» » Prime Suspect: The Final Act

Short summary

Helen Mirren returns for the final time as Jane Tennison in the long-awaited Prime Suspect 7. Retirement looms for Detective Superintendent Tennison, but as her career draws to a close, the body of a missing schoolgirl is found, and the hunt for her killer begins. However, as Jane and her colleagues work to identify their prime suspect, the emotional fallout from the murder begins to take its toll on the battle-scarred detective. As the investigation gets underway, Jane is not only dealing with the imminent death of her father, but also an addiction to alcohol which she is desperately trying to keep hidden. There are plenty of twists and turns as Jane confronts her toughest challenge yet: herself, as the popular award-winning series reaches its devastating finale.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Lilegha
    The original 'Prime Suspect', an unusually tough police procedural thriller, was a landmark in early 1990s television, immediately making other hits series like 'Inspector Morse' appear tired and out-of-date. Since then, the series has retained some quality through its relatively infrequent outings, but still, the writing has not always been as good as in the first episode and in some cases has lapsed into the melodramatic cliché of the standard crime show. Gradually, I lost interest (I think about the fifth time that the whole direction of central character Jayne Tennyson's life was on the line if she didn't solve some murder in the face of the scepticism of her colleagues). But the series has always featured great acting from the incomparable Helen Mirren in that role, and in this final part she has arguably never been finer, there is some longer-term narrative development from the earlier episodes and Mirren exploits the character's growing history as the basis for a harrowing, wholly three-dimensional performance that almost seems out of place in a crime drama. Behind her performance, there's a nicely executed but less extraordinary tale of murder that could have come from any other cop show.

    What's amazing about Mirren is how she truly inhabits the parts she plays: having recently seen her in Channel Four's 'Elizabeth', one can say the two series constitute a masterclass of televisual acting, ancient and modern. The series may be done; but the prime of Helen Mirren is far from over.
  • comment
    • Author: Phalaken
    "The Final Act" is the splendid concluding episode of a (generally) gripping series. As in the very best crime dramas, the focus really isn't the plot or the "whodunnit?" but the character of the central players. And if Helen Mirren almost eclipses them, that's only a bonus for the viewer. The tension is generated not by the crime plot (which is serviceable but predictable) but from Mirren's gripping portrayal of the powerful and all-too-human Jane Tennyson who treads the tightrope of her final days in her career. She somehow manages to give us a woman who balances the angels and the devils in her character without once lapsing into the predictable or the incredible. And THAT's what keeps you leaning forward in your seat.

    God, but she's good!
  • comment
    • Author: Marilbine
    Without a doubt this is one of the best dramas made in recent years for British Television, Helen Mirren's performance was a tour De force. She has an amazing ability to show the deep emotions of such a complex character that has so many tragic flaws.

    In this final episode we see that she has hit rock bottom, retirement is looming large and the serious illness that has left her father seriously ill is now combining with her last case to leave her feeling isolated and alone. The result of which leads Tennison to make some very fatal errors of judgement that could very well destroy a glittering career.

    All the cast in this are excellent and add real depth and feel to what is an emotional and somewhat sombre film.

    Stephen Tompkinson is again excellent showing why he is such a versatile actor, Special mention should go to Tom Bell who's last performance was measured and very compassionate, he will be sadly missed.

    The ending of this series that was leaked to the media was not the one screened which only added to what was a truly excellent piece of film making. Prime Suspect may be no more but we can be thankful that such an intricate and stunning series as this has graced our screens.
  • comment
    • Author: Whitecaster
    It's retirement time for Jane Tennison, but she has one more case to solve in "Prime Suspect: The Final Act" starring Helen Mirren as Tennison. The question is, can Tennison stay in control long enough to find the murderer of a missing girl? You really wonder as she deals with what has become blatant alcoholism, the death of her father, and the consequences of her choices in life.

