Friday nights around here have become synonymous with Prime Suspect, usually accompanied by a nice meal (ordered from our local Chinese or made by me) and a bottle of wine. It's a relaxing way to mark the end of the working week and I really look forward to chilling out for a couple of hours in the company of Helen Mirren and her band of police cohorts.
As you might remember, T gave me the boxed set for Christmas, so I've had seven episodes to work my way through since then. Unfortunately, the boxed set does not come with any sleeve notes, so whenever we stick a disc in the DVD player it's a bit hard to know what to expect. Thank goodness for Wikipedia.
Last night we watched Prime Suspect 5: Errors of Judgement, which ran for 200 minutes. Getting me to sit still and watch something on television that runs longer than 30 minutes is quite an achievement, because I've got the world's shortest attention span whenever it comes to the visual medium. But whenever I watch Prime Suspect I'm gripped from the word go* and the lengthy episodes whizz by without me becoming the slightest bit bored.
The great thing about watching these episodes in a relatively short space of time is seeing the quick march of technology transforming police lives. I'm specifically thinking of mobile phones. In Prime Suspect 1, which was made in 1991, mobile phones weren't commonplace, so whenever Tennison (Helen Mirren's character) needs to contact her colleagues she must look for a phone booth or use landline phones. By Prime Suspect 3, Tennison has access to a mobile phone the size of a brick but she can rarely use it because the battery keeps running out. In last night's episode, made in 1996, the size of the mobile phone has shrunk considerably (although they still have long antennas sticking out the end) but Tennison often struggles to get a signal. It will be interesting to see how things have progressed when I finally get around to watching Prime Suspect 6 (2003) and Prime Suspect 7(2006) over the coming weeks.
* Prime Suspect 4 is the exception to this rule. This was split into three separate stories, each around 100 minutes long, and it was immediately obvious that they were written by a different person, because they were too touchy-feely for my liking and reminded me very much of Morse and A Touch of Frost, a little too staged and stilted.