First Impressions

Prime Suspect

Aired on: NBC

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            When I saw the promos for Prime Suspect, I couldn’t wait to see this series.  The promos suggested a tough as nails cop who could keep up with the best of them, chasing down criminals, even duking it out with them, and still come home and look glamorous on a dinner date .  I also loved the bits and pieces of dialogue present in the promos.  Prime Suspect looked like a cop show I might seriously enjoy, so I sat down to check out its premiere episode which aired on NBC at 10pm EST on Thursday, September 22, 2011.

            Jill Timoney (Maria Bello) is a New York City detective recently assigned to the homicide division.  Being the only female in her squad seems to be a problem.  She gets skipped for cases and seems to be the outcast of the group.  It doesn’t help that she has recently decided to quit smoking.  It also doesn’t help that she and her live-in boyfriend, Matt (Kenny Johnson), have been jumping through hoops for his ex, so he can have a sleepover visit from his son at their apartment.

            After getting cheated out of a penthouse murder case, Jill decides to do some legwork on the case on her own.  When the lead detective on the case unexpectedly dies, Jill finds herself in charge.  Using her skills as a detective and her insight earned from working in Vice Squad, Detective Timoney brings the NYPD closer to catching their killer and possibly a rapist who has been terrorizing the neighborhood.

            Based on a British series that starred Helen Mirren, Prime Suspect is not what I expected and yet, everything I wanted.  Yes, Jill Timoney is tough…on the outside.  On the inside, she is vulnerable and that’s a side of her she will only let a select few see.  The character of Jill Timoney is something any female working in a “man’s world” can relate to.  She has to fight harder to prove herself and her worth to her squad simply because of her gender.  And before you say that doesn’t happen anymore, take it from me: it does, in spades.  But she is also someone that everyone, man or woman, can relate to.  This is not a perfect character - she has her flaws, such as smoking and taking things on herself that she should be sharing with others.

            The dialogue and private moments of the show remind me a lot of another favorite of mine, NYPD Blue.  We get to see both the working side and the home life of the main character and how they combine to make Detective Timoney who she is.  I still love the scene from the promos:  Matt’s ex asks what happened to Jill’s face at dinner, noting the bruises and split lip.  Prior to dinner, Detective Timoney has duked it out with a suspect.  Jill answers, “Good day at work.”  I love that!  It’s just what I would have said in that situation! 

            The only issue I have with the show is that the detectives seem to be able to drink whiskey in the boss’ office.  That may have been the case decades ago, but I hardly think that today’s NYPD allows this sort of practice today, especially while on duty.  Other than that, I’ll be happy to check out Prime Suspect again.  I can’t wait to see what else this series has in store for Detective Jill Timoney.


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