Friday, October 28, 2011


And now for something completely different.

I’ve been known to get hooked on the occasional TV series and with the fall season in full swing, I’m wondering which ones are your favourite crime-related series. It’s a question my writing buddies have been tossing around lately, mainly looking for recommendations.

I’ll put mine out there – Harry’s Law, Castle, Prime Suspect, Body of Proof. They each have their flaws, of course. I much preferred Harry’s Law last year when it was a small law firm doing business in a shoe store. But the actors are strong and I still love Harry in the courtroom.

Castle seemed to have lost its way at the end of last season but may be back on track. It’s the sexy tension between Castle and Beckett that sets this one apart but it can get bogged down in backstory.

Prime Suspect is a great title but in no way relates to the British namesake. Which is too bad. Not that it’s not an Americanized version, like we saw with Cracker, but more because that’s what you expect when you purloin a well-known title. Put all that aside and you have a strong female cop. I like her style. Okay…maybe the tension in the squad room diffused much too soon. That rivalry made the show sizzle. But it still has my attention.

Finally, Body of Proof, partly because I love the shoes. And of course, the female medical examiner and her boss dress more like fashion models. And not since Quincy have we seen a pathologist-cum-police detective at work. She spends as much time physically chasing down suspects as in the lab. So, suspend your disbelief and enjoy. It’s still an entertaining hour.
Of course, there are others that drift onto and off my ‘must watch’ list, depending on availability. Bring on a new season of New Tricks, and I’m there. Same with Republic of Doyle. And then we have those short British series – Inspector Lewis just keeps getting better. And I find Case Histories, based on Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series, well worth watching.

Which brings to mind the question of transition between a book and the screen. I think the best done were the Benny Cooperman movies based on Howard Engel’s lovable PI. Wallander fell short when the main character sported a British rather than a Swedish accent. Sorry – I do demand some realism.

Some, ‘based on characters’ of series written by mystery authors stand the test of a long run, such as the Morse mysteries. Others, like Midsomer Murders, can get boring but did revive last season and were interesting once again.

What’s on your ‘must-watch’ list? And, which book series would you like to see transformed into TV series? What about your own books?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April 3, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime

1 comment:

  1. Linda, I really enjoy Blue Bloods. I think Tom Selleck has done a great job reviving his career in this role, and Donnie Wahlberg as Danny Reagan is a very strong character. Have you watched it? I guess I'm just a sucker for the gritty procedurals....