An Inspector Calls (BBC 2015)

Inspector5 Kernels

Now streaming on Amazon is “An Inspector Calls,” which is probably the most profound and emotional story I’ve seen in my life.  Frankly, I never heard of it before.  Written by J. B. Priestley, it was apparently a play first performed in Moscow in 1945 and then in the UK in 1946 and has been on stage multiple times. I guess according to Wikipedia, it’s hailed as a classic. Apparently, it’s been in film and television also throughout the years.

The story is set in 1912 and revolves around a rich cotton mill owner Mr. Birling.  They are at home at dinner with his wife, son, daughter, and her fiance.  After dinner, a gentleman arrives at the door and introduces himself as Inspector Goole from the police.  He is led into the dining room where Mr. Birling and his son and Mr. Croft are talking, while the ladies are in the parlor.

It begins with him asking Mr. Birley if he recognizes a woman in a picture that he shows him, and he denies knowing her.  When pressured why the questions, he states that she has committed suicide and he’s investigating the circumstances that lead up to her death.  Naturally, Mr. Birley asks what does this have to do with us? Eventually, he confesses that she did work at his factory and the story begins.

Well, I cannot tell you the rest because it would ruin it for you.  I think I gasped a few times, got overly emotional, felt my own shame at the end, and sat there dumbfounded after the show ended.  So what’s it all about?  Here’s a short quote that might give you a hint:

We don’t live alone upon this earth. We are responsible for each other.  And if mankind will not learn that lesson then the time will come when he will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.

You’ll discover, too, that Inspector Goole isn’t everything he appears to be.

I highly recommend it because he stabs the audience at the core. It’s also intertwined with the classes of society, how we deal with each other, and the outcome of our actions that can affect others.

It’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime for free.

Case Histories (BBC 2011 and 2013)

3 Kernels

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video is Case Histories, an engaging British crime television drama about a private detective named Jackson Brodie. These episodes are based on the novels of Kate Atkinson.  Jackson is played by the talented Jason Isaacs. Before becoming a PI, he was a soldier and policeman. Jason is plagued by his own memories of a family tragedy. He’s also divorced and is dealing with custody issues when his ex-wife wants to move to New Zealand.

Set in Edinburgh, you’ll get a mix of British accents and very heavy Scottish brogues. To round out the cast is Amanda Abbington who plays D.C. Louise Munroe. (You’ll remember her more recently as playing Mary Watson in Sherlock and Miss Mardle in Mr. Selfridge). There are romantic feelings between the two, which aren’t really expressed until the end of Series One, which is the only one streaming at the moment.  Also, be prepared for graphic sexual encounters – loud rutting but not much flesh. There is also one upsetting scene with a father having incest with his daughter.  I do agree with some viewers that could have been cut out and handled differently.

Otherwise, this is a good series because Jackson’s clients are an eclectic mix of interesting cases that often intersect in one fashion or the other.  He solves mysteries that have gone unsolved by the police and takes on new cases with surprise endings.  Even though he’s a former policeman, he sort of skirts around the law when it suits his purpose. Frankly, I enjoyed the series but Season Two is not available except for purchase on DVD.  I’ll wait hoping eventually it will go to Prime.