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Picks and Pans Review: Prime Suspect: The Final Act

updated 11/13/2006 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/13/2006 01:00AM

PBS (check local listings)

DRAMA

This British detective series, officially ending with a two-part installment on Masterpiece Theatre, was a landmark when it premiered here in 1992. It felt bitingly raw with its emphasis on procedural detail and precinct politics, and Helen Mirren was unmatchably tough as Jane Tennison, an embattled woman inspector in the thick of it. Over the years, the show has evolved into more of a virtuoso showcase for Mirren. She thunders through the role like a 12-fingered pianist on a caffeine buzz. She drinks, she weeps, she's occasionally a bit much. There's a case: missing girl. But by now you're likely to be more clued-in to Mirren's moods than the mystery.

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