”Traffik” is one of 10 best miniseries on DVD
CAST OF THOUSANDS Bill Paterson, Lindsay Duncan, Knut Hinz, Talat Hussain, Fritz Müller-Scherz, Jamal Shah, Feryal Gauhar Shah
BREAKOUT STAR Julia Ormond (pictured), as the heroin-addicted daughter of a British antidrug czar
MINI-SUMMARY Tracing the worldwide trade in heroin are three interlocking tales: the stories of a Pakistani poppy farmer (Jamal Shah), a drug kingpin (Hinz) and his wife (Duncan), and the family of the British antidrug minister (Paterson).
HIGHLIGHTS Ormond’s downward spiral has her shooting up in her foot. In a nail-biting sequence, Duncan has to smuggle drugs across the German border.
IMPACT Though it inspired Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning Americanized feature film in 2000, this production, by Britain’s Channel 4, is longer, richer, and more morally ambiguous. Writer Simon Moore went on to do more miniseries (Gulliver’s Travels, The 10th Kingdom), as did director Alistair Reid (Tales of the City).
FOLLOW-UP In addition to the Soderbergh film, Traffik spawned a well-regarded American miniseries remake that aired on USA in 2004.
EW GRADE A-