Honestly, from the first time I saw Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison I was completely, utterly smitten with her. She is my kind of character–hard, honest, determined, smart, and deeply flawed. Here was a woman who was unafraid of living in the world of men. Indeed, she led them through an intricate maze to find the bad guy again and again.

Last night, Jane Tennison came back to life in the first part of the final episode of Prime Suspect. Man, she did not disappoint. Was it depressing that Jane’s nightly nip of scotch has led her to become an almost non-functioning alcoholic? Sure. But it was also as real as real can be. I had to watch from behind my hands when she nearly crashed her car with the young girl as her passenger. And when she got called out for stinking of booze! Whoa!

I liked, too, how I was given a view into her family life and found the scenes between her father and her quite touching (indeed, the whole father/daughter theme throughout was interesting–the potential touch and go of the relationships, the potential sexual overtones, the desire to protect). All of this hovering over the main plot which is a missing 14 year old girl who ends up dead on the heath. What killed her is a single stab wound to her stomach.

Next week the show will wrap up and we’ll find out who the killer is. And we’ll learn whether Tennison is going to take her pension and retire as she has promised.

I will miss Jane Tennison (but then I never thought we’d see her again after Prime Suspect 5) and hope that she finds a fulfilling life in retirement–though my gut tells me she won’t.

I suppose you probably think it’s odd that I would bother to speculate about the after life of a fictional character, but, you know, that’s what I do. There’s a fine line between real life and fiction, one which I balance every day.

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