Prime Suspect 1

Nearly four hours each and never less than brilliant, these gripping British crime dramas are even better than their stellar reputation. Helen Mirren’s star-making turn as the prickly Det. Chief Inspector Jane Tennison is still a marvel, with Tennison’s razor-sharp professionalism contrasting wonderfully with the shambles of her personal life — somehow, she’s never more appealing than when she’s being rude to a superior or snapping at a loved one — and the intriguing murder cases she must solve. In an error rare to the format, our copy of Suspect 2 froze on side 1 and proved difficult to get started again, though a second copy we tested worked without a glitch. And while the no-frills packaging philosophically fits the no-nonsense Tennison, the dearth of extras — where’s the commentary from Mirren or Suspect creator Lynda La Plante? — hardly befits these landmark moments in TV movies. Prime Suspect 1: A Prime Suspect 2: A+ Presentation: C-

Prime Suspect 1
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