It would be easy to dismiss Wire in the Blood: The Mermaids
Sing as a made for TV knock off of Silence of the Lambs,
but that would be selling this outstanding series short. Both deal
with psychopathic serial killers, and involve getting inside the mind of
the murderer. Like Silence of the Lambs, Wire in the Blood
is suspenseful and gruesome. But this show is more than a imitation,
it is a well thought out, carefully crafted work that stands on its own
Dr. Tony Hill (Robson Green) is a clinical psychologist who studies
psychopathic criminals. He is fascinated by them and wants to understand
the logic that they live by. He is thrust into the middle of a series
of murders when Detective Inspector Carol Jordan (Hermione Norris) asks
him to look the corpse of a murder victim. There have been three
murders, all different, yet bearing similarities. The bodies are
found nude, bathed, and with no clues to lead to the killer. All
have been tortured, but in different ways. The police aren't even
sure that the murders are related. Though initially not interested,
Dr. Hill gets drawn to the investigation like a moth to a flame.
It turns out that there is a serial killer loose in this town in northern
England. But while Dr. Hill aides the police in tracking the killer,
the killer may be tracking him.
There is a lot to like about Wire in the Blood. The plot
is constructed very well. There is just the right amount of mystery
to draw you in, and it is intricate enough to keep your attention.
There are several false leads and red herrings that help move the story
along and do not feel like filler.
The characters are very well fleshed out and believable. They
act in a realistic manner that is refreshing. Dr. Hill is not infallible
and makes mistakes, and D.I. Jordan reacts to his theories with a degree
is skepticism that is natural for a veteran police officer, yet not dismissive.
This DVD presents the first two episodes (out of six total) of the TV
series that originally aired in Britain. The entire story is included,
so you won't be left hanging at the end of the disc. Though Wire
in the Blood was made for television, don't be fooled. It is
no cozy British murder mystery where all the violence happens off screen.
This is an intense adult drama, with torture and sexual situations.
Violence is shown, but it is not gratuitous. Definitely not a show
for children of the faint at heart.
The acting is very good. Robson Green gave a convincing performance
as the brilliant but eccentric psychologist. As good as his performance
was, Hermione Norris stole the show as the single, aging, workaholic police
officer. She was able to make D.I. Jordan seem lonely without being
pitiful, and emotionally strong but still feminine. The supporting
actors all gave solid performances too.
Wire is a very good, intense mystery show with a lot of tension.
Cracker, part CSI, it is a top notch psychological thriller
that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I have not read the
award winning book by Val McDermid that this story was taken from, but
it is now on my list of books to read.
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 none the
less. Fairly good use was made of the front sound stage with certain
sound effects coming from one side or the other. I was pleased.
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. Imagine my surprise when I popped this disc
in. The full frame picture was very good. Much cleaner than any other
shows imported from across the pond that I've seen lately (with the exception
of the remastered Dr. Who shows.) The picture was clear and
not fuzzy like Cracker or Vicar of Dibley. Skin tones
looked natural, and details were present in the shadows. That's not
to say it picture was perfect, it was slightly dark, 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. This is almost unnoticeable and
not a distraction.
Note: I was not able to confirm the original aspect ratio of this show. It is presented full frame, but I suspect that it was shot in widescreen. There were a few times that the framing looked off, and one instance where some of the text on a computer screen was cropped. This could have been intentional, but I have my doubts. I have given the DVD the benifit of the doubt and based my piture rating score on the assumption that it is presented as originally intended.
This disc has only a few extras. There is a trailer and text biographies
of the main characters as well as the author of the book these two episodes
were based on.
This is a psychological thriller that will keep you glued to your set.
Not for the timid, it is rather intense at times, but not gratuitous.
The video was superior to many British drama that are released in the US,
and it sounds good. Well acted with a careful plot, this show should
please fans of Cracker, CSI, or Silence of the Lambs.