“Waking the Dead Season 3”is an entry in the acclaimed British mystery television series that ran from 2000-2007, when it was axed by the British Broadcasting Corporation in favor of ‘newer, more innovative crime dramas.’ It played for some time on BBCAmerica on my side of the pond. It is a strongly -cast and –written -—by Barbara Machin, a woman, yay! -- police procedural/crime drama that follows Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd and his multi-discipline cold-case unit consisting of scientists and a psychologist as well as detectives at the Metropolitan Police. The squad utilizes the latest advances in forensic science, psychological profiling of the unknown criminal perpetrators and other modern investigative techniques to crack unsolved murders. Upon even initial viewing, its differences from similar-sounding American TV series are great. The cop shop is anything but new and shiny, and poorly lit compared to American series that all seem to have been filmed on a sunny Southern California set. The actors aren’t shiny and new, either. Trevor Eve, (HEAT OF THE SUN) who plays Boyd, began his career as beefcake, but he’s older now, showing how thoughtfully he’s aged, but still very watchable. He’s backed, in the cop shop, by Sue Johnston as Dr. Grace Foley;, Wil Johnson, as DI Spencer Jordan; Holly Aird as Dr. Frankie Wharton; Claire Goose, as DS Amelia (Mel) Silver, and Tara Fitgerald (THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL, HEAR MY SONG) as Dr. Eve Lockhart. All of them are very good actors, and not one of them is a beautiful young blond. The series also used a number of excellent older British actors such as Shirley Anne Field (SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING, HEAR MY SONG); Tom Bell(THE L-SHAPED ROOM), and the late director of offbeat films, Ken Russell (LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM). The show is violent, intense and suspenseful; plots are intricate and complex: there’s always something going on. The episodes are: Disc 1. “Multistorey, Parts 1 and 2. Did the nerdy Carl McKenzie, who was arrested red-handed in the car park, really kill 14 people on the White Water High Street? Including one, Nick Patterson, a cop friend of Boyd’s, and that with his own gun? “Walking on Water, Parts 1 and 2.” A young man, a cross-dresser, is released from prison after serving time for killing his adoptive father. But did he really? And how does it happen that three women are still missing from this fishing-oriented family since that murder? I found this a particularly strong episode years ago, still remembered some of it; set in the heavily tidal Thames estuary. Disc 2. “Breaking Glass, Parts 1 and 2.” A particularly complex plot that gives Boyd a social worker, Miss Poole. To bounce off. Unravels the history of a juvenile institution that has been closed. “Final Cut, Parts 1 and 2.” Long-hidden, mummified bodies come to light. Very complex, and particularly involving, I thought, as it explores London’s Jamaican community, and the important father/son relationship of DI Spencer Jordan. Another one I’ve remembered for a long time. Solid and workmanlike this series surely is, but it’s much more than that; it makes for riveting viewing. Too bad about the BBC’s cancellation.
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