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Arts & Culture

Prime Suspect: Season One, Episode Three

Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison in PRIME SUSPECT.
Courtesy of Executive Program Services
Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison in PRIME SUSPECT.

Airs Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

The tenacious, difficult and brilliant Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) stormed onto PBS in 1992 with "Prime Suspect." By the time the series ended in 2006, not only had an iconic character come to worldwide acclaim, but the crime series genre itself had been transformed.

From a new frame on feminism to the illumination of critical social issues, PRIME SUSPECT and Jane Tennison left an indelible impression. Admired by critics and audiences alike, PRIME SUSPECT won more than 20 international awards, including Emmys for "Outstanding Miniseries" and "Outstanding Actress" for Helen Mirren.

In this episode, chief inspector Jane Tennison thought she'd finally found the witness needed to build an airtight murder case against George Marlow. But the witness passed over Marlow in a police lineup. Now, Tennison is more determined than ever to catch the killer, and she resolves to follow up every possible lead -- even Marlow's missing car, which he claims was stolen. But she thinks he's locked it away in a garage somewhere. When her men can't find it, she begins to doubt her suspicions.


Marlow traveled frequently on business -- always in the company of his girlfriend, Moyra. The inspector and her men start reviewing all unsolved murder cases in the areas the couple visited. In the process, they turn up four similar deaths from the past decade. What if this is the work of a serial killer and she's wasting precious time on Marlow?

Subjected to police searches and surveillance, Marlow is furious about his persecution -- and so is Tennison's boss. She's ordered to back off until she produces solid evidence tying him to the murders of Della Mornay and Karen Howard.

By now, her obsession with the case has begun to take its toll --both at home and on the job. First, her live-in boyfriend moves out. Then, when she accuses a colleague of concealing important evidence, her boss blows his top -- and threatens to pull her off the case.

Behind The Scenes Of Prime Suspect