Cops Shows and Thrillers Online – Lovefilm and Netflix

We’re no longer slaves to the TV schedules now that many of us have catch-up TV services and an ever-increasing amount of choice on subscription services such as LoveFilm and Netflix. Here’s a quick survey of what’s currently available for fans of TV crime shows and thrillers.

Lovefilm Instant – 5000 movies and TV episodes
Available on: internet-enabled TVs, PS3, Xbox 360, computers and iPads
Price: £4.99 a month (introductory offer). 30-day free trial
Check out online: LoveFilm

Overview: Amazon-owned service, familiar to everyone through its DVD postal service, but which now offers Lovefilm Instant. Currently has bigger selection of TV shows than Netflix.


State of Play: the 2003 conspiracy thriller with John Simm and Kelly Macdonald.  
Prime Suspect: various series including the 1991 original smash hit original with Helen Mirren.  
A Touch of Frost: various stories with David Jason.
Cracker: the still much-missed series about profiler Robbie Coltrane, from series one, which went out in 1993.
Inspector Morse: from 1987’s very first episode, The Dead of Jericho, starring John Thaw.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, Return of Sherlock Holmes, Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes: the classic ITV series with Jeremy Brett and David Burke. 

Recent/current hits

Hustle: the BBC’s first series with Adrian Lester, Marc Warren.  
Appropriate Adult: award-winning drama about Fred West, starring Dominic West and Emily Watson. 
Lewis: various episodes with Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox.
Wallander: the UK (Kenneth Branagh) and Swedish (Krister Henriksson) versions.
Poirot: various episodes with David Suchet.  
Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes: the 1970s and 80s reboot with John Simm, Philip Glenister and Keeley Hawes.
Above Suspicion: a couple of series with Kelly Reilly.  
The Jury: 2011 courtroom drama with Julie Walters.  
Castle: series one about the mystery novelist and the cop with Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. Whitechapel: Jack the Ripper in modern day London with Rupert Penry-Jones and Phil Davis.
Zen: the excellent crime drama set in Rome with Rufus Sewell.  
Spooks: various series, with Rupert Penry-Jones, Hermione Norris and Peter Firth.
Vera: last year’s cop drama with Brenda Blethyn.
New Tricks: the Beeb’s hugely popular retirees are back on duty, from 2003’s series one, with Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman, James Bolam and Alun Armstrong.


The Prisoner: The Patrick McGoohan original from 1967.
The Saint: with Roger Moore.
Starsky and Hutch: the original from 1975, with David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser. 

Gone and forgotten, but worth a second look?

Family: 2003 mini-series about a crime family, starring Martin Kemp.

Vincent: 2005 private eye series with Ray Winstone.
Blue Murder: the 2003 series with Caroline Quentin.
Serious and Organised: drama from 2003 with Martin Kemp and Danny Dyer.
Diamond Geezer: 2005 prison drama with David Jason.  
Jericho: 2005 period detective drama with Robert Lindsay.  
Messiah: chilling cop drama with Ken Stott from 2001.  
Lincoln Heights: 2007 US police drama with Russell Hornsby. 
Kidnapped: US drama from 2006 about the teenage son of a wealthy New York City family being abducted.
Rose and Maloney: Rose Linden investigates possible miscarriages of justice. From 2002, with Sarah Lancashire.

Netflix – films and TV programmes
Available on: internet-enabled TVs, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, computers, iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch
Price: £5.99 a month. Month-free trial
Check out online Netflix

Overview: This leading global internet subscription service launched in the UK in January 2012. It has 20 million streaming customers in 47 countries.

Dexter: the first three series in the drama about Dexter Morgan, the serial killer who targets other serial killers. Starring Michael C Hall and Jennifer Carpenter.

24: series 1-8 of the Emmy-winning thriller starring Kiefer Sutherland.

Breaking Bad: the first three series of one of the absolute best crime dramas of recent years, starring Bryan Cranston as the chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer who decides to produce his own high-grade and illegal crystal meth to secure his family’s future.

