Customer Review

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About time too DVD release for this stunning Police series., 27 Aug 2005
This review is from: Between The Lines : Complete BBC Series 1 [1992] [DVD] (DVD)
Ohh thank you God, thank you baby Jesus. I'm using a line from "The Young Ones" completely out of context there, but you'll have to forgive me....im just so excited that this under valued excellent series has at last made it onto DVD. Make no mistake; in the pantheon of great TV cop shows Between the Lines is right up there...what the hell, this reviewer regards it as the best ever. Some claim. But let's, as every good cop should do, review the evidence
Firstly this series is as much interested in the socio- politics of policing as the usual dangerous and analytical side of police work. It sees career cop and Head of C.I.D. Tony Clark brilliantly played throughout by Neil Pearson off the back of his "Drop the Dead Donkey "role thrust unwillingly into the job of investigating officers in his own "Nick" when widespread corruption is suspected. Aided by slightly dishevelled Harry (Tom Georgeson) and feisty Mo ( A wonderfully sexy Siobhan Redmond) he eventually ends up with a full time role in the "C.I.B" unit, an outfit who investigate the Police internally full time. Clark isn't enamoured with life, what with the job , with ambitious fellow D.C.I,s , a wily but shady boss Deakin (Tony Doyle), a disintegrating marriage-not helped by his affair with an attractive young P.C( Lesley Vickerage)., and his still burning desire to climb that greasy ladder. And of course the cases that come his way are a pain in the arse as well.
However, there is a sense that Clark develops a moral centre as the series progresses , going from a brash arrogant narcissist to someone who understands the importance of teamwork, duty and of doing the right thing, aided ostensibly by his two dedicated subordinates. Though there are many stand alone episodes, there is also importantly a continuous narrative that runs throughout the series with all the loose plot threads tied up for a memorable finale full of suspense and ambitious twists. Some of the single plot episodes are stunning in their intensity. "Out of The Game" sees the topical issue of police shooting an apparently unarmed man. "Words of Advice "has a black male officer accused of sexual harassment by a white female officer. "Lies and Dammed Lies" sees an old stalwart member of a station given the pariah treatment by his fellow officers after C.I.B pressure him into testifying against them, an episode with a haunting ending. Best of all is "Lest ye be Judged " where Clark's team are called in to investigate the fictitious "South Lancashire" force after a suspect played with bug eyed zeal by Ten Pole Tudor of all people accuses the force of beating a confession out of him.
Really though, every moment of this series is to be savoured. The acting is relentlessly superb throughout; the scripts by Rob Heyland and J. C. Wilsher amongst others are taut and lean but have a brutal authoritative tone. It doesn't wallow in soapy nonsense, only Clark's private life is examined in any great detail and it's all pivotal to the plot and essential so we understand his emotional turmoil and his renaissance as a redeemable character. "Cracker" was brilliant, so was "Prime Suspect". This is easily as good and the fact that it's only now available on DVD is absurd.
One gripe .Where is the other two series of Between the Lines, of which the second is every bit as good as the first? Sort it out now, or you'll have this Clarke to answer to.
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