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THE HIDDEN ROOM

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Only the presence of Prime Suspect’s Helen Mirren could draw me back to this mediocre anthology series specializing in romantic suspense stories, currently in its second season. I can’t imagine, though, what drew the excellent Mirren to this material, an episode entitled ”Love Crimes.” She stars as a mysterious woman who pops into the life of a sad-sack antiques dealer, played by Stephen McHattie. First Mirren coaxes him into giving her a job, then she seduces him. Given the stiff quality of the lines in Jeannie Elias’ script (”My husband doesn’t make me feel as if I’m desirable to look at”), it takes all of Mirren’s talent to make her character seem as alluring as she’s supposed to be. ”Love Crimes” concludes with a hokey, O. Henry-ish twist that will leave you groaning. The only reason I can hazard that Mirren agreed to baste this turkey is that it gives TV viewers a chance to see her in a part more glamorous than her no-makeup Prime Suspect role. In just the first two minutes of ”Love Crimes,” we see her in white lace underwear followed quickly by similar black lace gear. Mirren pulls it off, so to speak, but this actress deserves a lot better. D

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