Writer Lynda La Plante, whose two longform “Prime Suspect” police dramas on PBS set a new high in the genre, comes back with a subtler, sleeker exploration of cop capers: The first two hours minutely inspect the two principals’ character; the second chapter winds with a riveting hare-and-hounds race and a load of revelations. La Plante again hits the gong.
Sgt. Larry Jackson (David Morrissey), on vacation in Spain with wife Susan (Annabelle Apsion) and the kids, spots Eddie Myers (Timothy Dalton), a presumed-dead British master robber/murderer.
He manages to nail the wealthy Eddie, and back in England, Larry’s boss, McKinnes (Timothy West), assigns Larry to lone duty with Eddie. La Plante shrewdly shows Eddie figuratively deflowering Larry by flashing signs of the high life as he informs on his colleagues.
Relationships are the heart of the drama, and director Geoffrey Sax, blessed with a fine cast and a smashing script, builds on intricate variations of the characters. Morrissey’s plain-pudding face works wonderfully for the character as Larry gradually catches on to what’s happening. Dalton’s Eddie, commanding and sophisticated, is a rich study of an intricate personality dedicated to self-service.
Apsion’s longing Susan is both pitiable and rightfully irritating, and West creates a rasping counterpoint to Larry’s naivete with his bitter, Javert-like McKinnes. Penelope Cruz’s contribution is significant, and Francis Johnson, playing Susan’s policeman confidante, is solid.
Guy Slater’s production looks terrif, and Barry McCann’s incisive camerawork and imaginative editing by Graham Walker (with Jim Howe in Part II) are top-flight.