On this tape, the two-part Prime Suspect 2. It starts off well – Colin Salmon is the first face we see, being interviewed by Helen Mirren’s Jane Tennison about a sexual assault.
I got the feeling this might be a fake-out, because Salmon is using a West-Indian accent during the interrogation, and sure enough, the door is opened and we’re in a training exercise for the Met.
We also learn that Mirren and Salmon are involved in a quick fling, and Salmon is a bit upset when Mirren gets the call to a big case, and he feels rejected.
Meanwhile the police are investigating a body found at the house of an asian family. There’s a big, angry crowd outside as the large number of police are stomping around. “I pay my poll tax” says one of the onlookers, which places this in quite a small window – how long was the Poll Tax operating? A year?
The body found has been dead for years, and it might tie in with a long-standing missing girl, as well as a possible miscarriage of justice. Plus, because the area has a predominantly black and asian population, it’s important that the investigation is sensitive to the local community. It’s a pity, then, that Craig Fairbrass is one of her officers, and is clearly a massive racist.
He certainly doesn’t like it when Salmon is assigned to the investigation, as the Superintendent wants a black officer on the team. Neither is Mirren happy, as she’s embarrassed about their fling. This is one aspect of Tennison’s character I really don’t like. She’s doing to Salmon what a man would often do to a subordinate woman, and keeping him on boring work. It’s disappointing, as I always want my hero characters to be beyond reproach. I had a similar issue with that aspect of Gillian Anderson’s character in The Fall. It’s possible sexist of me to want better behaviour from Tennison, but I’d dislike this behaviour from a man too.
A facial reconstruction is done of the girl whose body was found. They’re still trying to identify her, as she’s definitely not the missing girl.
The prime suspect is an old man who used to rent the house where the body was found. He’s dying, and he has an alibi, plus a nephew who’s a) a photographer and b) very concerned about the police treating his uncle as a suspect. I reckon it’s him.
They find forensic evidence that the dead girl was probably killed inside the house, not in the basement, which was sublet, and go back to interview the old man, who promptly collapses and is taken to hospital.
Salmon finds a missing person’s report that coincides with the date of the murder, and traces the girl’s mother. At the same time, another detective spots her on a video of a Reggae event that year, and they confirm her identity as Joanne Fagunwa – and she’s played by Nina Sosanya, whom I should have recognised from the clay head, although she’s quite young here.
Salmon spots the son of the man who owned the house in the same performance, and becomes convinced he’s involved in the case. He’s clearly upset about the whole case, but seems unlikely to me. Maybe because asthmatics are rarely murderers. Probably. I have no data on this assertion.
The second episode begins with Salmon interviewing Tony Allen, the young man he’s convinced is guilty, while Tennison is at the bedside of the old man, David Harvey, obtaining his confession as he’s dying. I can see this is going to get complicated.
I like that fact that now Salmon is the one obsessed with getting a result from his suspect, and it’s now Fairbrass who’s looking at the situation and thinking it’s out of order. It doesn’t look good for young Tony, who’s obviously disturbed, and starts ripping his shirt up. So when the custody officer makes his rounds, he finds him strangled.
Tennison returns, and tells her superior that she’s got a deathbed confession to murder from Harvey, but she has her doubts about it. Good thing, really, as we’ve got almost a whole episode to get through.
There’s an investigation into the death in custody, which her boss, who’s up for a promotion, would probably prefer to be blamed on Tennison. She keeps digging, and notices a picture in Harvey’s flat where his nephew Jason Reynolds is wearing the same belt that was used to bind the wrists of the murdered Joanna.
They turn up more evidence there – a huge stash of porn, and evidence that Jason, the photographer, took naked pictures of women for ‘readers wives’ type magazines. Including, to some embarrassment, a teacher at a local school.
They track the scumbag Jason to a seafront caravan park, where he’s grooming a young girl, whom he takes back and assaults. Salmon finds him and manages to arrest him, while Jason is hurling out really horrible racist language.
We also learn, from Tony’s sister, they they all witnessed Jason’s rape of Joanna, but didn’t do anything and agreed to never talk about it. That’s why Tony was so upset and uncommunicative when he was being interviewed.
And at the end, Tennison’s boss gets promoted, and she’s not even considered for his replacement – it goes to another of the old boy’s network.
A typically grim outing for Jane Tennison.
In the ad breaks, there’s an advert for Carlton TV, soon to replace Thames. A dark day.
- trail: Christmas Movies on Thames
- Ever Ready
- Red for Men
- Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
- Wash & Go
- Piat D’Or
- Heineken – Blues
- UK Gold
- Genesis Live
- Chaplin in cinemas
- Croft Original
- trail: News at Ten
- After Eights
- Fairy Excel
- Daz Ultra Liquid – Danny Baker
- Oil of Ulay
- The Muppet Christmas Carol in cinemas
- Belinda Carlisle – The Best of Belinda
- Drinking and Driving
- Finish Ultra
- Kaliber – Billy Connolly
- trail: Buster
- Erasure – Pop
- Carling Black Label
- Carlton TV Launch
- Corn Flakes
- Benylin – Jeremy Beadle
- Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime
- trail: Aliens