Koch Vision // 2003 // 341 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Joel Pearce (Retired) // November 16th, 2005
Enter the mind of a serial killer.
Not only does this second season of Wire in the Blood carry on the excellent tradition that was begun in the first season, but it manages to resolve a few of my minor gripes. This series is a must-see for thriller fans.
The second season contains four 80 minute episodes:
* "Still She Cries"
Dr. Tony Hill (Robson Green, Touching Evil) enlists a female student to help in a murder investigation. When her friend is the next victim, he finds himself in an awkward professional -- and personal -- dilemma. As the investigation continues, his professional conduct is called into question.
* "The Darkness of Light"
The bodies of recent murder victims are found beneath the bodies in 500 year old burial plots. All evidence points towards the same murderer, but Detective Inspector Carol Jordan (Hermione Norris, Separate Lies) refuses to buy in. Could they be hunting down a supernatural murderer?
* "Right to Silence"
A series of brutal murders lead DCI Jordan to suspect a powerful gang boss who is already in prison. Dr. Hill is certain they have the wrong man, but all of his leads are turning sour. As she prepares for trial, he makes some startling discoveries that could acquit the criminal, but who will believe him?
* "Sharp Compassion"
When a woman dies mysteriously in Bradfield Hospital, DCI Jordan orders a postmortem against the wishes of the doctors. The investigation leads to a series of murders, all of unconscious, fragile patients. When this search opens up the possibility of terrorism, MI5 wants to take over the investigation, even though Hill and Jordan don't believe the case is as straightforward as it seems.
A number of factors contribute to the continuing success of Wire in the Blood. The greatest of these is its writers' and producers' unwillingness to tread over the same material too often. Although each of the episodes deals with a different murder investigation, the issues raised by these investigations are always completely different, and always fascinating and thought-provoking. Tony Hill's personal situations, from the examination of his professionalism in the first episode to the near loss of his career in the final episode, hold the series together nicely. Questions of police ethics carry on as well, particularly in the third, as we wonder whether it wouldn't be such a bad thing for the gang boss to take the fall even if he isn't guilty.
Although the ideas explored by Wire in the Blood are always fascinating, it isn't overly cerebral. In fact, this set of episodes may be even more suspenseful and riveting than the first series. In each, the identity of the murderer is kept secret until towards the end, and while I was surprised each time, the identity of the killer always makes sense. The only exception to this is "The Darkness of Light," which has been the one weak link in the series thus far. The suggestion that the murders could be supernatural flies in the face of everything that we have seen in the rest of the series, and starts to strain credibility in a hurry. Although even this episode wraps up in a satisfactory way, it is a big step down from the others.
Also key to the series' success is the relationship between Tony and Carol. Apparently Hermione Norris has turned down the fourth season of Wire in the Blood, which means that we will only get one more season with their dynamic. I don't know if the series will be any good once she leaves, which shows just how important both characters are. Both are entirely unique, only ever hinting at the usual stereotypes of female cops and eccentric psychiatrists. Carol relies completely, as a police detective, on tangible evidence. This clashes frequently with Tony's complete trust in the science/art of criminal profiling, which allows him to construct a psychological picture of the perpetrator with only a few shreds of physical evidence. This difference is what makes them a great team, as well as what keeps them from getting along too well.
After reviewing the first season, I have a few (very) minor complaints. There were only three episodes last time, and I didn't like the break in the middle. This time around, there are four episodes instead. Also, each one is shown without any breaks. This makes it very easy to forget that Wire in the Blood is television at all. There are some cheap looking special effects this time around, but no worse than many series. The episodes are connected enough that they should be watched in order, but I'm sure this season could be enjoyed without having seen the first. Aside from this, there are few real changes in these episodes. Since the first season was nearly flawless, I don't have a problem with that.
The transfers in the second series are just as strong as the first. The video is still excellent, properly converted from the original PAL for a jitter-free viewing experience. The sound is just stereo, but it has clear dialogue and well-mixed music. There aren't many extras this time either, but what's here is excellent. There are extensive interviews with the cast and crew, including excellent interviews with Robson Green and Hermione Norris. They entire cast and crew has great respect for the source material and series, and that's what makes a production succeed so well. There is some production footage as well, mostly of the cast and crew giggling on set. This is accompanied by a smattering of filmographies and biographies.
If you enjoyed the first season of Wire in the Blood, go pick up the second immediately. If you haven't seen either, check them both out. You won't be disappointed.
Not guilty, although if Hermione Norris leaves after season three, she will be held in contempt.
Review content copyright © 2005 Joel Pearce; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Koch Vision
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 341 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Production Footage
* DVD Verdict Review of Season One