VIEWS: 33 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 7/5/2010
"Wire in the Blood, Season 5," is the latest installment of the British television mystery serial, based on the works of Val McDermid, to reach these shores. The series, a police procedural that stars Robson Green as psychologist Dr. Tony Hill, criminal profiler, is produced by Green's production company for the British Granada TV: he's one of their biggest domestic stars; and the series is surely tailored to his many strengths. It has been shown here on BBC America; but it is lacking the last episode of the series as shown here, which has been spun off as a standalone. In addition to Green, the series stars longtime regulars Mark Letheren as Detective Sergeant Kevin Geoffries, and Emma Handy as Detective Constable Paula McIntyre. Simone Lahbib continues her more recent duties as Detective Inspector Alex Fielding, Hill's foil, romantic and otherwise. This season, as most, is simply advertised as "based on characters created by" McDermid, and there is not a single episode based on one of her books. However, the episodes presented are of a fairly high quality, solid mysteries, with some of the well-known author's intensity; some of her edginess and grit, and her ability to break new ground. McDermid, of course, is a leading light of the British mystery writing school known as tartan noir: and what's that when it's at home, you may ask. Unusually bloody and violent, lightened, a bit, by that dark Scots humor. Written (duh!!) by a Scot, which McDermid is, Scots-born. At any rate, the series is set in McDermid's fictional "Bradfield," it is filmed in Manchester, the actual city in which she sets her work, after doing 16 years there as a journalist. Manchester's an interesting city to use: handsome and hardly ever seen here, full of interesting looking architecture, with a highly diverse population. Unfortunately, the cast has been encouraged to make use of the local accent and dialect, and there are no subtitles, a puzzling oversight considering Green's standing at Granada. It makes the series quite difficult to follow for us on these shores. 1. "Colour of Amber." A white man appears to have kidnapped a young black girl on a busy street, in the morning rush hour. A strong complex mystery, dealing with interracial matters; focusing on children damaged by the adults in their lives. 2. "Nocebo." A sadistic, ritualistic killer seems to be at work, targeting children. Another strong, intense episode, more daring in its treatment of blacks than an American tv program would ever be, giving us a really unflattering portrait of a black voodoo-oriented preacher, Dr.Kingston. 3. "Names of Angels." A serial killer seems to be targeting attractive, blond young businesswomen. A clever, perhaps too clever, outing. Notable chiefly for the introduction of a character, clearly based on one of the ten-year olds who tortured and killed two-year old James Bulger in Liverpool in February 1993. "Christopher" has been a patient of Hill's while imprisoned for the crime, and, as he was so young when he committed it, he is being released as a young man. Hill is greatly concerned with his well-being. 4. "Anything You Can Do." Yet another apparent serial killer at work, putting bags over the heads of his victims. Another clever one, but a good mystery that once again ventures where American TV will never go. Continues the sad arc of "Christopher," the released Liverpool child murderer. Green is, of course, a handsome man, and a good actor, and he gives us an intense, intelligent portrait of Dr. Hill. If only we could make out what he's saying.
"Wire in the Blood Series 5"