Above Suspicion (TV Series 2009–2012) Poster

(2009–2012)

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5/10
Cliché-ridden La Plante thriller
Lejink19 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I do like a good TV thriller - "Wire In The Blood", James Nesbitt's "Murphy's Law", Sam Ryan-era "Silent Witness" and of course "Inspector Morse" all spring to mind, but this hackneyed "Junior Prime Suspect" re-write failed to overcome its stereotypical characterisation and (with one exception) by-numbers acting to leave a lasting impression.

The plot is very second-hand to these eyes with Kelly Reilly bringing a Jennifer Aniston-type weight (i.e. none at all) to her part following in the big footsteps of her late cop dad, all high-heels and pancake make-up and how she convinces big bad lecherous superior Ciaran Hinds that she can do the job and become "one of the boys".

I for one was sorry to see Hinds reduced to this one-dimensional role, the typical high-ranking chauvinist "guvnor" identifiable from any number of previous LaPlante dramas, who hits on his junior female officer and expects the older females to run after him bringing him tea and sandwiches (no tomatoes!).

You at first think you're watching a whodunit but after you realise there are no other potential suspects on show and remember LaPlante's MO, you merely await the unravelling of abused child-cum famous actor-cum split-personality psychopath at the hands of the doe-eyed Lewis, although said breakdown is superbly conveyed in broad Mancunian by an excellent Jason Durr.

That performance apart this came across to me as very much formulaic fare, with the by now over-familiar LaPlante techniques of split-screen depiction, unimaginative flashback inserting and undramatic cross-cutting of scenes, dumbed down for mass consumption by a writer long overdue an attack of originality.
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2/10
Another lousy show buried beneath blood and maggots
pdtp91122 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I adore a great British psychological thriller like "Wire in the Blood" or "Prime Suspect" but this is not one of them. I should have known that when the first two scenes consisted of the discovery of the maggot covered body of a girl followed by one of the most graphic autopsies of the gas bloated corpse I have ever seen, that it would be all down hill from there. Superior murder mysteries merely hint at or suggest the gore and violence because the real story lies in the unraveling the minds and motives of the killers and discovering the equal complexity of the detectives who strive to solve these puzzles. Although Kelly Reilly as D.C. Anna Travis is quite beautiful with a killer body, she appears to be mildly retarded, habitually unkempt and completely one dimensional. I suppose this was an attempt on the writer's part to make her quirky but it just made her less interesting. Except for a few moments when she springs into uncharacteristic action, she seems altogether somewhere else. Hinds could have delivered his "performance" as a stereotypical chauvinistic pig who hits on anything female, in his sleep. Jason Durr is the real star of the show but even his performance was a bit "over the top" in the end. I would recommend this show to all those who love violence, crime re-enactment, blood and guts. It is for viewers who basically only watch police mysteries to play the voyeur.
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7/10
Entertaining murder mystery
Tweekums26 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
When film star Amanda Delany is found murdered it isn't long before DI Anna Travis, DCS James Langton and the team are on the case. As is usual there are plenty of suspects and more than one possible motive; Amanda was no stranger to the tabloids because of her varied love life, it soon becomes apparent that she used drugs and she is keeping a diary with the intent of publishing it. As the investigation continues more people start to die; suggesting it might have something to do with her past rather than more recent events. Away from the investigation there is tension in the team as Langton is convinced that one of his team leaked information about a botched operation which cost him his promotion.

This was another enjoyable story in Linda La Plante's latest Franchise; it might not match 'Prime Suspect' but it is still pretty good. This is largely down to Ciarán Hinds portrayal of the gruff DCS Langton and his chemistry with Kelly Reilly's DI Travis. There are enough suspects and motives and a few twists to keep the viewer guessing till the end… always good in a mystery!
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5/10
Still not doing much for me
TheLittleSongbird23 May 2016
As a fan of mystery/detective dramas, 'Above Suspicion' is yet to grip me. It is not a terrible series and does have its good points, but has several big flaws. So far "Deadly Intent" is the weakest of the three seasons seen so far (have yet to see the fourth).

Sure, it is filmed stylishly and atmospherically and the locations are used well. No drabness or choppy editing in sight. The story never makes you want to look at your watch or do something else, though it is never completely gripping. The villain has some menace to him.

