Wire in the Blood: THE MERMAIDS SINGING (2000)

Starring: Robson Green, Hermione Norris

Written by: Patrick Harbinson
Based on the characters and books of Val McDermid

Director: Andrew Grieve

Format: DVD - Two parts (one-hour each)

Rating: NR (has some graphic scenes of blood, near nudity -- male, and S&M torture)

Genre: Mystery/drama

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

I missed most of this mystery series when it was being shown on BBC America but those episodes I did view made me search out the DVD versions of the ones I hadn't seen.

Dr. Tony Hill (Robson Green) is a clinical psychologist. He is considered brilliant by some, eccentric by most, and a pain-in-the-arse by nearly all of the police officers who have to work with him. Dr. Hill has an uncanny ability to empathsize with both criminal and victim. He "sees" the crimes. He "talks" to the imagined killer. He twists the clues around in his mind until the pieces fit, like a jigsaw puzzle that just might be missing a piece or two.

Detective Inspector Carol Jordan is an ambitious, up-and-coming detective. Despite her superior's reluctance to go outside of the department, she asks Dr. Hill for his professional assistance when three unsolved and possibly related murders crop up in Bradfield. She wants to know if she has a serial killer on the loose. Each victim was tortured then dumped on the pavement, waiting to be found. Each victim was nude. Each victim was male, in "buff" condition...so why couldn't they fight off their attacker?

Much as the police would like to think they can solve the killings without him, they do need his input. He examines the crimes from a different perspective than the police and is able to develop a profile of the killer. A profile that not all of the police think is valid.

I highly recommend this series for fans of British style crime drama. It is gritty and shocking at times, but the psychologist/cop teaming is a potent one and a favorite of mine.

"The Mermaids Singing" is the first installment in the series. It is available as a single DVD or as part of a set ("The Mermaids Singing," "Shadows Rising," and "Justice Painted Blind") comprising the first season. "Shadows Rising" and "Justice Painted Blind" are also available as single DVDs. Another DVD titled "Still She Cries" was released on August 17, 2004.

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