Picks and Pans Review: Prime Suspect 2

updated 02/15/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/15/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Thurs., Feb. 11, 9 p.m. ET)

B+

In a sequel to last year's outstanding Mystery! miniseries, Helen Mirren (see box on page 14) returns as Jane Tennison, a dogged detective chief inspector in London. This time she's heading up an investigation into the discovery of a decomposed body buried in the backyard of a row house in a neighborhood made up predominantly of West Indian (or what we call Caribbean) immigrants.

The sexism that bedeviled Tennison on her first TV case is less overt. But this time she must contend with departmental politics and rancorous community relations. And things are a little dicey in the squad room because Tennison has had assigned to her team, over her objections, a black detective sergeant (Colin Salmon) with whom she had a brief fling.

Because of the dense exposition and the thick accents, the plot summary prologues delivered by series host Diana Rigg are invaluable. And while this four-parter, airing on consecutive Thursdays, is atmospheric, the crime at the heart of the matter isn't quite as intriguing as the one Mirren faced first time around. But the actress is again superb as a woman tenaciously pursuing a demanding job.

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