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Is NBC’s Prime Suspect the next Free Agents?

Will 'Prime Suspect' become the next 'Free Agent'? Possibly. This week, NBC took out out the show's originality and added the cliche. People will still watch the show, but is the awesomeness is gone?

- Season 1, Episode 3 - "Bitch"

This week, NBC seemingly decided that everything we enjoyed about the original Prime Suspect (and the re-boot’s last two episodes) should go. Forget Prime Suspect‘s (US) former originality; if you’ve seen one cop show with a pretty blonde female victim, you’ve already seen this episode.

Everything original is gone. The sexist detectives who hated Jane yet loved their jobs? Gone. The sympathetic child molester? Gone. The conflict of Jane’s stable home life with her unstable position? Gone. The Jane who put aside her horror at a child molester’s death to make a child feel welcome? Gone. The Jane who solved cases without fanfare but with keen observation? Gone.

Unfortunately, what we got, we didn’t need. We didn’t need the stereotypical African-American kid holding up the majority white bar (which proved more useless when the case went nowhere). We didn’t need the unnecessary cat fight between the “pretty” detective and Timoney. Dear writers, stop pretending strong women in similar positions don’t support each other. We didn’t need the guys telling Timoney she has a “chip on her shoulder,” because she cares about solving the case. What happened to the cops who cared about their job last week? We didn’t need Prime Suspect to morph into the police version of Friends. We didn’t need Timoney’s glib nature at the crime scene and in interviews. What happened to Jane’s compassion? We didn’t need this week’s Jane to heckle an assault victim. Remember when she yelled at Duffy for pulling crap to get reactions? I miss that Jane.

The producers seemingly decided that the sexism and grim reality that made Prime Suspect (UK) a success (and helped Prime Suspect  (US) survive three episodes) should disappear. But, brighter isn’t better, Prime Suspect could have become NBC’s new SVU.  But, this wasn’t it. An annoying guitar track ran during “funny” and not-funny moments.  All of a sudden, Jane’s in charge now, she solves crimes based on her gut, and the team members fist bump her. Plus, the show literally wastes time while the detectives comically test a theory. This week’s glib, wise-cracking Jane is someone who would wear hat flair. And, who is so “cool” she sleeps in the office.

The show’s title — and the episode itself — was trite. We didn’t need the one-dimensional villain and we didn’t need Jane skipping her boyfriend’s kid’s school play to work at her dad’s bar. Technically, the show is still good; but last week broke stereotypes. In the commercials, Chase looked like a watered down version of In Plain Sight. This week’s show looks like a watered down version of Chase’s commercials. The writers did such a good job last week. I watched this week expecting that same level of awesome. I understand that no one wants to see sexism, scared cops, or realistic home life, but Prime Suspect did well showing society’s unwanted realities. I hope it returns to that.



Photo Credit: NBC

11 Responses to “Is NBC’s Prime Suspect the next Free Agents?”

October 7, 2011 at 8:54 AM

The only thing I can say, is that we obviously didn’t watch the same show.

October 7, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Ivey – We rarely watch the same show – particularly when it comes to strong female characters ;0

October 7, 2011 at 9:08 AM

But to clarify a couple of things:

The Detectives rotate on who is lead in a case … I’m not sure why, but that was the main point of contention about her not getting.

I don’t think the bar robbery case went nowhere, I think it is a story that will last a couple of episodes instead of being contained to just one.

Can’t see where you’re coming from on the robbery detective either. Does her attitude and personality act as nice counter for Timoney, showing us how “right” our lead is?

October 7, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I know about the rotation, but considering they made a big stink about Timoney getting pushed, I thought she’d have more of a fight with the team while in charge. I don’t know what you mean about the robbery detective. My dislike is the writers using her as a foil i.e. “pretty, sweet” detective vs. “hard-nosed” detective, but it seemed unnecessary and it’s a rarely used comparison with male detective shows. It happens, but it’s rarer.

October 7, 2011 at 9:16 AM

My point is that she is liked because she’s a flirt.

October 7, 2011 at 9:26 AM

I know. My point is we didn’t need the contrast.

October 7, 2011 at 9:39 AM

An, you and I don’t need the contrast.

But everyone isn’t as smart as you and I :)

October 7, 2011 at 7:31 PM

This is a very, very, poor remake of Lynda La Plantes brilliant UK series, starring Helen Mirren.

October 8, 2011 at 7:36 AM

This show was already near the bottom of my list for this season (not so much for its portrayal of unwanted realities as for my perception that it was clumsily done), and this review does little to convince me that persevering would be a rewarding exercise. ;) I love Bello in just about anything, even The Mummy 3, and she’s the only reason I’m still recording this show, but she’s far, far better than what I’ve seen here.

Considering the ratings for the previous two episodes, I suspect the title of your post is prescient.

October 8, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Hey Ryan – Good to hear from you. Agreed, casting Maria Bello was a good idea. And I loved the second episode. Although it wasn’t BBC’s ‘Prime Suspect,’ it was well done. However, it’s possible the producers got cold feet and stepped away from the original premise. I’ll check in next week to see what happens –

October 8, 2011 at 7:23 PM

I didn’t want to follow another show, especially another generic cop procedural, but Bello is a potent draw and kept Prime Suspect on my radar. The summer trailer wasn’t too annoying, hat included, so I checked it out. I didn’t even know it was a remake, so Mirren’s portrayal didn’t encumber me with any expectations, good or bad. Reading up after the fact, however, I wish they had kept the character’s rampant drinking and smoking, which might have counterbalanced her William Fichtner-esque fashion sense.

I guess I need either the rawness and verisimilitude of a Southland or a Justified, or the fantasy and verve of a Rizzoli & Isles. The “serious” dramas in between the two extremes rarely seem to do it for me. In the meantime, I can always rewatch A History of Violence if I want to be impressed by Bello again.

I’ll keep reading the reviews, though, in case the show suddenly finds its groove. Although if NBC has already Human Targeted the show after two episodes, I fear things will only continue to get worse. Any news on replacing the showrunner, whose previous credits seem to have been Desperate Housewives and Fastlane?

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