Category: MDP On TV

The UK series premiered in 2009 and I heard a lot about it back then.

As often happens with me, I watched a half an episode on TV and got distracted and never got back to it.

Then I bought series one, but that languished on my shelves for a year or so as well. I did watch the first episode and wound up thinking that the show didn’t know what it was quite yet, and therefore neither did I.

Third time lucky. I sat down with real intent this time and gobbled the first three series. In doing so, like thousands before me, I developed an unhealthy crush on the troubled character of John Mitchell. I also enjoyed the bickering, loving, impatient and loyal family dynamic amongst the three main characters, and their deep committment to their friendship. I still think Mitchell’s was the most interesting story arc, though Annie’s storyline had its moments (especially when she finds out the truth behind her own death). However, Mitchell’s struggle to stay clean, his sense of responsibility to his people when Herrick is murdered, despite knowing their evil, and the constant war between his survival instinct and his need to feel connected and loved and still human, made for some compelling scenes.

Aidan Turner did a superb job of switching off the charm and switching on the terrifying blood sucker. As Mandy said to me … so beautiful and so broken. I really thoroughly enjoyed the first three series right up until the final episode.

Turner and Tovey acted their hearts out in the dramatic finale scene, but I felt the choreographing of it (and here I’m looking at the writers and the director) strayed into melodrama. Annie’s final lines to Mitchell, and his to her, came as a kind of a rushed afterthought and the intervention of the “Old One” vampire detracted from the inevitable, and affected the pacing. In the end, the scene played out without quite the emotional weight I was looking for (translated: I sniffled but I didn’t howl!).

Today, before I wrote this, I came across some old photos of Michael Hutchence back when he was a lad about town. It gave me a complete John Mitchell flashback. Mitchell was the complete vampire rockstar, and wasn’t he good at it! I’ve elected not to watch series 4 and 5 for the moment. I’m still too connected to the orginal cast to give it a fair viewing. Neither have I heard anything about the US series but I would welcome some comments on the comparison.

There’s been an increase in cop shows with female leads over the last few years and many of them have been pretty good: The Closer, Major Crimes, King, In Plain Sight, Saving Grace, Cold Case and Rizzoli and Isles come to mind. Poppy Montgomery in Unforgettable is another one to add to the list.

The wiki summary says:

Carrie Wells has hyperthymesia, a rare medical condition that gives her the ability to visually remember everything. She reluctantly joins the New York City Police Department’s Queens homicide unit after her former boyfriend and partner, Lt. Al Burns, asks for help with solving a case. The move allows her to try to find out the one thing she has been unable to remember, which is what happened the day her sister was murdered.

The use of Carrie’s (Poppy’s) hyperthymesia is an interesting hook, and there’s some strong romantic tension between her and her old boyfriend-now-boss, Al Burns. The stories are a little pedestrian but Carrie’s obsession with her sister’s murderer adds a darker and slightly disturbed layer to what otherwise, could be a pretty ordinary cop show. There’s something about Poppy’s Character, Carrie Wells, that resonates for me with Bo played by Anna Silk in Lost Girl. Both are confident, brave, sexy women who value their friends.

I haven’t seen Jane Curtin, who plays Dr Joanne Webster the gnarly Medical Examiner, since her days in 3rd Rock from the Sun, and her acting brings some extra piquancy to her role.

Having cancelled it after season 1, CBS commissioned a second series in which they ditched all of the cast except Carrie, Al and Dr Webster, and relocated the three uptown into much more opulent circumstances at NYPD headquarters. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but I’ll be interested to see if shifting the show’s location from Queens robs it of its little bit of individuality.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I love Canadian TV series. King is now sitting on my video shelves with Booker, The Border, Wiseguy and (my all time favourite) Intelligence.

Unfortunately, this cop show only lasted two series but it’s still well worth watching. Wiki says: Amy Price-Francis [is] Jessica King, a veteran police officer who gets promoted to head of the Major Crimes Task Force in Toronto after her predecessor has a breakdown on television.

Jessica is over-achieving, blunt, smart-mouthed workaholic who takes no prisoners at work. Her husband (played by Gabriel Hogan) is a Guns and Gangs detective with a gambling problem and chip on his shoulder. The marriage is tumultuous and passionate. And then there’s her colleague, Detective Spears (Alan van Sprang), demoted, lonely and kind falling in love with her. It’s messy!

Though the storylines aren’t anywhere near as compelling as Intelligence, Jessica’s relationships with those around her and enough to hook the viewer in. When her and her husband decide to try and fit children into the equation, some very real issues are brought to the table.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the show for me, was seeing Jessica’s personality played out against colleagues, family, felons and strangers. Though abraisive and arrogant she’s also loyal to a fault; the kind of person you learn to love despite her sharp edges. Oh, and the high heels – they rarely matched her outfits. But Jessica King didn’t care.

Unfortunately, like many of the best characters in TV fiction, her network abandoned her. Shame on them!

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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