History Main / PrimeSuspect

2nd Mar '14 2:53:09 PM ArenaL5
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http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/4889.jpg

Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Jane Tennison (Creator/HelenMirren) plays a straight-laced police officer who has been passed over time and time again for promotion due to her lack of penis. When another DCI dies while investigating the murder of a prostitute, Tennison takes her chance. However things take a turn for the bizarre when the body in the prostitute's room isn't actually the prostitute and the real hooker is nowhere to be found. But solving the case won't be the difficult part -- it will be getting the men in her department to stop trying to sabotage her.

Written by crime novelist Lynda La Plante and one of the first police dramas to star a female in the lead role, the first season mostly deals with sexism in the workplace. However over time the program slowly evolved to tackle other issues from institutional racism to sexual perversion. Running themes also include Tennison's growing dependence on alcohol and her attempts to juggle her working and personal lives. It won three Prime Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries (and a Best Actress trophy for Mirren) as well as Golden Globes, [=BAFTAs=] and Peabodys.

A [[Series/PrimeSuspectUS US remake]] starring Maria Bello aired for half a season in 2011-2012.
------
!!Tropes used:

* ActorAllusion: Tennison to a profiler (who has a photo of the female victim posing with a gun): "Putting together [[Film/CalendarGirls a calendar]]?".
* AcquittedTooLate: [[spoiler:Inverted with Campbell Lafferty in ''Errors of Judgement'', who is ignored and released after he attempts to turn himself in, resulting in his murder by The Street.]]
* TheAlcoholic: Tennison.
* TheAtoner: [[spoiler: Bill Otley]] owns up to his bad behavior as part of his AA recovery, and counsels Tennison on her own drinking.
* BackForTheDead: [[spoiler: Sgt. Bill Otley]].
* BigBadFriend: [[spoiler: DCS Ballinger]] in Series 5.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: In series 1, Tennison feels like she's nailed the prime suspect -- George Marlow -- as a serial killer and yet, despite the evidence and a confession, the very last moment shows him in court pleading "Not Guilty" to all charges. We eventually learn that he was convicted, however.]]
* CompressedVice: Averted with Jane's alcoholism. Even in the first series, she drinks alone.
* CPRCleanPrettyReliable: In series seven, [[spoiler: averted with Bill Otley's death]].
* DaChief: A rare example of a series with this character as the protagonist.
* DefectiveDetective
* DisposableSexWorker: Mentioned in Season One when Jane interviews the fellow prostitute friends of one of the victims, who are not pleased that their friend's murder was given little attention at the time because of her profession.
* DownerEnding: Sure, Jane [[spoiler:[[BittersweetEnding solves her last case and earns the gratitude of Sallie's parents]]]] but [[spoiler:she's lost everyone in the world who's ever cared about her: both her parents are dead; she's alienated herself from her sister and her niece; Otley gets murdered in front of her; and Penny turns out to be Sallie's killer.]]
* DrunkDriver: Penny accuses Jane of being drunk when she has a near-miss, though it's possible that Jane was under the limit and distracted because she was enjoying Penny's company.
* EverybodySmokes: It's the 90s. Of course they do.
* FictionalCounterpart: ''[[CrimewatchUK Crimewatch]]'' pops up as ''Crime Night'' occasionally. They might have been able to make use of the real thing had it not belonged to [[Creator/TheBBC The Other Side]].
** The Day Centre in Soho that keeps popping up in Series 3 was probably based on the RealLife charity, Streetwise Youth, which operated in the area in TheNineties. (It has since been absorbed into the much larger Terrence Higgins Trust, due to funding problems.)
* FindingJudas: In Series 5, Jane suspects someone in her team is leaking information to The Street. Suspicion falls initially on DI Devanney, whose DisappearedDad is a career criminal. It turns out to be [[spoiler:her boss]] who was doing it for his idea of the greater good.
* FriendToAllChildren: Tennison's very good with young victims/witnesses.
* GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion: Averted by [[spoiler:Jane.]]
* GrossUpCloseUp: The first season's graphic shots of rotting and mutilated corpses were very extreme for the time, although by a couple of decades later they were standard practice in gritty crime shows.
* HandsOffParenting: In Series 7, what little we see of Penny's mum is of her moping or topping up her wine glass. Her dad is otherwise preoccupied [[spoiler:by his affair with her best friend.]]
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow: Tennison plays this game in Series 5.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: Jane and Penny in Series 7. Progresses to [[Main/LikeASonToMe Like a Daughter to Me]]. [[spoiler:It doesn't last.]]
* MeaningfulName: Vera in Series 3. Her name comes from the Latin word for "truth". Not only does she know the truth [[spoiler:about Connie's murder]], her name is an expression of [[UsefulNotes/{{Transgender}} her true self]].
* MiscarriageOfJustice: In Series 4, it is suggested that the [[spoiler:Marlow]] case was an example of this.[[spoiler:This idea is subsequently quashed by the end of the series.]]
* MistakenForRacist: When Jane's boss brings in Robert Oswalde, a Black officer, to work on her team on a case in a minority-majority community, she sets him to the task of looking up missing persons rather than going out into the field to work with said community. Otley interprets this as "keeping our coloured friend in his place". When Bob challenges her about being made to do office grunt work, she says that she put him on it because she didn't want him to be treated as a token. He points out that he would much prefer to be given the work best suited to his rank and experience.
* MovingTheGoalposts: Particularly in the first season, the men working under Jane constantly blame her for screwing up, overlooking vital information and collaring the wrong people after doing their best to deliberately sabotage her efforts.
* SerialKiller: The first season begins with the murder of a prostitute. Then it turns out they misidentified the body and the real prostitute is missing. Then they find her decomposed body, killed in the same way as the first victim. Then older cases start looking suspiciously familiar...
* ShootTheDog: [[spoiler: The Street]] in Series 5. Literally.
* SmokingIsCool: Pretty much everyone smokes.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Although it does have a TransAtlanticEquivalent (see below), it's widely acknowledged that ''Series/TheCloser'' was heavily influenced by ''Prime Suspect''.
* SuspiciouslyAproposMusic: Jane drunkenly grooving to ''Stay Awhile'' in her old room. When Penny [[CallBack does the same thing later]], the record she chooses is ''In The Middle of Nowhere''.
* TitleDrop: Pretty much every episode: "S/he is our prime suspect."
* ToAbsentFriends: Jane, her sister and her niece head to the pub across the road from the crematorium after [[spoiler:her dad]]'s funeral. It's not very convivial; Jane compares it to a reunion of [[LondonGangster East End villains]].
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: Remade in 2011 by NBC, starring Maria Bello as Jane Timoney. Was widely expected to suck by fans of the original; the pilot, however, indicates that it may be one of the more effective British-to-American translations of modern television, mostly via not trying to ''be'' its predecessor.
* WarIsHell: Jane's dad was an ambulance driver during the [[WorldWarTwo war]], and was one of the first on the scene at Belsen after its liberation. After all the terrible things he saw, he wanted nothing more to do with the evil of the world. Jane on other hand, chose to involve herself in it, which was her father could never be completely supportive of her career choice even though he was proud of her.
* WhatDidIDoLastNight: At the beginning of the final series, a drunken Tennison picks up a man at a bar, only to wake up the next morning alone and with a nasty bruise.
* WhatTheHellHero: Vera calls Tennison out for pretending not to be a transbigot in order to get information from her.
-->"You were only pretending to like me."
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: [[spoiler:Penny]] becomes this.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: The first episode has the main officers almost wrap up a case in the first twenty minutes. That is until the first DCI topples over.

