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The Syndicate: All or Nothing (Series 3)

Score: 95%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Acorn Media
Region: 1
Media: DVD/2
Running Time: 366 Mins.
Genre: Drama/Mystery/TV Series
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH

The Syndicate: All or Nothing is actually the third series in an anthology about groups of employees who play the lottery together and what happens after they win it. The Syndicate: All or Nothing revolves around the staff at Hazelwood Manor, a grand but crumbling old estate owned by the benevolent Lord Hazelwood (Anthony Andrews), who is recovering from a stroke. His snobby, condescending wife, Lady Hazelwood (Alice Krige, Partners in Crime, Silent Hill) and her boorish son Spencer (Sam Phillips) while away the days racking up even more debt and bossing around the meager staff the estate retains, since it has fallen into dire financial straits as of late. The pivotal lottery winning event occurs on the evening when Spencer and Lady Hazelwood are hosting a group of American businessmen and their girlfriends at the estate in an effort to raise some funds. It seems the Americans enjoy being around genuine British aristocracy. What Lord Hazelwood doesn't know is that Lady Hazelwood and Spencer are trying to sell the estate to the Americans so that it can be turned into a golf course, which is the exact opposite of what he wants.

Keeping the estate going are the staff, including the house manager Sarah Travers (Cara Theobold); her mother Julie (Melanie Hill), who is an amazing chef; the somewhat autistic groundskeeper and gardener Godfrey Watson (Lenny Henry); the pregnant cleaner Dawn Stevenson (Elizabeth Berrington) and her tempestuous teen-aged daughter Amy (Daisy Head), a beautiful aspiring model who works at the house when needed; and, finally, Sean McGary (Richard Rankin), who works in the stables and as the estate handyman. On the fateful night where the group wins the lottery, what should have been a wondrously happy occasion turns grim when Amy mysteriously goes missing.

To complicate things further, the lottery encourages "the syndicate" to go public about their winnings, and certain members of the group would rather stay anonymous. When they do go public, they make the shocking announcement that they have decided to pool their winnings to buy a part ownership in Hazelwood Manor, in order to keep it in Lord Hazelwood's family, or at least those who care for his personal well being and that of his legacy. From then on out, a battle ensues between Lady Hazelwood and Spencer and the impudent staff members, who still care for Lord Hazelwood, but leave the other two flailing about on their own. As Lord Hazelwood regains his strength, more questions and secrets come out as certain priceless pieces of art are discovered to be either missing or replaced by forgeries. Who is defrauding Lord Hazelwood and just what secrets do the staff members have? More importantly, where the hell is Amy and is she even alive?

The Syndicate: All or Nothing is a fantastic mystery/drama with an impeccable cast and a compelling storyline. You'll become really invested in each of the characters (well, the nice ones anyway) and each person gives something priceless to the overall story. I loved Melanie Hill as Julie, the plucky cook, and her daughter Sarah, played by Cara Theobold, while being the polar opposite, is just as much fun to watch. Lord Hazelwood (Anthony Andrews) is so kind that it's easy to see why his staff would be willing to do anything to save his ancestral home, while Alice Krige as Lady Hazelwood is despicable, but perfect in her role as the porcelain doll second wife of Lord Hazelwood who is financially gouging him, while appearing to be the consoling wife. Spencer (Sam Phillips) is a character you just want to shoot, while Godfrey and Sean are a delight, each for their own reasons, and Dawn is just so sad, sweet and confused by everything happening around her.

While there aren't any special features, the series stands on its own. This is a great show with a fair amount of humor peppered in with all of the drama and mystery. It has a great ending and everything wraps up nicely. Highly recommended.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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