I didn’t expect to see Peter Capaldi in this

We’ve been watching the original Prime Suspect, with Helen Mirren, which I have never seen and which Julie saw long enough ago that it’s new to her. We just wrapped up the third season, where DCI Tennison, played by Mirren, heads up a vice unit investigating the murder of a rent boy in the drag-queen, transsexual, and closeted gay demimonde of London.

At the beginning of episode one, I saw that Peter Capaldi is in this. Alrighty then, I say, and I start to watch for him.

He’d be in his early 30s, I think to myself. Based on his performance in Doctor Who, he’ll probably be one of the cops, I thought. Likely one of the cops in Tennison’s unit. He’ll be a hypermasculine, blustery, macho man who doesn’t believe a mere skag could ever be a decent copper, let alone a DCI, and who undermines her at every turn. He’ll be her designated male chauvinist nemesis.

OK, so I was wrong about that. Never been more wrong about anything in my life.

As for the story itself: I’d be curious whether any of my LGBTQ friends have seen it, and if so what they think of it? To me, it looked like the very picture of how trans people and gays were portrayed in police shows of the era: As pathetic victims or as predators. Nobody is ever shown as being just a person living out their lives. The men are ultra-effeminate.

At least that was true in the first part of the series. In the second, and final part, we see that one of the cops is himself gay. He’s neither a victim nor a predator, and he’s not a hero, either, really. He’s just a cop. He’s closeted at first, but comes out during the course of the episode.

Overall, I liked the series a lot, as I have the entire run of Prime Suspect, at least so far. Tennison is an interesting, complex character. There is one moving scene toward the end of the second episode where we see she is utterly alone in life. Police work is all she has. She is going through a personal emotional crisis, and she has no one to turn to for support, not friends, not family, not a lover or spouse. No one. Just Tennison, alone, in an austere office that she has never bothered to personalize.

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