What You Should Be Watching: “Prime Suspect”

October 27, 2011

Prime Suspect TV showThis blog post is dedicated to the general let-down that is the 2011 TV season. I’m no TV critic, but can anybody point to a new show worth watching this year?

Well, as a matter of fact, I can!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve avoided hour-long evening dramas like the plague*.

“ER” … “Chicago Hope” … “Grey’s Anatomy” … No thanks.

“CSI” … “NCIS” … “The Mentalist” … Good lord.

“Harry’s Law” … “The Good Wife” … “Ally McBeal” … No way.

Despite my aversion to spending an hour watching a drama, I have to say this: if you aren’t already watching NBC’s “Prime Suspect” (and its ratings would suggest you’re not), do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s a cop drama without the fat and crabby Dennis Franz, the cheesy humor of “Hawaii Five-O” or the uber-predictable formula of anything out of the boring “Law & Order” franchise.

And Maria Bello? This woman is HOT. Not just hot looking. She might be the best dramatic actress in prime time. Her character is gritty, funny, brainy, bitchy and all-around fantastic.

She plays a whip-smart homicide detective, a seemingly devoted girlfriend, an awkward step-mom, a new non-smoker and the daughter of a rough-around-the-edges bar owner in NYC. The writing is top-notch and the storytelling is first-rate. Best yet, she’s not too proud to look “bad” or have a joke made at her expense. And then there’s that oddly becoming fedora.

And if you’re not convinced about the virtues of the Bello, really do yourself a favor and check out “A History of Violence” starring Viggo Mortensen. She is nothing short of amazing.

So now that I’ve offered my TV raves, what are yours? What should we be watching this season?

*Note: my anti-one-hour drama rule encompasses mainly legal, medical and police dramas and does not extend to shows such as “Lost” or guilty pleasures like “Mad Men” or (yes, I’ll admit it) “The Vampire Diaries.”