Helen Mirren is Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison who is promoted to Detective Superintendent. In this Fourth series three two-hour episodes are included: The Lost Child, Inner Circles, The Scent of Darkness.
"Prime Suspect 4 was different from the prior three series as this had three stories and three episodes instead of one story presented over 3 episodes. Superintendent Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) is the no nonsense head detective that sees through the muck to find the killer despite her superior's lack of support.
The Lost Child - Directed by Shakespeare in Love's John Madden. In the usual Prime Suspect twist, Jane has just had an abortion and on her return she is assigned a child abduction case. The Prime Suspect is a man that physically abused his stepdaughter, Chris Hughes (Robert Glenister) but his current girlfriend has given him a solid alibi. When the baby is found dead in a sluice, Jane puts the investigation into overdrive. But when an overzealous police officer shows Hughes' girlfriend a therapy tape, she recants her alibi. This sends the team after the wrong man.
Inner Circles - After a pair of intruders are caught, the owners dead body is found. When the local DCI is "otherwise engaged," Jane is brought in and she is more interested in who did it than keeping the peace of the quiet town. The country club inner circle wants the murder to be charged on the intruders but the facts do not support this. In fact, the victim had financial problems and was involved in a notorious counsel land deal. When Jane figures it out, the killer himself has been murdered. Now she has to prove who was behind it all.
The Scent of Darkness - A woman's body is found and everything points the killer to be Marlowe. But Marlowe is in jail (see Prime Suspect 1). Now Jane has to figure out who is the copycat killer. And is there an additional motive behind the killing. When Jane refuses to consider the new murders could be linked to the old, a member of team leaks details of the murders. Or is it her new boyfriend. Jane gets taken off the case but she continues to investigate and finds out the reason Marlowe was killing his victims. But now she needs to put together the reason why the new murders are happening.
Prime Suspect is the best police drama ever. Saying these are not as good as the first two is like comparing two fine wines. These are still better than anything you will find on television. Helen Mirren has created a detective of great insight that is battling a sexist hierarchy. Tennison's bosses know that she is the best but cannot give acknowledgement of this to a woman. Therefore, when she is in charge, she takes no guff and no prisoners.
DVD EXTRAS: None "
Wrong George Marlowe but always right Jane Tennison
Miss Otis | New York, New York USA | 02/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Another reviewer at Amazon was exactly right in pinpointing the weakness of this entry in the series as being the decision to revisit the Marlowe character from Prime Suspect 1 but with a different actor playing him. The first Marlowe had such an interesting ambiguity, a likeability and seeming sympathy, that this one, albeit a good actor, unfortunately can not match. That said, however, that the actual crime being investigated is the least convincing part of Prime Suspect 4 doesn't lessen the episode's impact. Prime Suspect's "not as good" is still loads better than most other crime dramas, the reason being that Jane Tennison is such a compelling character and she is surrounded with equally complex supporting figures. Several of the key cast members in Prime Suspect 4 are detectives and superior officers that we've gotten to know in the preceding episodes. The fact that the case necessitates a re-opening of the Marlowe case, the case upon which Tennison's career as a D.C.I. was established, makes this an even more intimate look at her personality, how she works with her colleagues and how that, combined with departmental politics, impact on her approach and effectiveness in her work. Her private life takes on more significance here for her current lover, a psychologist, has participated in a book written on the case. The intelligence of the series, however, is that we are seeing more of her personal life not to make this into a chick flick melodrama but to examine more closely the workings of her professional world and her particular place in it both as a woman and as the very individual woman she is.
And yes, Jane is still having some issues with smoking."
Superb work by Mirren, et al.
tjdinvt | Vermont, United States | 07/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The three stories in this installment of the Prime Suspect series are intense, absorbing, beautifully done. As mentioned in other reviews, the re-casting of the George Marlowe character in 'The Scent of Darkness' is strange, but not fatal to the telling of the tale.
Warning: there are no extras whatsoever in this DVD set (which is why I give it four instead of five stars) -- no commentary, no language/subtitles options, no additional features re: the making or the people involved in the making of, nothing. Just three excellent Jane Tennyson stories."
Snowbrocade | 03/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I like Helen Mirren's character of Jane Tennison so much that I have begun collecting the entire series. Her character is very intense, very thorough, brilliant, and at times frustratingly obnoxious, but I think that she is the best female detective to hit the airways. I realize that she only makes one or two "Prime Suspect" movies a year, but every one that I have seen exceptional and worth the wait."
Gripping, psychologically intense and gratifying!!
Snowbrocade | Santa Barbara, CA | 03/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't worry--Helen Mirren is as electrifying in this three episode series as she ever was. This series raises the bar on police detective drama--the psychological intensity and complexity are second to none!!"