    Only Helen Mirren could have created the fully fleshed out, human character of Jane Tennison. Mirren is one of the greatest actresses of our time, perhaps of any time. And like a lot of English actresses, and though she's capable of great glamor, Mirren is not afraid of harsh lights, aging, and a few lines on the face. Her Jane is worn out and looks it. In working her last case, Jane comes up against the tragedy of losing her father, her uneasy relationship with her sister and niece, her retirement, and the bottle. In her loneliness and remembrance of a life with possibilities, she bonds with young Penny (Laura Greenwood), a troubled friend of the murdered girl - though the girl's father becomes a suspect.

    I admit I had a problem understanding a lot of the dialogue in this - the British go in for that natural sound replete with background noise, heavy accents, and no body mikes. Also, this was a particularly noisy episode as nearly all the dead girl's mother did was scream at the top of her lungs, and she wasn't alone. Nevertheless, Mirren's performance cut across any problems I may have had. As Penny, Laura Greenwood, who resembles the American actress Amber Tamblyn, gave a truly marvelous performance. Doubtless we'll be seeing her in more British imports to come.

    As part of the Masterpiece Theatre presentation, Mirren gave an interview about the role of Jane, and how she had been counseled by a police woman never to cry except in private, never to fold her arms across her body, and to touch people (a display of power). She stated that she stopped doing "Prime Suspect" for a time lest she be too closely identified with the role of Jane and cease being Helen Mirren, actress. As if she could ever be anything else.
  • comment
    • Author: Gugrel
    In a remarkable performance Helen Mirren plays the alcoholic detective Jane Tennison with depth and understanding rare in television. Mirren once the vivacious girl who was opposite James Mason in Norman Lindsay's "Age of Consent" today is not frightened of getting down and dirty in her roles. She goes full bore warts and all. Supported by a strong cast of British character players we can overlook some minor plot weaknesses when the overall quality of this series is streets ahead of the usual crap cop shows on the box. If only most TV was this good. Not often do we see actors bare their souls like Mirren outside of the cinema screen. Others in the cast worthy of mention are Stephen Tompkinson as Sean Philips, and Gary Lewis as Tony Sturdy.
  • comment
    • Author: Niwield
    Absolutely brilliant, not just the acting and the plot - but the beautiful camera work. This really did engage me emotionally.

    The acting of the girl Penny was very believable not something that is always the case with British child actors.

    Mirren, as per usual, showed incredible talent to plumb the emotional depths of D.I. Tennison. Such a complex character , with so many faults, it is a character made for good TV drama.

    My only comment of criticism would be that I find it hard to believe that the headmaster (Tompkinson) confesses to having sex with one of his fourteen year old pupils and is then allowed to walk free?

    A great shame that this is the end of the era. I will really miss it.
  • comment
    • Author: Awene
    This is a way for Tennison, Mirren, Granada, and Prime Suspect to bow out gracefully. This is a classy production nearly four hours long and some have suggested the actual crime story is secondary to the personal portrait. Perhaps, perhaps not - but when you're ushering out an icon like this series you have to give time to that too.

    Hats off to Tom Bell for his final appearance in the series. He was magnificent from day one, episode one, and he was exceptionally excellent here as well.

    A word about the series as a whole: Dick Wolf didn't write it. This is no random shuffle, no one dimensional drama. It's thick and it's gutsy and everything is in three stark dimensions and ultimately it's not even crime drama either: it's very much social commentary. People don't work this hard and this long at something only to have a forty five minute L&O filler.

    The first episode introduced the characters - and how they do it is something the hacks in Hollywood should bloody well study. 2 is about racism. 3 is about child molestation. 4 is about motherhood, corruption, and a return to 1. 5 is about gangs. 6 is about genocide. 7 is about... ?? Watch it and see.

    Another word about the series: no sooner had the final part of The Final Act been shown than ITV came out with a beautiful boxed set. 10 DVDs all told with commentary and interviews on the last of them. Personally I find it a bit annoying after spending 70 quid to be reminded on each disc that I wouldn't steal a car so I wouldn't steal a DVD. But it's a beautiful set and a no-brainer as for purchase.

