Hot on the heels of PRIME SUSPECT came Robbie Coltrane's (Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies) outstanding creation of "Fitz," in the PBS series CRACKER. Fitz is an addicted gambler, a heavy drinker, and a brilliant if deepl... more »y flawed criminal psychologist. He is, to the working mind of a killer what CSI is to a trace of blood or a single hair. For Fitz, murder is just the beginning. Three stories follow Fitz as he investigates an accused commuter train killer with amnesia, a couple who share love and murder, and the killing of a young boy that shakes a community to its core.« less
Nancy H. (nanirish) from DECATUR, GA Reviewed on 6/7/2008...
Love this BBC Series! Hard drinkin' Hard smokin' Hard gamblin' yet he has the answers to crime and criminals. Not a dandy-fied series.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
John C. (bookwheelboy) Reviewed on 12/14/2007...
A truly gripping show.
Great show deserves a better DVD transfer and extras.
Ben Rowland | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 11/08/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Cracker" may be just another in a long line of British crime dramas that were very popular in the early 90's, but "Cracker" stands out as one of the sharpest, wittiest, and most intelligently written of them all. I would say it is even better than "Prime Suspect", which is another personal favorite. Robbie Coltrane plays his most memorable part as Fitz, a criminal psychologist who has an uncanny ability of getting into the minds of his subjects, and getting under the skin of anyone who knows him. His is an overweight, alcoholic compulsive who gambles, chain smokes, and cheats on his wife. This is balanced out by his brilliance and articulate nature. The series follows him as he helps a group of police inspectors solve various murders, while he copes with the problems in his own life. To call the series riveting is an understatement, it is bloody brilliant. The episodes in the first season are "The Mad Woman in the Attic", where a young woman is found murdered on a train, and the only suspect has amnesia. This is one of the best episodes. The next one is "To Say I Love You", a Bonnie & Clyde story where two young lovers go on a murder spree. And the last episode is "One Day A Lemming Will Fly", where a young boy is murdered and the only suspect is the boy's English teacher, who is also believed to be homosexual. All episodes are 2 hours long, so you can expect to spend a good 6 hours with this DVD set. The quality of the episodes is where the perks of this set ends. If the quality of the DVD package was the sole consideration, I would recommend this to nobody. For starters, the episodes are presented in 4:3 full frame, not widescreen like most other TV shows transferred to DVD tend to have. The credits are cut off from the screen, and the transfer quality suffers from apparently have no mastering at all done. I am hard pressed to find any differences between this DVD transfer and the old VHS tapes I have. Secondly, there are no extras, save for a Robbie Coltrane biography. With a show as good as "Cracker", commentaries, featurettes, and interviews would be in order. Am I the only one who thinks so?The only reason why I am recommending this DVD set is because it is the only time "Cracker" has seen the light of day on DVD, and the VHS tapes are long out of print. Personally, I am able to look beyond the lousy DVD package and appreciate the episodes themselves, but for people wanting more, you will be disappointed."
One of the best
Brenda Cannon | Virginia | 01/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you go in for police procedurals and the psychological mysteries, this is about as good as it gets. The writing and acting are superb. Also, for those complaning about a missing Episode III in "One Day A Lemming Will Fly", I checked. There is no Episode III. Not in the UK, and not in the US. That was the the way it was meant to end. In this show, like in life, you don't always tie up all the loose ends."
Very Good British Crime Show
Steve Vander | 05/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Crime/Drama/Police (This is not the 1997-1998 ABC show that was based on the UK show, this is the UK show) British show starring Robbie Coltrane as Dr. Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald. Fitz is a criminal psychologist that helps the local UK police catch criminals. Fitz is quite good at helping the police, but he has trouble with his marriage/family due to his addictions (gambling, drinking, etc.). The first series aired in the UK in 1993 and also starred Lorcan Cranitch (Det. Sgt. Jimmy Beck; an angry violent cop); Christopher Eccleston (DCI David Bilborough; head of the detective group); Barbara Flynn (Judith Fitzgerald, Fitz's wife); Geraldine Somerville (Det. Sgt. Jane Penhaligon: while bucking for a promotion, she ends up in something of a relationship with Fitz). Cracker's first series was written by Jimmy McGovern. This series is a very gripping, realistic police drama. Highly enjoyable. Warning: The dead bodies are sometimes seen in all their nudity on an examining table during the show's progress (not exactly easy to sit through, especially when the bodies are carved up and the insides are revealed).
