The TV shows, Prime Suspect and its similarly themed American counterpart, The Closer, both had the police hunting down the worse cases crime had to offer and, focused in on a female lead — with Kyra Sedgwick playing Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson in The Closer, and Dame Helen Mirren playing Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect.
Both these shows followed a similar pattern, but how they dealt with their subject material, and how, by the end of each episode, they closed their cases, was approached in different ways.
While I watched and loved The Closer, which was essentially about how Johnson/Sedgwick ‘closed’ her cases through her techniques in interrogation. The show was also full of a great deal of humour that, IMHO, often got in the way of the story telling aspect. Each episode had a number of ‘B’ plots that were, invariably, a slapstick comedy segment. After seven seasons, this became very tiresome and took the edge away from some of the topics covered.
I really felt that, had they taken away or pared down the comedy, the show might still have been running. As it is, Kyra Sedgwick went on to do other shows. Not least of which was the more hard-hitting, Ten Days in the Valley, where she was on the other side of the law.
Meanwhile, Prime Suspect was more of a police procedural than The Closer, following Tennison and her team as they slowly pieced together all the clue, bit by bit. And while the interrogation was still an integral part of the show’s basis, it wasn’t the main focus as it was in, The Closer.
The two shows differed on many levels, while The Closer was laced with humour, Prime Suspect was the flip side, dark, gritty, and down in the trenches. You saw more of the under belly of crime and the inhabitants of that level of society than was seen in The Closer. Also, while The Closer focused on crime in LA in almost a popcorn fashion, Prime Suspect took us to every dark corner of London that they could find.
Whether you were a Brenda Leigh supporter, or a Tennison fan, either way, both shows delved into dark corners in two uniquely different ways, caught the bad guys, and entertained us with strong, female leads that could hold their own, making these two shows a definite cut above the rest.
And you, what did you think of both these shows?