    And Taylor's a lucky man, hitched as he is with a goddess.
  • comment
    • Author: Dagdatus
    Having just finished watching all 7 chapters on DVD I must say this is the best drama of any kind I have seen. Overall it was so good I will miss watching it ! I have seen a great deal of Dame Helen Mirren's work and have enjoyed and marveled at her versatility and choice of roles. In the Prime Suspect character of Jane Tennison she has out done herself in my humble opinion. The stories touch on so many realms of police drama and were excellent stories in themselves. What I enjoyed most was the complexity of the character of Jane Tennison throughout the entire series. She was brilliant yet flawed, focused yet distracted, driven yet not particularly ambitious. She had a job to do and she did it very well despite roadblocks put up at every turn within the department, society or political higher ups. Unlike many a series in the US, the Final Act was I thought a great finish to a great series. Yes I would love to know where retirement led her. It is hard to see Jane Tennison spending her final years relaxing on the beach somewhere. It did though answer questions from earlier on and showed what a great toll her drive and dedication took on her personal life. I know some have said the conclusion did not live up to the standards of some of the earlier chapters. I have to disagree. I thought the story line itself was good and a very fitting retirement for an extraordinary character who could only have been played by Helen Mirren. For anyone who watched the Soprano's for so long to see how they chose to end it they will understand why I thought Prime Suspect was excellent not just chapters 1-6 but 1-7 ! Too bad Hollywood can't come up with something as original and gritty as Prime Suspect and follow it through instead of just doing knock offs of other programs ! The closest we have come was the 5 seasons of The Wire and it was a job well done for American TV. No single character will ever touch Jane Tennison though ! Although without the outstanding cast, writers,producers and everyone else involved It wouldn't have been the same either. Congratulations to one and all for a job very well done !
  • comment
    • Author: Not-the-Same
    2007 Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries, and Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act is as dynamic, brilliantly written, directed, paced, and acted as the rest of the series that started in 1991. The Final Act is filled with the unexpected plot turns and introduces interesting complex characters. Prime Suspect 7 was dedicated to the memory of Tom Bell (Otley) who returned as Sergeant Bill Otley and who died two weeks before the episode was screened. As in all Prime Suspects, Helen Mirren owns the screen as Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison working on her last case before retirement. This time, Jane investigates the missing of a 14-year-old girl while struggling with her alcoholism and coping with her father's death from incurable cancer. She dedicated all her life, talent, energy, and heart to her work where she had proved to be the best but the price she paid is incredibly high. The Final Act introduces a young actress Laura Greenwood (born in 1991) as 14 years old Penny. The scenes she shares with Mirren are "nothing short of phenomenal," according to David Bianculli of the New York Daily News, and I hope that her following roles will be as impressive as her first work next to one of the greatest modern actresses.

  • comment
    • Author: Kajikus
    Just an addition to the other glowing reviews: I watched this when it first aired, as I did all of the Prime Suspects, and enjoyed it very much, but wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped I would be. However, after watching the first 6 again on DVD, and then watching "Final Act" I have reconsidered: this is an excellent send0off, perfect in so many ways, and I'm not sure how I missed it the first go-round. Perhaps watching the others just before watching the "Final Act" made the difference? One thing that stood out this time that I'd not noticed before: the music. The music was perfectly done. I'm not sure how to describe it, ominous, tense, subtle, but it certainly worked well for the film.

    SPOILER FOLLOWS: The scene that reintroduced Ottley was masterfully done. I can remember the first time I watched it, I did a bit of a double take as soon as Jane walked through that door, thinking, "That looked a bit like Ottley" (I hadn't heard that he would be reintroduced). It seemed to me that the filmmakers managed to give the viewer the same sort of experience that Jane had: an almost subconscious reaction, followed by curiosity, then realization. Very clever.

    Ottley, and a few other choice characters/moments, provided a welcome bit of warmth to a film that is in many ways terribly cold and lonely. Jane's lifestyle at the opening of "Final Act", her almost complete loneliness and isolation, and her alcoholism, seemed to me to be the natural outcome of her personality from previous episodes. Ultimately, and thankfully, Jane is redeemed, and the viewer is left thinking that there is hope for her, despite her retirement from the job that defined her.

