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The Sad Death of Prime Suspect

Television
by Melissa Silverstein
November 29, 2011 11:11 AM
82 Comments
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This TV season has lots of female created and female starring shows.  Some stink (Whitney), some are great (Up All Night), and most kind of fall somewhere in the middle (2 Broke Girls).  (For a an analysis of the Whitney Cummings phenomenon check out this piece from Emily Nussbaum in the New Yorker.  I guess the good news is that we've come to the place where women can create shows as middling and mediocre as their male colleagues and it's not the end of the world.  We know we will have more shows about women created by women (not enough, but some) in the future because women watch TV and advertisers want women.

There are always shows that don't make it that I am sad about and I think I will pine for what might have happened on My So Called Life until I die, and this season my lament is for Prime Suspect created by Alexandra Cunningham.  I had very high hopes for the show.  Created by a woman, about a woman cop (I love my female cop shows), based on the amazing British mini-series of the same name that starred Helen Mirren.  I am sad because this was one of the strongest shows about women this season and it died a sad death for no good reason.  I know that NBC tried.  They really tried.  They put the show on practically every night trying to get people to watch, but it didn't work.

The problem with the show started at the pilot.  Remember the first Prime Suspect took place in 1991.  That's 20 years ago.  What else happened 20 years ago?  Anita Hill.  Sexual harassment, while happening all over the place, was given a name and a face by Ms. Hill and when we saw how Mirren's Jane Tennison was treated by her male colleagues we got it.  But in 2011 too much time had passed and the aggressive male behavior in the pilot towards Maria Bello who played the American version, Jane Timoney just didn't work.  It was too much.  Way too over the top. 

The good news for those of us who gave the show a chance is that it got a lot better after the pilot.  Sometimes shows need time to grow.  Look at how AMAZING Parenthood is now.  That show still struggles but NBC has stuck with it and it is now my Friday Night Lights.  That show slays me.  Prime Suspect could have gone there -- and should have since Peter Berg the creator of Friday Night Lights is one of the Executive Producers of Prime Suspect.  The chemistry between Bello and the men on the squad was thawing.  The interesting dynamic was how they all figured out how to work together when Jane was in charge of a case. 

Now the thing about Jane that is quite cool is that she acts just like the guys, but she is a girl.  That's what made the show so promising.  She's doesn't give a shit about having people like her.  She just wants to solve the case.  And that brings me to another issue that people have problems with -- a female character that is not 100% likeable.  No matter how far we have come on TV with female characters we still are not there with having women who are not likeable.  I'm racking my brain here and the only names I came up with is Roseanne and Kara Thrace from Battlestar Galactica, and I'd say she was half and half (please chime in with others).  Maria Bello's Jane Timoney was I'd say 80% unlikeable and 20% likeable. 

One thing this show made me notice is how it is easy to write a TV show starring a man and have female and male supporting characters surround that lead, but that it is way harder to write a show about a female lead and to create a realistic ensemble around her.  One of the issues with this show is that there were no other female credible characters on the show.  It's too much baggage for the female lead.  She has to respond to the pretty cop who comes in and flirts, she has to deal with the crazy demands of her boyfriend's ex, she has a crazy sister (where did that come from?).  None of those women was a peer or someone she could have a decent conversation with to get her away from all the testosterone.  

But I wish it would continue because it was heading in a really great direction and the episode where Jane went on the road with Brian O'Byrne to protect a child witness was one of those episodes that you build on.  Too bad we won't get to see where the show could have gone.

NBC’s ‘Prime Suspect’ To Shut Down Production (Deadline)

Critic's Notebook: Take the cuffs off 'Prime Suspect' (LA Times)

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82 Comments

  • linda | March 21, 2014 2:09 PMReply

    sorry never watched this. i'm tired of
    remakes . the original was just to good to ,and anything less would be disapointing

  • Denese | April 23, 2013 4:54 AMReply

    I believe I heard there are 4 Khardashian shows on right now, there's honey boo boo, whatever that is, various houswives, shows trying to match men with women, survivors type shows. What about the rest of us who actually like good TV? At least I have HBO for VEEP and SHOWTIME for some of the other series. Obviously, Homeland has them all beaten to the ground. But there's got to be something else out there for 50 something females like me. I don't want to watch this junk. So I'm stuck watching the premium channels and talk shows, all of which I DVR. Get a clue.

