Sunday nights are my British mystery nights. My current favorite is Midsomer Murders starring the craggy, soft spoken John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby. It is fun though I find myself wondering why I have any British friends because, whether they be Lords of the Manor or the minions who serve them, the citizens of Midsomer aren't a very pleasant lot. But it's fun to guess how many will be done in and who the culprits will be. And can I beat the detectives. The British are masters at crafting these shows.
Other favorites have been "Foyle's War", "Inspector Morse" with the incomparable John Thaw and "A Touch of Frost". While all have been good and mind bending, they are not an "art imitating life" scenario.
Then there is "Prime Suspect" starring Helen Mirren. This may well be the police series ever produced for television and the one that does, indeed, most imitate life. It is as gritty and as graphic as it can get. Over the years we've watched Jane Tennison scratch and claw her way up through the ranks of chauvinistic, good old boy superiors while fighting the attitudes of underlings sharing the same contempt for female ranking officers.
It has come at a tremendous loss of both relationships and health. I can't remember how many men she's gone through, she had an abortion, she's now a dyed in the wool alcoholic fighting the reality of what has happened to her.
The acting is superb. I'd watch Helen Mirren in anything - and do. She is not by Hollywood standards a beautiful woman but she has so much character etched into her features, the reality radiates in any role she undertakes.
Now it is time to say good bye. Next week is the final episode. I will miss DS Tennison; her intelligence, her compassion and her grit. I await next week to see how the current murder is solved and if she can conquer the demons that consume her enough to have a glimmer of a life in retirement.
I watch Jane Tennison and see a reflection of so many women striving for the top. I wonder if the sacrifice is worth the personal toll.
Helen Mirren moves on. She is expected to receive an Oscar nomination for her current role. I suggest it may be a most fitting epilogue for DS Jane Tennison. Queen Elizabeth.