On the other hand, there are still a lot wrong with "Deadly Intent". Kelly Reilly gives her worst performance of the series yet, her expression is so limited, her line delivery has little expression and she is incredibly wooden. You can never shake off the feeling that she is implausibly young either. Even Ciaran Hinds, who actually was pretty good in the first two series, is not enough to save "Deadly Intent". Again Langton is too much of a sleaze and is too cartoonish, and while Hinds is more commanding and involved than Reilly he chews the scenery here to uncomfortable and misplaced effect.

The characters fail to be interesting, instead riddled with badly written and explored clichés. The relationship between the two characters continues to be contrived. The sound continues to sometimes be sloppy and out of sync, the dialogue never sounds natural and while it has its moments the story is convoluted in places and throughout lacks tension or suspense. The ending doesn't ring true at all either.

In conclusion, didn't do much for me and manages to be weaker than the average at best previous two series. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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5/10
Loitering intent
Lejink11 January 2011
Typically busy, far-fetched crime drama from the well-worn pen of Lynda LapLante, played out as usual over three nights on prime-time ITV. Like its channel-mate "Trial and Retribution", it attempts to follow the successful trail of the Helen Mirren-starring "Prime Suspect" in laudably centring the sleuthing on a female character, in this case Kelly Reilly. However, whereas in "Prime Suspect", there was an undercurrent of down-to-earth realism, particularly in the lead character's portrayal, here you have to suspend all disbelief as Miss Reilly has to fend off almost everything in trousers, including the again almost cartoonishly over-the-top Ciaran Hinds as the tough-as-nails, bring-me-a-sandwich DCI to whom she reports.This she courts by permanently wearing a short skirt and high heels even when on muddy crime-scene locations together with pancaked make up and a pout that would put Victoria Beckham to shame.

Better to sidestep all this Betty Boop stuff, very possibly deliberate genre-subversion by LaPlante and concentrate on the story itself, which while lacking some originality as a heavyweight drug-dealer attempts to flood the UK with a deadly addictive drug and gets into complications with his ex-wife, her sister, his brother and a Columbian cartel hot on his trail, nevertheless by turns winds and rattles along to a big finish. Said drug-baron, to escape pursuit, pulls the old "Face-Off" transplant, before escaping the chasing Reilly and Hinds in a car versus plane set-piece, which I first remember seeing years ago, in "Charley Varrick".

At least the bad guy got away, reducing the perceived omnipotence of Reilly who seems blessed with the unfortunate gift of delayed-reaction photographic recall, which sees her periodically divine impossible clues just too late to help solve the actual case.

There's no doubt there'll be another entry in the series, if only to play out the hackneyed affair which has been beckoning for some time between the two leads. I'll watch it because I quite like high production TV crime procedurals, which this certainly is, but I won't kid myself that it's anything more than contrived pulp fiction at the end of the day.
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7/10
I actually like Kelly Reilly
blanche-220 June 2014
Laura LaPlante has written many excellent scripts for British television, notably Prime Suspect and one of my favorites, the 1992 version of "Framed." Here she gives us "Above Suspicion," starring Kelly Reilly and Ciaran Hinds. The story arcs are done in a series of episodes -- the first story, about a serial killer, guest-starred Jason Durr in a fantastic performance, and the second story concerned someone who was copying the Black Dahlia murders. It was so interesting to me that the British detectives had never heard of the Black Dahlia, which in America is a famous case.

These episodes are pretty graphic. Kelly Reilly, as a woman in a man's world has a lethargic way about her, giving the impression that she can't do her job. I think this is an acting choice. - quiet, obedient, but resourceful and smart. It's not a particularly well-written role. Reilly is gorgeous, with striking coloring and a beautiful figure, and very intense eyes that seem to bore into the various characters. The script seems to depend a lot on the camera work, with her in closeup. The role definitely could be stronger.

Ciaran Hinds plays the somewhat unpleasant boss. He does a good job, almost too good because I really don't care for him.

Good enough that I would watch another episode if one came out on Netflix.
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8/10
Jason Durr made this. What a brilliant performance
Rhysoedwards5 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I must say, that Above Suspicion was very good and very entertaining.

It was reasonably disturbing, frightening, humorous, dramatic and gripping all at the same time. I have not read the books, so my opinion of this adaption may be false, yet i see no strong fault in this TV drama at all! I was a little confused by how the main character Travis was portrayed, as for the woman who is supposed to be the star of the show, it wasn't shown particularly well, neither by the writers or the actress.

