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The Helen West Casebook
The Helen West Casebook
Actors: Connor Mullen, Amanda Lee Burton
Genres: Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2009     4hr 49min

Based on the bestselling suspense novels by Frances Fyfield She?s a workaholic lawyer with a conscience and a messy personal life. As a crown prosecutor, Helen West deals with domestic abuse, sexual molestation, and murde...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Connor Mullen, Amanda Lee Burton
Genres: Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 08/18/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 4hr 49min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 07/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The HELEN WEST CASEBOOK" is a set of 3 full-length TV crime/mystery dramas with each episode simultaneously mixing person, professional, & romantic lives. Police crime fighting, prosecution, and after-office hours are packed into this British collection.

Frances Fyfield, English lawyer/author, worked for the Crown Prosecution Service and wrote the suspense book series "Helen West Novels". The main character, Helen West, mimics the author's life as a CPS lawyer and romance addict. Is it based on Fyfield's own life and crime vocation?

Amanda Burton plays Helen West in the DVD set. She works in the office of Crime Prosecution Service as a Crown Prosecutor. She's beautiful, a fanatic at law work, a raucous lover, sassy, tactfully insubordinate, and bent on justice. She's a women's libber that men could drool over--and they do. Burton wins awards with this type of character. See BURTON also in "THE COMMANDER SET 1", another recommended DVD set (see my review.)

One of my favorite lines is Miss West brushing off her amorous police beau, "You're adorable, and so is a large donkey." Later he responds, "Could we not just be good lovers?" Marriage potential?

Vol 1. DEEP SLEEP is 93 min. (Adapted novel was published in 1991)
A death turns to murder since the victim could not have administered the final lethal dose of chloroform herself. CPS lawyer West seeks new evidence against her significant-other/lover/partner's suggestion to "forget it." Lover, 'copper' beau, police Chief Supt. Geoffrey Bailey, is played by Conor Mullen.
Other regulars introduced in this first story are CPS boss Brian Redwood (Nicholas Woodeson) and Dinsdale Cotton (Anthony Howell) a lawyer office romantic want-to-be toward West.

Vol 2. SHADOW PLAY is 98 min. (Adapted from a 1993 novel by same title)
A low-class man, Lycett (Robert Pugh), looks for his child, Ernie, (a 10-yr search) while continually getting arrested as a pervert. West has her frisky relationship with cop Goeffrey escalating. Miss West's clerk, Rose Darvey (Jessica Dyelowo), is "working" her way through the police force causing fights among "the boys". West is instructed to "have a talk with her." They connect after both test negative for possible pregnancy.
There is a surprise, suspenseful conclusion you'll enjoy.

Vol 3. A CLEAR CONSCIENCE is 98 min. (Adapted book from 1994)
West's apartment spring cleaner can also help paint the planned redecoration. West and Chief Sgt. Bailey have cooled a bit. Troublesome cases at work. Bailey's incomplete murder case may have a connection to West's cleaning lady, Cath (Lynda Steadman.)
Again police investigation, lawyer cases, romances, and secrets go spinning like tops, bouncing against each other. One plot rubs against another till they fuse together to a climax. Good mystery stuff.

Extras: Burton and Fyfield bios. No subtitles for the dialect challenged or CC for the hearing impaired. Not for wee lads & lassies: violence, blood, and those semi-graphic 'romantic activity' situations.
Just really good crime, mystery, romance, police, and yes, lawyer drama.

Aimed Squarely At The Smart Woman
Stephanie DePue | Carolina Beach, NC USA | 08/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Helen West Casebook, a British mystery suspense television series, was produced in 2001 by Arrowhead Productions for the United Kingdom's ITV (Independent - i.e., commercial, stations). A police procedural/thriller, it aired on "A & E" in the United States in 2002. It is now released as a box set consisting of three feature-length crime dramas, totaling approximately 289 minutes. The set features biographies of star, award-winning actress Amanda Burton; and author of the best-selling thrillers on which the series is based, the award-winning Frances Fyfeld. Unfortunately, the set does not come equipped with subtitles, and it could use them, as the actors are seemingly following the current protocol in accents: use whatever you think best, and let the audience struggle.

