Say the words “Prime Suspect” to someone and they might reply with a sigh of familiarity. Because there’s no getting around it: Prime Suspect was around for eons. For those who tuned in for 15 years (from 1991 to 2006), it’s still part of the living room furniture.
Huge credit to ITV, then, for coming up with a superb way to reinvigorate the series: time-warp it back four decades. Following in Endeavour’s footsteps, Lynda La Plante’s reboot of the show (based on La Plante’s book, Tennison, by Glen Laker) gives everything a fresh lick of paint. The show takes us back to the early days of WPC Jane Tennison – destined to one day become DCI Tennison, played by Helen Mirren.
If Mirren’s fighting through a male-dominated policing world was stirring back in the 1990s (she was one of the first DVIs on the telly), it’s even better in 1973, as the young WPC has to prove her mettle against a even more sexist world.
A teenage girl’s body (strangled by her bra) is the doorway for the WPC to become embroiled in her first homicide investigation, and Stefanie Martini sinks her teeth into it with relish, unafraid to quiz her superiors while bringing them cups of tea. Stylishly shot and well acted (watch out for Alun Armstrong and Sam Reid in supporting roles), it delivers everything you could want from Prime Suspect.
Prime Suspect 1973 is available exclusively on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.