    I have rarely been so moved by any television program, let alone a finale. Kudos to the filmmakers/producers for avoiding the sort of tragedy the "Cracker" finale was subjected to.
  • comment
    • Author: Dikus
    Dame Helen Mirren ends perhaps her most famous role besides that of Queens. Jane Tennison DCI is one of the most original female characters that television has produced in recent years. She is almost unforgettable. When Dame Helen Mirren first started, few people knew who she was and now everybody knows in the world that she is one of the finest acting talents from Britain. I knew she was in 1986 when I saw her play a maid in a Titanic film. As Jane Tennison, Helen Mirren embodies the role with such complexity that it seems so easy and natural. Jane approaches retirement with one last case but you know that Jane has lived for this job. They have this marriage between them. In the final installment of this legendary series, Helen and Jane bow out gracefully in the end. Jane battles alcoholism, loneliness, and her father's pending death. She reunites and befriends AA member, Bill Otley, played by Tom Bell shortly before his death. I felt the parents of the missing girl were quite believable in their roles. Jane's pending retirement is beset by loss, wonder, and disappointment. In the end, she bounces back, makes a shattering discoveries about the case, and you wonder what would happen to Jane Tennison that you want more. Maybe she is lecturing on crime techniques at a university or other British police officers. One can only hope that this is not the last we see of Dame Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison.
  • comment
    • Author: Kanek
    Too many police dramas nowadays are becoming formulaic, predictable, tasteless and plain cheesy. Enter Jane Tennison. A multi-layered, practical, and ageing detective, she is the anti-cliché of the U.S CSI cop. She is superbly played with grace, depth and honesty by the great Helen Mirren.

    Det. Supt. Jane Tennison is on the eve of her retirement when a tragic murder case of a young schoolgirl presents itself on her desk. It will be her most difficult case yet as she must juggle both physical and psychological weariness of work, compensation for these chasms in alcoholism, and the realisation of her dying love-lost father; with personal regrets and professional mistakes.

    While the murder investigation forms the frame of the story, the most intriguing and compelling part involves observing Jane struggling with her professional judgments while juggling her personal demons. In fact Jane's moral dilemmas are the essence of the story and provide most of intricate and poignant moments of the show. Ultimately, they also end up greatly affecting the outcomes of the murder case.

    Helen Mirren is achieving accolades left, right and center for her performances on the small and silver screen this season. I admit what got me most interested in seeking out this show was only from the great admiration of Mirren's work as Queen Elizabeth 1 & 2. I pleasantly charmed and beguiled by her guile and artlessness in Prime Suspect 7 and was actually quite entranced by her astute personality and I must admit fetching looks even at 61(!).

    Never (ever!) seeing any of it's predecessors before was pleased to find a detective show that along with a masterful and bewitching lead was also finely and crisply directed. Not to mention it actually did keep me guessing towards the end. This was a refreshing change from the nauseating CSIs and shoot-out cop shows, blessed with Mirren's beauty and terrific portrayal.
  • comment
    • Author: playboy
    Well it was to be expected that over the fours hours less adverts she would not go out in a blaze of glory and rather more time was spent on Jane Tennyson herself than the investigation. Not on a par with earlier in the series Helen Mirren was nevertheless superb and a new star in the making is Laura Greenwood. The storyline is only adequate and her squad was the smallest yet. Excellent performance also from Mr Tompkinson who continues to impress. But for me there was too much shouting and focus on the parents anguish. Yes it should be portrayed but I thought it excessive. So much so that towards the end the scenes seemed rushed. So I expected and hoped for more but it was good to watch all the same.
  • comment
    • Author: Kata
    A 14 year old girl has gone missing in London with the presumption of foul play. The case attracts the attention of Superintendent Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) who is nearing retirement and battling her personal demons. While several suspects are investigated Jane develops a personal connection with one of the girl's young friends.

    There is considerable time given to the character of Jane Tennison, most of which is insightful and well presented. Though it did seems at times that this episode might have taken things a little too far in these developments, despite the fact her character has always been obviously somewhat flawed.

    Both Robert Pugh (DS Alun Simms) and Frank Finlay (Arnold Tennison, Jane's father) return in their respective roles from Prime Suspect 6 providing a measure of continuity. There is also a somewhat surprising and welcome return by another character/performer not seen for several episodes. The cast overall as to be expected from the previous episodes in the series is first rate.

