Picks and Pans Review: Prime Suspect 3

updated 05/02/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/02/1994 01:00AM

PBS (Thurs., April 28, 9 p.m. ET)

A

Our favorite British bulldog, Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, is back and working the seedier side of London. In this brawny sequel, Tennison (Helen Mirren) has transferred to the vice squad in Soho. The posting brings her into an underworld of transvestite clubs and young homeless runaways—some of them with AIDS—rummaging through garbage cans for food and sniffing model-airplane glue to gain oblivion.

Tennison immediately tucks into a murder when the charred remains of a "rent boy" (male prostitute) are found in a flat. Things turn dicey when it becomes apparent that certain powerful men—some of them from Scotland Yard—do not want her looking too closely into the death. The investigation slowly uncovers a monstrous history of institutional pederasty.

In this tantalizing Mystery! feast airing over the next four weeks, Mirren is once again marvelous as a determined professional swimming against a tide of intrigue. In Prime Suspect 2 she gave up smoking; this time she gives up something considerably more precious. David Thewlis is memorable as a dissolute and dangerous chicken hawk. Tom Bell, Ciaran Hinds and Peter Capaldi costar.

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