  • Jess | April 1, 2013 10:23 PMReply

    I had a feeling it would be. Any good show is cancelled, but some piece of crap gets renewed.

  • Lauren | February 17, 2013 1:22 AMReply

    I agree with everyone's post. This was a good show. I don't get how the ratings weren't higher. I hope another network does pick it up. I loved the lead! ..Shame

  • Joe | September 17, 2012 12:21 AMReply

    FYI...they have the episodes that were available, on iTunes. I'm about to download some. This show was so good and realistic. What a shame.

  • Roxanne | July 17, 2012 9:14 PMReply

    Loved this show! The good shows are always canceled and somehow all the crap shows get renewed. Frustrating.

  • BeccaVal | July 12, 2012 11:05 PMReply

    SO BUMMED! My husband and I loved this show. I'm so disappointed that it's cancelled. I finally have a cop show I like (besides 'The Mentalist' - another great show with one or two powerful women, supporting cast as they may be) and they have to ruin it for me! Thanks a lot NBC! At least FOX hasn't cancelled 'New Girl'. :/

  • karen | July 6, 2012 3:08 PMReply

    Not as good as Helen Mirren in UK prime suspect. Was just getting into it and looking forward to next episode.Now i hear it is cancelled,BUMMER !!!

  • Jetimoco | July 1, 2012 11:57 PMReply

    I miss this show. It was well written and well cast. :(

  • Denese | April 23, 2013 4:56 AM

    And we'll never get to find out who killed her sister.

  • dawn | June 13, 2012 11:03 PMReply

    I loved this show and I want it back. It wasn't all about tits and ass. Write something for US we already have tits and ass - be smart.

  • Janine | June 11, 2012 5:36 PMReply

    Bummer!! Because of the irregular airing of Prime Suspect I set my DVR to record it. I looked forward to seeing it pop up in my recordings. Not sure what world people live in but the portrayal of a woman det. in a police dept. atmosphere was dead-on. She was earning her respect with great work and you can feel the relationships evolving with each episode. The goofy conversations between the guys felt completely realistic unlike the boring straight police talk in every other cop show. Good acting and writing....this was not given a chance and hope a more intelligent network will pick it up!!!!

  • Elaine Hoff | June 7, 2012 11:16 PMReply

    I loved the show. Never really got a chance. I really liked the part of the main character trying to quit smoking and the relationship between her and her Dad. Everytime something comes on that I actually like, it doesn't last.....but in the meantime we get all these STUPID reality shows. I think I'm just going to cancel my TV programming and forget it because there is nothing decent to watch anymore anyway.

  • Joy | May 22, 2012 11:07 PMReply

    Are you people obtuse? "Prime Suspect" was just that...PRIME!! interesting story line, characters that grew as each episode commenced, good acting....and Maria Bello rocked! Who makes these wack decisions to cancel decent tv? It's the viewers loss.

  • Sara | May 13, 2012 9:42 AMReply

    The treatment of Timoney in the first episode was over the top? You need to stick to the safety of writing behind a computer. That was a perfect showing of what goes on day to day in police stations, fire depts, and any other job deemed "men's work" that a woman dare step foot in and excel at. One of the reasons I Continued to watch the show how well they showed the inner workings and continued stresses of a female on the job. I loved Maria bello in the role, no one else could play her. Who ever is running NBC, and god I hope it isnt a woman, needs to reconsider the choice of female (trashy Christina aguilera) they have representing their network. At least they came to their senses about community.

  • Chris | May 3, 2012 7:33 PMReply

    I hate it when you love a show and it gets cancelled! So sorry to see this show go...loved it!

  • luck | May 2, 2012 8:00 PMReply

    I loved prime suspect. I agree it got off to a rocky start but I think the characters were really starting to grow on us. I really hate they are ending it.

  • jaime | May 1, 2012 2:14 AMReply

    My wife and I really liked this show. My biggest peeve was not being able to locate it on a regular basis. NBC should have left it on one channel!!!

