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Crime fiction on TV and film

I have discovered CROSSING LINES on Netflix. Anyone else seen this series? It is a police unit made up of officers from several different countries. "In pursuit of justice, the International Criminal Court's special crime unit hunts down lawbreakers whose offenses cross borders in Europe." It stars William Fichtner and Donald Sutherland and is dated 2013. VERY good!
I started watching Crossing Lines last year. It was on a regular cable channel and I saw maybe three or four episodes. For some reason I lost track of it and never bothered to look it up again. What I saw was very well done. Plus, I love Donald Sutherland!
This Crossing Lines sounds interesting. I just added it to my Netflix queue. Of course, I still haven't watched Top of the Lake or The Fall, or . . . The queue just keeps getting longer.
Being a fan of the TV series Lost, I was interested to see that one of the actors, Michael Emerson (who played Ben) had an series. Last night we watched the first 4 episodes of the first season of Person of Interest. Very intriguing premise with many mysteries simmering below the surface. Jim Caviezel plays the other lead. Very good stuff.
My husband has been a big fan of Person of Interest from the beginning. I didn't much like the second season, so I only watch it sporadically now, but the acting is excellent and some of the stories are gripping. This season, they've added Sarah Shahi, in a character similar to her tough cop Dani Reese, from the wonderful LA cop drama Life, with Damien Lewis.
My husband has been a big fan of Person of Interest from the beginning. I didn't much like the second season, so I only watch it sporadically now, but the acting is excellent and some of the stories are gripping. This season, they've added Sarah Shahi, in a character similar to her tough cop Dani Reese, from the wonderful LA cop drama Life, with Damien Lewis.
I enjoyed LIFE as well. Hate that it ended.
Not as bad as I thought. It's 47 items, and I could remove some of them. But I also have AcornTV, so there's all that as well, plus my queue on the DVR . . .

How many items on your Netflix queue?
:rofl I only have 100! (of course, that doesn't count the cleaning I just did so I could bring that number down...) :eatpop
Much as I like the characters and atmosphere of The Bletchley Circle, I have a fundamental problem with this new season 2. I can't see any reason why the women try to solve this mystery by themselves rather than going to Scotland Yard––where one of them now works and where they have some credibility based on the prior mystery they solved.
Much as I like the characters and atmosphere of The Bletchley Circle, I have a fundamental problem with this new season 2. I can't see any reason why the women try to solve this mystery by themselves rather than going to Scotland Yard––where one of them now works and where they have some credibility based on the prior mystery they solved.

Whoops....Maine. And I liked Season 1 of The Bletchley Circle. WAS didn't like it....for much the same reason you aren't liking Season 2. But naturally he went a bit farther and said those women were secretarial not code breakers..... His misogyny (primarily toward us fairer females) is predictable.

Where are you watching Season 2?

P. S. My daughter and I are watching ORPHAN BLACK on BBC America. I managed to find all TEN episodes of Season 1 to record for us. It's more thriller than sci-fi so far. In episode 1 a police detective steps in front of a train....observed by one Sarah Manning, con artist and thief, who steals the detective's identity (they are doppelgangers/clones). All in all sixty minutes into the series TWO CLONES down and SIX to go..... Canadian series...with a remarkable young actress Tatiana Maslany playing nine roles...she won a Critics Award for best actress in TV series---drama in 2013. New season starts Saturday night at 9pm EST.
I really liked Season 1 of The Bletchley Circle too. If I recall correctly, WAS (for anyone else reading, WAS is a disagreeable poster on Amazon) contended that the series was ridiculous because women at Bletchley had strictly clerical roles. While it was true that most women there were clerical, he overstates (as usual).

I don't follow him, so maybe he also had objections about the women in Season 1 investigating rather than the police. I would disagree about that as to Season 1 because, in the set-up there, they did go to the police but the police refused to listen to them. In Season 2 though, it's made clear from the get-go that the dismissive police contact from Season 1 freely admitted he was wrong to dismiss them. Also, the youngest of the four women now works at Scotland Yard. So, in this case, unlike with Season 1, there doesn't seem to be a reason not to go to the police.

