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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Class Act
ZEN is now available on Amazon Instant View and if the opening episodes are any indication of things to come, then we have a delightful summer delicacy on hand. The series takes place in Rome and features a detective known for his integrity, a Venetian by the name of Zen (Aurelio Zen) played with understated classy style by Rufus Sewell. Zen, who lives with his mother...
Published on July 25, 2011 by Grady Harp

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Zen has Kharma
Beautiful cinematography with likable characters make this an appealing program. Zen is affable and makes the best of extremely sticky situations in a corrupt system. For whatever reason he manages to solve the crime and save the day often flying by the seat of his pants. It is a bit disconcerting to hear distinct British coming from these Italian characters but once...
Published 7 months ago by gmamom


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Class Act, July 25, 2011
By 
ZEN is now available on Amazon Instant View and if the opening episodes are any indication of things to come, then we have a delightful summer delicacy on hand. The series takes place in Rome and features a detective known for his integrity, a Venetian by the name of Zen (Aurelio Zen) played with understated classy style by Rufus Sewell. Zen, who lives with his mother (Catherine Spaak) after his crumbled marriage is involved in defining the responsibility for some murders in the past which happen to mimic some recent murders - and in the complex process we discover that the Italian government wants to engage him on one side of the investigation while another somewhat shady source engages his for the opposite legal decision. There is plenty action and suspense and the uncovering of secrets about the house where the most recent murders took place - a mansion undermined with tunnels and caves and rapidly flowing rivers where a strange young girl Silvia (Cariddi Nardulli) hides from a society that has abused her. Zen perseveres in his intelligent search for facts, a search that happens to include some beautiful photography of the Italian countryside, a romantic interest in the form of the beautiful Tania (Caterina Morino) who is being pursued by the entire office of Zen's workplace, especially by one Vincenzo Fabri (Ed Stoppard), a team of bad buys out for vengeance against the police, and a host of other characters who suggest avenues this series may take.

The cast is sterling though for the most part unexplainably British in this Italian set drama (Stanley Townsend, Ben Miles, Francesco Quinn, Anthony Higgins, Garry Cooper, Adrian Schiller and Cosima Shaw) but the key to the success of this series is the solid work by Rufus Sewell. While the winter and spring shows rest, this series deserves summer attention. Grady Harp, July 11
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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece Mystery Goes To Rome--Three Good Cases Introduce An Understated New Detective Franchise, August 2, 2011
The latest detective featured in the BBC Masterpiece Mystery collection is Aurelio Zen as portrayed with laconic efficiency by underrated actor Rufus Sewell. Sewell has had a varied and interesting career, but oftentimes seems pigeonholed in films as the nefarious villain. It's nice to see Sewell take on television work (John Adams, Pillars of the Earth) that showcase a greater range and versatility--and "Zen" is perhaps his best role of recent years. Embodying a middle-aged, world weary sexiness--Detective Zen stands as a unique entity within the Italian police force. He is known for his integrity and incorruptibility, and in an interesting twist--this is both his greatest asset and his biggest liability. Getting assigned various high profile cases, Zen is also juggling departmental games, shady politics, and a new romantic entanglement. And it is this balance of elements, along with some larger governmental conspiracies and unnamed power players, that bring a refreshing depth to the more ordinary crime solving. The Season consists of only three episodes.

Vendetta: Things get rolling in perhaps the least solid episode (for me anyway). Character introductions vie for time with a plot line that has Zen investigating a case where an innocent man has been charged with multiple murders at a country estate. In addition, an assassin with a personal grudge is also on Zen's trail unbeknownst to the detective. Of course, these two elements will combine into one deadly showdown. It's fun enough, if a bit convenient. A large chunk of time is also spent developing Zen's romantic affair with a new office worker, and this detracted from the main action.

Cabal: With all the introductions out of the way and the romantic angle having settled into a comfortable groove, I absolutely loved this episode. Investigating an apparent suicide, Zen learns that the dead man was blackmailing a powerful criminal organization with many high-profile members. Was it murder or suicide? Getting an assist from a mysterious insider, Zen gets in too deep. But just what is real and what is imagined and does it matter? I really enjoyed the conspiracy theories and twisty nature of this particular story.

