When Judge Joel Pearce found a wire in his blood, he cut down on iron.
Our reviews of Wire In The Blood: The Complete First Season (published October 19th, 2005), Wire In The Blood: The Complete Second Season (published November 16th, 2005), Wire In The Blood: The Complete Third Season (published April 26th, 2006), and Wire In The Blood: The Complete Sixth Season (published August 7th, 2009) are also available.
Enter the mind of a serial killer.
Except, this time it isn't about a serial killer. In fact, although this TV movie continuation of the Wire in the Blood series still stars Robson Green as super psychologist Tony Hill, it bears few of the hallmarks that made the original series so special. I have to admit, I get a bit excited every time I have a chance to review some more of this series. Television doesn't get much better than this, as I've said several times in my previous reviews. As soon as Prayer of the Bone started spinning in the player, though, I realized I was dealing with a completely different beast.
Here, Dr. Hill is called to Texas to help in the prosecution of Darius Grady (Brad Hawkins, From the Dark). Darius was in the Iraq war and is trying to use PTSD as a defense for the horrible murder of his whole family. While Hill is already a fish out of water among the police in England, he hasn't a hope among the Texans. Soon enough, he finds himself caught between uncooperative local police, the angry and suicidal defendant, southern defense league members, and a set of clues that just don't add up.
While Prayer of the Bone is technically part of the series, the only thing that remains consistent is Hill. By pulling him out of his usual setting, the rest of the formula quickly falls apart. For one thing, it's the wrong kind of crime. There's nothing psychologically complex about the case, and it isn't until close to the end that Green even gets to go through the physical evidence and crime scene. This is a simple crime of passion, so Hill's talents are completely wasted. Again, it's not a serial killer case, so Hill's simply not in his element on this case, and he isn't playing at the top of his game.
The other crucial part of the series is the connection between Hill and D.I. Jordan, which is completely lost here. Stripped of that complex relationship, Hill's idiosyncrasies and quirks just seem silly. None of the supporting characters in this series is remotely interesting. We don't care about the outcome of the crime, the lawyers on both sides are dull, and the police are broadly drawn stereotypes. The writing has also dropped sharply in quality. There's a big twist toward the ending, but anyone who has paid attention throughout won't be too surprised by it.
Fortunately, not everything about Prayer of the Bone is a total waste. Tony Hill is still a fascinating character and is compelling even when the film around him is falling apart. Like so many of the best heroes, he makes a bland narrative more interesting, and his observations hold our interest in the murder. As far as TV movie thrillers go, this is certainly watchable; it simply lacks the brilliance we've come to expect from the series. It's a film that you'd be content to find on a Sunday afternoon flipping through channels, but it's not worth seeking out on DVD.
The technical quality of the disc is also a bit lackluster. The image quality lacks clarity, almost as though it's been blown up from a lower resolution. The sound quality is acceptable, a regular stereo mix with little separation but clear enough dialogue. There aren't any special features on the disc, but Prayer of the Bone hardly warrants that kind of attention. Indeed, it doesn't warrant any attention from anyone. Heck, they didn't even go to the trouble to pick a title that had something to do with the plot. Even if you're a huge fan of Wire in the Blood, you're safe giving this episode a pass.
Prayer of the Bone is guilty of spoiling an incredible franchise. As
such, it is sentenced to life without parole.
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