  • susan | April 30, 2012 10:28 AMReply

    I was googling this show to find out where it was and when it would come on, and lo & behold it's canceled? cripes I never got the word. It was so good. This is crazy to cancel it after so short a time. Maria Bello & the cast rocked. We watched it weekly. this is terrible !!!

  • lr torres | April 27, 2012 11:50 PMReply

    I finally googled...'what happened to that crime show with Maria Bello' since I haven't been able to find it...low and behold, another show that had wit, depth, intelligence, gone. Maybe if NBC hadn't put it on every night, perhaps if they would've left it on one night viewers like me could've found it to watch every episode. Also, I was surprised to hear that Bello is unlikeable. I can't think of anything unlikable about her, what makes her unlikable?

  • lrtorres | April 27, 2012 11:53 PM

    oops! of course it's Bello's Timoney who's supposedly "unlikable," not Bello herself.

  • Kathleen | April 26, 2012 8:33 PMReply

    I just read that this show was cancelled! How terrible. It was really good & getting better as each episode unfolded. BRING IT BACK! Maria Bello - what a great actor!!!

  • Nancy | April 22, 2012 12:37 AMReply

    This show was so good...solid and in depth characters. I want it back!

  • Jeannie | April 16, 2012 4:10 PMReply

    I kept waiting for Prime Suspect to start it's new season. Sorry to find out it will not. Shame on NBC. We need more good shows about strong women standing tall in this male dominated world. Thumbs up for characters like "Jane T". Maria Bello is so wonderful in the role. Would like to see her in another series.

  • Glenda Miller | March 29, 2012 11:37 PMReply

    So sorry that "Prime Suspect" has ended! I just found out and I'm so disappointed as there are not enough dramas that have multi-dimensional folk. I thought the characters were great, many sided, it wasn't all about male-female sexual tensions and I really liked how they evolved, something that certainly is somewhat rare. It possibly needed another 1-2 regular women, perhaps quirky or off-kilter, but had super potential to deepen both with characters and plots: bye, now, to a great ensemble; to a show that had long-term potential and was actually one to put on a weekly calendar.

  • DeLe | March 24, 2012 12:12 AMReply

    What a damn shame. The best show on TV, what a disappointment that it was cancelled. It had so much promise. I even compared it to my all time favorite "NYPD Blue." I just loved the characters, the reality of it and the way it was filmed. So tired of all the phony dramas and the unfunny sitcoms. I don't want to watch shows where everything is about sex, sex and more sex, then all the lame jokes about the penis and vagina, big deal we all have one of them.

  • Kate | March 15, 2012 10:39 PMReply

    I thought this show was great and was disappointed when I couldn't find it On Demand. Only Maria Bello could have pulled this character off. She was fantastic!

  • Karen Corkhill | March 8, 2012 7:27 PMReply

    I too will miss Prime Suspect even though it did have some nuances I couldn't quite relate to. Having said that, I feel the direction of the show was working out many of those issues. Although Jane could not be called a "warm and fuzzy" character, she portrayed a hell of an investigator. I loved that realism, and the relationships were starting to build nicely in the squad. As rough round the edges her character was, she was dedicated in doing the right thing and looking after people who could not look after themselves. As a female officer in a large metropolitan city I could appreciate her struggles as female officer trying to function in a male-dominated squad. Although I did not receive the same level of consternation as Det. Timoney, sometimes it just wasn't easy being a girl in policing. I will miss the show.

  • robin | February 28, 2012 8:34 PMReply

    i live in a small town where the chief of police was just suspended - he is responsible for a number of cops harassing a woman cop - the same woman cop who won a million dollar harassment law suit five years ago for the same thing. i don't think this show is unrealistic at all. the acting is top rate and so are the scripts. what a shame. any chance they will bring it back at a later time?

  • Melimel | February 28, 2012 3:16 PMReply

    I agree, this was my favorite show!!!! I watched several episodes and it never disappointed, I looked forward to each episode...

