Saturday 14 March 2020


Another decent month in front of the googlebox - a couple of films and some binge watched crime series......

Uncut Gems (2019) - film Netflix

Thrilling, gritty, violent, chaotic, vibrant, manic, funny and a shock ending I wasn't expecting. My kind of film. I do like Adam Sandler. Not all his films have been favourites, but enough of them - The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, Just Go With It, The Longest Yard - to mention a few have been enjoyed.

I don't think I've ever seen him in such a dark film. He was mentioned as a sly outsider for an Oscar nomination for this one, but it never transpired. Can't take anything away from a superb performance. One to watch again in a couple of years. His main character is not especially likable in places, but I was anxious for him to come out on top.

From Google....

A charismatic jeweller makes a high-stakes bet that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. In a precarious high-wire act, he must balance business, family and adversaries on all sides in pursuit of the ultimate win.

Happy Death Day (2017) - film Netflix

One my daughter's made me sit through, undoubtedly in the hope of scaring me. I quite liked it by the end after not initially warming to the main character. I kept thinking Groundhog Day throughout and the film itself acknowledges it towards the end. Not a bad 90 minutes viewing.

From Wikipedia....

Happy Death Day is a 2017 American slasher film directed by Christopher Landon, and written by Scott Lobdell. It stars Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews and Charles Aitken. The film was produced by Jason Blum through his Blumhouse Productions banner. The film is also in association with Digital Riot Media and Vesuvius Productions. It follows a college student who is murdered on her birthday and begins reliving the day repeatedly, at which point she sets out to find the killer and stop her death.

Accused Series 1 (2010) - BBC drama - DVD box set

Blog friend, Elgin Bleecker from The Dark Time mentioned this one a while back. I do like Jimmy McGovern dramas so it was kind of a no-brainer to track down a DVD.

6 episodes in Series 1 and I've watched the first with Christopher Ecclestone. Married man, playing away, planning on leaving the wife, daughter marrying, a wedding to pay for, financial problems after a bounced cheque, a very angry confrontational man, and he ends up in the dock.

I liked the way the drama is constructed as you don't see all the pieces of the jigsaw until the end.

From Google.....

Following people accused of crimes as each person awaits the verdict of his or her trial. Each episode features a different character approaching the dock in court to hear whether they have been found guilty of their crime.

White House Farm (2020) - ITV drama series

Last few episodes watched. I remembered the outcome of this true crime story and it was back in the news as the man convicted of the crimes tried to stop the airing of the series. Jeremy Bamber still protests his innocence.

More on the horrific crime at Wikipedia here.

From Google....

The true story of one night in August 1985, when five members of the same family were murdered at an Essex farmhouse. Extensive research, interviews and published accounts provide fresh insight into the tragic events and the following investigation.

Maigret (2016-2017) - ITV drama series

I'm a bit late to the party. I think there are 4 episodes of Maigret cases starring Rowan Atkinson. I watched one last Christmas and caught two in February after recording them earlier. I still need to find the other one and watch it. I do like them, they're not all action and kind of unfold at a more sedentary pace. I'm not a fan of Mr Bean which had put me off Atkinson, but I'll have him back in my good graces now and associate him with Maigret in future.

I'm not sure of the titles of the ones we watched but one concerned murder and a killer targeting young women. The second concerned diamonds, death and police corruption.

From Google.....

Jules Maigret is a highly-skilled detective of the Paris Brigade Criminelle. He comes up with strategies to capture criminals lurking the streets of France and bring the guilty to justice.


A Prime Suspect binge-fest. I can dimly remember these from the 90s and I know my wife enjoyed them as well, cos she said so. Well I took her up on that and got the DVD box set for her as a Christmas present.

I love Helen Mirren and I love her as Jane Tennison and I love seeing her take on all comers - mysogynistic cops, sexists, bullies, the old boy's network of ranking police hierarchy and villains. I think Tennison has the biggest set of balls going. I do wish she wouldn't drink so much though.

Great viewing, gripping drama, three hour long discs and no adverts - what's not to like?

Five series down - two to go.

I'm tempted to try and read the series of books by Lynda La Plante from which the series was spawned. It might be an ambitious undertaking as they seem to be rather long.

* Spoiler alert - there might be a few disclosure in Wikipedia's episode notes below.

Prime Suspect Series 1 (1991) - ITV drama - DVD box set
From Wikipedia.....

Jane Tennison is a Detective Chief Inspector assigned to Southampton Row Police Station in Central London. She is repeatedly passed over for major cases but, following the death of a Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Shefford, she is given the opportunity to take over his investigation which involves the brutal murder of a young girl. The girl's body has been badly mutilated, and her hands have been tied behind her back. Forensic evidence puts a suspect in the frame.

As further bodies are found, the investigation becomes a hunt for a serial killer. Jane's personal life suffers as she tries to solve the case and win the respect and approval of her male colleagues, including DS Bill Otley. She later earns the respect of her team by locating and arresting George Marlow.

Prime Suspect Series 2 (1992) - ITV drama - DVD box set
From Wikipedia...

