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Wire in the Blood: The Mermaids Singing (2002) – DVD Review

Wire in the Blood: The Mermaids Singing


Written by Patrick Harbinson, based on the novel by Val McDermid
Directed by Andrew Grieve
Starring Robson Green, Hermione Norris


  • Biographies of Green and Norris
  • Author Biography

Released by: Wellspring Video.
Rating: NR
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Wait for cable.

[ad#longpost]Over the last few months, three men have turned up dead. They have been tortured and mutilated, their bodies dumped naked and without any clues. The local CID is reluctant to call this the work of a serial killer because of the massive media storm that will cause. However, Detective Inspector Carol Jordan (Norris) decides to consult an expert, Dr. Tony Hill (Green). Befitting a psychiatrist who studies serial murderers, Tony is a little … odd. But he starts getting a read on who is committing these crimes: someone who sees torture not as pleasure, but as a test of worthiness. He may not have much time to finish his profile when a fourth victim, a police constable, is found and the media storm finally breaks. Both the police and the press are overstepping their boundaries, so Hill has to focus to keep both from distracting him from finding the killer . But now the killer is focusing on Hill, so he must he ready to survive the most dangerous therapy session of his life.

The serial killer has been a source of fascination and revulsion for decades. From Jack the Ripper to Aileen Carol Wuornos, the concept of someone who kills for reasons outside rational logic has been a staple of mystery fiction and detective television. Wire in the Blood is one of the latest in the line. And it’s a good example of the genre. The killer’s warped methods and reasoning are fairly complex and original. Robson Green and Hermione Norris give good performances and have decent chemistry together. The plot gives plenty of twists and turns.

The parts were there, but the whole didn’t quite gel. For a show like this to work, you need either a fresh take on the concept or excellent writing and acting. The show is paced and plotted in a standard fashion: police initially disbelieve the profiler, police follow bad leads, the profiler has a falling out with the detective, the profiler is put in peril by the serial killer. The acting isn’t as tight as it could be. I’ve seen Robson Green deliver much better performances in shows like Touching Evil. He does manage to hit the mark in his final confrontation between Hill and the serial killer that is filled with tension. Green, like the show, seems to settle for good when it could have reached for great.

The only features, besides the ubiquitous trailer, are biographies of the two principal actors and the author in which the series is based. Robson’s and McDermid’s bios are fairly complete and written well, but Norris’ is a little short. She may not had as long a career as the two men, but they could have put more in there. Something. I would have liked an interview with the cast on working with these characters or the author on how she came up with this story. But we rarely get what we want. Wire in the Blood isn’t a bad show, but I would wait until it repeats on BBC America again.

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