The Commander Is Tremendously Entertaining UK Crime Drama (DVD)
Released by Acorn Media on April 3, 2012, The Commander – Set 2 is comprised of four excellent mysteries from the ever-fertile mind of Lynda LaPlante, creator of Prime Suspect and Above Suspicion. Starring Amanda Burton as Commander Clare Blake, leader of New Scotland Yard’s Murder Review Team, The Commander merrily leads the audience down blind alleys and dead-end streets in search of the who and why behind brutal killings. No one should be surprised when favorite suspects prove to be innocent, while likely innocents are indeed guilty.
The Commander is distinguished by superlative scripts, crisp writing, and first-class performances. The cases are complex, sensational, controversial, and provocative. The first, “The Devil You Know,” opens with the discovery of a child’s body sealed in a drum on the psychiatric floor of an abandoned hospital. Construction crew members find the drum in the course of clearing out the building. Commander Blake is transferred to the Homicide and Serious Crime division, where she anticipates greater participation in investigations, and the girl in the drum is her first case. (Throughout the four mysteries we see her evolve from dispassionate commander to team member who commands.)
The investigation into the girl in the drum repeatedly turns up two men’s names (both former patients), and the investigators must determine if either or both are in any way involved with the child or her death. One of the pleasures of The Commander is viewing the sumptuous homes of the frightfully rich (and often quite kooky). “The Devil You Know” grants viewers entry into luxury we only dream exists. Unfortunately, the luxurious surroundings are generally marred by violence and dead bodies.
Humor is well incorporated in The Commander, as evidenced by “The Fraudster,” a mystery involving the death of a man who was exceptionally careless with other people’s money and affections. Because he had defrauded so many people out of their life savings and pensions, there is a plethora of suspects which narrows considerably when we discover that this upstanding, married businessman was also carrying on a number of affairs, including one in which he fathered a child. Along with the investors, his wife, girlfriends, and business associates all have credible motives.Continued on the next page