Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act
October 15, 2006 | 182 minutes
One last time, Helen Mirren reprises her iconic role as the formidable Detective Superintendent Tennison. As her exemplary career heads towards its inevitable conclusion. Jane is paying dearly for 35 years of repressed rage and loneliness. It also connects the dots to many subplot of the previous series’, such as her relationship to her father and to Bill Otley, who returns for the final show. But most of all, “The Final Act” deconstructs Tennison, who has spent her life dedicated to the police, and who comes to terms on what’s left in her life.
Lynda LaPlante, who parted with “Prime Suspect” after the third installment, showed her disappointment on the show’s conclusion. “I just find it very sad that for the end of a great character, female, somebody has to say ‘make her a drunk’. Why?” Critics didn’t mind and gave the final “Prime Suspect” rave reviews. New York Magazine wrote, that it “incorporates and refines precious elements from all these previous hours—the father whose birthday Jane missed, the ghostly child who never was, the earliest nemesis at Scotland Yard, the satisfactions of a job well done, what music and art can do to allay loneliness and grief and what they can’t, why being an adult means living with your choices, how listening at full alert sounds the darkest depths, and the address of the nearest AA meeting. It’s like saying good-bye to Leopold Bloom. And Variety wrote, “the main distinction is Mirren. She invests Tennison with dignity and intelligence but also pathos, determined to solve Sallie’s murder so she can go out on a win before her excesses undo her.
“Prime Suspect: The Final Act” received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television (surprisingly, the first-ever Golden Globe nomination that Helen Mirren received for the “Prime Suspect” series) and Best Mini-Series. At the Primetime Emmy Awards, “Prime Suspect” was again nominated as Outstanding Miniseries and won three statuettes for Outstanding Directing (Philip Martin), Outstanding Writing (Frank Deasy) and Outstanding Lead Actress (Helen Mirren).
The last “Prime Suspect” has everything that has made this show so special – a gripping case, a tough as nails Tennison, a great cast of supporting players, not to mention Bill Otley. But this “Prime Suspect” feels different. From the first minute you see that Jane Tennison is falling apart. She seems to old for the job, too drunk to be in charge. She knows it and her colleagues know it. The audience knows that this is her last case, just as Tennison knows. You hope that she’s not only able to solve the case, but to end her glorious career to an end with dignity. At least, she manges one of the two. A sad ending, but a fitting one for Tennison. Very recommended.
Awards and Nominations for Helen Mirren
★ Broadcasting Press Guild Award – Best Actress
★ Online Film & Television Association – Best Actress in a Motion Picture or Miniseries
★ Primetime Emmy Award – Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
★ Royal Television Society – Best Actor – Female
★ Seoul International Drama Award – Best Actress
★ Golden Globe – Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television
★ Television Critics Association Award – Individual Achievement in Drama