Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection

Rated 4.0

Scotland Yard detective Helen Mirren. ‘Nuff said, right? Let’s just add that Mirren’s upcoming turns as a machine-gun-toting ex-CIA agent in Red and, yes, Shakespeare’s “Prospera” in The Tempest should be walks in the park after Prime Suspect. A benchmark both of addictive TV and of gritty police procedurals, the highly and rightly lauded British drama, collected here on nine discs, still ranks among ballsiest offerings in PBS history. Begun in the early ‘90s and spanning seven seasons and 15 years, it’s dated only by the occasional strain for topicality, but otherwise still feels momentous and alive. Enjoy the supporting “wow he looks so young” performances from the later-famous likes of Ralph Fiennes, Ciarán Hinds, Jonny Lee Miller, David Thewlis and Tom Wilkinson, then bow before the glory of the Dame. The Prime Suspect modus operandi, as explained in the making-of: “If in doubt, cut to Helen.”