The popular BBC program Wire in the Blood returns for a second
season and the first story, Still She Cries, is now available.
Released as stand alone movies, the first season was one of the better
crime shows to be released on DVD. Unfortunately the start of the
second season isn't nearly as intriguing.
Tony Hill is a brilliant clinical psychologist who has the uncanny ability
to get into the mind of both serial killers and their victims. This
talent is invaluable in helping solves crimes but it comes with a price.
Tony has severe problems interacting with other people, he lives alone
and his best friend is an imprisoned killer that he's been studying for
years. Tony relates better to psychopaths than he does to normal
In this story, two girls have gone missing, one the best friend of Tony's
graduate student. When the criminal starts sending clues and puzzles
to the police, Tony has to decode them before the woman die. But
when the women turn up dead, and the killer starts stalking the lead investigator
Carol, Tony's time to analyze the crimes has just about run out.
The problem with the second seasons of successful shows is that they
tend to analyze their first season and try to repeat it, rather than just
going ahead and telling engaging stories. Wire in the Blood seems
to have fallen into that trap. This first story tries just a little
too hard. They seem to be trying to mimic other successful psychological
police dramas instead of telling the taught stories that made me fall in
love with the series in the first place. In this story, for example,
they ape plot points that were in Se7en and Silence of the Lambs.
That was something that they didn't need to do in the first series.
This show was good, but it just wasn't as great as the first season.
There was some interesting plot twists, and some that I thought were a
little too contrived, but it kept my attention. The show didn't have
the tension and suspense that earlier episodes did, the feeling of time
running out just wasn't communicated efficiently.
Another aspect of the show that has changed is Tony's personality.
In the first three stories, he was a wreck when it came to dealing with
other people. The seem to have forgotten about that this year, and
instead have a young nubile college student throw herself at him.
Tony, being a middle aged gentleman who lives alone and hasn't had a date
in years, turns her down of course.
If this was the first episode of Wire in the Blood that I had
seen, I would have thought it was pretty good, if derivative. The
story wasn't bad, and the acting was still first rate. It just doesn't
hold a candle to the earlier shows.
The only audio track is an English stereo mix. There are no subtitles.
The sound is very clear and crisp. Since there is not a lot of sound effects
or music, it wasn't an enveloping sound, but very good nonetheless. Fairly
good use was made of the front sound stage with certain sound effects coming
from one side or the other. It was an adequate sounding disc.
British television shows, even recent ones, have not looked their best
when released in the US. (Generally speaking of course. Some are outstanding.)
Often mastered from poor prints with a multitude of compression artifacts
present, I've come to expect the worst from British shows, picture wise.
The Wire in the Blood series looks much better than the average BBC show.
The picture was clear and skin tones looked natural. That's not to
say it picture was perfect, it was slightly dark, with some details being
lost in the shadows. It was also and not as sharp as I would have
liked. There was some digital noise reduction done, and there are artifacts
from that mainly a slightly grainy look to the sky and other large objects,
and there was some aliasing in the background. This is not a distraction
There are more extras included on this disc than have been included
on the other Wire in the Blood DVDs. Most interesting is a
20 minute series of interviews with the main actors where they talk about
the series and their aspects that appeal to them. There is also a
two minute behind the scenes montage, text biographies of the actors and
author, and previews for both the first and second seasons.
Judged on its own merits, this was a good show. The mystery was
interesting and the acting was spectacular. It isn't nearly as good
as the first season episodes, but still good enough to give this disc a