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Prime Suspect 6
updated 6.27.2006

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I absolutely love Prime Suspect. I had the opportunity to watch some of the series on DVDs that I borrowed from a friend, and I can't wait to view the rest! I am absolutely glued to the TV when it is on. I won't answer the phone, eat, or speak to anyone. This is top-notch acting. Helen Mirren is spectacular. Her co-stars are equally fabulous. Bloody good I tell you!

Kristen Kenniston
Boston, MA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
As an avid and loyal viewer of Masterpiece Theatre as well as PBS, I was dismayed by the censorship of language on Sunday's presentation of Prime Suspect 6. Given the gritty, realistic nature of the series, I was amazed and frankly insulted that so-called objectionable language was edited in highly dramatic episodes where such language would normally be expressed. I strongly believe that the audience for this series is mature and knows what to expect, and in turn expects to be treated in an adult manner. I, for one, found the blocking of obscenities to be jarring; it disrupted the rhythm of the viewing. I hope that this does not portend a trend in future productions of Masterpiece Theatre. At the most you could have issued a warning at the beginning of the program that objectionable language exists.

Andrew Mack
New York, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Is PBS choosing to censor four-letter words from the dialog in last night's episode, or was it my local PBS station? If it is the former, is there a way technically for local stations to decide if they want to censor? If so, I would probably do better to discuss that decision with them. If it is our national PBS, you should know how unhappy I am that PBS has bowed to the threats of the FCC as a result of the inane halftime show during the Super-Bowl. I will probably have to buy the DVD to get all the dialog and video, or has that been censored also? At any rate, I will seriously reconsider future contributions to PBS.

Stanley Gottlieb
Chico, CA/New York, NY

Several viewers wrote expressing similar concerns; most stations are responding to recent activity regarding "indecent" language. A PBS memo (4.23.04) explains:

In the aftermath of the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake Super Bowl incident, the House passed the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to increase penalties for violators found by the FCC to have "broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane language" from $27,500 to $500,000 for each violation and provides that broadcasters could also have their licenses revoked after a third violation. Similar legislation is moving through the Senate. In light of producers' broad legal obligations to indemnify PBS and member stations for claims or damages arising from any exercise of program rights, we are in communication with them and urging that they redouble the focus on FCC indecency issues and take all necessary steps to ensure meticulous compliance with existing and anticipated law and regulations in this area.

...Indecent programming is not completely prohibited, but has to be channeled to time periods when unsupervised children are not likely to be in the audience. The safe harbor for indecent programming is 10 pm through 6 am.

...While this will affect only a small number of programs, it is the opinion of the PBS General Counsel that programs containing words deemed "indecent" by previous FCC action or opinion should not be included in *any* prime time program distributed by PBS between the hours of 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. ET (the first 2 hours of prime time).

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The acting and direction of Prime Suspect 6 are superb, and the plot is fascinating, but I think there are flaws. In her second interview with the hotel porter, Tennison states that calls were made from his phone to Jasmina at the hospital where she worked, but in a later scene one of the squad first discovers where she works. Furthermore, Jasmina says that a journalist had interviewed her in the hospital. How did the journalist know where she worked before the police did?

Then there is the evidence that should have led to earlier proof that Lukic was involved in the sisters' murders: One, there was a cigar or "cigaroot" at the first crime scene that was presumably used to inflict the burns and could have been tested for DNA. Two, voice matching could have been used to identify Lukic as the person who called to reveal Zigic's hotel hideout.

Al Kaufman
Brooklyn, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
All of the Prime Suspect episodes have been good up to this point, but this one is different; it is deeper. It crawls into your soul and keeps you awake at night. At this particular time in the world with all the atrocities, revenge killings, etc., Prime Suspect 6 takes the time to show that each life is precious. If only Jane Tennison was real! What a better world it would be.

Mona Dawn

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
This is the best television series I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. We saw the two-part Prime Suspect starring Helen Mirren; it is powerful, dramatic and intense. Everything is outstanding: the story, the acting and the directing. Helen Mirren is magic! Her character truly has "conviction," (as her father reminds her.) Tell her to order her dress for the next Emmy Awards here in the U.S.! Thank you for all the excellent Masterpiece Theatre productions.