There are three stories in the first season/series. The first season of "Cracker" tells its stories over several episodes (2 or 3 episodes). The first series includes the story "The Mad Woman in the Attic," told in two episodes, "To Say I Love You," told in three episodes, and "One Day a Lemming will Fly," told in two episodes.
The Mad Woman series of episodes finds Fitz helping the police investigating a serial killer, and the prime suspect is a amnesiac bloody man found near the train (first episode 4.22 & 2nd episode: 4.43). The first episode opens with Fritz listening on the phone to a horse race, right outside a classroom where he is supposed to be working as a guest lecturer because he needs the money. Meanwhile the very bloody dead body of a woman is found on a train, and the police quickly determine that she was killed in the same manner of other women. They are after a serial killer. Eventually the police's need for some help, and Fitz's need for money, causes the two to come together, though this occurs at the very end of the first episode of the two part story. Warning: the dead woman is carved up on the examination table (the only completely nude corpse shown during the first season).
The second story involves a quite strange relationship between a boy and girl. The boy has a good enough singing voice to do well in local bar competitions, but cannot otherwise express his thoughts without stuttering (or when he is in a high state of excitement - anger, the stuttering goes away). The couple meets up at a bar, where Sean, the boy, places second place in the contest, and the girl, Tina, leads him back to her place. While that couple is starting, another couple is in a state of high tension. Fitz's relationship with his wife Judith is in trouble, but Judith is willing to come home if Fitz changes, which he can't seem to allow himself to do. Trouble starts immediately for the younger couple (Tina and Sean) when some people come by looking for their money, and the couple end up on the wrong side of the law quickly, though it begins at a minor level (car theft, bus theft) and escalates to murder within the first episode. During the escalation, and before the murders start, the boy is arrested for stealing a bus, and goes "insane" when he is separated from Tina. The police, and Fitz, are on the case. Three parts, three ratings: 3.95; 4.36; 4.30. Nudity warning: naked man in shower; corpse seen, but only legs.
The third story involves a missing/murdered boy and a community that believes that they know the culprit, and want to take justice into their own hands. That suspect? The boy's teacher. The boy is first discovered by a couple having some fun running through a forest involved in a fantasy sequence, but they don't, at first, come forward. A strange story involving mob mentality and know-it-all psychologists, and a possibly gay man (4.29; 4.25).
Americans may remember Coltrane, if they didn't see this series on A&E, from such work as "From Hell"; as Valentin Zukovsky in the James Bond movies "The World is Not Enough" & "Goldeneye"; from the movie "Nuns on the Run" and other movies (like "Harry Potter")."
Fascinating Detective Drama
S. Fackler | Tamarac, FL United States | 09/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have these episodes on video, and I have to tell you, Cracker is one of the best mystery/detective dramas EVER. Robbie Coltrane, as Fitz (the "Cracker" of the title) is compelling to watch, as he deals with his attraction to the young DI Penhaligon (Geraldine Sommerville), his gambling problem, his drinking problem, his ever-more-irritated wife Judith, his ever-more-distant children, and whatever mystery he is solving in each episode. Fitz, a forensic psychiatrist, is called (oftne over objections from some of the detectives) to assist the police force in their investigations.
The entire cast is flawless, particulary Coltrane, Summerville, and Christopher Eccleston as DCI Bilbrough. The mysteries are involving, it is impossible to stop watching! Don't start watching this at night. You won't want to go to bed until you've seen them all.
Excellent British detective series, excellent drama about a man fighting his own demons along with those of society."
Excellent Entertainment, Average Transfer
HFK1000 | USA | 12/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's no doubt that Cracker is an outstanding series, whatever the medium. However, this transfer to DVD is disappointing. The packaging is nice, but a series like this deserves all the best, rather than mere eye-candy. I can't recall if Cracker was originally televised in the States with something other than 4:3 aspct ratio, but at least one of these discs reveals that the original aspect ratio was something other than the 4:3 this package delivers. In "One Day a Lemming Will Fly" the edges of the opening credits are actually clipped and, presumeably, so is the rest of the disc, and all the others: none of the episodes in this set are anything other than 4:3. It's a crying shame that one of the best mystery series in the history of the genre is given second rate treatment. Thank the Good Lord for inspired comapnies, like Criterion, that give fine films all of the loving care they deserve."