Ratking: Zen must contend with a new boss who dismisses him as a glory seeker. But still Zen is brought in by high ranking forces to cope with the kidnapping of an influential businessman. Dealing with the family and the kidnappers, it seems everyone has an individual agenda. Zen's sense of propriety is pushed further and further with his involvement to the power elite. Everything is balanced well in this episode, and this is the funniest entry. I particularly liked the ending.

All of Zen's cases are twisty and interesting, but nothing about the actual crimes differentiates this program from dozens of other detective choices littering the television landscape. Sewell, for me, is a primary selling point of "Zen." Subtle and understated, I appreciated that the program allowed him to underplay the role. He gets to the heart of matters seemingly by accident with this more subdued approach. Ben Miles as an enigmatic politico and Ed Stoppard as a privileged co-worker also stood out, but the entire cast delivers. Droll humor and lovely Italian locales further distinguish this tale. If you like exotic mysteries, this is an easy recommendation. It might not break new ground, but it is solidly constructed and an entertaining diversion. Vendetta was 3 1/2 stars, Cabal was 4 1/2 stars, and Ratking comes in at a solid 4 stars. Check it out! KGHarris, 8/11.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep Zen on the air, August 2, 2011
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The best detective series since Colombo! I read that the BBC has shelved it. I hope someone picks it up soon! Mr. Sewell is a masterful actor and nailed the Zen character. I can't get enough of the program!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish-Complex-Delicious Puzzle Solutions, July 18, 2011
By 
Marilyn R (Morgantown, WV, United States) - See all my reviews
With a nod to the high style of sixties Italian (and French) cinema, Zen:Vendetta introduces Michael Dibdin's bewildered,dogged detective to the small screen. Set in an Italian and, particularly, Roman landscape of Anglo/American dreams/nightmares,this first entry in the series is a delight for Mystery fans. Pacing, writing, cinematography and acting are top-notch. Watch it, own it, watch it again.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will Like it...I have decide., October 8, 2012
Well Drawn and fascinating Characters. Fun and interesting excellent production. A new classic.
Few words can describe. Just watch it. Goes well with coffee.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All 3 Zens - Fabulous, August 17, 2011
Great series. Zen is known for his honesty - yet Rome political figures are always asking him to do something he shouldn't. How does he maintain his honesty and keep his position as detective in corrupt Rome?!? You will love finding out! There is also a little grownup romance for good measure.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great stuff, February 12, 2012
This review is from: Zen Season 1 (Amazon Instant Video)
not sure what the other reviewer was watching, this is a great series...
very entertaining, give it a shot.
just wish there were more episodes :)
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chuckling Good Fun!!!!!!....., October 17, 2011
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..oh and lovely stories as well. Grown up, great fun, complex mysteries. Rent and enjoy the great acting, wonderful scenery, and superb use of music
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When in Rome..., July 18, 2014
If you like to watch mysteries as a kind of travelogue, this Zen series takes you to Rome and the Italian countryside. I like watching it for the scenery alone. But the plots, characters and acting are excellent, too. Aurelio Zen played by Rufus Sewall is a likable detective in the corrupt Italian police force. He, however, has scruples and integrity. How he works with the corrupt system, and keep his job, is one of the delights of the series. The actors are primarily British, but look Italian enough. There's a beautiful love interest for Zen, but the plot and Zen are the focus of the series. Sewell is fun to watch. There's nothing too gory. If you like English mysteries, you should like this little venture to Italy. 4.5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Italian Detective, who' da thunk it!, July 20, 2014
An Italian Detective who'd a thunk it. This too short series is exceptional. Sewell is a master artist, hits the characters squarely as the incorruptible Low keyed copper. Great back story with a little Dolche Vida! Hope to see a return season on Masterpiece Mystories on on Ruko/Amazon. Recommended w/o reservation.
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Zen Season 1
Zen Season 1 by John Alexander
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