Barbara Roller
Agoura Hills, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Kudos for Prime Suspect 6! All of the raves were true. The acting, directing, script and photography were all superb. (It's nice also to see that the series had a bigger budget to work with on this episode.)

Helen Mirren continues to be dazzling, and I very much appreciate all the wonderful ambiguities of each character. The good guys weren't completely good and the bad guys weren't completely bad. This was not a "shoot-em-up," action-adventure cartoon, but rather a complex drama that credited viewers with having a measure of intelligence and sensitivity. Well done! I'm waiting breathlessly for the next installment.

Jeff Jones
San Francisco, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I am stunned and speechless, having just watched Prime Suspect: The Last Witness. This is Helen Mirren at her best, and also Jane Tennison at her awe-inspiring best. It seems as though all the odds are stacked against her this time, what with the British government protecting her prime suspect. But Jane's brilliant intellect and dogged determination will not let even that formidable obstacle stop her. I especially appreciated the second segment with her father, as he reveals his horrific role in the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, and how it affects their relationship and his current admiration for her. You can tell that this conversation with him is one of the capstones of her life. Seeing her turn to her father for advice when she feels totally boxed into a corner humanizes her more than any other personal relationship she has had in the series.

Jane is incredibly smart, strong, courageous and vulnerable. She works the system in whatever conventional or unconventional way is necessary to achieve her goal, albeit always legally and honorably. She is willing to accept defeat only when proven to be wrong. She is the ultimate 'player...'

I will enjoy watching this episode many times, as I have the others. It is as good as the first one, which is high praise indeed. Helen Mirren is spot on in her portrayal of DCI Tennison, the script is electrifying and the acting is brilliant.

Debbie Campbell
Murrysville, PA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Bravo! Please continue! We have missed Helen Mirren. More Prime Suspect, please! It's a superior story with superior acting; a superior series.

Rhoda Rosenberg
Bethpage, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
We just watched the final episode of Prime Suspect 6. It's the best mystery we have watched in a long time. It's a great story, well paced, with lots of suspense and good acting.

Thank you, PBS!

Ben Sykes

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
In whose opinion is the currently showing "TV trash," Prime Suspect, a masterpiece? I prefer PBS to other television broadcasts in order to avoid this kind of sick and gratuitous soft porn. It's a testament to the depravity of our culture that such shows are ubiquitous on television now, and it's just plain strange that PBS would elevate the nasty to the status of the enduring classic.

P.S. I noticed there was no inviting introduction for tonight's show. No wonder! What's there to say, "And now we return to the gutters of the media frenzy to further desensitize your dull and licentious hard-boiled head cheeses." (?) Instead of treating us to the expected intelligent narrative summary of last week's developments, corny flashes of a disgustingly typical "gorified" female victim sullied the screen.

Virginia Calder
Asheville, NC

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
A first rate production! Great casting, writing and direction! Hip, classy and tasteful! Prime Suspect 6 demonstrates that a production can be very well done without an abundance of sex and violence. It also shows that a middle-aged woman can carry such a project seriously. After Prime Suspect 6, I hope we may have at least four more!

Ronald E. Brown
Bronx, NY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Considering the complexity of the plot in the latest episode of this great police drama, why did you not have Part II follow immediately, or almost immediately? Am I supposed to take notes on the first night and review them prior to watching on Sunday? I would have really appreciated it if the second episode appeared on Monday, or Tuesday at the latest. Unlike The Forsyte Saga, which could be seen weekly without losing track of who's who and what's what, these police investigations need quick follow up so viewers do not lose interest. Thank you!

Hanni Rose
Holiday, FL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Helen Mirren just keeps getting better. My admiration knows no bounds. I have loved her in everything she has done, but Prime Suspect is by far my favorite. She is exciting and convincing, and takes me away from everything but her character and the plot. Bravo Ms. Mirren!

Adeline M. Bengtson
Ridgefield, CT

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Riveting! Television at it's very best!

Ron Sapp
Brockton, MA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I believe that Prime Suspect episodes are some of the best police dramas ever produced for television. The characters are well developed, and Helen Mirren is one of the finest actors of our time. She has fleshed out the character of Jane Tennison with such thoroughness, that it is surely the best female dramatic role on television. She has made the character her own. It would be difficult to see any other actress assume the role, if it were ever offered.

Adam Allgood
Chicago, IL

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