  • lpara | February 25, 2012 8:29 PMReply

    Put me in the I'm so sad this died department as well, and my son (who is a cop) and my hubs who usually hates women cop shows (lol) We all LOVED this one. They always get rid of the GOOD ones!! ugh

  • Barb | February 23, 2012 11:41 AMReply

    I love Maria Bello and Prime Suspect... So sad that it was canceled. I hope to see Maria on something else. If I had to choose between Unforgettable and Prime Suspect.. I would have chosen Prime Suspect to stay on the air. Sooo disappointed.

  • Jim | February 23, 2012 8:31 AMReply

    I cannot believe it! Prime Suspect cancelled! It is one of my two favorite new shows this season; the other is "Person of Interest". I love the original BBC Prime Suspect and have all the episodes, but I liked this much better. This show had such a great lead and she played that tough woman with attitude very well. Good on the off-job storylines, and on the job great mysteries and action scenes. And for all the nays on the squad's guys, I think it is a great ensemble. They apparently did their job so well it irritated a lot of you responders and other viewers, and so I guess the show got the point across with this ensemble and you all took it to heart. Everyone does not have to be goody two shoes to make me like a show, being lifelike means more to me. The series presented a great work environment of the period. The cinematography was some of the best on television. Jane filled the character with a lot of toughness, smart and analytical, and vulnerable. Like another post, my favorite episode was the one when they went upstate and had the firefight and the scene at the elevator with the girl punching Jane as to the killer’s identity was spellbinding! Such good screenwriting and acting should not go unproduced. I certainly hope one of the cable networks pick Prime Suspect up because it has a very big fan in me.

  • Kathy | February 19, 2012 2:52 PMReply

    Great show -but it happens all the time with the good ones. They get bounced all over the place and you never know when or where it will show up. When that happens you know it will be canceled. It's a big shame. I know Maria Bello will show up elsewhere, she's very believable.

  • Catherine Parker | February 16, 2012 11:15 PMReply

    Sorry this show didn't makes it. My husband and I both liked it.

  • John | February 15, 2012 11:06 PMReply

    Prome Suspect was excellent, one of the best crime shows on tv. A big mistake was made canceling this one. I thought Maria Bello's character was great. Sad to see it go , it should be brought back.

  • googiegomez | February 15, 2012 5:55 PMReply

    Like so many others I kept wondering where Prime Suspect was so I googled the same question and boy am I sad. This was a good show with strong female character and Maria Bello was working so well in the role of Jane. The guys in her department were smart, complicated, and just enough to keep you wanting more. BUMMER!!

  • Jane D | February 14, 2012 9:54 PMReply

    It took me til tonight to Google my question "What happened to Prime Suspect". I think I delayed make an official inquiry because I had a strong hunch I would not like the answer. And, I was so right. After reading the many notes already shared by others I have to agree that NBC has made another boneheaded error in their judgement of what constitutes "good TV" for people who want to become embroyed in story lines involving characters who have some depth and may take awhile to get to know--maybe even, to like. Seems the Nielsen rating people must only be connected with those who are content to watch those silly desperate housewives, the oh-so-fertile Mormon mom and dad who are now up to 20 kids and counting, or to learn more than 1000 ways to die, watch people get tattooed, young girls being put on display by mothers--to say nothing of the producers who encourage them-- who knowingly give these toddlers stimulants to "help them perform at their best when their turn comes", etc. I agree with those of you who have found that the networks (and sometimes even the cable channel powers) pull the plug on too many great shows without giving them a good chance, replacing them with far inferior fare, leaving nothing for the likes of us--whoever we are. My 95 year old dad and I enjoyed Amber Tamblyn's short forays into TV land, first with the terrific and inspirational program--rather Michael Landon-esque--"Joan of Arcadia". We found her a very realistic teenager with the usual teen angst and struggles, along with a well developed cast. Loved being surprised weekly with who would be taking the role of God. Wonderful that was way too short-lived. Her next attempt was a police drama, "The Unusuals", another terrific ensemble cast blessed with great writers. That one didn't even last 2 seasons, if memory serves.
    If, as one writer suggests, TNT or USA would step in--and do so soon, before the actors move on to other jobs--and pick up this show, there will surely have an audience. Just tell me what channel and what time. And, NBC, get rid of "The Firm". The movie covered the premise thoroughly.

