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Prime Suspect (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000050539
Added by: Chris Cox
Added on: 21/6/2003 01:01
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    Review of Prime Suspect

    8 / 10


    British television has a proud history of delivering high quality serious Police drama - both in series form like the critically acclaimed (and simply brilliant) Between the Lines and in mini-series form like Cracker and Prime Suspect. The latter two ITV produced shows have recently been released on DVD, with each of the seven and ten respective episodes available as single discs or box sets. Each box set contains the same discs as the individual releases, repackaged in a fold-out slipcase. The discs themselves are identical.

    Prime Suspect originally hit the British television screens in 1991 and stars Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Jane Tennison, a female police officer struggling to make her mark in a career dominated by men. This First series sees Tennison controversially put in charge of a murder case, fighting against disillusion from within her newly adopted team. As the investigation progresses, it becomes clear that the first victim is sadly only the tip of the iceberg.


    The video is presented in the 4:3 full-frame as broadcast on British television long before the introduction of 16:9 television sets. The image is free from dirt, but a little grainy - obviously ITV`s archiving isn`t up to the standard of the BBC, who generally manage to deliver higher picture quality.

    Prime Suspect always has been a series made with movie production values, and the first series is superbly filmed, with gruesome murder scenes and excellent use of location. The series certainly warrants the eighteen certificate emblazoned on the front cover, with a couple of particularly grizzly murder scenes and some stomach churning realism.


    The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, which is shame because a full 5.1 channel remix would have given the soundtrack the bite to match the visuals - something that would have increased the impact of the series even further.

    As it stands, the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is more than adequate and delivers solid vocals and a reasonable reproduction of the series` score and sound effects.


    Sadly, the disc is totally devoid of extras, featuring only a static menu offering "Play" and "Chapter Selection".


    Prime Suspect won high praise on release, and was awarded the 1991 BAFTA for best television drama - a title that it thoroughly deserves.

    Running for a cheek-numbing three hours and thirty five minutes, Prime Suspect is never anything other than utterly enthralling, with an excellent story-line, a superb cast delivering top-notch performances, a wide range of conflicting and interesting characters and excellent visuals.

    Few television dramas warrant repeat viewing because when you have discovered who the villain is, or how the crime was committed, the impact and tension of the series is greatly diminished. No so with Prime Suspect - I`ve seen this first series on a number of occasions, and it is almost as good now as it was when it was first released.

    There are no extras on the disc, but three and a half hours of high quality drama for ten pounds represents fantastic value for money - even more so when bought as part of the box set.


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