Life is never simple for a single mum -- especially when she's the detective in charge. — Newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Janine Lewis commands a close-knit police team that probes some of Manchester's most gruesom... more »e murders. And, as a single mother, she tends four children at home, handling crises that range from head lice to teenage tippling. Janine throws herself into every challenge with energy and passion -- even when her professional and personal lives collide.
British Comedy Award-winner Caroline Quentin (Jonathan Creek, Men Behaving Badly) shines in this dramatic role, heading a fine ensemble cast that includes Ian Kelsey (Touching Evil) as Janine's dishy, dedicated partner and David Schofield (Gladiator) as her doubting boss. With riveting realism and a touch of wry humor, Blue Murder serves up gritty police procedurals that set your mind racing and your pulse pounding. And it sensitively explores the struggles of a thoroughly modern woman, balancing her devotion to family with the demands of her often dangerous profession.« less
"If you loved "Prime Suspect", you won't want to miss this. Janine Lewis, played by Caroline Quentin, is a Manchester-based single mother of three (soon to be four) who also happens to be a Detective Chief Inspector. Coming home to surprise her husband with the good news of her promotion to DCI, she herself is surprised to find him having sex with the housecleaner in their bedroom. After the initial shock, Janine handles this curveball with aplomb, juggling the draining dual roles of chief homicide investigator and sole domestic engineer without losing her mind. She even has time for a promising, if somewhat ill-advised, flirtation with a junior officer on her squad. Janine is Earth Mother to Jane Tennison's Ice Queen, but she is every bit as committed to her job. Like Helen Mirren's Tennison, she must also deal with daily verbal reamings from her male superior and his obligatory musings about a female's capacity to handle her responsibilities in a predominantly male profession. Janine manages to do it all and somehow keeps on smiling. British TV series have a much more realistic feel than do their American counterparts; I can't imagine that an enormously pregnant 40-something woman who looks her age and is a size 18 in the best of times would ever be welcomed as the lead in an American police procedural. Caroline Quentin proves that it is possible to be larger and more mature than a supermodel and still be warm and sexy. I hope more of this series is on offer, though I have no idea why they chose the title. There is nothing 'blue' about Janine Lewis--she's the type everyone would be lucky to have as a spouse or a best friend."
Love british mysteries
Lee | Lennon, MI USA | 07/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoyed this set....I'm sure enjoyed Caroline Quentin in the Jonathan Creek series....I'm waiting for the second on that....I thought the stories were really good and very entertaining....hope there will be a Blue Murder Set 2 out soon...."
She Solves Crimes With a Woman's Eye; Her Homies Love Her
Stephanie DePue | Carolina Beach, NC USA | 07/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Blue Murder, Set 1,"gives us the first episodes of a substantial British crime drama/police procedural, told from the woman's point of view. It is made by Granada for Independent Television (ITV). It is, apparently, a ratings hit in the U.K., where it drew 8.4 million viewers, a number almost unheard-of there, in its May, 2003 broadcast debut. It consistently ranks #1 in its primetime slot. However, the series is only now becoming available on this side of the pond, through its DVD release. It's leavened, no matter how gritty episodes may be, with some sly humor, and domestic subplots.
The series was created, and the first episodes written, by Cath Staincliffe, who has said she's particularly interested in the problems of women, single mothers, trying to be good mothers to demanding families while holding down demanding jobs. Staincliffe is a Northern/Midlands British girl, through and through: she was born in Bradford, graduated from Birmingham University, and, as a graduate, moved to Manchester to start a job. She has published several mysteries, including a series about another Manchester single mum/private investigator. Her work has been nominated for awards, and is highly praised by her hometown critics. Val McDermid, Manchester's reigning crime queen, said, Staincliffe"has her finger on the pulse of her city and that rare ability to write about love motherhood and friendship without sentimentality, a must," in "The Manchester Evening News." Another local reviewer said her work was "compassionate, exciting, and down-to-earth. Infused, also with that rare and precious ingredient: true feeling." And you'd better believe me, in the Midlands, you'd better be down-to-earth. "The Yorkshire Post" said her work was "warm, compassionate and engrossing."
