THE POLITICIAN'S WIFE is further evidence that even talented men are ruled by gonadal impulses and should leave the heavy mental lifting to the ladies. Flora (Juliet Stevenson) is married to a junior Cabinet minister in Her Majesty's Government, Duncan Matlock (Trevor Eve). Duncan gets caught up in a scandal, which, because he's a Tory in a Conservative administration, is sexual in nature - he's linked to an escort babe (Minnie Driver). Though Duncan declares to Flora that it was a one-off affair, it becomes apparent to the latter and the audience during the first installment of this three-episode telly miniseries that the trysts continue. Indeed, Flora has her nose rubbed in it when she comes into possession of tapes of Duncan and his tart having phone sex. It's devastating stuff. So, while pretending to be the loyal wife standing at her husband's side during damage control efforts by the local Conservative organization, and while Duncan himself strives to get a piece of controversial legislation through Parliament, Flora stage-manages his political downfall with the unwitting aid of a powerful Tory Mr. Fixit, smoothly played by Ian Bannen (the schemer of WAKING NED DEVINE), since deceased. The performances by all actors involved are top drawer. Indeed, Duncan is the male pig you love to hate, and he's a politician besides. Eeeuw! But THE POLITICIAN'S WIFE is a one-woman show, and Juliet Stevenson is the one you pay to watch as her Flora persona picks herself off the floor - kicked while down - and gives hubby his just desserts. There are times when, as Flora gazes at her spouse as if he's an interesting lab specimen, you can almost hear the wheels in her head turning, turning, turning, and you know the man is doomed. In a final scene, it appears that even Duncan admires his wife's Machiavellian talent. My only criticism - a trivial one - is that Duncan's Whitehall department, the Ministry for the Family (or some such), didn't project the grandiosity that warranted the attention provided by a juicy sex scandal. I mean, if the U.S. Secretary of HUD was caught flagrante delicto with a bimbo, who would care? THE POLITICIAN'S WIFE is perfect small-screen entertainment for those nights when the spouse is off at ... work?
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