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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 21 September 2012
Post-war England, 1952, a spate of murders is reported in the press. Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin) thinks she may have worked out a pattern to the killings of five girls. Having worked at the secret code-breaking unit at Bletchley during the war, she finds being a housewife (a husband and two children) is not enough to keep her mind active. The police tell her there is no foundation to what amounts to conjecture. Susan calls on three of her former Bletchley colleagues, Millie, Jean and Lucy to form a peace-time operation to identify any common links between the murders with a view to tracing the person carrying them out. Quickly they believe that the recent killings follow a similar method in their execution and locality with a possible railway linkage. The police take note after one of the girls literally puts her life on the line and after listening and taking action, are content they have satisfactorily tied up the case. The Bletchley girls stretch their web and uncover past murders they are convinced have been perpetrated by the man responsible for the recent abductions, but the case is by no means closed to their eyes. They lack hard evidence, leads, clues, anything to pick out and support a common trend in the crimes. Hence they plod on. No spoilers but the action becomes tense with suspense and frightening, sinister moments. The girls carry their wartime bravery and skills into the danger zone.

This is an enjoyable three episode drama portraying convincingly dress,scenery and general atmosphere of the period, especially the steam trains. It is sometimes slow and predictable but it keeps the viewer involved with the chase right to the end. Anna Maxwell Martin is, as usual in her parts, quite outstanding and brief interludes with Simon Williams (Cavendish), who knows more than he is initially prepared to divulge, add weight to the authenticity of the storyline. I enjoyed this short series which was easy on the eye and uncomplicated to follow. What will they do next when the excitement and intellectual stimulation is over?
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on 13 February 2013
This series is about interesting, highly trained women who worked un-recognised at Bletchley
Code breaking during WW2. After the war they can't use their skills any longer and are constrained by the Official Secrets Act. They return to ordinary life until one day, one of them sees a way they can help solve a series of murders...
Very well cast and well crafted... Good storyline and degree of suspense, set in the early fifties?
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on 27 September 2012
So much of this series is really excellent - the acting, direction, camerawork, period authenticity are all superb and are very hard to fault. In addition it has pace and style. Wonderful!

The plot is also very engaging except for just one thing - the basic premise is simply rubbish. The pretext for the four girls getting together and working on this is that they were all employed at Bletchley park during the war which gave them an exceptional ability to analyse patterns. So, lo and behold, along comes a case where the protagonist commits his crimes in a way that reveals a pattern, namely a spiral that starts from somewhere near Southampton. I can't answer for the criminal mind but I have to say this seems rather far-fetched to me and smacks of plot contrivance.

Furthermore there is a scene in the final episode where Anna Maxwell-Martin's character gets up during the night and spends a few feverish hours ploughing through her old mathematics textbooks. Page after page of formulae then flash across the screen as if she is working out the solution to the crime through the employment of mathematics. However none of this is explained in any way, we are just meant to believe that this is how she arrives at her conclusion.

Despite the above I really enjoyed this series and urge the commissioning of further series. Just drop the more far-fetched theoretical stuff next time in favour of a premise based simply on four clever and plucky girls solving crimes through their cleverness and pluckiness. It will then be as close to perfect as any TV series ever achieves.
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on 1 April 2013
I was attracted to this DVD by the mention of Bletchley Park in the title. In fact it is a high-quality thriller (the task is to catch the culprit before there is yet another murder) set in the now vintage era of 1949 or thereabouts. The four heroines worked together in WW2 cryptology and then separately entered civilian life. They re-unite for a new challenge. The unknown villain has used various layers of deception to confuse the police. Eventually the four women break through the last layer and emerge triumphant. Considerable work by the production team managed to produce an extremely plausible version clothing, buildings, trains and motor vehicles of London at that time.
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on 11 February 2013
My wife and I had no idea what we were going to view and we found it excellent in every regard, Great story, production values for the period perfect, so well cast, the acting excellent
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on 6 March 2013
The ending could have been better but the story line was excellent. The acting was spot on. Would hope that there were more like this being developed.
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on 7 February 2014
This review is for the US Blu-ray release:

The Bletchley Circle: Cracking a Killer's Code
Format: Blu-ray, NTSC
Language: English
Region: Region A/1
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013
Run Time: 180 minutes

This is an excellent 3 part PBS mystery series.

The story opens in 1943 at British Intelligence HQ Bletchley Park where a team of 4 women (Jean, Susan, Millie and Lucy) work together as code breakers against the Nazis. Then we fast forward to 1952 London with the unsolved murders of 4 women making news headlines. Susan is one of the former code breakers and she discerns a pattern in these crimes and invites her 3 old friends to help. They are so successful in discerning patterns that they find the body of a 5th missing victim.

They secretly continue on with their work and Susan and Lucy especially incur great personal danger as well as friction with their husbands because they cannot reveal what they are doing since their former work was classified Top Secret. Eventually they realize that the murderer had actually killed 12 women over the years and was clever enough to frame innocent men for many of those crimes. Suspense rises as the murderer realizes that they are closing in on him.

The performers were excellent and the well written script provides a great mystery puzzle and also a story of friendship and self-sacrifice in the face of danger to help others. It is also quite apparent that the 4 former code breakers loved their work but suffered because they could never reveal this to anyone due to national security constraints.

The Blu-ray video and audio quality is good, and the special features offered are Scene Selections and Interviews with the cast and crew.
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on 9 May 2013
Four very capable women all with their special skills, tackle a very difficult case in post war years.
Excellent storyline.
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on 18 May 2013
Got it for my friend for Christmas as she is at uni and missed it on television it is a little more than I was expecting to pay but it was just after it had come out so it was understandable and I knew it meant it was a name I could tick of my to get list and it was something I knew she wanted. I looked around to see if I could get it cheaper anywhere else I a lot of the time it was cheaper but not when you have added the p&p it was the same or more expensive. And the feedback from my friend was she love it.
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on 19 July 2013
This was a very pleasant surprise - I thought it would be rewarding to watch, but I found myself compelled rather than attracted, and I could have cheerfully consumed it all at once. Complex characters were well written and well portrayed, along with the frustrating lot allowed to women in that period, and particularly that of bright, capable and undervalued women.
The art direction and set/costume presentation was a convincing re-creation of the time, well filmed. The story was more credible and better developed than I had expected based on my initial reading of the premise, and I did get sucked in.
I see no reason to not continue with these well-painted characters in a new set of adventures, although the tone may need to shift now that the suppressed capabilities of some of the key characters have been 'outed'. There is room here for some evolution from the initial premise, while still shrouded in the veil of prohibition against mentioning what they really did in the war.
This was most worthwhile, and I would like more of it, please.
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