"Wire in the Blood," another strong British television detective series, is based upon the work of prize-winning British author Val McDermid; it's based in her fictional Midlands city of Bradfield, which she undoubtedly based upon the very real Midlands city of Manchester, where she worked as a journalist for 16 years, and still lives. It's filmed in the little-seen-here Midlands, rather than London, of which we see so much, and as such, it has a real background feel to it. It's a crime drama/police procedural, dealing as a rule with the capture of serial killers (a theme some of us may find we've seen too much), and it is gritty, sometimes gory. McDermid, of course, is considered one of the leading lights of the school of British mystery writing known as tartan noir -- rather more violent and bloody than the usual, and, thankfully, lightened occasionally by that dour Scots humor. Written by a Scot, duh, which McDermid is. And all those English seem to whisper while they work: it could sure use subtitles. The series advertises itself these days as "based upon characters created" by McDermid. Robson Green stars as Dr. Tony Hill, psychologist-academic-profiler, giving a wondrous performance; handsome, praises be, intense, intelligent, fallible and flexible. He is ably supported by Hermione Norris as Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan, Emma Hardy as DC Paula McIntyre, and Mark Letheren as DS Kevin Geoffries. And they all seem to whisper while they work: the series could sure use subtitles. Unfortunately, McDermid hasn't written nearly enough to keep a series going, and the episodes collected in Series 2, which are written by others, are not up to her standard. For those of you who've never had the privilege, she's a daring writer, breaking new ground with every step; and her best work is troubling, intensely gory and violent; frequently involving torture of a sexual nature. Unfortunately, the four episodes that comprise this series just don't go there. Disk 1, "Still She Cries," is the strongest, involving Maggie Thomas, a troubled, convicted female serial killer in jail for life(many people would argue that, in fact, there never has been a female serial killer; the American, Aileen Wuornos, was not a proactive hunter, merely a reactive.) It also involves a predatory, pretty blond student of Hill's, and a new serial killer preying on pretty blond girls. Disk 2,"The Darkness of Light," concerns an overly religious young woman. Somewhere on the internet, I noted a comment from a British crime scene investigator to the effect that the hotel room in which a murder takes place in this episode is, in fact, the hotel room in which a murder once took place. Disk 3, "The Right to Silence," opens on a particularly gruesome murder, body found at a slaughterhouse. The work appears to be that of a local gangster, already imprisoned. The story is made a bit stronger by father/son, and brother/brother arcs. Disk 4, "Sharp Compassion." Someone's killing very sick people in a hospital. And somehow terrorists, and MI5 are shoehorned in. The series takes its name from an early Dr. Hill book: The Wire in the Blood (Dr. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Mysteries). That book was violent in the extreme, and considerably cleaned up for Series 1. I recommend it whole-heartedly, but not if violence disturbs you. I understand the title quote comes from a poem by T.S. Eliot, and rather meant an irresistible urge to kill. At one time, while he was writing Blood Work; I believe, Michael Connelly, currently most popular American crime writer, mentioned "Wire in the Blood," and said he was going to collaborate on the writing of it. (He had a habit of mentioning past and future books, in each book he then wrote.) In the event, of course, McDermid wrote "Wire" alone. Well, the current TV series is worth watching - watered-down McDermid is better than no McDermid - but don't judge the author's writing by it.
Pages to are hidden for
"Wire in the Blood, Series 2"Please download to view full document