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MASTERPIECE: Prime Suspect: Tennison

Shown from left to right: Sam Reid as DI Bradfield, Stefanie Martini as Jane Tennison and Blake Harrison as DS Gibbs.
Courtesy of ITV Studios and NoHo Film & Television for ITV and MASTERPIECE
Shown from left to right: Sam Reid as DI Bradfield, Stefanie Martini as Jane Tennison and Blake Harrison as DS Gibbs.

Airs Sundays, June 23-July 7, 2019 at 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

— Series Portrays Early Career of Jane Tennison, one of TV’s Most Iconic Detectives —

Behind every great detective is a backstory. MASTERPIECE dials back the clock to spotlight the influences that turned 22-year-old rookie policewoman Jane Tennison into the savvy, single-minded crime fighter beloved by PRIME SUSPECT viewers over the course of seven seasons.

Starring Stefanie Martini (DOCTOR THORNE) in the iconic role immortalized by Helen Mirren, PRIME SUSPECT: TENNISON airs in three riveting 90-minute episodes.

Prime Suspect - Tennison: Trailer

A prequel to one of the most innovative crime series in television history, the series also stars Sam Reid (THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB) as Jane’s mentor, DCI Len Bradfield; Blake Harrison (HOUDINI AND DOYLE) as Bradfield’s volatile sergeant, DS Spencer Gibbs; Jessica Gunning (LAW & ORDER UK) as Jane’s female colleague and friend, WPC Kath Morgan; and Alun Armstrong (LITTLE DORRIT, BLEAK HOUSE) as crime family kingpin Clifford Bentley.

Bringing the '70s to Life

Tied to murder, gambling, narcotics, prostitution, and high-stakes break-ins, the Bentleys and their underworld rivals give Jane a crash course in the gritty realities of police work — an experience that is all the more challenging because she is a young woman trying to make it in the sexist culture of the force.

Set in 1973 amid the sounds of the pop tunes of the day, the series opens with Jane a newly minted woman police constable, performing her probationary stint at Hackney Police Station in East London.

Prime Suspect, Tennison: Who is Jane Tennison?

Relegated to traffic incidents, dispatching, and other routine police chores — in addition to serving the senior officers tea — she gets her big break when a murder case of a young girl calls for an all-hands-on-deck investigation.

So commences Jane’s real education. The case officer, DCI Len Bradfield, discovers that she is an eager learner and an indispensable assistant for any task that comes up: from observing an autopsy to surreptitiously gathering clues while comforting the victim’s parents. Not to mention, Bradfield finds Jane irresistibly attractive.

The murder victim is a young prostitute and drug addict from a respectable middle-class family. The case is more complicated than it appears, with baffling wounds on the corpse, signs of captivity and bondage, and a widening circle of potential suspects.

Meanwhile, in a nearby prison, Clifford Bentley is about to be released after serving a sentence for burglary, which is the least of his crimes. He wastes no time setting the wheels in motion for a new felony — his masterpiece.

Little does Jane know, but she has already met some of the participants in this plot, which will have a profound impact on her personality and outlook, helping to mold the hard-bitten, hard-driving character that millions of PRIME SUSPECT viewers know as DCI Jane Tennison.

From left to right: SAM REID as DCI Len Bradfield, JOSHUA HILL as DC Edwards, STEFANIE MARTINI as Jane Tennison, TOMMY MCDONNELL as DC Hudson, BLAKE HARRISON as DS Spencer Gibbs and DANIEL EZRA as DC Ashton.
Courtesy of ITV Studios and NoHo Film & Television for ITV and MASTERPIECE
From left to right: SAM REID as DCI Len Bradfield, JOSHUA HILL as DC Edwards, STEFANIE MARTINI as Jane Tennison, TOMMY MCDONNELL as DC Hudson, BLAKE HARRISON as DS Spencer Gibbs and DANIEL EZRA as DC Ashton.

PRIME SUSPECT: TENNISON, is based on the bestselling novel "Tennison" by Lynda La Plante CBE. Lynda La Plante was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe Award by by the Mystery Writers of America for her novel "Prime Suspect."

EPISODE GUIDE:

Episode 1 airs Sunday, June 23 at 10:30 p.m. - Jane Tennison soon starts to learn the cold facts of police work. She turns the head of her boss, DI Bradfield, but also impresses him with her instincts. He enlists her help, and she becomes immersed in her first murder investigation.

Prime Suspect - Tennison: Episode 1 Scene

Episode 2 airs Sunday, June 30 at 10:30 p.m. - Tennison and Bradfield continue their work on the murder case of a young girl, but a breach of police protocol complicates matters. Meanwhile, the Bentley family continues their plans to pull off their biggest crime yet.

Prime Suspect - Tennison: Episode 2 Scene

Episode 3 airs Sunday, July 7 at 10:30 p.m. - Jane is faced with several harsh realities in both her professional and personal life. The investigations around the murder of Julie Ann Collins and the robbery plan of the Bentley family come to a head.

Prime Suspect - Tennison: Episode 3 Scene

WATCH ON YOUR SCHEDULE:

Full episodes from this series will be available to view on demand for a limited time after broadcast. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn more and activate your benefit now.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION:

MASTERPIECE is on Facebook, Pinterest, and you can follow @masterpiecepbs on Twitter. #MasterpiecePBS

CREDITS:

A co-production of ITV Studios, NoHo Film & Television and MASTERPIECE for ITV. The producer is Rhonda Smith and the director is David Caffrey. The executive producers are Camilla Campbell and Robert Wulff-Cochrane for Noho Film and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE on PBS.