In fact, the star of the show was Jason Durr with his complex rising actor abused by his mother and the prostitutes that occupied the brothel she ran when he was a child. Even before the interview sequence where the horrid maniac that his character turns out to be is revealed he is still the most watchable actor in the entire show.

Trually a talented man on a very good drama.

Fantastic.

R.
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6/10
...there's one that keeps you interested, but what they did with her is not enough
bjarias19 July 2016
There are so many series just like this one.. so why watch. Most times because you come across characters that grab you and you want to know more... story-line, if not terrible is secondary. Problem is in this series no one grabs you. Yes, the attractive redhead is a major draw, and had they given her some more 'life' it might have drawn us in to a much greater degree. But here you have one of the most sensual actors very near her prime, and that attraction is almost totally wasted. Sure they were going for reality, but in real life that's pretty boring. Add some human interest drama into the mix and you have a completely different dynamic. Not to say it would be anywhere near a guaranteed hit, but it would have had a much greater shot at being more interesting.
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5/10
Not that much of an improvement over the previous three series
TheLittleSongbird1 June 2016
This reviewer neither loves or hates 'Above Suspicion'. In every series/season it has its good points, but also an equal number and in the case of the third season even more problems (with at least two of them quite big).

"Silent Scream" is an improvement over "Deadly Intent", and of the four series of 'Above Suspicion' is perhaps second best to the first series, which as aforementioned is also heavily problematic. Starting with the positives, it's well made visually. It is filmed stylishly, tautly and atmospherically, it's moodily lit without being drab, the editing is never choppy or stiff and the locations are well utilised.

It's capably directed and scored ominously, and the portrayal of the acting world is convincing though shocking (scabrous is a good way to describe it too). Generally, apart from some stiffness here and there and major reservations still about the lead actress, "Silent Scream" contains the best acting of all four series. Ciaran Hinds is authoritative and also pleasingly much more subtle than before, effort is also made to develop Langton and here he is surprisingly much easier to relate to thanks to more balanced character writing.

Kelly Reilly however from the very start has been one of 'Above Suspicion's' biggest flaws, and it's the same here sadly. Other than that she looks implausibly young and sexy for the position her character is in the police force, Reilly is still very wooden with a limited range, a pallid presence and flat delivery of lines. The script has a little more intrigue, but is still riddled with clichés, lack of natural flow and triteness.

Despite Langton being more sympathetically written, the relationship between the two characters still doesn't convince with not enough time spent on it. The characters are very cardboard, sketchy in the case of most of the supporting characters, with only Langton getting any development. The story doesn't make one look at the watch or want to do something else, but it is not edge-of-your-seat compelling enough and it's sometimes convoluted. Tighter pacing, more development and a few parts trimmed would have helped things. Use of flashbacks are a mixed bag, some are interesting, others clumsily inserted. The anaemic, rather underdeveloped and incomplete-feeling ending underwhelms as well.

Overall, some good, some not so good, while the second best series of the whole show it's not much of an improvement over what proceeded it. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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5/10
About par "Above Suspicion"
Lejink6 February 2012
Another run-out for Ciaran Hinds, Kelly Reilly and the team, this time on the trail of the murderer of a promiscuous, drug taking young actress. As usual with La Plante, there are suspects a-plenty, sometimes there you fell just to flesh the story out and a major sub-plot with Hinds on the look-out for whoever's loose-lips cost him a coveted promotion. The convoluted plot, interspersed with a series of flash-backs, is brought, on thus occasion, I felt, to a less than riveting conclusion by the final scene, with the murderer in fact turning himself in by that point.

As for the acting, Hinds is good, perhaps helped by his more developed character, now less chauvinistic and shouty than before. Kelly Reilly as the ambitious, intuitive maverick in the pack still looks more befuddled than brainy in he part. There's some good acting in support, especially amongst the murdered girl's junkie so-called friends.