When a body is found in the backyard of a home in an Afro-Caribbean neighborhood of London, DCI Tennison has to tread carefully in her investigation because of racial tensions surrounding unsolved crimes in the region. Jane also worries about her recent affair with DS Bob Oswald when he is assigned to the case. A suspect confesses, but Jane and Bob have doubts.

The team receive a confession from their prime suspect, but both Jane and Bob believe that the murderer is still at large. However, the case is thrown into jeopardy when their affair is disclosed in the media, and it threatens to endanger Tennison's position as senior investigating officer.

Prime Suspect Series 3 (1993) - ITV drama - DVD box set
From Wikipedia.....

After being passed over for Detective Superintendent and giving notice, Jane briefly reunites with a very old flame who is now a famous crime writer. But, again, Jane breaks off the relationship and she accepts a new job as DCI in Metro Vice. Jane has new bosses who think she can be micromanaged. Jane reunites with former nemesis, DS Otley, and other old comrades, but Jane finds she is no longer the enemy. The Incident Room is full of humour and raucous moments... but is it business as usual? The former DCI, Lyall, was apparent scapegoat when a new mandate, Operation Contract, did not yield the desired arrests. The supposed objective, clearing the streets of rent boys and other youthful offenders, is said to be the number one priority. Jane senses disturbing undercurrents; she learns there is a mole within Metro Police. Jane, Otley and other officers investigate the murder of a 17-year-old rent boy, Colin 'Connie' Jenkins, which Jane sees as a normal, logical extension of their duties.

DCI Tennison and her team gather more information about rent boys which leads to the existence of a possible paedophile ring. DI Ray Hebdon seems to know about gay bars, drag queens and transsexuals and he is teased; Ray calmly announces he is gay. DI Brian Dalton seems to take Ray's news personally; perhaps, his HIV scare (from the infected rent boy biting his hand) is too much for him to bear. Dalton and Jane travel to see young men previously victimized by an Edward Jones. Jane also speaks with DCI Lyall. Meanwhile, Ray manages to 'drag' a few of his colleagues into the posh Bowery Club. The vicious procurer, Jimmy Jackson, shows up at the club to attack one of the transvestites, and gets quite the surprise. The name of Asst. Deputy Commissioner John Kennington keeps coming up; every officer with rank, including Jane's former boss, warns Jane to quit the investigation. Even when she pretends she can "cut a deal" with her superiors, political games are not in her DNA. Jane visits her doctor and after a second appointment, she is told she is pregnant.

Prime Suspect Series 4 (1995) - ITV drama - box set
From Wikipedia......

A child's death points to a convicted child molester, who has completed his prison sentence, and now lives with a woman and her two young daughters, having kept his dark past a secret from them. However, the man's counsellor believes that he would not have committed the crime because of his preference in victims. Meanwhile, Tennison is promoted to Detective Superintendent.

Tennison, on loan to another jurisdiction, is sent in to investigate a murder of a country club manager. At first glance, it looks like a fairly obvious sex murder, but the facts suggest otherwise. As Tennison investigates, she uncovers a link to the ongoing situations within the local municipal government, and uncovers a possible political scandal which proves to be much larger and darker than she anticipated.

A series of murders resembling those by George Marlow, who was investigated in the original Prime Suspect, has encouraged Tennison's subordinates to reopen the case, given that Marlow was still in prison when the new crimes took place. Tennison objects, as she is sure Marlow is guilty, and suspects a copycat, but is overruled by her superiors and removed from the case. She is vindicated after suspicion eventually falls onto someone who became friendly with Marlow in prison.

Prime Suspect Series 5 (1996) - ITV drama - DVD box set 

From Wikipedia....

Following an intemperate act at the end of The Scent of Darkness, Tennison is transferred to Manchester CID, where she investigates the murder of a drug dealer that she believes was committed by a local gang leader and folk hero known as "The Street".

The case becomes even more sinister when another murder is committed, but Jane finds it difficult to prove that "The Street" was responsible for the attack, as he manages to keep one step ahead of the investigation – leading her to suspect she may have a mole in her team.


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  2. Prime Suspect, is terrific viewing fare, Col, in my opinion. I'm happy for you that you took the time to binge on it a bit. And I'd like to see Uncut Gems. If I'm being honest, I'm not an Adam Sandler fan. But still, a good show is a good show, and if he did a fine job in it...

    1. Margot, I have really enjoyed Prime Suspect. I can dimly remember a few of the episodes, but it's like watching it for the first time really, because it aired so long ago.
      I know you're not Sandler's biggest fan, but you might like Uncut Gems. It's very gritty.

  3. Lots of interesting films and TV here. I want to to see the Maigret series sometime. I agree with you on Helen Mirren. We have only watched season 1 of Prime Suspect, a few years ago.

    1. Tracy, if you get the chance for more Pirme Suspect I would recommend it. Ditto the modern Maigrets with Rowan Atkinson.

    2. aaargh - I should check before posting comments - *Prime*