  • Paul | February 14, 2012 9:01 PMReply

    Great show, excellent characters more than one demensional with depth. Good charcter team. Sad to see it go ....

  • Jim Reilly | February 14, 2012 4:29 PMReply

    Oh no. I just Googled "What happened to Prime Suspect?" And now I know. Damn. It was one of my few destination TV shows (along with "Justified," "Fringe" (guilty pleasure) and "Criminal Minds" (my wife's obsession, along with "Say Yes to the Dress," which she watches sans me). I loved Maria Bello/Jane Timoney, not just because she's hot and tough and cranky, but because she seems to REAL. More real than just about any other fictional character on TV now. I love her temper, her infuriating silences, her compassion and love clumsily expressed. She's a lot like us. I also liked her two partners, each annoying male and wartily real. I'll light a candle tonight for "Prime Suspect." Maybe the hat was just too much.

  • joan klemic | February 14, 2012 10:36 AMReply

    this was one of the best shows on tv in many years, so of course it is gone. i kept thinking it was on hiatus, that it made no sense to cancel it. maybe it just wasn't advertised enough--i just happened on it. i urge some network to revive it--please

  • Paul | February 12, 2012 9:50 PMReply

    Oh..and don't forget Fringe. You can't argue that Agent Dunham isn't the lead. That she isn't tough. Or that she isn't a completely compelling and realistic character.

  • Paul | February 12, 2012 9:47 PMReply

    My wife so HATED the first episode she walked out on it before it ended. She's a Managing Director at a small investment bank where she's the boss: over bankers, traders, most everyone and mostly male. She despised the lead, and did not think the interactions between the cops were at all realistic. I stuck with he show and even though I told her how much better it had become, she was not interested.

    I do think the lead was unrealistically acerbic and the other cops too stereotypical. Between that and her stupid hat -- oh how I hate those hats -- the show was doomed. I enjoyed it and watched every episode. But you have to have someone to root for.

    I think that it is wrong to claim that there are no strong female characters on TV- be they the lead or the almost lead. Maybe you should watch more BBC shows. Plenty of strong female characters. That and science fiction shows: Terminator: Sarah Connor; V; you mentioned Battlestar... There are plenty more.

    And what about Bones? Hawthorne? Grey's Anatomy and spin off? Risolli and Isles? Body of Proof?

    And it is unfair to claim that "Oh when the lead is a woman she has to be nice, she can't be a bitch"... Since when are the male leads unlikeable? They are typically very likeable. Rescue Me comes to mind as one where he is not, but is most cases .... Oh, you want your women to act like men all the time? That's not realistic and the audience knows it. Which is why they tune out.

    So I am sad to see that show go, but I think it entirely understandable...

  • carol demme | February 11, 2012 3:08 PMReply

    I really liked that show. I am so sorry to hear that it was cancelled! I agree that they went overboard in the beginning with the male verses female stuff. i also have to say that if cops sit around the presincts drinking as these guys did, I'd be surprised if it didn't raise some eyebrows!
    Other than that, it's too bad that well written shows like Prime Suspect get cancelled and garbage so-called reality shows stay on the air!

  • KEVIN | February 10, 2012 12:29 PMReply

    NBC is totaly at fault for this they put it up against well established shows, when they showed it on other nights again up against well established shows they made no advertiseing attempts leaving anyone who wanted to give it a try wondering where the heck it was and unable to find it. the only way i was able to nail this show down was to watch yes every episode on my cable companies on demand channel. I find it amazing that they never gave this show ashot on Monday night which is and has been completely devoid of anything to watch Mondays are a veiwing desert. YES NBC BLEW IT.

  • Jo | February 10, 2012 11:23 AMReply

    It seems that every time I like a new show, I give it the "Kiss of Death" and it just so happened with Prime Suspect. I looked forward to each episode and wondered how Jane Timoney would solve the case while "putting up" with her male colleagues which is a problem that still exists in today's workplace. I'm so sorry that NBC cancelled my favorite show (BIG MISTAKE) and hope that it gets picked up by a smarter network. I don't know how they can say that they couldn't get people to watch ........ I WAS WATCHING IT .... THEY DIDN'T ASK ME!!

