Don’t let anyone fool you. This series is excellent for so many reasons. Critics of Elizabeth George are mostly irritated that an American is writing stories that center around British life and not sticking to stories that are oriented with American life. The gall! How dare she! Well, she should--she’s damn good at it. The main characters of the series are compelling. It’s difficult in this day and age to watch a show and actually care about the lives of the characters. I’m so tired of seeing hard-ass characters that are all tough, ruthless, vacuous and raw. Lynley and Havers are the first characters I’ve seen (other than CSI) that capture their balancing act of normal human vulnerability, private-life issues and personal foibles while constantly dealing with the most horrific crime scenarios and sometimes obtuse bosses and/or co-workers. I can only hope that more episodes will be produced.
This is probably the first time I've connected with a female on TV. I tend to lean toward the male characters. But Sharon Small does a fantastic job in this.
The first series was terrific. Lots of growing pains with the two leads getting to know each other. But as time went on, it seemed to fall into a rut with Havers clashing with the male police officers, and Lynley butting heads with her over procedure and her attitude.
But he trusts her, even though it takes her some time to realize it. I like how unsure she is and how much his approval means to her. There's a lot of depth in this show. I really enjoy exploring that.
The two main characters are a bit stereotypical: Lynley is a bit too hard edged, especially considering how intelligent he is (in a recent PBS Mystery episode, "The Word of G-d", he asks a pivotal character how he should act when portraying a potential buyer of a stolen page from an ancient holy book; the character tells him that he needs to appear erudite and friendly, but brusque and no-nonsense, to which Lynley replies, quite tongue-in-cheek, "I can do that!"), while his partner, Havers, is a little too wimpy, considering her position (cops all over the world are given basic self-defense courses; in the same episode, Havers is knocked over while making a bad attempt at stopping a guy from running away).
However, the plots are well-constructed, and the pace is brisk to the point that you think you're on a roller coaster! I usually feel "cheated" at the seemingly predictable end, but I enjoyed it up to that point (at the end of the aforementioned episode, Lynley is taken away by four plain-clothes cops for abuse of power; utter nonsense! If anything, his tactics are textbook FBI/Scotland Yard!).
The only real problem I have with the show is that the characters speak too quickly (not even the closed captioning can keep up!), and, to my American ear, none too clearly!
I've really tried to like Inspector Lynley but it's become so repetitive now that it's even more boring than it was when it first started. Nathaniel Parker couldn't act his way out of a paper bag and his lack of chemistry with Sharon Small (the worst cockney accent since Dick Van Dyke) makes the whole "will they, won't they?" unresolved sexual tension laughable. And how many times can Lynley investigate a murder that’s linked to a friend, colleague, acquaintance or relative? Does anyone out there really believe that police officers are allowed to do that? Totally rubbish. The only positive thing I have to say is that this dim-witted series is a fair reflection of Elizabeth George’s appalling books – an American view of English life that has no grounding in reality. Time to retire the dear old Inspector to the House of Lords where he can snooze away in peace.
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