LaPlante no doubt felt at home portraying the acting world as scabrously as she does here and her dialogue for the most part rings true, but I felt an hour could have easily been lopped off the running-time and a few less unnecessary red-herrings dropped along the way which would have made the production correspondingly tighter and more compelling.
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Sick of gratuitous violence against women
correll-662947 September 2017
I actually like the cast of this series and I might have given it an 8 if it wasn't for the sickening and gratuitous violence against women. Men don't get murdered anymore or mutilated women is just too inviting. So sick of the lack of imagination and total reliance on sex and violence.
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6/10
good start, creepy uncle vibe
SnoopyStyle24 August 2016
Anna Travis (Kelly Reilly) is a new police detective. Her first day does not go well as a decomposing body is discovered. Her new boss DCI Langton (Ciarán Hinds) is her late father's mate. The dead woman is related to a whole series of dead women and a possible serial killer. American acting star Alan Daniels becomes the prime suspect. She begins a relationship with him and also investigates him.

This starts well with an adorable Reilly stumbling through her first day. Hinds is a great mentor character. These two characters have the potential for building a great police procedural. There is no mystery with only one main suspect. The other problem is that Anna goes from zero to a hundred in a flash. She's completely incompetent in the first ten minutes and she quickly turns into one of the best detectives. The show is over-extended and the flirtations between Travis and Langton are really creepy considering his relationship with her. He's basically a creepy uncle. It would be better to eliminate his connection to her father.
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1/10
Another illogical screenplay.
bob-lambert4 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Can I start by saying that, with a few changes, this would have got 7 or 8 stars. However.....

Why didn't they simply ram the plane at the end. It wasn't moving, their car was doing at least 40mph, there's no way the plane would have got away - single engine light aircraft on grass just can't accelerate that quickly. It didn't need to be a spectacular fireball, just a tap to break the undercarriage. What persuaded the scriptwriters to make Travis refuse to do it - it made absolutely no sense. Similarly, why didn't Langton simply jump in the driver's seat of the car and chase the plane himself. Just ludicrous. Then, having let the plane take off, why didn't they get on to air traffic control and have the plane tracked? Its range would be around 400 miles maximum, forcing it to land in Europe i.e. somewhere it could easily be tracked and caught when it landed.

Why didn't Travis remember the photo of the aeroplane, and do something about it - it's such an obvious way for a drug dealer to move around? Why did they believe the sister - a known liar - when she sent them on the wild goose chase to the railway station? Why didn't they call the airfield, or the police station nearest the airfield, once they realised they'd been had? Why hadn't they checked the sister's husband's background to find out who he was? Why did they believe an FBI man with an English accent? Why did they let him into the incident room, instead of showing him to an external meeting room? Why did the forensic scientist not call his facial recognition results though to the incident room instead of walking across to reveal the results? Why did the satnav have a route down the unmade track through the wood to the hidden farmhouse? I could go on......

So, a reasonable plot idea, but turned into a poor excuse for a police thriller through complete lack of thought by the scriptwriters. Add the terrible stock characters with little or no character development, and you understand why it's only 1/10.
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5/10
Decent but not great start- elevated by Jason Durr and the interrogation scene
TheLittleSongbird12 May 2016
As a fan of detective/crime dramas, 'Above Suspicion' is, and never will be, one of my favourites, and it is a show that will divide viewers. For me, it falls into the reasonably decent but not great camp, after being riveted by 'Prime Suspect' and finding several impressive things with 'Trial and Retribution' there was the air of disappointment.

Considering the mixed reviews it could have been worse. There are problems sure, the script gets the job done competently and is reasonably tight but with not much spark or fire, only really coming alive from the climactic interrogation scene onwards. The cliché-ridden characters are not yet very interesting and little is done with them, both main characters being stereotypically one-dimensional.

The flashbacks have a tendency to be clumsily inserted, the sound can be sloppy and out of synch, the relationship between the two main characters is coming across as a bit contrived and makes Langton almost too much like a sleaze and some of the shock value is unnecessarily gratuitous (not quite as bad as "Red Dahlia" though). Lastly, Kelly Reilly is not doing much for me yet, pretty if implausibly young-looking but limited in expression and pallid in presence.

For all the flaws that have been listed, there are things that are done well. The series looks great, the split screen is something that will and has divided viewers but was done interestingly and cleverly here to this reviewer, and the gritty but never overly-drab look is a good fit. The story at least didn't make me look at my watch or want to do something else, and there was some atmosphere (admittedly however there is an over-familiarity and there is a lack of suspense, which doesn't make 'Above Suspicion' as constantly gripping as it should). Despite his material not giving him much variety and such, Ciaron Hinds commands the screen very strongly.

