Judge David Johnson is wished he had a cool last name like "Thorne" or "Matrix."
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.
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
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