    The Final Act presents an interesting investigation of a devastating crime, which is certainly very tragic but not as compelling as it could have been. Thus while it provides a solid conclusion to this wonderful series it is not the strongest of episodes.
  • comment
    • Author: Itiannta
    Det. Supt. Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) is weeks from retirement, worn-down, and alcoholic. 14 year old Sallie Sturdy goes missing. Principal's daughter Penny Philips is her best friend. Sallie's father is faced with suspicion and then her body is found. She was pregnant. Tennison's father is in the hospital "on the way out" with cancer and she is pushed to go to AA where she runs into Bill Otley.

    This is a great final act for a great character played by a great actress. Tennison is beset with personal problems that are well earned. Bill Otley returns to tie up his relationship with her. It's a short reunion but a very powerful one due to their history. He's also given a terrific death. Another great relationship is Mirren with young Laura Greenwood who plays Penny. She is almost like a daughter that Tennison never had after her abortion. The final scene is an emotionally devastating conclusion to Tennison's career. Greenwood is incredible in the face of the legend next to her. The second part does have a slow spot in the middle and the last section does rush a little to the finish. However, the final interrogation cannot have ended the franchise any better.
  • comment
    • Author: Legionstatic
    Helen Mirren was superb in this - she was tough but broken. Scenes like when she went to the local shop but could barely raise the energy to shop for food, and quietly broke down while reading a Pot Noodle carton, were totally original. The thing is, compared with earlier episodes, the story was no good. It really plodded along and it was obvious who had done it from the start. Also, what an error when Tennison receives the phonecall from her niece, who is being attacked, and seconds later is able to pull the attacker off! I mean, this is London - unless she was in the next street it could've taken her ages to get there, and we're meant to believe her niece was being attacked that whole time? Hmmmmm.
  • comment
    • Author: ALAN
    It was a decent conclusion to years of great TV drama...But I expected better based on what I saw in the last episode....It did stay the course in that it was hard hitting, tough, real, the hallmarks of the series...

    Tom Bell as Bill Otley was the connection from Episode 1 to the present....He was simply brilliant....The script, although very good, introduced elements which were new to Jane's story....That really through me off....The sister and niece....They never were significant characters in any of the other episodes, unlike Bill Otley and Jane's father....So be it....All in all, I hate to see this series end....I'll probably start watching them again next year, beginning with the first episode....One a year...It will be like revisiting a dear, dear old friend.....well, friend, I don't know about calling Jane a friend......a dear, favorite book....that's more like it....In my dreams, she retires to the isle of Majorca (not Florida, please), and relaxes, unwinds, is friendly, until she sets up a small private eye agency....Don't I wish......
  • comment
    • Author: Zeks Horde
    This classic, groundbreaking and exciting series started in 1991. Periodically, new episodes appeared, always exciting with good crime stories. In the center, the ongoing, insisting and tough female investigator, Jane Tennison. Excellent played by Helen Mirren. The series really made Helen Mirren's talent clear to a whole world. In this final series, we get as always a very moving story, exciting and nervous. But to an even greater degree than before, we also see the personal challenges of the main role holder. She has a difficult life. But, in essence, it appears the price one has to pay to sacrifice for a tough and long career. Jane Tennison is a person who has lived her life through the job, and managed to get a career as a woman in a male-dominated profession. The resistance has been well documented, we have seen in many previous episodes. Here in the end, maybe we get what her the price she had paid by personal stresses. This makes this series so much more than pure crime. It is also an in-depth drama, with so many layers. This is a must-see for anyone who likes crime and outstanding role performance.
  • comment
    • Author: you secret
    The first three 'Prime Suspect' series were absolutely brilliant. 'Prime Suspect IV' changed the format from two episodes compromising of one case for each of the previous three series to three different cases and actually did it very well.

    After changing the formula with 'Prime Suspect IV' with three episodes and three separate cases, the fifth to seventh series returned to the original two episodes revolving around one case (to me the format that worked more, not that the change of format in 'Prime Suspect IV' didn't work well but with the complexities and rich development of the stories in the other series the having them as two parters was necessary and allowed more development of the stories and characters).

