Sunday, April 06, 2008

wire in the blood [season premier] 'prayer of the bone'

the opening of season 5 dr tony hill [robson green] finds himself deep in the heart of texas, luther to be precise, to examine an american soldier who confessed to killing his wife and two children. why dr hill is fetched from england to blistering hot texas during the middle of summer to examine an iraqi war veteran is premised on the fact that the defense for the soldier, darius, wants to be sure darius is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. it so happens that darius was stationed in england for a short while and raped a 15-year-old girl and dr hill did an initial examination on the soldier then.

in season 5 we find tony's eccentricities are amped to the nth degree. always quirky, even a tad creepy, for his empathy for both the killers and the killed is so great that those who work closely with him were often a bit off-put by his lack of social etiquette and mores. and yet, those tendencies were held in check by his superb mind and his relationship with the former detective inspector carol jordan [hermione norris]. by the finish of season 3 tony had a successful operation to remove a brain tumor but also for some inexplicable reason his love interest carol jordan left the police force which had shaken the good dr and exarcabated his nerves and self-doubts.

yet his mind is still superb. so in this episode dr hill is upsetting local law enforcement and a provocateur who for some hidden reason obviously wants him dead or at the least leave town. the reasons why so pique tony that a very satisfying two hrs elapses before we find who the true killer is. my only gripe is that this is television with commercials. the breaks between the story is so jarring that i found myself tapping my thumbs against my chest impatient to get back to the proceedings.

that's almost an argument for getting tivo. at any rate, season 5 starts out strong and by far outstrips any crime show in the u.s. for writing, acting, subject matter, photography and editing. tonight's episode had none of the jarring hyper-kinetic frenzy of seasons 1-3 which so far in my mind are the best of the bunch. season 4 is a bit wobbly as it tries to define a new relationship between tony and the new detective inspector alex fielding [simone lahbib] as he also recovers from post-surgery. in fact, tony's brain tumor is still a subject of controversy as it was used against him in tonight's season premiere.

what i find so refreshing about wire in the blood is that it is unafraid of the very dark heart of the human condition. dr tony hill is not simply a cipher for the viewer to get the bad guys, which is often the situation in u.s. crime dramas, but a vortex of human complications. nothing and no one, as with most of us, are what we seem. and yet, there is pathos and even love in dr hill's work. why do all this otherwise? as the punchline to a joke in tonight's show he says why he does his work is because he wants to know what sonofabitch is throwing bodies in a river and why that sonofabitch is doing it. rarely do you get such a nuanced reason in u.s. crime drama. that is why wire in the blood is my favorite tv show.

there are about half dozen new shows, each one airing on sunday night. i'll do my best to write a review of each one of them after they are broadcast. too bad episodes are not available on the web. but the dvds for seasons 1-4 are available. you could not do better for television by getting these discs.


At 6:50 PM, Blogger louie said...

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