Anchor Bay // 2012 // 272 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 20th, 2013
For detective Tom Thorne, nothing is by the book.
Downton Abbey is all the rage, but as far as I'm concerned, give me steady doses of procedurals for my Brit import allotment. I can't recall a production from across the pond that rubbed me the wrong way, which is somewhat a surprise since I despise American television procedurals with a fair amount of suns. But there's just something about how the UK kids carry themselves; their mysteries are better-plotted, better-acted, and usually a whole lot darker.
Which is why I was excited to jump into Thorne, this six-episode, two-series set of crime-fighting promising good plots, good acting, and a boatload of darkness. David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) is Tom Thorne, an ace investigator with a spotty past and an icy disposition. He's known for closing the tough ones, but will do so in messy ways, drawing the ire of his supervisor. This set contains two, three-part mysteries, with each part running 45 minutes.
A woman is preyed upon by a serial killer and the attack leaves her in a near-vegetative state. All she can do is blink, but has first-hand knowledge of the attacker. As Thorne digs, he uncovers a frightening connection between the current crimes and a diabolical serial killer he tracked years ago, whose death hides a dark secret that could get Thorne tossed from the force -- or worse.
The murders of several women at first seem to have no connection, but Thorne ultimately ties the deaths together, revealing that they may be the result of a serial killer tag team. A new investigator (Sandra Oh) with cocaine problem adds another wrinkle to the case.
Where does Thorne rank in my Brit mystery checklist? Good question. The shows are reliably well-produced and the acting is top-notch. Morrissey is cool, though his Thorne doesn't quite distinguish himself from his peers. He has skeletons in his closet, but no more than the next guy over on the dial. Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) is solid as his forensics counterpart and the supporting players, some of whom are recognizable, do good work. No one onscreen pops, however (versus my man George Gently or Idris Elba's Luther), leaving a good amount of heavy-lifting to the mysteries themselves. Thankfully, these are well-executed, featuring some nifty twists and enough side storytelling to keep the narrative moving forward.
Back to my question on rank: I'd say Thorne easily poops upon your standard-issue broadcast cable procedural, but doesn't bring enough zip to outclass its British brethren.
Bare-bones DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround, no extras.
Not a game-changer, but Thorne delivers for mystery buffs. Not Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 272 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* IMDb: Sleepyhead
* IMDb: Scaredy Cat