Caroline Quentin (Jonathan Creek - Season One; Men Behaving Badly - The Complete Collection (The Original British TV Series)); an award-winning comic actress, plays the lead part, newly-promoted Detective Chief Inspector Janine Lewis, and reveals that she's got solid dramatic chops, as well as comic ones. She plays a contemporary top cop, supervising a squad in the English midlands city of Manchester; but she's also a single mum of four, who finds it as difficult to supervise goings-on in her own home. Ian Kelsey ("Casualty") plays her handsome lead detective, source of some romantic and professional stress. Among the company, Nicholas Murchie stands out as Detective Schapp.
The stories are set in Manchester, and filmed there: it provides a strong background to them, as a place boasting great diversity of place and atmosphere, and equally great diversity of population. It's just a bustling, interesting-looking town we don't often get to see over here. And the series has been filmed with a liberal hand, no shortage of cars and people in the streets, bars, police station, etc. However, a word to the wise, the actors apparently have been encouraged to use local accents and slang, which add greatly to the foreign flavor and pleasure of the production, if you can make out what they're saying, in an accent that's rather unfamiliar to us on this side of the pond. And there are no subtitles.
The first episode, "Cry Me A River," a two-parter, is by Staincliffe. With three kids at home, and another on the way, Lewis rushes home, champagne in hand, to share the good news with her husband - she's just been made Manchester's first female DCI. She finds her husband in bed with the cleaner Tina, and it's champagne for one. Along comes her first big murder case: she's hardly in the mood, but she worked hard for the promotion and she's determined to succeed. Matthew Tilley, a 42-year old teacher/deputy head of a local high school, has been left to die, almost eviscerated, face down in the mud of his allotment. Lewis's prime suspect is on the run, her only eyewitnesses an elderly dying man and a seven-year old girl. This episode most closely resembles the [Prime Suspect 1 series; it's more violent than the author's usual, and more powerful. It strongly addresses women's concerns and issues; we're going to find out that the vic wasn't a very nice guy. Mind you, we see a lot of pretty scene of crime officers, and a best black girlfriend for Lewis: we won't see these again. Nor, single mum that she may be, will we again see Lewis ironing, or picking the head lice out of her daughter's hair, as she does in these episodes.
The third episode," Hit and Run," also written by Staincliffe, was praised by "The Birmingham Post" as "an original thriller whose protagonist is no-nonsense and thoroughly likeable... combines gritty realism with a clever plot." And you may be sure, once again, those Midlands girls had better be no-nonsense. Another local publication called it "gritty, intelligent, humane, and involving... a highly believable heroine rooted in a vivid and convincing Manchester background." Lewis is dropping her son Tom off at school when she sees a horrifying hit-and-run that kills a little school girl. At the same time she takes a call about a girl's body fished from the river. The two events will prove related.
The fourth episode, "Up in Smoke," is an interesting and rather gruesome one. After the cremation of suicide victim Charlotte Moran, evidence suggests that a second body was burned with hers in the coffin.
The fifth episode, "Fragile Relations," involves ethnic tensions between the city's white and Muslim communities. It's not the most original plot in the world, and suffers from an excess of preachy political correctness.
Episode Six, "Lonely," is again a powerful woman's story, involving the death of pretty young child minder Diane Waugh, and Lewis's only witness to the crime, an autistic boy the victim looked after.
The series inevitably will be compared to Helen Mirren's "Prime Suspect," and it holds its own, although the mysteries in this series are lighter than, not as powerful as some in the "Suspect" series. But, of course, where we'd all mostly agree that Tennyson is tall, slim, and regal-looking, we'd also mostly agree that Lewis isn't. But her homies are crazy about her, anyway.
Murder and More
mona milford | San Francisco, CA United States | 11/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this set no knowing anything about the series and was very pleased, not the best series I have ever watched, but very good. The stories are entertaining and well thought out. The series incorporates a woman detective on the rise and her family going through chaos and change. If you want a fast paced mystery series that isn't boring and has a lot to offer, this is it."
Blue Murder - Season One
M. Dunmire | Murrieta, CA USA | 09/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Blue Murder - Set 1 - Very good. I like to see a women's point of view as an investigater. "