Season 2 just started on our local PBS on Sunday night. If it's not showing on your local PBS, you can watch it online here: http://www.pbs.org/program/bletchley-circle/

I've heard good things about Orphan Black. You're making me think I should check it out.
For a change of pace how about my recent Preview of Agatha Christie's Marple - Series 6 that I have titled Julia McKenzie takes a last stand as (Miss ) Marple. The DVD has not been released in the USA...but is available for Region 2 on Amazon UK. (By the way, if you want to add the complete Hickson, my favorite portrayal, to your collection...be sure you order the UK Amazon collection which contains all twelve adaptations of the Miss Marple


Agatha Christie's Marple, Series 6

Masterpiece Mystery (PBS) has just announced that it will air the three episodes of Agatha Christie's Marple - Season 6 on Sundays beginning in September of 2014. (The season was available for UK television viewers in January 2014). Season 6 may be the final season of Marple on Mystery. After the sixth series aired, BBC announced they had acquired the rights for the production of Agatha Christie adaptations, suggesting that ITV/WGBH would be unable to make a seventh installment. The three episodes starring the robust and ill-dressed Julia McKenzie as the spinster sleuth are as follows:

First up is an adaptation of the only full-length remaining Marple novel of twelve for Mystery, A CARIBBEAN MYSTERY (1964) filmed in Cape Town, South Africa with beach scenes shot at Boulders Beach, a sheltered area known for its African penguins. Supporting cast includes Antony Sher as Jason Rafiel, Oliver Ford Davies as Major Palgrave, and Robert Webb and Charity Wakefield as the owners of the hotel. As the Christie plot goes, Miss Marple has suffered a bout of ill health and has been afforded a vacation in a warmer climate by her favorite nephew. Bored and longing for something exciting to happen, she listens to another guest, a retired detective, tell a rather unusual story about a man who got away with murder more than once. Before he fishes from his wallet a photo of the man, he suddenly stops and changes the subject abruptly. The next day, when one of the maids finds the detective dead in his room, Miss Marple stops her knitting, suspects murder, and interviews the British owners of the hotel and the other guests...including tycoon Jason Rafiel who is confined to a wheelchair suffering from a weak heart; Jackson, his nurse-masseur-attendant-valet; and Esther, his secretary.

A CARIBBEAN MYSTERY has been adapted for television two other times. In 1983 for American viewers, CBS's Goodyear Theater presented the tale which starred Helen Hayes as Miss Marple and Barnard Hughes as Mr Rafiel. A BBC TV adaptation in 1989 starred Joan Hickson as part of the series Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, with Donald Pleasence co-starring as Mr Rafiel. Both Hayes and Hickson wore the traditional elderly spinster costumes of the times including appropriate headgear.

The second episode is "Greenshaw's Folly," the last short story of six in The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrées, a collection first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in October of 1960. The Folly is a large English estate that was built in the 1860s or 1870s by an eccentric botanist who made an immense fortune but had little idea of architectural style. Christie's essential story is maintained with some embellishments from characters from "The Thumb Mark of St. Peter," a story from a collection first published in 1932. Miss Marple sends an old family friend and her son for refuge from an abusive husband to the labyrinth estate for the care and employment by the elderly Miss Katherine Greenshaw, the last surviving Greenshaw. Miss Marple uncovers the past and present secrets of the estate and its owners and uncovers a murderer, too.

And finally in episode three, a dramatization of Dame Christie's ENDLESS NIGHT, published as a novel in 1967 and one of her favorite tales of psychological suspense. Again, the setting is an English estate, a modern dream house built for a young penniless lad by his wealthy American wife. Told by the lad in first person narrative, Christie's novel contains a most devious plot device that only occurs in one other Christie tale. Miss Marple is nowhere to be found in the pages. (Dame Christie will no doubt roll over in her grave every time this episode is shown.) You may want to prepare for this episode by reading the original novel and considering a viewing of Endless Night, a 1972 full-length film starring Hywel Bennett, Hayley Mills, Britt Ekland, and George Sanders (in his last role).

You may have noticed that all three of this season's episodes were adapted from novels and a story first published in the 1960s...tales written when Christie was in her seventies. Directors and screenwriters have been playing with images of Miss Marple and distorting the plots since British stage actress Gracie Fields was Miss Marple in a 1956 play titled "A Murder is Announced." There can be some comparison in this latest portrayal to an early one: Julia McKenzie has the same toad-like stature (an older woman's well-rounded torso with thin short legs) as the quirky 70 year-old Margaret Rutherford who wore her own costumes and had her husband inserted as a reoccurring character "Mr. Springer" in her four comedic films beginning with MURDER SHE SAID in 1961. Rutherford's films, of course, bore little resemblance to the Christie novels.