However there are two excellent assets. Much has been said about Jason Durr, and this reviewer can only echo the near-unanimous raving over Durr's chillingly creepy performance, especially in the interrogation scene. As for the interrogation scene, that was the other highlight, nail-bitingly intense and effectively harrowing it is by far the best individual scene of 'Above Suspicion's' entire run.

All in all, reasonably decent but not particularly great. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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5/10
Could've been better without Kelly Reilly
cinebof25 April 2019
As an avid series fan and with many British and other countries mystery/detective series to base this on, I cannot fathom why Kelly Reilly was cast in this role and once the director saw the appalling acting on season 1, why she was kept on in future seasons amazes me.She spoilt the programme for me, her acting was so feeble, and why was it necessary to dress a female detective in tight skirts and high heels and have her pouting all day long,,,,really! Apart from her, Ciaran was fantastic and held the show together and was helped by the supporting actors who were all great. The mystery was definitely watchable and if you can get beyond the gore and Kelly then the series will be worth a view.
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6/10
Not bad at all.
Sleepin_Dragon20 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Well, it tried to be Prime Suspect, and whilst it didn't hit those dizzy heights, it still made for really entertaining TV. Even though it's only a few years back (it's now 2009) it seems like dramas back then were far more gruesome, gory and designed to just plain shock, they were all at it, Waking the Dead, Wire in the Blood, Silent Witness, the latter possible the worst offender.

Back to Above Suspicion, the story is solid, nothing really original I guess, what made it different I guess was Kelly Reilly, fresh faced, strikingly pretty, and just different somehow, wonderfully talented. I wouldn't say I've always been the biggest fan of Ciarán Hinds, but he's very good in this, Shaun Dingwall is fun as always, but it's Jason Durr that steals the show, what a wasted, underused talent he is, very capable, very handsome, no reason for him not to be better known.

Still waiting for 'Tennyson' the story of a young Jane, we're being starved of LaPlante dramas.

7/10
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9/10
Rookie versus would-be retiree
Dr_Coulardeau25 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
A typical British detective story series in Liverpool, we assume at least it is there, though it could be any British city indeed, since the only distinctive sign we are in Great Britain is that cars run on the left. The two main detectives, an older man at the end of his career waiting for his last promotion before retiring, and a young woman, a rookie some call her, who is the daughter of another criminal investigator who had been the colleague of the first detective in this series. I would regret the older one is too much centered on his last promotion in his career, and the younger one is too much centered on going as fast as she can in her career to reach the level her father had reached before everyone can wink an eyelid closed and open in a jiffy.

Apart from that the murders are absolutely gruesome though we are not shown the real details. The murders are horrible because the victims are in a way or another obnoxious and their death has to be a retaliation and a sort of revenge all the murderers get from or on the victims. Then the investigations are rather simple, for us the audience, since we know practically from the start who did it and the only small details missing concern the motivations of the murderers. The murderers are above suspicion, not because they are not persons of interest, but because they are in a social position that makes them totally untouchable, except maybe in the last story where all those who should have been the killers are proved not to be, though they had all the reasons and motivations in the world to do it.

So you will follow the stories and enjoy the stampeding rhythm of the investigations and you will sigh with relief at the end, more or less, rather more than less, satisfied in your expectations, at least I hope so. I must admit the general accent is more northern than standard British per se, and it is not always easy to catch. Entertaining though it does not remap our social or cultural consciousness.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
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7/10
Another great series from Lynda La Plante
nancyldraper12 October 2018
Another great series from Lynda La Plante. As always, great writing. Solid casting. Kelly Reilly and Ciara's Hinds set the pace for good supporting performances. Pretty grisly visuals. I give this series a 7 (good) out of 10. {Police Procedural}
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6/10
This franchise has run out of a bit of steam
Sleepin_Dragon26 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I was quite positive in my reviews of the first two entries, but this third one I found a little tough to get through. Firstly, I am quite surprised to see that she has shot up the ranks, and is now a DI, a DI that still has a lack of knowledge in so many areas. She's the same rank as Morse!! I think not.

As for the story itself, you can definitely see it's from the pen of LaPlante, it somehow feels a little unoriginal, I feel like we've been here before, several times over. I did get a little confused with it in parts.

No quibble in terms of the acting, great performances all round, even Ciaran Hinds, who I'm not always the biggest fan of is rather good, he and the delightful Kelly Reilly combine really well.

Not brilliant, but watchable, and engaging enough to keep your interest.

6/10
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