Prime Suspect Review: Series Premiere

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There is one thing that kept the series premiere of Prime Suspect from descending into mediocrity: Maria Bello.

Never before have I watched someone who wanted something so badly. Bello, as Jane Timoney, is able to keep up with the boys and beat them at their own game of being a detective in New York City.

Jane and Luisito

While the “Beef Trust” is content to sit around, only going after the suspects that seem guilty and spending the rest of their time drinking and keeping Jane off lead detective work, Jane is dedicated to being an actual detective, even after one of their own died of a heart attack.

And that is what keeps Prime Suspect from being just another show about women being held down in a traditionally male-dominated field.

The Beef Trust doesn’t have a problem with women coming in and being detectives, they have a problem with Jane, specifically because they believe she slept her way to the top.

What sets Timoney apart from most procedural heroines - and something that will probably help her eventually win over the force and audiences alike - is she really does feel like one of the guys. There’s no gung-ho, overly earnest optimism here. Jane is a dark character, filled with bright spots of dark humor and crudeness. She is interested in doing her job well and going over every angle, not closing the case as quickly as possible and getting a beer with the fellas after work.

Another trait that sets Jane apart is how her personality doesn’t flip a switch when she gets home. This isn't someone who suddenly become the stereotypical happy homemaker when she sets foot in her house or is around children.

Jane doesn’t have a problem checking into her boyfriend’s ex and her new husband’s past as leverage to get his son to spend some nights with them, nor does she have a problem showing a traumatized child her gun if it means more information about her case.

The final act perfectly encapsulates who Jane is. No matter what the cost or consequence... she is going to do her job, even if that means chasing a suspect and getting into an absolutely ruthless, dirty fight. Nothing knocks her down for long and no one will stand in her way, even if it means getting tackled and punched in the face.

While the episode's case of the week felt rather generic, and the other characters need some definite story arcs besides being barriers to Jane, one thing is for certain: Maria Bello elevates Prime Suspect to must-watch status.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (128 Votes)

Nick McHatton is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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    great show with great actors and acting, Maria Bellos, Aiden Quin, what do you want more,action, intrigue,male prejudice,a female cop who knows her stuff and is willing to go toe to toe with her male counterparts, now that's my kind of show. if the network is to stupid to realize the quality of this program then they should be fired, and the same goes for whoever put them up against pro football for the ratings, shame on you a/h

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    Best new show in years. I love it, love it. love it.

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    I didn't think I was going to like this when I watched the promo commercials for it, but I really like it. I hope it doesn't get cancelled. M.Bello is a believable character and not one of these obnoxious female cops who dresses in 6 inch heals and looks perfect all the time (CSI). I find it a nice change.

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    Watched because it replaced my usual program and was immediately reminded why I turned it off before. Who thinks it is a good idea to have the
    characters chomping gum with slack jaws?? A bunch of cows chewing their cud !! How attractive. At least the dishes in the sink got washed while I took a TV break.

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    Love the program...since it has a story line above a 3rd grade level, guess it will be axed...hope not!!

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    Why is this show repeating last weeks' storyline? I really don't want to watch the same show twice.

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    My favorite female tv cop was Grace Hanadarko played by Holly Hunter in the unfortunately cancelled series 'Saving Grace'. For some reason Mario Bello's character Jane reminds me a little of Grace. Maybe it's because she's another female tv copy having hot sex with Kenny Johnson. I love the show and adore Maria Bello.

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    great show, M.Bello is very believable as this charactor. all the actors are good. well written stories sure hope it stays on!!!

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    best show on along with SVU

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    My husband and I looked forward to the UK version with Helen Mirren. You got involved with her character. This character (Maria Bello) is a drunk with a horrible personality and you really hope she falls off a bridge and does everyone a favor! Who decided this was how to play this character in this light (or should say dark)! Gave it two tries, no more, waste of time and electricity! So sorry for all involved with this series, goodbye not quick enough.