Suspect [1987]

Helen Mirren returns in triumph to the role that brought her international stardom, British police inspector Jane Tennison, in the sixth series of Prime Suspect. Tennison finds herself being pressured to retire and responds by seizing a difficult homicide investigation: A young female Bosnian refugee has been tortured and murdered. As the trail begins to suggest connections to war atrocities in the Balkans, Tennison finds herself struggling with resistance from higher up, uncooperative and ambitious underlings, and deeply buried secrets. The strength of Prime Suspect has always been how it merges suspenseful detective work with an intricate grasp of police politics, and The Last Witness is no exception. The plot unfolds masterfully, the program is directed with striking visual style, and Mirren (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, Gosford Park) commands the screen. Her authority in this role, honed through five previous series, is unmatchable; the richness of the character--steely, sexy, obsessive, rash, cunning--makes Prime Suspect essential viewing. --Bret Fetzer

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