Posted by Ian
Back for what was reputedly her final screen outing (though we’ve heard that before, of course) Jane Tennison stumbled, blubbed and soared her way through an epic Prime Suspect on ITV last night. Packing at least ten times more drama, suspense and raw personal emotion than Cracker a fortnight ago (fact!), it was a telling reminder of how Helen Mirren has made Tennison into one of the all-time TV detective greats, and of how few other new screen sleuths have been convincingly established since the series began 15 years ago.
Or so this writer thought. But were you convinced? Will you miss Jane when she’s gone, or is she a relic from TV of yesteryear who should have been pensioned off a long time ago? Send in your comments and reviews.
Some of your mails so far…
I have always liked Helen Mirren and Prime Suspect, and this episode surely delivered what we all expect and like from this police cop. It picked up again on her alcohol addiction with a great sympathy for the fact the great detective was stumbling through a nasty murder and the career of great pressure plus the illness of her father. It was emotional and gripping and demonstrates why Helen Mirren is one of the greatest actresses to grace our screens. It was also left at such a cliff hanger for the next episode I can’t wait! Move over Blue Murder and Cracker let the professional through!
Fantastic. What brilliant and realistic acting. This is TV drama at its best.
At last a bit of decent TV, rather then the usual junk we often all subjected to. Brilliant writing, Brilliant acting, it still gives us all hope there is still talent out there, but unfortunately we don’t see it enough. Cant wait for part 2.
Last night’s Prime Suspect was without a doubt one of the best ever seen. Helen Mirren makes Tennison her own but last night’s episode was so real it was almost unbelievable. Tennison’s father died and then she met with her former adversary played by the late Tom Bell. The apology and making up was so much the more real because of the passing away of Tom Bell, although when this programme was recorded none of this was expected. This is a series which has many different characters in it but Helen and Tom were two of the main ones and both are irreplaceable. If this series is to be the end of Tennison then let it be so. No one could have thought up a more touching ending. What a great piece of entertainment!!
Absolute sheer class; raw emotion at its best.
I was very disappointed with Prime Suspect yesterday. I don’t think portraying Jane Tennison as an alcoholic was a sensible step to take with this dynamic actress. Perhaps part two will be better?
When a series is known to be ending, as eg in Morse & The Remorseful Day, that known outcome – death, suicide, or whatever – can ultimately detract from the drama that is actually unfolding before you on the screen. From the title, ‘The Final Act’, we all know this is Helen Mirren’s last outing as Jane Tennison, but incredibly her performance in this her swan song, is of a nature so multi-dimensional – from granite-faced detective, sad lone-dancing alcoholic to grieving daughter – that as a viewer you can’t help but caring for this misunderstood but well-admired character.
Through a look or a single gesture, Helen Mirren ringingly portrays the depths of the emotional and personal pathos that surround Detective Superintendent Tennison now on the brink of retiring from the career she invested so much of herself, yet is left virtually bankrupt at the end of it, without friends – Bill Otley getting tragically shot on the verge of becoming her one true friend after years of obstructive behaviour to her; family (her father accuses her of not being able to recognise her own nieces) or a partner.
Yet inspite of all that, or perhaps because of it, her passion for her job and her resolve to solve the case remain unwavering. Her dedication and commitment though blighted by personal problems, succeed in sustaining and nourishing Jane Tennison and ultimately make her the woman she is. So much so, that you feel you can’t see beyond Tennison without her job – so it’s no wonder this will indeed be, as heavily and accidently hinted by Mirren herself, Jane Tennison’s Final Act. Saying that it’s an act in which she holds no hostages, and bares her soul. History has come to haunt her: her career choice, her choice of being single, with no children, her choice of poison: alcohol. Tennison has to deal with her demons in this case, but she does so in her, as own driven way – head on.
Supported by a brilliant cast, at half time, we already know things are going to get a lot bumpier for Tennison in the next part, but as the pace is so fast and the script so well detailed and layered, the wait will be worth it. Next Sunday will bring this brilliant series to its ultimate (yet timely) end. I for one instinctively feel that Detective Superintendent Tennison will take her final bow in her own special way: blunt, no regrets but doggedly true to herself. Over the years, Helen Mirren, cast, scriptwriters and crew of Prime suspect, have given us a treat, that is increasingly becoming rare. For this I am truly grateful.