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Case Number 19324

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George Gently: Series 2

Acorn Media // 2007 // 356 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 21st, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson played a conservative British chief inspector from the '60s in his Sunday School Nativity play.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of George Gently: Series 1 (Blu-ray) (published February 2nd, 2012), George Gently: Series 3 (Blu-ray) (published June 1st, 2011), George Gently: Series 4 (published May 31st, 2012), George Gently: Series 5 (published May 18th, 2013), and George Gently: Series 6 (Blu-ray) (published April 3rd, 2014) are also available.

The Charge

In 1960s Britain, an upstanding detective takes on a dangerous world.

Opening Statement

Hey may look like an assuming, harmless investigator, but George Gently will end you.

Facts of the Case

It's 1964, England, and like the rest of the world, the country is entering a major societal shift. This matters little to Chief Inspector George Gently (Martin Shaw), an old-school police officer who generally keeps an even keel, unless of course there's a scumbag that needs rattling or a disrespectful young punk that could use a slap to the face. Gently is accompanied by his brash, impulsive sidekick, Sergeant John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby), and together, in this second series of George Gently the two will unravel four feature-length mysteries.

The Evidence

And here they are:

• "Gently with the Innocents"
Gently and Bachhus investigate the death of the owner of a former orphanage. As the two sift through possible motives of shady land deals and planning hijinks, they stumble across something farm more sinister—and it involves kids.

The opening salvo of the set is my favorite mystery and easily the darkest. The secrets of the orphanage are rolled out gradually, and the writers do a great job of prolonging the suspense. When the cork finally pops, it's unsettling and Shaw is terrific as a buttoned-down detective who is outraged and sickened by what he discovers.

• "Gently in the Night"
An exotic dancer is found dead and everyone immediately deems an outspoken religious activist as the number one suspect. Gently digs, finds some unsavory dirt about his partner and peers under the seedy underbelly of the black market contraceptive market.

And, since this is set in 1964, we need to get some abortion discussion in there. An activist nurse supplies the requisite talking points, but these only serve as a sidebar. The real meat of the episode is still the whodunit, and the resolution—and revelation of the killer—is satisfying.

• "Gently in the Blood"
Arab/Caucasian relations are set to ignite when the young, female clerk of a passport office is found raped and murdered. Her combative boyfriend is caught in the middle and his unquenchable rage makes him the go-to guy for Gently and Bacchus.

Another required social aspect to hit upon: racism! Again, like the previous episode, there are portions of finger-wagging, but the meditations on prejudices take a back-seat to the crime-solving in what is my second-favorite episode of the set. Strong supporting performances and a genuinely moving finale raise "Blood" to the top-tier.

• "Gently through the Mill"
The manager for a mill is found hanged and despite the initial diagnosis of suicide, Gently isn't convinced. His exploration uncovers political shenanigans, infidelity and a possible lead in the local Masonic lodge.

Easily the most disappointing show of the series, this mystery is full of uninteresting characters, a lame killer and a needless distraction with the Masons.

Each mystery is feature-length and the character of George Gently is the main focus. Which is great, because Martin Shaw's performance is consistently great. Gently is a strong, moral, committed detective. No gimmicks. No weirdo affectation. Just a dude who gets things done.

Acorn Media's presentation is strong. Each feature gets its own disc and the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen treatments are beautiful. Extras are limited to text-based interviews, notes and historical facts.

Closing Statement

Well-acted and well-written, Mr. Gently's adventures are highly recommended for the mystery-lover in your life.

The Verdict

Not Guilty. Groovy.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 95
Audio: 85
Extras: 70
Acting: 95
Story: 85
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile

Studio: Acorn Media
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 356 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Crime
• Drama
• Foreign
• Mystery
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Text Extras

Accomplices

• IMDb








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