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Above Suspicion: Set 2

Release Year:    2011
Studio:    Acorn Media
Format:    Colour; NTSC; Widescreen
Rated:    Not Rated; Contains violence, graphic images, and coarse language
# of Discs/Episodes:    1 / 3
Running Time:    138 minutes
DVD Release Date:    February 5, 2013
Creator:    Lynda La Plante
Screenwriters:    Lynda La Plante, Noel Farragher
Directors:    Gillies MacKinnon
Actors:    Kelly Reilly, Ciaran Hinds
DVD Features:    Behind-the-scenes featurette (10 min.); conversations with cast, crew, and Lynda La Plante (20 min.); photogallery; and more SDH subtitles
E:Top Picks Rating:    9/10

Acorn Media Write-up:
Freshly promoted DI Anna Travis (Kelly Reilly, “Sherlock Holmes”) reunites with DCS James Langton (Ciaran Hinds, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) to investigate the murder of a former police officer. The dead man was Langton’s friend, and the detectives soon learn the case is much bigger than they first believed. A drug found at the scene has the chillingly accurate street name “Drop Dead,” and the notorious criminal behind the drug might be someone who no longer exists.

Based on the bestselling novels by Lynda La Plante, this hit British police drama blends taut storytelling with convincing chemistry between Travis, who “sizzles” (The Guardian, U.K.) and Langton, her hard-boiled, flawed and charismatic boss. Set 2 includes the three-part program “Deadly Intent” and guest stars Julian Sands (“A Room with a View”).

Jon Ted Wynne Review:
It’s been awhile since the first two stories of ABOVE SUSPICION were released here in North America. They were gripping, intense police dramas, with mastermind creator Lynda La Plante at the top of her game. Set 2 is also very good, though slightly less intense, which is understandable. How can you top “The Red Dahlia,” (which interweaves the story of the Black Dahlia, one of the most disturbing police dramas on record), which was part of the first set of ABOVE SUSPICION?

There’s something really wonderful about Kelly Reilly. Unconventionally attractive, she projects vulnerability and capability in equal measure. And Ciaran Hinds suggests a toughness that is palpable. Part rugby player and part bouncer in appearance, he could be Pete Postelthwaite’s younger brother with his angular, almost scary, facial structure. Yet he, too, reveals vulnerability and sensitivity when required. Complex characters, indeed.

Lynda La Plante’s number one strength as a purveyor of police parables is her ability to create strong, believable female protagonists. Kelly Reilly’s DI Anna Travis could be Helen Mirren in “Prime Suspect” twenty-five years earlier.

Of equal interest to the less intense but still very good plot and the well-drawn, fully-rounded characters, is the evolving relationship between Reilly’s Travis and Hinds’ DCS Langton, her boss. The end of this set introduces a new development in their interaction and we are left wanting to know more.

Indeed, if there is any cause to lament here it is because there is only one mystery on hand, albeit a two-hour-plus tale in three parts. The good news is there is one more ABOVE SUSPICION coming down the turnpike. The bad news is the show has not been renewed, so the remaining Lynda La Plante ABOVE SUSPICION novels will be, for now at least, left on the shelf, so to speak.

Enjoy it while it lasts, folks. We can only trust that the master – Lynda La Plante – will be back.