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Prime Suspect (ITV 1991-2006, Helen Mirren, Tom Bell)

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When Prime Suspect first aired in the early nineties it firmly established Helen Mirren as UKTV’s number one female star and Prime Suspect quickly became one of the most looked forward to crime shows on the box. Created by Lynda La Plante the first serial had been a huge hit in 1991, La Plante, though, always keen to move onto pastures new, bowed out of the series after story number 3, only to return to give the series a fitting sense of closure for the seventh and final serial.

The stories themselves pull no punches and right from the beginning Jane had trouble being in a position of power as a woman in what is still very much a mans world. Her cases range from tracking down serial killers, uncovering police corruption. By the time of the third series she had been shifted sideways out of the murder squad and now found herself heading up a major vice investigation whilst Prime Suspect 4 saw her leading the search for a baby that had been abducted.

In the fifth Prime Suspect Detective Inspector Jane Tennison has been shifted sideways once again from London to Manchester after treading on one too many toes, she is soon leading an investigation into Steven Mackintosh’s local bad boy The Street (crazy name,crazy guy) who may just be behind a series of murders. Mackintosh manages to pretty much steal the show from Mirren every time he appears on screen. This is a thoroughly enjoyable entry despite the fact that Detective Rankin (one of Jane’s new team) has one of the most inpenatrable accents this side of Rocky.

It would be some seven years before there was another Prime Suspect and 6 has a very topical storyline with Jane promoted to Detective Superintendent and the production delving into the highly seedy world of Britain’s underclass of East European refugees. Another strong and decidely hard hitting story that pulls no punches.

Prime Suspect

Bringing the series to a close is The Final Act aka Prime Suspect 7 which sees Jane having to come to terms with her problems with alcohol, her forthcoming retirement and the fact that her father is dying and in her latest murder case makes a major mistake which could have serious implications.

Jane Tennison is one of TV’s great characters and the series has a proper sense of progression as Jane’s personal life basically falls apart as her career rises higher. Jane is a heavy drinker, heavy smoker and sleeps around, in fact she quite often has to be more man like than the male coppers.

Key guest stars across the years have included Zoe Wanamaker, Colin Salmon, Craig Fairbrass, David Ryall, Peter Capaldi, David Thewlis, Mark Strong, Christopher Fairbank, Jonny Lee Miller, Ciaran Hinds, Steven Mackintosh and John McArdle.

In 2011 there was a short run (13 episodes) US version with Mario Bello as Jane Timoney. Unfortunately it fell firmly into story of the week territory and was quickly cancelled.

2017 saw the arrival of an excellent prequel called Prime Suspect 1973 with Stefanie Martini as a young Jane Tennison just starting out in the police force.

production details
UK / ITV – Granada / Variable length / Broadcast 7 April 1991 – 22 October 2006

Creator: Lynda La Plante / Producers: Don Leaver, Paul Marcus, Brian Park

cast
HELEN MIRREN as Jane Tennison
TOM BELL as Det Sgt Bill Otley
JOHN BENFIELD as Det Ch Supt Mike Kernan
JACK ELLIS as Det Insp Muddiman

THE STORIES
PRIME SUSPECT (7-8 April 1991)
PRIME SUSPECT 2 (15-16 December 1992)
PRIME SUSPECT 3 (19-20 December 1993)
PRIME SUSPECT 4: THE LOST CHILD (30 April 1995)
PRIME SUSPECT 4: INNER CIRCLES (7 May 1995)
PRIME SUSPECT 4: THE SCENT OF DARKNESS (15 May 1995)
PRIME SUSPECT 5: ERRORS OF JUDGEMENT (20-21 October 1996)
PRIME SUSPECT: THE LAST WITNESS (9-10 November 2003)
PRIME SUSPECT: THE FINAL ACT (15-22 October 2006)

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Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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Christmas Reunion, A (Lifetime 2015, Catherine Hicks, Denise Richards)

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A Christmas Reunion Lifetime

In A Christmas Reunion a Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack.

Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.

cast
Denise Richards as Amy Stone
Patrick Muldoon as Jack Evans
Jake Busey as Dylan Carruthers
Catherine Hicks as Aunt Linda
Parker Stevenson as Don Dupree
Patricia De Leon as Janette Crowder
Jon Briddell as Luke Crowder
Robert R. Shafer as Frank O’Brien
Anna Barnholtz as Chloe
John Colton as Steve Evans
Sandra Evans as Shari
Brody Fitzgerald as Young Jack Evans
Michael Gaglio as Earl Pratt, Sr.
Gib Gerard as Earl Pratt, Jr.
Joyce Greenleaf as Helen

crew details
Director: Sean Olson
Writers: Margaret Base, Mary Glenn, Sam Irvin, Sean Olson, Peter Sullivan, Michael Varrat

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: 13 December 2015

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TV

Final Vision (ID 2017, Scott Foley, Dave Annable)

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Final Vision ID

Final Vision is a twisted psychological thriller and a true-crime drama based on the longest running criminal case in U.S. history. It’s the story of Jeffrey MacDonald (Foley), a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night.

Told through the eyes of best-selling author Joe McGinniss (Annable), who was approached by MacDonald to write a book about his personal nightmare as he was about to go to trial.

cast
Scott Foley as Jeffrey MacDonald
Dave Annable as Joe McGinniss
John Doman as Bernie Segal
Lochlyn Munro as Wade Smith
Jessica Harmon as Colette MacDonald
Caroline Aaron as Leslie Sterling
Primo Allon as MP Sergeant
Julia Maren Baker as Kimberly MacDonald
Julia Benson as Nancy McGinniss
Baylee Breen-Wood as Kristen MacDonald
April Cameron as Nurse at St. Mary’s
Aaron Craven as James Blackburn
Bruce Dawson as Doctor
Parveen Dosanjh as Woman at Party
Lane Edwards as Brian Murtagh

crew details
Writer: Denis O’Neill
Director:  Nicholas McCarthy
Executive Producers: Angela Bromstad, Christine Connor, Linda Berman S

production details
Country:  USA
Network and Production Companies: ID – Lincoln Square Productions
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From:  Sunday 10 December 2017

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