  • Kelly | February 5, 2012 2:50 AMReply

    It's so interesting to me that you thought the sexual harassment/hostile work environment vibe of the pilot was so over-the-top as to be unbelievable. I served in the military for almost a decade, I am a woman, and I thought it was spot-on. I guess if you haven't experienced being a woman working in a primarily or traditionally "man's job," such anti-female sentiment probably does seem ridiculous (and IS ridiculous, of course), but please believe me when I tell you it exists!

  • Sharon | January 26, 2012 8:18 PMReply

    I am so disappointed that NBC cancelled this show. I don't think it was given a chance. It was very realistic, emotional, edgy, and the working relationship/developmental between the characters had only started. Shame that either viewers and/or the network didn't have the patience to wait. I remember when the network used to leave shows on for years before they picked up a loyal audience. I loved the show.

  • Pgar | January 22, 2012 11:15 PMReply

    This show was excellent!!! It would be great to see another network pick it up since NBC clearly is making a HUGE mistake!

  • Katherine | January 21, 2012 1:56 AMReply

    so sad...Maria Bello was indeed fantastic and this was one (out of 2) shows that I watched regularly. The writing was smart, the character development engaging and it was great to see a strong, no bs gal at the helm.
    i have to shake my head and wonder what IS going on when show like this are cancelled and shows like House just keep rolling along...ugh!

  • jan | January 19, 2012 9:30 PMReply

    Wanted to add that for my money 'Unforgettable' is the worst this year. Just taking up space as far as I'm concerned. Give me a break with the endless mouth hanging open and the tank tops while everyone else is wearing shirts and suit coats. Guess what audience they are going for. No acting required.
    Good grief. Give us back Prime Suspect. We don't need Maria Bello to be Hellen Mirren. The show is very good. Right up there with The Good Wife. Maybe even better. I'm no Mentalist fan either.

  • jan | January 19, 2012 9:17 PMReply

    This is my husband's and my favorite show! Maria Bello was fantastic, great shows and characters. A very creative and adult show. Very sad to hear they are giving up on this. There is so much junk on tv right now.

  • Kathy | January 19, 2012 6:22 PMReply

    I'm bummed to learn about the cancellation of Prime Suspect!!! I liked the subtle humor mixed with the seriousness of the cases. It is too bad!!!

  • kim | January 17, 2012 11:55 PMReply

    So disappointed about Prime Suspect's demise. Not since Nurse Jackie have I felt enticed to tune in to anything until Prime Suspect came along. Wow, finally something on regular cable that was worth watching. Maria Bello delivered a great performance and the writers deserve kudos too. If "The Firm" is the replacement for "Prime Suspect", then the powers that be at NBC need to rethink this calamitous decision.

  • CG | January 17, 2012 10:06 AMReply

    A couple of unlikable female characters come to mind, though the genre is sit-com rather than drama, so perhaps the "rules" don't apply the same way. They are also both from the 1970s, so the times are a bit different as well.

    Maude
    Betty White's character on the Mary Tyler Moore show.

    And actually, on the I Love Lucy show, everyone in the program had unlikable characteristics.

    I suppose the comedy genre allows more latitude.

  • Jo | January 16, 2012 11:58 AMReply

    I am upset to see this show go. TV is such garbage nowadays that I just don't bother, but this is one of the few shows I followed regularly. So sad when it stopped showing up in my Hulu queue :'( hope NBC reconsiders. . .

  • Jv | January 12, 2012 10:34 PMReply

    I am sad the show is gone. I considered the main character very likable , actually truly realistic. There are lots of women like her but we are all working since we are workaholics. I kept on searching for the show and kept on seeing the awful show The Firm. What arse is responsible for that decision?

