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Showing 1-10 of 427 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 462 reviews
TOP 50 REVIEWERon February 14, 2014
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

Link: The Bletchley Circle: Cracking a Killer's Code
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on July 20, 2014
Like Season 1, The Bletchley Circle has the five main characters - all women who worked at Bletchley Park as code breakers during World War II trying to find contentment back in civilian life sans the importance and excitement of making such a vital contribution to winning the war against Hitler. Imagine all that these women did and how significant their lives must have seemed only to be relegated to being a "housewife" or teacher, or sales clerk afterwards? To make matters worse, they were obligated to sign and comply with The Official Secrets Act of 1939, which prevented these ladies from even telling their own husbands and/or family members what they did and how they contributed toward saving the world from a deranged human monster.

The stories center around a mystery typically involving a murder or murders and the women using their extraordinary skills to detect patterns and garner clues that even professional police inspectors did not have the ability or insight to do.

I can't say that I've seen a finer and more entertaining show - especially one so centered around true events (and I'm comparing this with shows such as Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Mad Men, Mr. Selfridge's, and Call The Midwives). The actors are superb, and the Directors, set styling and scenes are top notch.

This time around there are 4 excellent episodes (instead of three in the 1st season) with two episodes focusing on two different stories - both equally compelling mysteries involving murders and featuring the fascinating way each woman brings her special skill to help solve the crime.

We lose the considerable talents of Anna Maxwell Martin as Susan Gray in the fifth episode as she and her husband, Timothy (played by Mark Dexter) and their children relocate to Australia for his work. I imagine in real life that Susan just had too many other role opportunities to turn down in order to do the entire 4 episodes. But our loss is compensated by the introduction of another woman who worked at Bletchley with the women, Hattie Morahan as Alice Merren. Alice is actually embroiled in the 1st episode of this series as a suspect in a murder which we learn she did not commit, but she refuses to prove her innocence (except to the other women) as she is protecting someone dear to her.

As I said in my review of Bletchley Circle Season 1, this show is intriguing and entertaining on so many levels since it's based on real historical events and it shows women characters in strong inspiring roles who are attractive FOR their characters and yet easy to relate to.

Before this show, I've never taken time to write or petition for a show to be continued but I actually did that in hopes that some smart producer and distributor would be wise enough to produce a 3rd season. I'd love to see a third season as there is such a shortage of really, really good programming.

One additional note of interest: Kate Middleton, a.k.a. Duchess of Cambridge, and wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visited Bletchley Park in June in Buckinghamshire, where her paternal grandmother Valerie Glassborow was a "Duty Officer" during World War II. Hopefully, that will garner more attention to this excellent series and maybe that 3rd season so many of us fans are wishing for!
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on May 1, 2014
Bletchley Circle is better than a lot of broadcast & cable presentations. It's interesting, engaging, well acted & presented, and. as a bonus, dramatizes a story premise (women's important role in Britain's secret WW2 ENIGMA code breaking effort & the subsequent suppression of that role in a drive to return to "normalcy") which is little known, under-reported & mostly under-appreciated. It's a story that should be told (& heard), & it is - by a committed, well qualified & capable cast & crew.
That being said, Season 2, Episode 1 is not as strong as the first season. The acting & setting are still good, but the specific premise (a seeming government cover-up of a secret bio-weapon program 'mishap') while plausible seems extreme, & the ultimate denouement seems unrealistic bordering on fantastical.

[Note (to the producers or whomever): There would seem to be a similar storyline about the similar contributions & experiences of key women scientists & technical support staff who aided the (also secret) US WW2 Manhattan Project. Could a US 'Bletchley Circle' be a possibility?]
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on June 11, 2014
I found this series fascinating since there really was a Bletchley Circle or its counterpart. These girls were ordinary girls raised in Great Britain who were probably volunteers and after extensive testing were found to be highly intelligent and possessing certain individual skills which could be applied to codes. They solve a particular code confounding the code-breakers and prevent the Nazis from triumphing in an unusual attack against the British planned within the month. They reunite after the war to solve murders and other crimes, simply because they did not want to stand by and let these atrocities occur. All four joined, applying their individual skills, and they solved murder cases, crimes of a particular repugnant nature, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed both seasons. Well-acted, much suspense, and surprising resolutions, result.
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on June 15, 2014
I am an avid mystery buff of British programs and Bletchley fits the bill. Set in the 1950's the circle of women who worked at Bletchley Park are able to investigate and solve murders by following patterns that the police were not looking for during this decade of investigations. These women had jobs during the war that specifically required them to look for patterns. The program involves the viewer to walk step-by-step with the women while they reveal the patterns. Very well thought out and anyone who likes mysteries just might find Seasons one and two intriguing.
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on May 29, 2014
I like several of the actors involved in this series but they could not save the writing. I enjoyed season one and therefore stupidly bought all the episodes in season two. Big mistake. While not bad, it was not at all compiling after the second episode. Unfortunately Anna Maxwell Martin departed the show and her loss is felt. The other characters are not bad but none are particularly memorable and I was never able to become invested in any of their stories. This show seems to be an attempt to cash in on the success of Sherlock and Call the Midwives but having a mystery to solve and being set in post-WWII England is sufficient. The stories needed to be more creative and the characters more interesting. If it's available on Prime, watch it, otherwise, find a better British show.
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VINE VOICEon June 27, 2014
As mysteries, these episodes were pretty conventional: the plots were about a conspiracy, a murder, human trafficking... What adds dimension to this show is portraying the position of women in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Women who contributed their intellectual talent at Bletchley Park during WWII were expected to revert to being housewives or clerks who were not respected by even their husbands.

The show seems to blame the British Official Secrets Act that prohibit people who had secret clearance jobs during WWII, including the women who worked at Bletchley Park, to say where they worked during the war, even to their husbands and fathers. No doubt that Act did not help the important men in their lives to recognize the talent and effort of the women, to change their view of the women. That seemed to indicate that the men and a male-dominated society somehow knew during the war that the women were smart, and recruited them to help win the war, but somehow the women became dumb after the war.

I know from history that this really happened so it's good of this show to point that out, peripherally. Even today, more than 60 years (2 generations) after WWII, there exists societies that actively suppress women, to 'do without' the benefit of their intellectual talents and efforts.

The costumes and makeup in the show certainly make that era seem grim. I am told that after the war in Britain, life indeed was grim. There were shortages of everything including food. I would have given this show 5 stars if it showed more instances of historically correct societal practices, as does another British TV program, Foyle's War.
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on April 28, 2014
I was so excited to learn the second season of The Bletchley Circle was being released that I pre-ordered it. I really wish now that I'd watched on PBS before ordering the dvd. What a huge disappointment that this second season is not nearly as good as the first. As someone else said, it was lackluster and seemed forced. I was especially disappointed with not only the change in the Susan character, but that she was written out of the series completely. IMO, she was the main character and the glue that held the group together so to speak. If by some change there is another season, I won't be purchasing it until after I see it on TV. This was a waste of my hard earned money.
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on March 22, 2017
A British series (post WW2) of smart women who helped the Allies win the war. They regroup to help the male police solve crimes. I found it very interesting. I wish the series lasted longer.
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on May 14, 2017
Anna Maxwell is missed in season 2, but the others do a decent job. I love the series and hope for more. It's good to see smart women working together and supporting one another.
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