, he's still flirting with all the pretty girls. Other well-known guest stars include Al Hunter Ashton, (LONDON'S BURNING)who co-wrote the script; PETER FIRTH, (MI-5); Sarah Jane Potts, (FELICITY); John McEnery, (GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING), and Shirley Stelfox, the first Rose in the beloved Britcom KEEPING UP APPEARANCES. Michael Cochrane and David Robb, two Downton Abbey actors, also guest star. And I'd swear I saw the hunky Idris Elba, (LUTHER) in an uncredited, but named, small speaking part.

The episodes are:

Double Dutch. A shipping container holding millions in digital audio tapes is stolen by a murderous Dutch crime ring, and Griffin's on the case to investigate possible insurance fraud. He finds across the North Sea, entangled with the violent crime ring.

Dangerous Bends. An accident on a village road. Motorcycle and car collide. The car's driver is killed. The guilty motorcyclist limps away from the scene; Jimmy gets involved in the world of illegal dirt bike racing. The investigator's looking into the hit-run, but must also take on a lucrative water treatment malfunction case. Not easy juggling the two.

Siege. As Jimmy is finally able to start repairing his relationships with Sally and his children, he takes them on a modest family vacation. But a small firearms theft falls in his lap, despite his best efforts to enjoy a real holiday with his reuniting family. He's trying to keep it secret from Sally. Hard to do as the man at the center of the case, a veteran of the brief Falkland Islands war, is dangerous and volatile.

We found the first two episodes to be the strongest and most engrossing. However, no matter how you cut it, this is an enjoyable show that mixes crime with humor, and manages to come up with a new twist on the ever popular British police procedural. It's carried ably by the popular Whately and its strong cast. Worth a look any day, as it's available in streaming format.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2014
We are great fans of Kevin Whatley in both the Inspector Morse and the Inspector Lewis series, so it is interesting and entertaining to see him in another series role. This series is from 1997 in a time between "Morse" and "Lewis" and is a different kind of crime detection story with a considerably less than perfect main character. While Whatley's character Jimmy Griffin is an ex-detective, he is about as far from Lewis as a man could get, except that he is excellent at his job uncovering insurance fraud. His personal life is a mess, and he is always just about to get himself sorted out, but the demands of his job leave him little time to work on changing. He has an exasperated ex-wife, two great children and he tries to do the right thing by them. Complicating matters, his boss is his ex-mistress and he has a co-worker with the knack of excessively poor judgment that puts the “love triangle without love” as Griffin calls it, together at the worst possible times. This is mature television with interesting involving stories and characters, some brief nudity, and rough language.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2014
I really like Kevin Whatley. From Morse to Lewis to this, he has shown great versitility and some courage in the choice of his parts. This one is a new path. He is not limited to murder and I like that. The life of an underdog continues, but he keeps the interest of the viewer because he can think out of the box.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2014
I enjoyed the series but have only watched two of the four episodes. I found it to be a little slow and at times drawn out with a predictable plot. The humor was great, and the actors (especially Kevin Whately) absolutely made the story entertaining. I enjoyed the dilemma of the ex wife and the tantalizing relationship with other woman (Gabby) quite entertaining as a prevalent background in all episodes. Overall four and a half stars. As with all acorn productions, it appears that a great deal of expense and attention to detail was put into the production. Hope to get to disc two soon. I believe this will be the first of a long and successful series.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2014
When I ordered this series I was afraid I would be picturing DC Lewis from the Inspector Morse series, which I enjoyed very much, but while watching this I became so engrossed with this character that I was able to enjoy this series and I wish there had been more. It showed him with his kids and with his ex, which he wanted to reunite with, in a real way in that he still had to do his job no matter what. That did not mean that he cared for them less but it is what adults have to do. Throw in there an affair that he had with a co-worker that he still had to work with and you get a very heated atmosphere. I enjoyed this series very much.
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on June 23, 2015
Story lines are winey, with Jim and his wife fighting all the time and trouble with his daughter, which is not relative to the show and not up to Detective Lewis standards. I gave it three stars only because I like Kevin Whately.
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on January 13, 2015
I bought this because I enjoy Kevin Whately in Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis series, and I wasn't disappointed in this series either. Very good. Good cast, with some humor. Would recommend.
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on March 1, 2015
I have enjoyed Kevin Whately's performance is other series that I have seen on PB. This series is excellent, with good plots and excellent performances.
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