If you are a true fan of Christie's beloved character, rest assured that you are in good company. Dame Christie herself was very vocal in her disapproval of several of the early Miss Marple depictions. She had portrayed her in the novels as a prim and birdlike elderly woman in tweed suit, hat and sensible shoes: a perfect description of Joan Hickson. (Christie once remarked "Someday I would like you to play my Miss Marple" to a young Joan Hickson who was then playing a bit part in the Rutherford film MURDER SHE SAID of 1961.) Hickson can be seen in all twelve of the Miss Marple novels in BBC's Agatha Christie: The Miss Marple Collection [1984] on dvd.
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I've stated my preference for Joan Hickson as Miss Marple many times, janebooks, but I do appreciate such a good detailed review of Season 6 with Julia McKenzie. For sure, you've convinced me that I want to see the new episodes, especially since two of them are from previously unadapted stories. Thank you.
I've stated my preference for Joan Hickson as Miss Marple many times, janebbooks, but I do appreciate such a good detailed review of Season 6 with Julia McKenzie. For sure, you've convinced me that I want to see the new episodes, especially since two of them are from previously unadapted stories. Thank you.

Thank you, Linda, for your comments.

Would you please read my preview again with your English school teacher's eye...and point out any typos or punctuation errors or awkward phrasing?
An assistant young editor with the local newspaper was impressed by my help for an article she wrote about 501(c)4 tax exempt organizations (specifically the NFL) (I am a retired accountant)....and asked me to contribute some articles to Morris Connect, a website that tutors future article writers and displays them for publishing approval. Carole was fond of my THE MONUMENTS MEN movie review and is suggesting a regular column for reviews for current movies geared toward senior viewing even in this day of Roku and Netflix. I rather liked a title for the column "Octogenarian writes about life in the slow lane, movies and books, with an occasional pearl of wisdom" but she is a community feature editor (Go, NFL Jacksonville Jaguars!) and has yet to quiz the features editor about a column. (The Florida Times-Union hasn't had a movie reviewer since local theaters stopped advertising their daily schedules.) A preview of a television series can easily go on the Sunday TV page.....

Double thanks,
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In the spirit of an old mystery trivia thread....can you find the twelve most helpful changes in my article that Linda so kindly suggested to me?
The most obvious one was an interesting learning experience : Normal protocol for addressing a member of the United Kingdom mobiliary rank just below all peers of the realm is to use the given name(s) or full name with the title but not with the surname alone. Which Linda so kindly interpreted for me (it was one of those wordy Wiki explanations).... "Dame Agatha or Dame Agatha Christie, but not Dame Christie."

It was fun, too.

Unfortunately, my edit time had expired on this site...but here's a link to my corrected Amazon UK preview:

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Regardless of lack of eager volunteers for above post...Linda, I thought you may be interested in these two critical review snippets that I used in my book review of ENDLESS NIGHT by Agatha Christie last month:

The London Times Literary Supplement states in 1967 that ENDLESS NIGHT written " in the persona of a working-class boy who marries a poor little rich girl...(is) a pleasantly gothic story of gypsy warnings" and that Christie "brings it all off, together with a nicely melodramatic final twist." Robert Bernard, mystery writer and critic, considers ENDLESS NIGHT a splendid late flowering and the best of the late Christie. He notes in his work, A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie, that the plot contains a combination of patterns used in THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD (1926) and DEATH ON THE NILE (1937) and similarities in the "treatment of heiress/heroine's American lawyers in NILE...suggesting she had been rereading." He adds, "The murder occurs very late, and thus the central section seems desultory, even novelettish (poor little rich girl, gypsy's curse, etc.). But all is justified by the conclusion."

Your proofing tip #11 found my wording of the narrator of this tale "lad" a bit weak. I found the London Times label as "boy" a bit weak...but feel better that I changed the noun to man...but I think a "working-class young drifter" may be better in the piece you helped me prepare for possible newspaper publication. I called him a "man" when I related in the next sentence that "the man" tells the story in first person narrative...and I'm still searching for a better noun...maybe he will suffice...(And I'm rather glad I didn't use the fact that Miss Marple tells the story in the Masterpiece episode to a friend...as a story she heard from a young chauffeur: that would be daunting!)

I'm still most grateful for your help.

