NBC is doubling down (tripling down?) on their new Prime Suspect. If you’ve been curious to try the American remake, next week is going to be your chance. With the early demise of several of their new Fall offerings, the network is lining up a big push for the police drama heading into November sweeps. Repeats of Prime Suspect will air on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night next week, leading into the series’ regular Thursday broadcast.
If you're a British TV fan - should you try it? Well, maybe. But not because you loved the British version.
In all honesty, NBC’s Prime Suspect isn’t a terrible show. Yes, it has some issues (the relentless portrayal of every man on the police force as an obnoxiously sexist ogre is especially tiresome.) But, it’s well-acted, well-produced, and if detective/procedural shows are your thing, you could do a lot worse. The problem is, is that it isn’t Prime Suspect. Calling this series by the same name is not only, well, incorrect, but offers viewers no clue about what this series is actually going to offer them. British TV fans are no more likely to enjoy this show than anyone else, and will probably be predisposed to a let down once they actually try it out.
Why NBC chose to remake Prime Suspect – a show that really is fairly close to perfect on its own terms – instead of just making some other show about a female police officer who trying to succeed in a typically male-dominated environment, I will never know. Most of the things that made the original British version such a standout are absent here, anyway. So why saddle the show - already destined to struggle to find an audience in an ever more-competitive market - with unflattering comparisons to the British original and to Helen Mirren’s groundbreaking performance in the lead role (and don’t get me started on Maria Bello’s stupid fedora)?
Because, to be fair, this show has nothing in common with Prime Suspect other than the title. This Jane is a very different character, and there are no complex, multi-episode cases - and thus, no match to the “prime suspect” mentioned in the series title. Sigh. This is a weekly procedural police drama with everything wrapped up in a bow week-to-week and it’s decent for what it is. But if you’re going into it looking for something other than that, you’re going to be disappointed, and should probably pop some DVDs in instead.