----
<<|CrimeAndPunishmentSeries|>>
<<|BritishSeries|>>

to:

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/4889.jpg

Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Jane Tennison (Creator/HelenMirren) plays a straight-laced police officer who has been passed over time and time again for promotion due to her lack of penis. When another DCI dies while investigating the murder of a prostitute, Tennison takes her chance. However things take a turn for the bizarre when the body in the prostitute's room isn't actually the prostitute and the real hooker is nowhere to be found. But solving the case won't be the difficult part -- it will be getting the men in her department to stop trying to sabotage her.

Written by crime novelist Lynda La Plante and one of the first police dramas to star a female in the lead role, the first season mostly deals with sexism in the workplace. However over time the program slowly evolved to tackle other issues from institutional racism to sexual perversion. Running themes also include Tennison's growing dependence on alcohol and her attempts to juggle her working and personal lives. It won three Prime Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries (and a Best Actress trophy for Mirren) as well as Golden Globes, [=BAFTAs=] and Peabodys.

A [[Series/PrimeSuspectUS US remake]] starring Maria Bello aired for half a season in 2011-2012.
------
!!Tropes used:

* ActorAllusion: Tennison to a profiler (who has a photo of the female victim posing with a gun): "Putting together [[Film/CalendarGirls a calendar]]?".
* AcquittedTooLate: [[spoiler:Inverted with Campbell Lafferty in ''Errors of Judgement'', who is ignored and released after he attempts to turn himself in, resulting in his murder by The Street.]]
* TheAlcoholic: Tennison.
* TheAtoner: [[spoiler: Bill Otley]] owns up to his bad behavior as part of his AA recovery, and counsels Tennison on her own drinking.
* BackForTheDead: [[spoiler: Sgt. Bill Otley]].
* BigBadFriend: [[spoiler: DCS Ballinger]] in Series 5.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: In series 1, Tennison feels like she's nailed the prime suspect -- George Marlow -- as a serial killer and yet, despite the evidence and a confession, the very last moment shows him in court pleading "Not Guilty" to all charges. We eventually learn that he was convicted, however.]]
* CompressedVice: Averted with Jane's alcoholism. Even in the first series, she drinks alone.
* CPRCleanPrettyReliable: In series seven, [[spoiler: averted with Bill Otley's death]].
* DaChief: A rare example of a series with this character as the protagonist.
* DefectiveDetective
* DisposableSexWorker: Mentioned in Season One when Jane interviews the fellow prostitute friends of one of the victims, who are not pleased that their friend's murder was given little attention at the time because of her profession.
* DownerEnding: Sure, Jane [[spoiler:[[BittersweetEnding solves her last case and earns the gratitude of Sallie's parents]]]] but [[spoiler:she's lost everyone in the world who's ever cared about her: both her parents are dead; she's alienated herself from her sister and her niece; Otley gets murdered in front of her; and Penny turns out to be Sallie's killer.]]
* DrunkDriver: Penny accuses Jane of being drunk when she has a near-miss, though it's possible that Jane was under the limit and distracted because she was enjoying Penny's company.
* EverybodySmokes: It's the 90s. Of course they do.
* FictionalCounterpart: ''[[CrimewatchUK Crimewatch]]'' pops up as ''Crime Night'' occasionally. They might have been able to make use of the real thing had it not belonged to [[Creator/TheBBC The Other Side]].
** The Day Centre in Soho that keeps popping up in Series 3 was probably based on the RealLife charity, Streetwise Youth, which operated in the area in TheNineties. (It has since been absorbed into the much larger Terrence Higgins Trust, due to funding problems.)
* FindingJudas: In Series 5, Jane suspects someone in her team is leaking information to The Street. Suspicion falls initially on DI Devanney, whose DisappearedDad is a career criminal. It turns out to be [[spoiler:her boss]] who was doing it for his idea of the greater good.
* FriendToAllChildren: Tennison's very good with young victims/witnesses.
* GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion: Averted by [[spoiler:Jane.]]
