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December 22, 2014

NBC's 'Prime Suspect' Reboot Gets Seal of Approval from Helen Mirren

by Catherine Lawson, posted Aug 3rd 2011 6:00AM
'Prime Suspect'Maria Bello has big shoes to fill when she debuts as the star of 'Prime Suspect' in the fall, so she'll doubtless be relieved to know that the rebooted version of the gritty cop drama has received the blessing of the writer and star of the British original.

Producers of the U.S. remake told reporters that while the new series is lighter and has more humor than the original, it has won the approval of series creator Lynda LaPlante and star Helen Mirren.

Executive producer and writer Alexandra Cunningham ('Desperate Housewives') said that LaPlante had written to them approving their updated concept of the series.

"She couldn't be happier that Maria is shouldering the character ... She is happy it is being modernized, and there's nobody better to do it than Maria. And Maria reminds people of Helen Mirren in her strength and her complete lack of vanity."

'Prime Suspect' first aired in the 1990s, and broke new ground in television with its grim portrayal of tough yet vulnerable Detective Jane Tennison, whose private life is a wreck.

It revitalized Mirren's career, winning her a whole new fan base and a clutch of Emmy Awards. Before 'Prime Suspect' she was primarily known as a Shakespearean stage actress and for roles in movies like 'Excalibur' and 'The Long Good Friday.'

The last outing for Mirren's Tennison was 'Prime Suspect: The Final Act,' which aired on PBS in 2007. It saw her dealing with the death of her father, her own alcoholism and impending retirement.

Cunningham said the U.S. version would focus less on outright sexism and would have less of the dark edge that marked the original.

"There is so much great stuff there that we want to use as touchstones to make our own show great. But we also want fans of original to be able to tune in and enjoy it on its own level."

In NBC's reboot, Maria Bello stars as tough homicide detective Jane Timoney, who fights crime on the streets of New York and sexism in the police force. Unlike the original, which stretched one case out over a short season, the new version will be a weekly procedural.

Bello said she hadn't studied Mirren's performance before taking on the role. "I had seen it some years ago and remembered it a bit (as) being really dark. But when I read the script it was such a different show ... because of the humor and because of it being modernized and set in New York city, so I haven't gone back to watch it," she said.

One big difference between the two shows is that Bello's character wears a hat. All the time. Not all critics are fans of the hat, but Bello loves it. "It felt right to me. I felt like this is who Jane is."

'Prime Suspect' launches Thursday Sept. 22, 10PM ET on NBC.

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Dexter Morgan

the first time she wears that stupid azz hat......i will drop this lame network show....... like a bad habit......

August 03 2011 at 6:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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