Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Last Detective - Series 2|
Actors: Peter Davison, Sean Hughes, Rob Spendlove, Emma Amos, Charles De'Ath
Directors: David Tucker, Ferdinand Fairfax, Gavin Millar, Moira Armstrong
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
As disrespected, disheveled, and endearingly dedicated as ever, Detective Constable "Dangerous" Davies (Peter Davison, Doctor Who, All Creatures Great and Small) returns to solve four new, full-length mysteries. His wife l... more »
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The Underdog Detective plods on... Fine DVD from Acorn
dooby | 12/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This enjoyable low-key British crime drama continues with Peter Davison as the under-appreciated, constantly bullied, but well-loved copper, DC Davies. Following his eviction by his landlady, he is now forced to live with his idiosyncratic friend Mod (Sean Hughes). His estranged wife, Julie (Emma Amos), doesn't appear until the 2nd episode and this season we get to see a less pleasant side of her. The second season doesn't have quite as much interaction between Davies and his friends and colleagues as I would have like. This was its appeal to me in the first season. Here it focuses more on the crime solving and mystery element. The mysteries however don't have quite the polish of those from Arthur Conan Doyle, P.D. James or Agatha Christie. Still they serve as moderately intriguing puzzlers. Again, just 4 episodes in this season. British seasons are so painfully short. Thankfully the episodes last a good 70-minutes each.
Episode 1 (Christine) finds Davies looking into the mysterious demise of a rich painter, apparently burnt to death in his own locked room. Suspicion falls on the young, alluringly beautiful and not too grieving widow, Christine (the very sexy Susan Vidler). Mod comes up with his usual crackpot theory: spontaneous human combustion.
Episode 2 (The Long Bank Holiday) finds Davies bullied into working over the Easter weekend. He helps an Indian pharmacist settle a dispute with a racist neighbour and then discovers a horde of buried bones in the man's backyard. An apparent suicide on the train tracks and the disappearance of a prisoner on home-leave are tied together by a murder that happened 20 years ago.
Episode 3 (Benefit to Mankind) has Davies travelling to Wales to look into the apparent suicide of a scientist involved in pharmaceutical research and the subsequent disappearance of his assistant. His sympathetic boss tries to help by counselling him to be more assertive and Davies finally shows some temper and backbone by standing up to the young detectives who constantly poke fun at him.
Episode 4 (Dangerous & The Lonely Hearts) is based on the last of Leslie Thomas' "Dangerous" novels. It is also the most satisfying of the four episodes. Davies helps 8-year-old Katie track down her mother's killer. Davies discovers that his boss visits the same dating agency as the dead mother and that they had gone out together. He also reaches the end of the tether with his estranged wife and gives her an ultimatum.
Not quite as sunny and jovial as the first season, this still makes for a very pleasant evening of light, easy-going entertainment. Like the previous season, Acorn presents this in the original 1.78:1 widescreen (Anamorphic). The 4 episodes are generously spread over 2 discs. Picture quality is excellent. Sound is in the original 2.0 Dolby Surround. Again, no subtitles are provided. Extras include a biography and bibliography for Leslie Thomas, a cast filmography and a picture gallery.
Note: The Fourth season has already aired in Britain and the Fifth is currently in production."
Excellent detective series
Chicago to DC to the boonies | Chicago to DC | 11/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought season 1 unseen, and watched every episode twice within two weeks. I thought one episode was weak but the others were great. I liked every episode of season two very much--no weak episodes here. Dangerous Davies is supposedly the last detective his boss would send out on a case, but in season two he gets more responsibility and at times seems to be the intended chief investigator on real murder cases. Still, most episodes begin with him being put in an embarassing situation to keep his image as the butt of department jokes. There are no cheap shocks in the series, rather it is an enjoyable show featuring a decent and dogged detective. Almost all the criminals and suspects like him because he's unprepossessing, direct, and sympathetic or at least understanding. Peter Davison was a bit bland as Campion, but he's excellent here, very decent and put upon, but not weak or feckless, in fact he shows some impishness and unexpected forcefulness at times this season. His body language and facial expressions clearly convey what he is thinking and feeling as his cases progress. Likewise, while Campion's almost-two hour shows dragged at times, the one-hour format makes for great pacing here. Davies's friend Mod is also a treat--a combination of self-impressed intellectual, gullible self-improver, and deluded expert on all things who is charming in his goofy way. I'm looking forward to season three and the apparently in-progress season four in the future. One of my favorite TV series, without a doubt."
A pleasant set of mysteries, due to the likability and intel
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 12/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The last detective is Detective Constable Davies --"Dangerous" Davies to his coworkers. He's the least likely cop to find himself in a dangerous situation, or so they think, and his boss has said that Davies is the last detective he'd ever assign to an important case. Davies (Peter Davison) may be a bit of a plodder, may be too nice for his own good, but he's also thorough, conscientious and firmly committed to find the bad guys wherever the search takes him. In The Last Detective series, Davies' cases always start out being mundane and, on the surface, uncomplicated. But Dangerous Davies has a habit of uncovering hidden motives, long-ago murders, ruthless ambitions and, just about as often, victims who have no other resource than Davies' commitment to justice.
So far, so good. Davies is played by Peter Davison with immense likability. Davison made his acting name as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small nearly thirty years ago. He has gone on to play all sorts of characters, from the well-bred gentleman detective Albert Campion to the good doctor himself in Dr. Who. Davison is one of these people you like as soon as you see him. That's a vital element in the success of The Last Detective series. The tough fact is that Davies is really the only likable character in the series. His best friend, Mod Lewis (Sean Hughes), is such a fey character that Mod seems more like just a writer's device than anything else. The friendship between the nice-guy Davies and the off-the-wall Mod is never explained and seems unlikely. Davies' estranged wife, whom he wants to get back together with, comes across in every scene they share as petulant and selfish. The two detectives he works with who constantly put him down are simply unpleasant. And his boss has few characteristics that we can admire.
That leaves Peter Davison carrying the weight of the show, and he just about succeeds. We may want Davies to ditch his wife once and for all, to tell his two coworkers to stuff it and to not be so concerned about Mod's feelings...but as soon as Davies goes back to whatever the crime is he's trying to solve, we go back to enjoying the mystery. And that's because of the likability and intelligence that Davison brings to the character.
The mysteries in Series Two are adequate. There are four, each one about 70 minutes long. The DVD transfer is first rate. If you enjoy solid British TV mysteries, you'll probably enjoy The Last Detective, but you might not put it at the top of your list. Peter Davison makes the difference."
Good mysteries and good characters = great series
Smeddley | 07/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My only complaint is that each season is only four episodes long! In season two we get further into Davies's personal life. In the case of a lot of mystery shows I'd say this would take away from it, but this show has always seemed more about Davies than the mysteries. He's such an interesting, loveable character (c'mon, don't you just want to feed him tea and cookies?) that the mysteries take a back seat. This isn't to say they aren't good - they are well-paced and would work even without such a good cast - but they just can't compare with the characters.
Even the side characters (his landlady, his best friend, his dog) are just so unique and interesting, though not in a completely unbelievable, over-the-top way. The only character I want to dislike is his wife, and somehow I can't even manage that. You just know there's a lot of storyline left unsaid, and it's going to keep me coming back for more."