Prime Suspect 2

December 15, 1992 | 203 minutes
Directed by: John Strickland | Written by: Lynda La Plante
A year after her first murder investigation, DCI Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) is in top form, having built on the success of her last case and consolidated the hard won respect of her colleagues. She is relaxed and self confident - sure enough of herself to enjoy scoring points off the devious and ambitious DCI Thorndike while they jointly chair a course in interrogation techniques, but always maintaining her commitment to her work and attention to detail. Proof of the esteem in which she is now held comes when Detective Superintendent Kernan asks Tennison to head a new murder inquiry. A plum case - or is it? 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. The case is a difficult one, for the body is badly decomposed, leaving almost no clues to the girl's identity. Tennison's job is made harder by the fact that the investigation is taking place in a community already bubbling with tension and with a history of bad relations with the police. And Tennison has to contend with prejudice and misunderstanding from both the locals and from within her own team. Meanwhile her boss, with one eye on his promotion, is putting the pressure on to get the case solved double quick with minimum fuss.
Cast: Helen Mirren (DCI Jane Tennison), Colin Salmon (DS Robert Oswalde), John Benfield (D Supt Michael Kernan), Jack Ellis (DI Tony Muddyman), Craig Fairbrass (DI Frank Burkin), Richard Hawley (DS Richard Haskons), Philip Wright (DC Lillie), Ian Fitzgibbon (DC Jones), Andrew Tiernan (DC Rosper), Stafford Gordon (Commander Trayner), Lloyd McGuire (Sgt Calder), Stephen Boxer (DCI Thorndike), Claire Benedict (Esme Allen), George Harris (Vernon Allen), Fraser James (Tony Allen), Ashley James (Cleo Allen), Junior Laniyan (David Allen), Jenny Jules (Sarah Allen), Josephine Melville (Esta), Tom Watson (David Harvey), June Watson (Eileen Reynolds), Matt Bardock (Jason Reynolds), Dev Sagoo (Mr. Viswandha), Shireen Shah (Mrs. Viswandha), Jesse Singh (Viswandha Boy), Nelson Fletcher (Builder), Corinne Skinner-Carter (Nola Cameron), Adrian Schiller (Gold), David Ryall (Oscar Bream), Stefan Kalipha (Jonathan Phelps), Burt Caesar (Patterson), T-Bone Wilson (Leather Hat), Cynthia Powell (Silver Haired Lady), Dinah Stabb (Mrs. Fagunwa), Nina Sosanya (Joanne Fagunwa), Michael Fitzgerald (Rodin), Caroline Loncq (Rachel)

Production Photos

Production Notes

Based on the story by Lynda La Plante, Allan Cubitt wrote the script for Prime Suspect 2: “Obviously, the chance to develop a story at length and present it to such a potentially large audience is a great opportunity for me. The whole process has been a joy from beginning to end and has allowed me to collaborate with the best people around. I can honestly say that the producer, writer, script editor, story editor and director have worked like one person throughout the project and that’s a rare enough thing to be worth celebrating as frequently as possible.” In addition to Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison, the cast includes Colin Salmon in his first television role as Detective Bob Oswalde. Salmon sees Oswalde as a driven man, “one with the insight to crack tough cases. He’s drawn to Tennison because, although both are outsiders, they are also equals. But the qualities which brought them together ignite conflicts.”

In the New York Times (February 11, 1993), John J. O’Connor 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.

“Prime Suspect 2” was able to even succeed the critical acclaim of its predecessor with awards juries. Mirren once again won a BAFTA Award as Best Actress, and received her first Primetime Emmy Award nomination in the same category. “Prime Suspect 2” won the Primetime Emmy Award as Best Miniseries of the Year.

Review

★★★★★
A follow-up to a successful series is always difficult because it’s a thin line between repeating what’s worked in the first place and getting detached too far from what worked in the first place. Fortunately, “Prime Suspect 2” hits the core once again. The case is dark and compelling – yet, once again, it feels very real to be happening anywhere. Tennison is more respected by her colleagues this time, yet she has to battle with her superiors, prejudice, and an affair with a DS who’s joining her team. This might distract from the case of the series, but it adds more layers to the complexity of the Tennison character. The second “Prime Suspect” is a triumph for everyone involved. Very recommended.



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