Prime Suspect 4: Inner Circles
May 07, 1995
| 102 minutes
Directed by: Sarah Pia Anderson
| Written by: Eric Deacon, Meredith Oakes
When Denis Carradine, manager of the local country club, is found dead in his home, neighbors are quick to blame youngsters from the rundown housing estate nearby - and the local police are happy to go along with that view. Tennison (Helen Mirren) soon finds herself at odds with the resentful DCI Raymond, the type of cop she has had problems with throughout her career, as well as with the influential voices of the middle-class community - in particular that of James Greenlees, managing director of Huntington Country Club and chairman of the Police Consultative Committee. Tennison's personal resources are fully stretched as she is forced to engage in political games with the community, while pulling together a difficult team and leading a problematic investigation. As the investigation continues, the dead man's financial dealings make less and less sense. Tennison begins to suspect a link with an on-going council probe into a property sale involving chief planning officer Paul Endicott. She becomes convinced that Carradine's solicitor, the tough and manipulative Maria Henry, holds many of the answers, but the divorcee is giving nothing away.
Cast: Helen Mirren (Supt. Jane Tennison), Thomas Russell (Geoff), James Laurenson (Paul Endicott), Helene Kvale (Lynne Endicott), Jill Baker (Maria Henry), Kelly Reilly (Polly Henry), Gareth Forwood (Denis Carradine), Anthony Bate (James Greenlees), Phillida Sewell (Olive Carradine), Jonathan Copestake (Micky Thomas), Julie Rice (Sheila Bower), Roger Milner (Norman), Tony Spooner (Alan), Hamish McColl (Younger Neighbor), Sam Rumbelow (PC Wilson), Ralph Arliss (DCI Raymond), Sophie Stanton (DS Cromwell), Thomas Craig (DS Booth), Cristopher John Hale (DC Bakari), Steve Knowles (Desk Sergeant), James E. Kerr (DC Lee), Richard Hawley (DI Richard Haskons), Albert Welling (Club Manager), Nick Patrick (Hamish Endicott), Malcolm Scates (Forensic Scientist), Armen Gregory (SOCO), Ian Flintoff (Supt. Mallory), Anthony Daniels (Pathologist), John Benfield (DCS Kernan), Martin Matthews (Tory Councillor), Alan Perrin (Derek Palmer), Kenneth Hadley (Opposition Speaker), Alex Hall (Opposition Councillor), Myles Hoyle (Mr. Brant), Michael Stainton (George)
“Inner Circles”, the second episode of series 4 – takes the newly promoted Detective Superintendent Tennison to a very different part of London – an affluent commuter suburb – to investigate a bizarre death. The case exposes the web of fraud, local government corruption and hollow relationships that can lie beneath the respectable veneer of the community. Tennison’s normal beat lies down the shabby streets of Britain’s great cities, investigating crime among the kind of people who don’t play a lot of tennis. Murder, however, turns out to be just as sordid in the suburbs as it is in London and Manchester. What’s more, the green belt has its shabby streets too. It turns out that those streets, just like the inner cities, are full of people who don’t play tennis either. Some of them work, some peddle drugs, some growl about the “solid citizens” who belong to the country club and run the town. Tennison quickly finds that what looks like every slum dweller’s dream of paradise is seething with political conspiracy and personal loathing.
While the time frame worked for “The Lost Child”, “Inner Circles” is one “Prime Suspect” that doesn’t stick with you. It starts very chilling, but as soon as the story moves to the investigation in the country club, you’d rather have Inspector Barnaby do the work than Jane Tennison. The case and the supporting players feel too much out of a soap opera, and all the connections to “inner circles” drag away from the main story. Here, the difference between a miniseries (and if its only two parts) and episodic television becomes very apparent. Still, “Prime Suspect” remains above average, and while “Inner Circles” is among the weaker parts of the series, its still worthwile – if only for Tennison’s last scene.