Helen Mirren, Prime Suspect: The Final Act
Question: The final Prime Suspect has been shown here in London, and it was sensational. There was a bit of swearing in it, which added to the show. Do you think, though, that the swearing will be edited or dubbed over on the U.S. version? It would be a shame, as the swearing is used rarely and at the right moment to cause impact. The FCC and Parents Television Council don't seem to understand that sometimes sex and swearing increase the dramatic quality of a TV show. Can you imagine Tony Soprano using the word "friggin'" all the time? It just wouldn't ring true.
Answer: There were, according to WGBH, "a few small edits to bring the program into our usual length and editorial standards." But never fear. The integrity of this brilliant program shines through, at least judging from the review copy I saw. (I'm not sure if the edits were in that version; I didn't notice any gratuitously foul language, but then, I wasn't looking for it and don't always notice it.) As I noted in my review of Prime Suspect: The Final Act, which airs on PBS' Masterpiece Theater the next two Sundays (check listings), Helen Mirren retires her unforgettable character of Jane Tennison with magnificent results. This is no sentimental farewell, but you may well be moved by watching this remarkable actress say goodbye to her career-defining breakthrough role. (What a roll she's on: an Emmy as HBO's Elizabeth I; a possible Oscar, and certainly a nomination, as the current Elizabeth in The Queen; and now another possible Emmy for this, which would be her second for the role of Jane Tennison.) As usual, Prime Suspect makes the U.S. glut of formula crime dramas look so weak. This two-part movie gets my highest recommendation this week, and we're in sweeps!