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
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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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Loved the original Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren and absolutely love Maria Bello in the new series. I don't bother compare. I enjoy both shows and their lead actresses on their own merits.

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I didm't think there was any resemblace to the British show. She is a tough New York cop with a lot of ambition but not to be the Captain or Commissioner. I thought the men were over the top and hope New York has more women then shown on the show. One thing that really atood out was a woman who can wrinkle her forhead. When did you last see that? A real woman doing a real job without cleavage, how amazing. I liked her, but the men need to work on their attitudes. She won't complain but others should. The males must be part of the current nostalgia for the 60's.

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Not having seen Helen Mirren's version of the series, my unbiased opinion is this show is a wowser! I'm an instant and loyal fan of Maria Bellos. Let's hope the network keeps this one on.....

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I love Maria Bello, but she sure isn't Helen Mirren! Maybe this series will find its leg... I hope so, 'cause I adore Bello. There is such potential here but... At this time, this show bears absolutely no resemblance to 'Prime Suspect' and is completely lacking in compelling characters or script! Shallow, two dimensional, full of stereotypes, amateurish writing, puerile plotting, etc... Pathetic. Calling it 'Prime Suspect' is offensive to anyone who was addicted to the British series! Ms. Bello deserves better and so do the viewers. Retool and for petes sake give it a NEW NAME!

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You say, '...she really does feel like one of the guys...' ...and then you go on to list/describe her good/interesting characteristics and qualities as if they make her LIKE ONE OF THE GUYS. No, no, no, no, no.
They make her like a real, human person. Like you, or me. What you mean is, those qualities thereafter listed, make her seem like yourself, like a human, like a person with a specific, unique, distinct, individual personality. You just never realised that women are humans just like you! We are not a different species. We are precisely, exactly, astoundingly the same. Those very thing you listed ARE things women do. All the time.
Women are humans, of a different variety.
Women as portrayed on TV? Another breed altogether. I hope I have made my point at least clearly enough to get my point across. I do have such terrible trouble with expression sometimes. All I mean is, you seem to think that the personality traits given to her character make her 'like one of the guys' but they DO NOT. They make like me, and like any other women I have ever met - HUMAN. Yes men, women are humans (and therefore possess everything included therein) just like you. GAH. P.S. The HUGE video advertisement that opens up from the bottom of EVERY single page on this website to cover 60% of the screen is extremely irritating.

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great 1st episode! Good example of a smart,female cop giving the highly, un-intelligent teamster-talking cops a little mental flogging to put them in thier place.

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This is awful. I tried to expel the fact that there was a much better original Prime Suspect and give this a chance. But you cannot beat Helen Mirren's Jane Tennison with this nonsensical remake. Watch the original if you want to watch Prime Suspect at its best!

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What was the name of the song at the opening credits?

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FINALLY a show with someone playing a real woman cop. Not an advisor or part of 3 women that have no official duty, or seeing how much cleavage they can show even if they can't act. I truly hope this show is a success.

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Maybe it's because she ain't no Helen Mirren!! I just could not like Jane, the other cops, her husband, even her dad. My husband will keep watching, but I will crochet or read for an hour.

Prime Suspect Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

You want it to be as scary as it can be.

Jane

Caleb: I would kill him with this.
Jane: I would help you.

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