Prison Break: from 2005, it’s the tale of a man trying to bust his wrongly imprisoned brother out of jail, starring Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.


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Above Suspicion – Deadly Intent PREVIEW

Ciarán Hinds, Kelly Reilly, Shaun Dingwall and Celyn Jones (pics: (C) ITV Plc/LA PLANTE)

Rating ★★★

ITV1, Mon 3 Jan, Tues 4 Jan, Wed 5 Jan, 9pm

This is a third outing for Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion featuring detective Anna Travis, the modern-day heir apparent to Prime Suspect‘s Jane Tennison.

But while she may be Tennison’s heir, Travis is not her equal. Above Suspicion has performed very decently for ITV in the ratings – first series notching up 8m viewers – and Kelly Reilly, who plays Travis, may be an attractive lead, but this new La Plante production is not as sure-footed or powerful as Helen Mirren’s predecessor.

Reilly is too girlish (despite being 33) and glam to convince as a high-flying detective in what is still shown here to be a male-chauvinist enclave. And she is flying – having started out as a teetering rookie in series one, she is now a detective inspector.

Jane Tennison would never have cut it if she’d worn short black skirts and low-cut singlets around the office, and though we may have moved on since 1991, we haven’t moved on so far that Travis would be taken seriously looking so exposed today.

Despite such quibbles, this third series is possibly the best yet. Not as gruesome as the others, particularly last time’s The Red Dahlia instalment, but still a compelling story.

Plastic surgery in Mexico
In a prelude, we see a mystery man in Mexico getting plastic surgery, before the action switches to London, where there’s been a shooting on a council estate drug squat. The victim turns out to be Frank Brandon, a bent cop and former chum of Travis’s gruff guvnor, DCS James Langton (Ciarán Hinds).

His team quickly discovers that Brandon recently married Julia Larson (Stine Stengade), a glamorous, wealthy woman who was employing him as her driver. All of which seems a bit unusual.

Known to have been on the estate are fierce drug dealer Silas Roach (Robbie Gee, left) and small-time user Eddie Court (Ashley Court). Meanwhile, Travis questions a resident on the estate who insists he heard three shots, when only two bullets hit Brandon.

Travis’s style to follow her hunches on her own, because her male superiors don’t listen to her. She finds the third bullet – and gets a rollicking – questions Julia Larson, who reluctantly reveals she had a previous husband, and researches Fentanyl, a pure drug with the street name Drop Dead, traces of which were found at the squat.

What’s going on between Travis and Langton?
Brandon’s strange marriage, the man who changed his identity and the drug that seems to have prompted several assassinations make this a heady story. Mixed in are Travis’s clashes with DCI Mike Lewis (Shaun Dingwall), who’s also been promoted and is heading the investigation, and the intensifying emotional spark she has with their boss, Langton.

La Plante gives an insight into this strange attraction. She says, ‘It’s really down to the will-they-won’t-they, question?

‘A lot of women absolutely love Langton, and some find him really awful to Travis. In that respect it’s a bit like Gone with the Wind. He’s so nasty to her at times, but in this one we do have the emotional impact when he tells her the truth about his life. We see that this vulnerability allows Travis to reveal her feelings for him, if only to herself. It continues to build the tension between them. I think this is what makes their interaction compelling.

‘Langton is a dedicated police officer and an exceedingly good one who has very strong gut instincts, but he is not an intellectual man. He’s hardly ever read a book, if it wasn’t connected to a crime.

‘However, Travis is university educated and different… she also stands up to him, which none of the other women or men do. But like Langton, Travis is intuitively intelligent and in many ways has a similar trait to Langton in that, she won’t let something go. This makes her a very good detective, she could very easily dismiss the fact that one of the witnesses said she heard three bullets. Her persistence in uncovering the detail proves to be the key in this case. A fact that Langton admires.’

Travis stirs the case further when she discovers a link between Julia’s ex and a drug distributor on the FBI most wanted listed, who could now be in the UK. The team don’t really know what they are investigating or how the case will escalate, and neither will viewers.

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