* GrossUpCloseUp: The first season's graphic shots of rotting and mutilated corpses were very extreme for the time, although by a couple of decades later they were standard practice in gritty crime shows.
* HandsOffParenting: In Series 7, what little we see of Penny's mum is of her moping or topping up her wine glass. Her dad is otherwise preoccupied [[spoiler:by his affair with her best friend.]]
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow: Tennison plays this game in Series 5.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: Jane and Penny in Series 7. Progresses to [[Main/LikeASonToMe Like a Daughter to Me]]. [[spoiler:It doesn't last.]]
* MeaningfulName: Vera in Series 3. Her name comes from the Latin word for "truth". Not only does she know the truth [[spoiler:about Connie's murder]], her name is an expression of [[UsefulNotes/{{Transgender}} her true self]].
* MiscarriageOfJustice: In Series 4, it is suggested that the [[spoiler:Marlow]] case was an example of this.[[spoiler:This idea is subsequently quashed by the end of the series.]]
* MistakenForRacist: When Jane's boss brings in Robert Oswalde, a Black officer, to work on her team on a case in a minority-majority community, she sets him to the task of looking up missing persons rather than going out into the field to work with said community. Otley interprets this as "keeping our coloured friend in his place". When Bob challenges her about being made to do office grunt work, she says that she put him on it because she didn't want him to be treated as a token. He points out that he would much prefer to be given the work best suited to his rank and experience.
* MovingTheGoalposts: Particularly in the first season, the men working under Jane constantly blame her for screwing up, overlooking vital information and collaring the wrong people after doing their best to deliberately sabotage her efforts.
* SerialKiller: The first season begins with the murder of a prostitute. Then it turns out they misidentified the body and the real prostitute is missing. Then they find her decomposed body, killed in the same way as the first victim. Then older cases start looking suspiciously familiar...
* ShootTheDog: [[spoiler: The Street]] in Series 5. Literally.
* SmokingIsCool: Pretty much everyone smokes.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Although it does have a TransAtlanticEquivalent (see below), it's widely acknowledged that ''Series/TheCloser'' was heavily influenced by ''Prime Suspect''.
* SuspiciouslyAproposMusic: Jane drunkenly grooving to ''Stay Awhile'' in her old room. When Penny [[CallBack does the same thing later]], the record she chooses is ''In The Middle of Nowhere''.
* TitleDrop: Pretty much every episode: "S/he is our prime suspect."
* ToAbsentFriends: Jane, her sister and her niece head to the pub across the road from the crematorium after [[spoiler:her dad]]'s funeral. It's not very convivial; Jane compares it to a reunion of [[LondonGangster East End villains]].
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: Remade in 2011 by NBC, starring Maria Bello as Jane Timoney. Was widely expected to suck by fans of the original; the pilot, however, indicates that it may be one of the more effective British-to-American translations of modern television, mostly via not trying to ''be'' its predecessor.
* WarIsHell: Jane's dad was an ambulance driver during the [[WorldWarTwo war]], and was one of the first on the scene at Belsen after its liberation. After all the terrible things he saw, he wanted nothing more to do with the evil of the world. Jane on other hand, chose to involve herself in it, which was her father could never be completely supportive of her career choice even though he was proud of her.
* WhatDidIDoLastNight: At the beginning of the final series, a drunken Tennison picks up a man at a bar, only to wake up the next morning alone and with a nasty bruise.
* WhatTheHellHero: Vera calls Tennison out for pretending not to be a transbigot in order to get information from her.
-->"You were only pretending to like me."
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: [[spoiler:Penny]] becomes this.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: The first episode has the main officers almost wrap up a case in the first twenty minutes. That is until the first DCI topples over.

