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TV Criticism.com

The Best Show You Don't Know

Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones, and Amelia Bullmore in ITV's Scott & Bailey

Scott & Bailey, an extraordinary British drama now in its third season, deserves much more attention. We follow it in Los Angeles on KCET Channel 28. The show deserves a grand national rollout, but for the time being I'd settle for a Blu-ray box set formatted for stateside viewers.

Scott & Bailey is superb police procedural set in Manchester. Tight, interrogation-driven standalone murder plots are complemented by strong character arcs. Three female detectives carry the program, with more talented women behind the scenes.

Series co-creator Suranne Jones is DC Rachel Bailey: brilliant, beautiful, troubled. Lesley Sharp plays DC Janet Scott: hypnotizingly empathetic in the interrogation room, and with her friends. Amelia Bullmore portrays their boss, DCI Gill Murray: mature, an exceptional leader. All three struggle with the men in their lives.

Writer Sally Wainwright and former DI Diane Taylor have infused the series with a combination of humanity and realism not seen in a police drama since NYPD Blue left us. Find it, and see it!

 
Dennis Franz as Andy Sipowicz in NYPD Blue

Speaking of NYPD Blue .... Amazon Instant Video now has Seasons 9-12 in HD, free if you have Amazon Prime. The series has had a very slow DVD rollout, with no Blu-rays. Now you can see the entire masterpiece on Amazon.


Michael Kitchen in ITV's Foyle's War

Staying on the subject of nearly flawless police dramas, Foyle's War fans will be glad to know that more original episodes are coming in 2015! In the most recent season, retired DCI Christopher Foyle joined MI-5.

For those unfamiliar, Foyle's War, written by Anthony Horowitz, is a meticulously researched WWII+ period piece. There's only one U.S. television drama which takes us into the past which such caring attention to detail. That of course is Mad Men.


Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss in Matthew Weiner's Mad Men

Mad Men's final season is concluding production. The roll out begins in April and concludes with a short run of episodes in 2015. Season 6 is out on Blu-Ray for just $19.95. AMC, which used to position its Mad Men commercials inside roomy bumpers to accentuate the art of advertising, has more recently been crudely slamming its ads into the edges of the program. All the more reason to recommend the Blu-ray.

Finally, in the realm of political drama, Netflix's impressive House of Cards has dramatically raised the profile of the former DVD renter for fans of quality adult drama. I recommend you also see the classic 1990's British original with Ian Richardson


Ian Richardson in the 1990 BBC original House of Cards

 

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TVCriticism.com went up in 2005. Managing Editor: Jim Kearney