  • Karin Ralph | January 12, 2012 7:41 PMReply

    Okay, i am completely disgusted, you take good shows off only to put something ridiculous on.....how many comedies and reality shows can we have? The Firm, this is what they put on.....NOT....i can see this failing!!! Get it together NBC

  • P. McClain | January 12, 2012 5:42 PMReply

    It saddens me that this wonderful show was cancelled before it ever got the chance to fully reach its' potential. Maria Bello was outstanding and she definitely brought the premise of the show to life. I was intrigued that the writers gave her a brain that allowed her to out think her male conterparts. I truly hope NBC rethinks this show and maybe would bring it back as a summer series. Come-on everyone a good summer series for 3 months just like Drop Dead Dive and Suits and Royal Pains. Please give it another change :)

  • terri churchill | January 9, 2012 12:01 AMReply

    How sad that this wonderful show has been cancelled. It was the grittiest show on tv and so refreshing to see a woman protrayed as tough and complicated. Both my husband my 30 year old son and I loved the show.

  • Madeline | January 6, 2012 11:00 PMReply

    My finance and I really liked this show. We are very sad that they took it off the air. Maria Bello was great. They always take off the good shows. This show didn't even get a chance to make its mark.

  • lvetolaf | December 4, 2011 11:44 AMReply

    Thanks for this great article. The only thing I disagree with is that Jane's character was unlikeable. Perhaps unlikeable to men, but quite a hero to women. Given her predicament she had to be tough. Perhaps that is what's not selling. A women who doesn't live her life to please men but to please herself.

  • E. Jane | December 4, 2011 9:48 AMReply

    My husband and I both loved this show. The cinematography of NYC (where we live) is fantastic, unlike any we've ever seen. The dialogue is great, the main characters intriguing and Melissa Silverstein is so right, they made mistakes, but it's been growing in all the right directions. This has been the highlight of our viewing week.

  • Sandy | December 3, 2011 6:55 AMReply

    I liked this show. If they had not put it on opposite The Mentalist, I would have watched it every week. It was cruel of NBC to put it in that slot - basically instant death to most shows.

  • Sergio | December 1, 2011 11:22 AMReply

    It was that damn stupid hat and that ascot or whatever it was they made her wear that turned people off.

    And besides NO ONE could top Helen Merrin in the role. It was a hopeless venture to even try

  • Denise | November 30, 2011 10:59 PMReply

    This is one of the best, if not THE best new shows this season! Why would NBC cancel it? Makes no sense; absolutely no sense.

  • Nicasia V. | November 30, 2011 9:22 PMReply

    While I had a feeling that "Prime Suspect" wouldn't last long, although I love it, I have a very hard time with this author having the audacity to state that our society has much more work-place tolerance for females in historically male-dominated fields than the show portrays. It's unfortunate, but true, that women still make less than men annually, face sexism, and deal with harassment in a variety of professions, regardless of how much "progress" we've made. So, the bad ratings based on Jane's tough exterior, and the many comments in this piece that disregard the implicit and explicit discrimination women still face today, only shows how naive our culture is to this persistent problem.

  • Susan | November 30, 2011 5:09 PMReply

    The networks seem to always cancel quality programing. I really like "Prime Suspect" because Maria Bello portrays a strong woman in an honest way. Seem the networks and TV in general are only interested in "fluff, sexy, silly" women and reality programing. I, for one, am vey, very tired of it.

  • Virginia | November 30, 2011 11:17 AMReply

    Police dramas starring women should pitch to cable first, the networks last. Maria Bello was fabulous in this show and it was finding its way. The same thing happened to The Chicago Code last year. Much as I love The Closer, women shouldn't have to carry a great big purse and talk like a southern belle to carry a show.

    And I LOVED the hat!

  • Allison | November 30, 2011 9:06 AMReply

    I liked seeing Maria Bello on my screen week after week. She should get her own show on TNT or even USA (which does right by Mary McCormack with In Plain Sight).

    Or Bello should look to get on a quality broadcast show like The Good Wife.

    I liked Maria Bello on the show, but I honestly found Prime Suspect itself sort of blah. Like another commenter already said, only Jane and her boyfriend were likeable.

  • Denise | November 30, 2011 11:02 PM

    and In Plain Sight ends next year, too! another great show gone!

  • Sylvia | November 29, 2011 7:04 PMReply

    There's already a show on the air -- albeit not for long, that has a wonderful, nuanced and not necessarily likable female lead. It's called The Closer, and it's been on for seven glorious years.

