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Suspects: Series 3 & 4

Score: 77%
Rating: 14+
Publisher: Acorn Media
Region: 1
Media: DVD/2
Running Time: 365 Mins.
Genre: Crime/Drama/TV Series
Audio: English Stereo/Mono
Subtitles: English SDH

Suspects: Series 3 & 4 carries on its coverage of the detective work of DI Martha Bellamy (Fay Ripley), DS Jack Weston (Damien Molony, Clean Break), and DC Charlie Steele (Clare-Hope Ashitey) as they solve a variety of brutal crimes, each working in their own particular style of policing.

Martha Bellamy is very no-nonsense and always in command, sometimes giving Jack too hard of a time, because of his missteps in Series 2. At times, it appeared to be a bit much, but given that Jack has a short temper and can sometimes get a little too personally or emotionally involved in his cases, she does have reason. Charlie would rather use brains over brawn, but she does her fair share of running down criminals and roughing them up a bit over the course of Suspects: Series 3 & 4.

The cases the team encounters run the gamut from arson, to kidnapping, to hate crimes, to pedophilia, to theft and assault, to plain old murder. If you read my review of Suspects: Series 1 and 2, I mentioned how I loved the one-off episodes in Series 1 and the fact that they didn't muddy the waters by digging into the personal happenings in the lives of the cops, but then they took a more personal turn in Series 2. Originally, I was disappointed, but as Series 2 progressed, I came to love the changes and found myself really invested in not only the characters, but also the show. Sadly, that hasn't been the case with Suspects: Series 3 & 4.

They've gone back to one-off episodes, but the topics for each crime almost felt as though they were picked to be as current and inflammatory as possible and, because of that, they felt very contrived. It's as if the writers sat down and had a discussion as to what they could cover that would touch on whatever this week's hot button topic could be. Transgender murder, lesbian hate crime, racially motivated murder, religion and pedophilia, war crimes and associated guilt - it's all here, but instead of gluing me to the screen the way the show used to, I found it incredibly predictable. I could guess the perpetrator 15 minutes into the episode almost every time, and where's the fun in that? Worse yet, the acting, especially of the ancillary characters involved in the crimes either as perps or victims, was so very stiff and fake. Even though the show is supposed to be unscripted and the crimes and detective work are supposed to unfold organically, I found myself annoyed at the team and the way some things played out. Specifically Bellamy, as she questioned Jack on whether he was jumping the gun on a specific case where he suspected some malnourished, disoriented, Vitamin-D deficient missing girls who just resurfaced might have been being kept locked away somewhere. Really? That's a stretch? Seemed pretty clear to me.

It's sad, because I really, really enjoyed Series 1 and 2, but just felt like Suspects: Series 3 & 4 was lackluster and didn't really keep my attention. If you loved the first two series, don't expect more of the same from Suspects: Series 3 & 4. While it's not terrible by any stretch, it has just lost its magic, at least for me. Here's hoping Series 5 will step it up.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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