The Prime Suspect TV movies were 60 minute British detective dramas that aired on "Masterpiece Theatre" via PBS stations in the U.S. In the UK, the first eight episodes aired on ITV and the movies moved to ITV1 thereafter. They are about an amazingly adept female detective who solved crimes that totally confound everyone else while dealing with prejudice against a female detective by the "good old boys" both under her command and those who were her superiors.
Prime Suspect Cast
Helen Mirren .... D.C.I. / D.S. Jane Tennison
Tom Bell .... D.S. Bill Otley
John Bowe .... George Marlow
John Benfield .... D.C.S. Michael Kernan
Zoe Wanamaker .... Moyra Henson
Tom Wilkinson .... Peter Rawlins
Bryan Pringle .... Felix Norman
John Forgeham .... D.C.I. John Shefford
Gary Whelan .... D.S. Terry Amson
Jack Ellis .... D.I. Tony Muddyman
Andrew Tiernan .... D.C. Rosper
Craig Fairbrass .... D.I. Frank Burkin
Mossie Smith .... W.P.C. Maureen Havers
Ian Fitzgibbon .... D.C. Jones
Philip Wright .... D.C. Lillie
Prime Suspect Trivia
Lynda La Plante decided to make the Prime Suspect movies after being inspired by real life TV crime shows. She contacted Scotland Yard and found out that there were only three female DCIs in service there! After interviewing DCI Jackie Moulton she was so impressed that she decided to go ahead with the movies and base them on Jackie's experiences on the force.
Janet McTeer ("Les Girls", "The Governor" and "The Amazing Mrs Pritchard" among many others) was the first choice to play the role of Jane Tennison but she turned down the part.
On the documentary following Prime Suspect 7 - The Final Act Helen Mirren said that Jackie Malton and her colleagues at Scotland Yard all rose for a standing ovation after seeing Prime Suspect 1 because they believed that was the first time that they had been realistically portrayed on TV!
One of the reasons that those at Scotland Yard felt they were so accurately portrayed was because Lynda La Plante really did her research. The Prime Suspect movies were one of those rare crime dramas that spent less time on shootouts and car chases and more time on detailing each small step that police use in their quest to solve crimes.
All Helen Mirren fans simply adored her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 movie, "The Queen". Ironically, her character in the Prime Suspect movies, "Jane Tennison" absolutely hated being compared to the Queen!
The movies won far too many awards to mention them all here. The first movie alone won four BAFTA Awards and was nominated for another five! The second movie won another BAFTA, got three additional nominations and by then American audiences had noticed these great movies. That resulted in an Emmy win and a second Emmy nomination! Future movies continued to have similar success!
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