I’ve been watching… PRIME SUSPECT

Prime Suspect

While I’m very aware of its position in the canon of truly great UK television, it was only this week that I sought out PRIME SUSPECT (available in the UK on Netflix) for the first time. It’s really remarkable on almost every level. Helen Mirren is strong and fragile and very human with a supporting cast of actors who went on to be among the best of British acting talent. The direction is incredible, with long, rolling, hand-held takes following Detective Jane Tennyson through the den of iniquity that is the crowded, dirty police station: it has the energy and verve of the best cinema verite. Finally, I was amazed at how it was less a procedural than a political drama. I knew it was historically important because of its portrayal of a strong, complex female police lead. It is, however, even more than that: a portrayal of toxic masculinity and structural prejudice. Even now, nearly thirty years later, it feels vivid, powerful and strangely contemporary.

Author: James Topham

James is a screenwriter and freelance. He has written films for Scott Free Productions and Addictive Films and developed TV with ITV Studios, Evolutionary Films and Channel 4. He writes a weekly tinyletter - http://abridged-misc.com

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