    The Closer is what Prime Suspect wanted to be. Kyra Sedgwick has continually delivered a complicated, layered, multi-dimensional character who just happens to be a woman. A cop who's in charge of a squad of men. Detectives who challenged her authority at first, but guys who eventually came around when they realized this broad knew her stuff and didn't have a problem going toe to toe with those who disagreed with her tactics.

    She got the job done, and put the bad buys behind bars.

    Sedgwick is leaving, and thank heavens TPTB at TNT get that people still want to see this show in whatever iteration we can get it, which means the spinoff, Major Crimes, starring another wonderfully nontraditional female cop in the form of actress Mary McDonnell will soon take the lead.

    I couldn't get into Prime Suspect, but there are other options, and I'll be sticking with Major Crimes, and another outstanding TNT original, with another outstanding example of a cop who just happens to be a woman, Regina King, of Southland.

  • Denise | November 30, 2011 11:03 PM

    and The Closer ends next year, too!

  • Sylvia | November 29, 2011 9:04 PM

    Sorry, Cheryl, but your assertion Sedgwick's character Brenda Leigh Johnson fits some sort of TV female cop profile who uses her 'womanly wiles' to do her job and get her way, is so far from the truth, your argument doesn't apply. That's not the show, that's not her character. Johnson is tough, and yeah, she's Southern, wears a skirt, sensible shoes and lipstick, but her ability to do her job isn't defined by these feminine traits.

  • Cheryl | November 29, 2011 7:26 PM

    While I agree with the comparison with female leads in a cop show that Closer's Kyra Sedgwick was good...(I have to say it took me until the 7th year to discover her), but I need to point out that the old cliche about female sterotypes is true. There is a clear difference between how Kyra's sexy Womanly-type boss character relates to her underlings, and how Jane is more butch and doesn't use her 'feminine wiles' help her skirt around those who oppose her. Personally I like the more butch Jane character!

  • Sylvia | November 29, 2011 7:06 PM

    Sorry, meant 'She got the job done, and put the bad GUYS behind bars.'

  • Sue Macy | November 29, 2011 6:08 PMReply

    Although I really like Maria Bello and was also encouraged by "Underwater," my problem was that except for Jane and maybe her boyfriend, NO ONE on the show was likable. The office atmosphere was 100 times as sexist as the one on Cagney & Lacey, which fought the same battles 20 years ago. The male detectives were pretty much interchangeable because all seemed to be Neanderthals. I literally cringed listening to them at least once every episode. My suggestion: bring back Jane as a private detective, a la Rockford, and let her operate away from that toxic office.

  • Katherine | January 21, 2012 2:02 AM

    I disagree...while initially the men came off as pre-historic dinos, with every episode we began to see degrees of softening and more depth of character in each one. I think they were all pretty likeable in their own way.

  • Cheryl | November 29, 2011 7:28 PM

    I totally agree! It isn't that Maria Bellos' character is unlikeable, it the guys she is cast with.

  • Esther | November 29, 2011 4:54 PMReply

    I didn't follow this show all that closely; perhaps knowing, on some level, that it was not long for this world. But the episodes I saw were strong contenders to the Law & Order format, with a side of rugged strength brought in spades by Maria Bello. While her hat had many online haters, I was also sad to hear she was hanging said hat up. :)

  • Karina Wilson | November 29, 2011 12:35 PMReply

    That episode, 'Underwater', with Jane and Reg going upstate was INTENSE. Had really started to love the show and that episode made me a cheerleader. Then, oops, they cancelled it. Now where else do I go to watch a smart, focused woman dealing with professional situations the best way she knows how, which isn't always the right way? Uh, Revenge?

  • natasha shields | January 23, 2012 12:22 AM

    I would have to agree that the show did seem much like an old law and order episode. I loved law and order too so that's okay! I thought the male characters in the first couple episodes were very annoying. However, they all grew on me by then end of the season. The show was gritty and mixed in a fair amount of humor. I can't believe they are going to cancel it. I also wish The Closer wasn't ending, I feel like it took it 7 seasons to actually get good lol

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