P. S. I ordered an inexpensive ex-lib of Bernard's APPRECIATION.
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Found this comment that a top UK Amazon Vine reviewer made on his review of the DVD of THE MISS MARPLE COLLECTION starring Joan Hickson. The DVD contains twelve disks, all twelve of Christie's Miss Marple novels, and was released September 24, 2012 (B007OTT25Y) for Region 2 players. Price including standard shipping is about 33 pounds sterling. I really struggled with my history of Miss Marple portrayals for a preview of the Fall 2014 Masterpiece Mystery - Season 6 searching out several bits that Keith Joseph had sitting on his review all along.

Miss Marple Trivia:

Apparently Joan Hickson hesitated when offered the role of Miss Marple, not only because she risked the resentment of fans faithful to her predecessors, but also because she doubted that she had the right build. Despite her age of 78, she thought herself insufficiently frail in manner. When she had decided to accept the part, and 'have a bash acting it her way', she was heartened by her daughter's chance discovery of a forgotten letter to Joan from Agatha Christie sent 40 years' earlier. It said "I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple". The note had been written after the authoress had seen Joan Hickson acting the part of the spinster Miss Pryce in another Agatha Christie whodunnit 'Appointment with Death' (a play Joan performed in at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1945).

Other actresses that have played Miss Marple in film include Gracie Fields (in a 1956 US TV play, now lost) and Angela Lansbury (in the TV film 'The Mirror Crack'd' in 1980). Although never pitched as being based on Miss Marple or Agatha Christie, the title of British born Angela Lansbury's hugely successful TV series 'Murder, She Wrote' (screened from 1984 to 1996) derives from "Murder, She Said", the title of Margaret Rutherford's 1961 film adaptation of the Miss Marple novel '4:50 from Paddington'.

In the book, The Life and Times of Miss Jane Marple, by Anne Hart there is Agatha Christie's own description of her most beloved detective: "Miss Marple is the sort of old lady who would have been rather like some of my grandmother's Ealing cronies - old ladies whom I have met in so many villages where I had gone to stay as a girl. Miss Marple is not in any way a picture of my grandmother; she is far more fussy and spinsterish than my grandmother ever is. But one thing she does have in common with her: although a cheerful person, she always expects the worst of everyone and everything, and is, with almost frightening accuracy, usually proved right."
Set your DVR's. Masterpiece Mystery begins its new season on June 15, 2014, with two episodes of THE ESCAPE ARTIST starring David Tennant as Will Burton.

June 15, 2014

The Escape Artist
Episode 1 (90 mins)
Star defense lawyer Will Burton finds his happy family life threatened when he takes the case of an unsavory suspect accused of a torture killing.

June 22, 2014

The Escape Artist
Episode 2 (90 mins)
With the tables turned, Will battles for justice by fair means and foul. But can a brilliant attorney save his own skin?

Readers of this discussion and ardent PBS viewers may be interested in the Emmy nominations announced yesterday, July 10, 2014. Here are the nominations for SHERLOCK which I just announced on an Amazon thread.

Readers of this discussion - BRITISH DETECTIVES IN FILM AND TELEVSION - may rejoice in the twelve Emmy nominations that SHERLOCK HOLMES received yesterday morning. Other than twelve nominations for the most recent DOWNTON ABBEY season...nothing else on PBS was nominated. Martin Freeman also received a Emmy nom as best actor for his role as Lester Nygaard in FARGO. The Primetime Emmy Awards Ceremony will air on Monday, August 25, 2014.

SHERLOCK (Hartswood West for BBC/Cymru Wales in co-production with Masterpiece)

Outstanding Television Movie...Sherlock: His Last Vow
Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie ...Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie....Martin Freeman as John Watson
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special ....Steven Moffat
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special,,,Nick Hurran
Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special...Julia Duff, CDG and Kate Rhodes James, CDG
Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or a Movie....Neville Kidd, Director of Photography
Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special...Sarah Arthur, Costume Designer and Ceri Walford, Costume Supervisor
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie....Yan Miles, Editor
Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Original Dramatic Score)...David Arnold, Music by
and Michael Price, Music by
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special...Doug Sinclair, Supervising Sound Editor; Stuart McCowan, Sound Editor; Jon Joyce, Sound Editor; Paul McFadden, Sound Editor; and Sue Harding, Foley Artist
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie...John Mooney, Sound Mixer; Howard Bargroff, Re-Recording Mixer; Doug Sinclair, ADR Mixer; and Peter Gleaves, ADR Mixer