The groundbreaking success of “Prime Suspect” not only won Helen Mirren her first BAFTA Award in 1992, it also spawned in an equally successful second series that premiered in December. A year after her first murder investigation, Tennison is in top form, having built on the success of her last case and consolidated the hard won respect of her colleagues. When the body of a young girl is discovered in a shallow grave in the back garden of a terraced house in a largely Afro-Caribbean neighborhood in London, Tennison takes over the investigation. John J. O’Connor of The New York Times described the new series as “powerful, every bit a good as the original and in some ways even better… Ms. Mirren has got this grittily independent woman down perfectly.” New York Magazine wrote on February 15, 1993: For adulthood’s paw prints, we can look to Helen Mirren, who returns as Jane Tennison of Scottland Yard in “Prime Suspect 2”. What was remarkable about the first “Prime Suspect” – that a woman neglecting her hearth could still find satisfaction in a job as difficult as she was, as if intellectual acitivity were its own reward for both sexes – remains so in this splendid sequel. John Strickland directs from a script by Alan Cubitt, and Mirren once again is a listening intelligence: Her brain’s an ear. Really, television doesn’t get any better”.
After wrapping “Prime Suspect 2”, Helen spent time in Los Angeles and guested at the Tiffany Theatre in Alan Ayckbourn’s “Woman in Mind”. “It was a double thing,” Mirren said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “I’ve never worked in the theater here in Los Angeles, and it was a great opportunity for me to do that. On top of that, being offered the opportunity to play such a really wonderful role. In my knowledge, this is probably one of the best roles written for a woman. I would count it among the top 10 best ever. That obviously has a lot to do with it.” For director Dennis Erdman, Mirren was a first choice for the role. “Woman in Mind is like doing ‘St. Joan’ without a very strong actress in the central role. The edifice would completely fall apart. I’ve been wanting to do this play for a very long time, and it wasn’t until Helen was able to do it that we went ahead.”