Blue Murder - Complete Series 1-4 [DVD]
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The Blue Murder - Complete Series 1-4 box set contains seven discs and all episodes from the detective series, in which Caroline Quentin stars as the lead role of DCI Janine Lewis--a single mother of four children, who juggles the demands of family life with her high-profile job. Blending the gritty, fast pace of murder investigations with the warmth and chaos of family life, Blue Murder provides a fresh take on modern day policing in contemporary Manchester. Lewis, who is passionately committed to her work and family, is back after maternity leave, separated from wayward husband Pete, and striving to balance the responsibilities of her career with the demands of her four children.
Other characters appearing on the show are DI Richard Mayne (Ian Kelsey), a self-assured and ambitious co-worker and close friend of Janine's; DCS Louise Hogg (Saskia Wickham), Janine's quiet but authoritative superior; DS Tony Shap (Nicolas Murchie), the street-wise copper who plays by his own rules; DS Ian Butchers (Paul Loughran), the diligent and reliable rival of Shap; and DC Lisa Goodall (Rhea Bailey), the quiet achiever who's looking to one day move up the ranks of the team.
Having returned to work after maternity leave, DCI Janine Lewis is striving to find a balance between the responsibilities of her high-pressure career and demands at home. Separated from her husband, Lewis attempts to bring up her four children alone, while at the same time dealing with the pressures of solving complicated murder cases.
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Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
The series stars the talented, award-winning actress Caroline Quentin, who was once best known as a comic actor (Jonathan Creek - Complete Series 1-4 & The Christmas Specials Boxset [DVD] ;Men Behaving Badly - Series 1 To 6  [DVD])as Detective Constable Inspector Janine Lewis, a hard-driving, high-profile contemporary detective and single mother of four, who must always try to balance the demands of family, where she's just "Mum," and career, where she's "Boss." In her job, she faces drive-by shootings, abducted children, and police corruption; at home, the, praises be, no longer all that young, nor all that slim, detective interviews nanny candidates, and attempts to comfort her bullied young son. In this substantial entertainment, Quentin shows solid dramatic chops, as well as her comedic gifts. Ian Kelsey (Casualty - Series 1 [DVD] ) costars as Detective Inspector Richard Mayne, Janine's second in command, and erstwhile romantic interest - though in that regard, he seems to be getting a bit doughy of face to me. Among the station house company, Nicholas Murchie stands out as Detective Sergeant Tony Schap, and seems to be enjoying beefed up roles as the series progresses.
Inevitably, the show will be compared to Helen Mirren's Prime Suspect - Complete Collection  [DVD] , although the mysteries in this series are lighter than, not as powerful as, some in the other. Mind you, Quentin doesn't play Janine Lewis as another Jane Tennyson, Helen Mirren's tough female cop; but, then, she's not intended to: she'll never be as slim, or as long-legged as Mirren, will she.
However, the series was created, and the first episodes written, by Cath Staincliffe, who has said she's particularly interested in the problems of women, single mothers, trying to be good mothers to demanding families while holding down demanding jobs. Staincliffe is a Northern/Midlands British girl, through and through: she was born in Bradford, graduated from Birmingham University, and, as a graduate, moved to Manchester to start a job. She has published several mysteries, including a series about another Manchester single mum/private investigator. Her work has been nominated for awards, and is highly praised by her hometown critics. The Scottish-born author Val McDermid, a star of the current tartan noir school of mystery-writing, and Manchester's reigning crime queen, said, Staincliffe "has her finger on the pulse of her city and that rare ability to write about love motherhood and friendship without sentimentality, a must," in "The Manchester Evening News." Another local reviewer said her work was "compassionate, exciting, and down-to-earth. Infused, also with that rare and precious ingredient: true feeling." "The Yorkshire Post" said her [Staincliffe's] work was "warm, compassionate and engrossing." So, the show is extremely popular with its homies, always a good sign.
As to Manchester, it sure has cleaned up very well: centuries of black industrial grime gone, revealing a beautiful city, with interesting, varied architecture. And a diverse, varied population. Furthermore, the series has been filmed with a liberal hand, no shortage of cars and people around. The dramas are flavorful and engrossing, the mysteries gritty and challenging, frequently told from the female point of view. The cop shop scenes are lively, leavened with sly humor, and interspersed with Janine's family business. In fact, as everybody grows into their parts, I'm just getting to like this series better and better.
If you like a substantial, but lighter, female-headed, female-oriented mystery, with a domestic angle, and a sly streak of comedy, check it out.
Thank you, .....G
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