    'Prime Suspect' bows out with 'The Final Act' and what a final act it is. 'Prime Suspect' deserved to go out with a bang, and it does, and it compares very favourably with the previous series.

    Every single one of the previous 'Prime Suspect' series were incredibly well made. 'Prime Suspect VII: The Final Act' is not excepted. It is stylishly and cleverly filmed, with slick editing and atmospheric lighting, and there is a consistently wonderful atmosphere throughout. It is very gritty, dark and effectively claustrophobic. It is very hard to forget the music score too, plus mood-wise it's one of the more action and atmosphere-enhancing music scores of all the 'Prime Suspect' series along with 'The Last Witness'.

    Once again the writing is of superb calibre, some of the best there is of any mystery/detective drama, being superbly constructed and intelligent, plus it is hard to not be impressed by the cunning subtlety of the conflicts.

    Story-telling is very compelling and twisty, with an atmosphere that is gritty and harrowing but also intricate and honest. It is a complex story that keeps one guessing right up to the end while also being easy to follow. Plus the suspense of a lot of it is nerve-shredding. The deliberate pacing did not harm it at all, in fact it was executed incredibly well and was necessary considering the amount going on. There is an ever so slight lull in the middle pace-wise, but nowhere near enough to harm the story.

    The final act in particular is nail-biting and heart-wrenching, the whole of 'The Final Act' is worth it for the chemistry between Tennison and Laura Greenwood's character and the climactic interrogation alone.

    Jane Tennison continues to be an interesting character, the character and the depiction of the police force was very ahead of the time back in the 90s and holds much fascination now even if not so novel. There is the sense too that the character has evolved significantly, a feeling that one didn't get before.

    Helen Mirren's performance is as ever of sheer magnificence and she gets particularly exceptional support from Tom Bell (last seen in 'Prime Suspect III') and Laura Greenwood. Having seen his one in a lifetime performance in 'Brassed Off', Stephen Tompkinson excels at playing conflicted, or actually more in this case borderline creepy, characters (although he's better known for other things that are the opposite of that) and he goes for it.

    All in all, a more than satisfying send-off, couldn't be better. By the end my nails were sore from all the biting and there were tears running down my face, may sound hyperbolic but 'The Final Act' had that effect on me. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • comment
    • Author: Mautaxe
    Jane Tennison is imperfect. She fits none of the moral imperatives that many of our media heroes seem to possess. What she does have is doggedness and skill at her craft. This is an incredible finale. One the eve of her retirement (she has no idea what to do next) she begins to drink heavily. She is also overwhelmed by the impending demise of her father, whom she idolizes. She starts work on her last case. A fourteen year old girl has disappeared. Soon it is realized that Sallie has more of a dark life than her parents imagined. She has started hooking up with some pretty serious characters at school. Her friend from across the street, a very pretty young girl, isn't totally truthful and Jane can't get a handle. Meanwhile, the drinking becomes over the top. She is having blackouts. She isn't remembering messages. She is also getting incredibly hostile and embittered. She and that neighbor girl begin to form a friendship. At one time, Jane almost gets them both killed, driving while drunk. Suspects are all over the place, including a young black man whom all the girls are crazy about.
  • comment
    • Author: Eayaroler
    Hfk from Oklohoma, another contributor here, describes seeing this the first time it aired and being a bit underwhelmed, but then seeing it again was really impressed.

    I totally agree with this comment!

    Have just finished watching it and feel compelled to write a review to encourage anyone to have a look at this, because:

    1. Like all first class television, the Prime Suspect series in general picks up on contemporary themes in culture and society and holds them up for us to see them closer. This final Prime Suspect does this so beautifully it will prove a rich source of information for future social historians. When we first meet Jane Tennyson she is a woman up against ingrained sexism in the Police Force, about 40 years old. When this was made (about 1991), it picked up on the generation of women who chose a career over the more traditional life map of marriage and children. Fast forward to 2006 and the ideology of the programme seems to have shifted. The writers almost appear to be punishing the character at times for pursuing a career.

