Category: Crime Show

Waking the Dead (2000-2011 BBC Television)

3 Kernels

Stars: Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston,Will Johnson, Claire Goose, and others

Let’s clarify this title early on – it’s not about Zombies.  Waking the Dead  is a BBC series that focuses on a cold case murder squad. They probably could have chosen a better title, because I passed over this show multiple times after seeing the word “dead” and thinking “waking” was “walking.” (That was before I got my new glasses.)

Anyway, I just finished five seasons, but apparently there are many more not yet on NetFlix. If you like British detective programs and love hearing, “I’m DCI…” whoever, you’ll probably get into this one too. The British titles are so much cooler…Detective Chief Inspector.

It focuses around Detective Boyd, who runs the show, played by Trevor Eve (not bad looking for a man his age). Dr. Grace Foley, played by Sue Johnston, is always analyzing everyone as the profiler of killers and her coworkers. Like so many other shows, this one reminds me not to get emotionally involved with the actors and certain characters.

Claire Goose, who plays one of the detectives, leaves the show (via a horrific on-screen death), which totally changes the flavor of the team after her departure. Coupled with a change in the forensic team at the same time, it’s a shocker. When that happens, I grieve the loss and often find myself loosing a tad bit of interest trying to get into the replacements who I often don’t like as well. It was no different in this case either, but it’s like work — people come and go all the time.

After watching so many British detective police shows, this one carries the usual underlying themes in the series that I am finding occur over and over.

  • The main detective is a bit wonky with either work or personal problems. They are either emotionally detached from others, unable to make close relationships, have some fault like yelling, drinking, or whatever.
  • The top guy always is a little rebellious refusing to obey orders, and there is usually someone on the force that is out to get them in the upper echelons.
  • Though the team works well together, there is always some undermining strife and rivalry in the ranks.
  • Some of the crime stories can be downright sick, especially upon the discovery of a dead body and how gruesomely the poor victim had been killed. The newer shows go for the shock factor more than the mystery, and I wish they would spare me the gory details.

Of course, these stories always leave me with unanswered questions:

  • Is forensic science that advance it figures out everything?
  • Do DCI’s ever carry guns?
  • How much tea do they drink on the job and what kind?
  • When they are in the pub sloshing down the ale, are they on duty or off?
I may never know the answer to these perplexing questions, however, it doesn’t stop me from searching for the next BBC crime show.  As you can see, I’ve watched a few.  Do I have favorites? I am a bit partial to the older shows with less gore and murders of only stabbings, strangulation, and poison, which occur at night while the peacocks are screeching in the background. The more complicated the lead detective, the better. These are some of my favorites:

  • Midsommer Murders
  • Detective Lewis
  • Prime Suspect
  • Wallender
  • Murder in Suburbia
So that about sums it up. BBC or ITV better keep cranking these series out, or I’m going to be disappointed.

It’s time for an Earl Grey.

White Collar (TV Show USA Network)

white-collar4 Kernels

I will admit that often I ignore some of the shows that Netflix recommends to me.  Probably for the past six months or more, I’ve consistently passed over White Collar after reading the synopsis.  It just didn’t interest me. I’m not a crime buff.

Okay, I know this is going to sound really lame, but after reading Fifty Shades of Grey and women thinking that Matt Bomer would make the perfect Christian Grey, I decided to see what all the hullabaloo was about over this good looking guy (who is gay, by the way.)  As a result, I started watching White Collar.

Instantly, I got sucked into a show that I thought I would never be interested in.  Matt Bomer plays the con-man Neal Caffrey, who cuts a deal with the FBI to shorten his prison time if they allow him to work as a consultant with the guy who put him behind bars in the first place.  Peter Burke, played by Tim DeKay, is the agent that decides to give Neal a chance.  Of course, he’s on a tight leash with a tracking device around his ankle that only gives him a two-mile radius in New York City when he’s by himself.

What can I say about this show? For someone who is NOT into crime shows, White Collar is probably the best show I’ve seen in a long time. It’s my type.  Why? The violence is very tame, there’s no cursing, the sexual situations are tempting, but there’s no graphic sex, the suspense is a killer at the end of every episode, and the characters are people that you fall in love with and become emotionally involved in their lives. Besides all of the above, the relationship between Peter Burke and Neal Caffrey is a joy to watch.  You get so attached to them both, that you sit there and worry about each of them every episode.

Frankly, after watching this show, I think I missed my calling as a writer for a  TV show. Bravo to those that pen this fantastic series. Every episode, of course, focuses upon another white collar crime and bad guy that needs catching. However, every episode is rich with undertones of the secondary story of Neal’s loves, life, secrets, and struggle to go straight. Peter’s underlying motivation is to see Neal, who he has become friends with, turn away and leave the life of crime. The questions looms, once a con man, always a con man? You should tune in to find out.

Seasons one through three are currently on Netflix.  I quickly devoured each episode.  Season four is for purchase on Amazon, which I’m watching now.  Only two left to go and then I’ll be in the desert with no Neal Caffrey, Mozzie (his side kick), Peter’s wife, and the rest of the cast.  Love them all!  White Collar was picked up for Season 5, but alas, I don’t have USA Network.  I may have to remedy that situation come January.

Anyway, as usual, I’m probably the last to stumble across this treasure of a television program.  If you are a late comer, like me, take note. You won’t be sorry.

 

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