Directed by: John Madden
| Written by: Paul Billing
After making some tough personal decisions, Tennison (Helen Mirren) returns to old territory in London's Southampton Row station to find herself working against the clock to trace abducted toddler Vicki Covington. The child's mother, Susan Covington, has separated from her husband and is coping alone with the demands of career and baby. Studying late into the night after finally settling her teething child, Susan falls asleep over her books, but jumps awake at an unexpected noise. The next morning the nanny turns up for work to discover Susan lying in a pool of blood and no sign of the baby. WPC Maureen Havers is assigned to the distraught mother as she recovers from head injuries, while Tennison and her team move into action. Once again, however, she finds herself at odds with her superiors in the Metropolitan Police and increasingly frustrated by bureaucracy. As the team investigates links with pedophile organizations, child sex offender Chris Hughes quickly emerges as the prime suspect. Tennison and DI Muddyman arrange a meeting with Patrick Schofield, the clinical psychologist responsible for his recent treatment. Tennison is pleased when he compliments her handling of the case, but his refusal to release Hughes' notes provokes an unexpected response from Muddyman. Meanwhile, Hughes' girlfriend Anne Sutherland, a divorced mother of two, is unaware of his past and Schofield warns Tennison that the pressure of the investigation could tip Hughes over the edge and put Anne's young daughters at risk.
Cast: Helen Mirren (Supt. Jane Tennison), Beatie Edney (Susan Covington), Robert Glenister (Chris Hughes), Lesley Sharp (Anne Sutherland), Tracy Keating (Carolyn Norwood), Richard Hawley (DI Richard Haskons), Jack Ellis (DI Tony Muddyman), David Phelan (DC Pride), Graham Seed (Doctor), John Benfield (DCS Kernan), Tony Rohr (DS McColl), Mark Bazeley (DC Aplin), Chris Brailsford (DC Westbrook), Mossie Smith (WPC Maureen Havers), Caroline Selby (Alison Sutherland), Candice Paul (Gayle Sutherland), Adrian Lukis (John Warwick), Fergus O'Donnell (DC Hawker), Stuart Wilson (Dr. Patrick Schofield), Stephen Tindall (DCI White), Anthony Daniels (Pathologist), David Ryall (Oscar Bream), Patrick Cremin (DI Andrews), Sam Cox (DCI Birnam), Richard Cubison (Commander Lane), Mac Andrews (Stubbs), Anna Niland (WPC), Malcolm Raeburn (Supt. Sleeth)
Three different stories are presented in “Prime Suspect 4”, which finds the newly promoted Jane Tennison, now working for the Area Major Investigation Team, assigned to different stations to head up major inquiries. Tennison returns to old territory in London’s Southampton Row station to find herself working against the clock to trace abducted toddler Vicki Covington in “The Lost Child.” For Tennison, the case has special poignancy because she has just had an abortion. And now, as the hunt for the missing toddler intensifies, a ravenous mob of Fleet Street reporters is demanding answers. Tennison meets Patrick Scofield, the criminal psychologist who has been treating the sex offender. There is an immediate rapport between them. Upon its American television broadcast, People Magazine wrote, that “Mirren gives an engrossing, utterly convincing performance as Tennison. Also excellent is Stuart Wilson as a supercilious consulting psychiatrist.” Today wrote, “Tighter and grittier than the other three, this one was jam-packed with so much raw energy and high emotion that by the end of it I felt as drained as Helen Mirren looked…”
“The Lost Child” received 4 BAFTA nominations for Best Drama Series, Best Actress, Best Photography and Lighting and Best Sound.
“The Lost Child” is the first episode in the series that runs shorter than the usual two parts. In comparison to the two other episodes, “The Lost Child” would have had the potential to be told over the normal miniseries length. It shows Tennison in a very difficult time in her life, delving even deeper into dark human places. In the end – and the ending surprises – this story has no winners, which makes it another “Prime Suspect” that leaves you with a more uncomfortable feeling than other drama series. The acting is superb throughout.
Awards and Nominations for Helen Mirren
★ BAFTA TV Award – Best Actress