Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Last Detective Series 2 (2004)

The Last Detective isn't going to win many achievement awards. It has none of the gripping tension of Prime Suspect or Touching Evil. Nor does it have the philosophical aura of Inspector Morse or the hard hitting Law & Order CI. There doesn't appear to be many cliffhangers either. However, maybe that's the point? It relies on the mundane English locale with a familiar workmanlike face in Peter Davidson to fight its criminals.


Volume One

DC Davies (Davidson) has to solve a case when wealthy bastard Maurice Leyman (an outstanding Allan Corduner) dies while lying in a drunken stupor as his studio goes up in a blaze. His wife, the certain Christine Leyman (Susan Vidler), is the primary lead. But Davies has other ideas.

It might have been better had writer Richard Harris not given away the culprit so quickly. Mrs. Leyman's cool collectiveness was a sign of her innocence and dislike towards her husband's verbal and physical abusiveness. With a variety of quirky characters to interview but no concrete motive, the killer becomes all too obvious. C-

The Long Bank Holiday
Computer theft, suicide by train, missing identity, buried human bones, and a neighborly fight over hedges are all sewn together to make this the best episode of Series 2. The storyline has a good flow to it and does a fine job of intertwining Davies' personal life. Special props to the ruling Councillor Balsam (Lynda Bellingham) and the charming and lovely Mandy (Tracy-Ann Oberman). B

Volume 2

Benefit to Mankind
There's a lot of money to be made in the drug industry. Henry Winton's body is found in a canal after discovering Carl Swanee's (David Threlfall) Alzheimer's medicine research has failed. Then Anna Beauchamp goes missing, and Davies takes a trip to Wales to find her when he runs into the likes of painter Tecwyn Hughes (Alan David) and the distinctive Professor Tapscott (Ronald Pickup). Michael Aitkins' screenplay is steady, and the opening scene with Pearly Gates (Peter Jonfield) is a memorable one. B-

Dangerous and the Lonely Hearts
Davies investigates the "Love of Your Life" dating service after Natalie Burisha (Branka Katic) is found dead in her flat. Gavin (Alexander Hanson), a former flame, is told of her death and strangely laughs hysterically to this viewers delight. (A sign right there he isn't the killer.) Then Burisha's next door neighbor and wounded love interest, boxer Paddy Jones (Trevor Laird), jumps off the balcony in an honorable suicide attempt (and so to the chances of him being the killer). If that weren't enough, what really ruins the story later is when Davies goes to pick up his clampt car at the impound lot. By chance he discovers an unclaimed car that holds the key to the case. This is absurd, and I found the episode to be light in its expose. Plus some obvious planting devices and cliched instances unfortunately make me think twice about this program. D+


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