    Also, the wonderful interrogation of teenage life in London. People will look back and laugh at the 'innit' speech of the kids here. Also, the over the top excessive use of the new technology: mobile telephones and constant texting. All excellently held up for us to ourselves and our world at the time.

    2. The acting is just outstanding. Even the bit parts are spot on here. Helen Mirren's performance here, well, put it this way, several times I muttered: 'What a brave performance' - just incredible. At a time where even young actors are getting botox and 'fillers' and starving themselves into submission, Mirren stares down the camera - and 'stares down' a film and television celebrity culture which insists on a cartoonish perfection. Remarkable.

    3. The emotional fall out as this programme goes on is almost unbearable to watch at times. You empathise with these fallible human beings. It says a great deal for the writing that no one here is completely innocent or guilty. It says even more that you care so deeply about them all. Even the Headmaster. It would have been so easy to make him a nasty piece of work wouldn't it? He makes a terrible error of judgement.

    4. Which brings me to: 'The Final Act' - the very title holds connotations of a Shakespearian Tragedy......and this final act is a Tragedy. Literally. (A tragic figure for example is brought undone by the fatal flaw in their character) Tennyson and Otley: alcoholism. The Headmaster, a desire to escape his middle aged suburban responsibilities and falling for a student.

    5. The thematic threads which link Jane's fondness for Penny and the Headmaster's infatuation for Sallie are beautifully realised. When Penny breaks into Jane's father's house late in the piece and mirrors the earlier scene of a drunk Jane dancing with her police hat on, I just marvelled at it all to be honest. Jane and the Headmaster both look to extreme youth to try and reclaim their own lost, carefree youth.

    6. Finally, when so many television programmes constantly show people 'having a relaxing glass of wine' to 'unwind' from the stresses of their job, how refreshing to see alcohol in it's altogether more nasty guise. That hangover at the beginning - I could feel that nausea.

    Oh......loved the intertextual reference to Helen Mirren playing The Queen (Elizabeth 2), when she quips: 'Don't call me Ma'am. I'm not the Queen.'

    Give it another go if you only saw it in 2006. You will very likely (like a couple of us here) be shocked at just how emotionally wrenching this is to watch.
  • Series cast summary:
    Helen Mirren Helen Mirren - Det. Supt. Jane Tennison 2 episodes, 2006
    Stephen Tompkinson Stephen Tompkinson - Sean Philips 2 episodes, 2006
    Laura Greenwood Laura Greenwood - Penny Philips 2 episodes, 2006
    Eve Best Eve Best - Linda Philips 2 episodes, 2006
    Gary Lewis Gary Lewis - Tony Sturdy 2 episodes, 2006
    Katy Murphy Katy Murphy - Ruth Sturdy 2 episodes, 2006
    Frank Finlay Frank Finlay - Arnold Tennison 2 episodes, 2006
    Tom Bell Tom Bell - Bill Otley 2 episodes, 2006
    Robert Pugh Robert Pugh - DS Alun Simms 2 episodes, 2006
    Brendan Coyle Brendan Coyle - DCS Mitchell 2 episodes, 2006
    Robbie Gee Robbie Gee - DI Traynor 2 episodes, 2006
    Russell Mabey Russell Mabey - DS Cox 2 episodes, 2006
    Laura Doddington Laura Doddington - DC Wood 2 episodes, 2006
    Heshima Thompson Heshima Thompson - Curtis Flynn 2 episodes, 2006
    Carolyn Pickles Carolyn Pickles - Pauline 2 episodes, 2006
    Amandla Crichlow Amandla Crichlow - Gloria 2 episodes, 2006
    Maxine Barton Maxine Barton - Sallie Sturdy 2 episodes, 2006
    Ricky Nixon Ricky Nixon - Lester Bishop 2 episodes, 2006
    Ellie Kendrick Ellie Kendrick - Melanie 2 episodes, 2006
    Tim Preece Tim Preece - AA Speaker 2 episodes, 2006
    David Keyes David Keyes - AA Speaker 2 episodes, 2006
    Alex Blake Alex Blake - AA Speaker 2 episodes, 2006
    Helen Griffin Helen Griffin - AA Speaker 2 episodes, 2006
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