----
<<|CrimeAndPunishmentSeries|>>
<<|BritishSeries|>>
[[redirect:Series/PrimeSuspect]]
18th Feb '14 7:58:18 AM gfrequency
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Added DiffLines:

* MovingTheGoalposts: Particularly in the first season, the men working under Jane constantly blame her for screwing up, overlooking vital information and collaring the wrong people after doing their best to deliberately sabotage her efforts.
27th Dec '13 8:50:37 PM Discontent
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* HotChickInABadassSuit: Guess who.
18th Dec '13 7:41:14 PM nombretomado
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* SpiritualSuccessor: Although it does have a TransAtlanticEquivalent (see below), it's widely acknowledged that ''TheCloser'' was heavily influenced by ''Prime Suspect''.

to:

* SpiritualSuccessor: Although it does have a TransAtlanticEquivalent (see below), it's widely acknowledged that ''TheCloser'' ''Series/TheCloser'' was heavily influenced by ''Prime Suspect''.
12th Nov '13 7:03:09 AM ClatoLawa
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* AcquittedTooLate: [[spoiler:Campbell Lafferty.]]

to:

* AcquittedTooLate: [[spoiler:Campbell Lafferty.[[spoiler:Inverted with Campbell Lafferty in ''Errors of Judgement'', who is ignored and released after he attempts to turn himself in, resulting in his murder by The Street.]]
12th Nov '13 7:00:24 AM ClatoLawa
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* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: In series 1, Tennison feels like she's nailed the prime suspect -- George Marlow -- as a serial killer and yet, despite the evidence and a confession, the very last moment shows him in court pleading "Not Guilty" to all charges.]]

to:

* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: In series 1, Tennison feels like she's nailed the prime suspect -- George Marlow -- as a serial killer and yet, despite the evidence and a confession, the very last moment shows him in court pleading "Not Guilty" to all charges. We eventually learn that he was convicted, however.]]
23rd Oct '13 4:54:35 PM SuperTroper
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* WarIsHell: Jane's dad was an ambulance driver during the [[WorldWarTwo War]], and was one of the first on the scene at Belsen after its liberation. After all the terrible things he saw, he wanted nothing more to do with the evil of the world. Jane on other hand, chose to involve herself in it, which was her father could never be completely supportive of her career choice even though he was proud of her.

to:

* WarIsHell: Jane's dad was an ambulance driver during the [[WorldWarTwo War]], war]], and was one of the first on the scene at Belsen after its liberation. After all the terrible things he saw, he wanted nothing more to do with the evil of the world. Jane on other hand, chose to involve herself in it, which was her father could never be completely supportive of her career choice even though he was proud of her.
23rd Oct '13 4:53:48 PM SuperTroper
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Added DiffLines:

* WarIsHell: Jane's dad was an ambulance driver during the [[WorldWarTwo War]], and was one of the first on the scene at Belsen after its liberation. After all the terrible things he saw, he wanted nothing more to do with the evil of the world. Jane on other hand, chose to involve herself in it, which was her father could never be completely supportive of her career choice even though he was proud of her.
9th Oct '13 2:00:24 AM LondonKdS
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Added DiffLines:

* GrossUpCloseUp: The first season's graphic shots of rotting and mutilated corpses were very extreme for the time, although by a couple of decades later they were standard practice in gritty crime shows.
13th Sep '13 4:36:40 PM SuperTroper
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Added DiffLines:

** The Day Centre in Soho that keeps popping up in Series 3 was probably based on the RealLife charity, Streetwise Youth, which operated in the area in TheNineties. (It has since been absorbed into the much larger Terrence Higgins Trust, due to funding problems.)
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.PrimeSuspect