Burton, who plays the title character, Helen West, a crown prosecutor, has won three National Television Awards for most popular actress in the U.K. She also stars in The Commander Set 1; and Silent Witness Complete 1&2 Series 8-DVD Set. (I absolutely loved Burton as "Sam Ryan" in "Silent Witness," which she co-produced. I believe that show also aired on "A & E" in the U.S. for a while, but, unfortunately, it seems so far to have been released only in European DVD form.) (Burton also played "Elly van Roekel" in one episode of the 1990's series of Van der Valk Mysteries, Set 1). For years, I thought that Burton was the daughter of famed Welsh actor Richard Burton, but the Northern Ireland-born actress evidently is not.

Author Fyfield based her stories on her own experience as a crown prosecutor. She has made her character here, Helen West, also a dedicated prosecutor, who deals in gruesome crimes - murder, domestic abuse, sexual assault -- and has an abiding commitment to truth and justice. But West's personal life is messy: she can't quite seem to rationalize a troubled relationship with Geoffrey Bailey, (Conor Mullen, Reckless) the handsome policeman with whom she works. Other series regulars, both of whom turn in excellent jobs, include Anthony Howell (Foyle's War: Series 1-5 - From Dunkirk to VE-Day); and Nicholas Woodeson (Rome: The Complete Series). The series, which is uniformly well-acted, also showcases Dermot Crowley (Bleak House); Rita Tushingham (The Knack... and How to Get It; Doctor Zhivago) and Martin Freeman ("The Office (U.K.)," "The Old Curiosity Shop."). The episodes are:

Deep Sleep. The wife of a respected pharmacist dies in her sleep. West smells a rat; everyone urges her to move on.

Shadow Play. Lowlife street sweeper Lycett is often seen in court, suspected of child abuse. He claims his long-lost daughter is the only reason he seems so inappropriately interest in other people's children.

A Clear Conscience. West's new house cleaner/painter comes trailing suspicion in the high-profile death of her brother, a champion boxer.

The shows are unique, sophisticated, suspenseful, intriguing and well-written, told from a feminine perspective. Plotting is intelligent and tight: the mysteries let us in on clues as they go. Production values are high: Location filming in some of London's darker and dirtier streets is satisfyingly atmospheric. These are stories squarely aimed at the intelligent woman, who will enjoy them.

Wonderful Series
Alex Thomas | 09/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I remember watching these three episodes on tv several years ago and enjoyed them very much. I really like watching Amanda Burton's characters, she's a wonderful actress. If you're a fan of her work, you won't be disappointed. Viewing these episodes now brought back memories and still kept me on the edge of my seat."
Well-wrought Adult Entertainment
Richard B. Schwartz | Columbia, Missouri USA | 02/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is not West, Q.C. in the mode of the John Thall series. Helen West is a prosecuting attorney, but this is not courtroom drama. The protagonist is involved with a police detective and, as we first meet her, is in surgery for the removal of an ovarian cyst. She is pulled in multiple directions, both in her personal and professional life, but still manages to become involved in cases whose nature evolves across a complex set of plot lines. This is adult material, but not adult in the pornographic sense. The sexual material is explicitly inferred rather than explictly rendered. The characters are interesting and multi-dimensional, the ethos gritty but not overwhelmingly so. The supporting cast is exceptional, with Anthony Howell of Foyle's War fame, Nicholas Woodeson from Rome, Foyle's War, and other productions and Conor Mullen as Chief Superintendent Bailey, Helen West's lover. Amanda Burton is effective in the title role, but the plots are broad and deep and West is only one of many important characters in the stories' plot arcs. Strong production values, good direction, but, unfortunately, no subtitles. Turn up the volume if you want to hear all of the words and have half a chance of understanding them. Highly recommended."