Who says the police is misogynistic? Lynda La Plante for starters.

Helen Mirren fought the old boys club all the way through Prime Suspect and, eventually, by never dropping her guard, gained a modicum of respect from her male colleagues.

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Amanda Burton plays Commander Clare Blake in La Plante's new TV series and she is a very different kind of bobby. She doesn't carry the same degree of authority as Jane Tennyson, despite her elevated position.

Clare has issues, often of a sexual nature. By going under cover to seduce a confession out of a serial killer, there is a suggestion that maybe she learned to like it too much. Later, when the boyfriend of her assistant (Poppy Miller) makes a pass, she doesn't pull rank; she pulls him.

Anything La Plante writes is going to have balls and this is no exception. The second act suffers from plot overload. There's a weirdo changing patients' allergy details by hacking into hospital computers, as well as a grief stricken relative of one of her ex-lover's victims threatening to carve her name in blood. On top of that, the tabloids are calling her a killer's tottie, her boss (a pompous arse) is fearful that her out-of-hours antics might rebound on him and her sister is dying of cancer.

No wonder the girl needs to get laid. However, in the third act, it's all about internal politics, shenanigans within the force, cover ups, bad things being brushed under a copper's helmet, cynicism writ large and detectives talking the law into their own hands when a dour Scots officer is brought in to investigate Blake's patch.

Clare is no angel and her colleagues are as bad as crooks. The truth is a dangerous poison. Innocent people die in order to keep it bottled. As well as distrusting women, is the Met this corrupt?

The second series will tell, but before that Burton has to pull herself together. She's acting above her weight and should take a leaf out of Mirren's book. All she has to do is believe men are bullies and take them down whenever she pleases.

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2005
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In the shadow of Prime Suspect, a new female bobby takes charge of the Serious Crime Group.
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