by Frank Behrens


It’s cop vs. cop in ‘Line of Duty’


I was much impressed, as I reported in this paper, with the British police series "Line of Duty, Series 1," especially with its originality. It had a complicated plot, leaving the viewers to wonder if a certain policeman was indeed guiltier than they knew him to be. Well, Series 2, now out on the Acorn Media label, is even better.

If a television show can be described as a "real page turner," this one qualifies. In the first sequence, policewoman DI Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) is called in to assist on the transfer of a protected witness. Everything goes wrong and the question is whether Denton was responsible for the disaster. The case is taken up by the Anti-Corruption squad, headed by Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and his assistants Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure)--the same team that cracked the case in Series 1.

The investigation is at first parallel and then interwoven with another that concerns a kidnapping. Little by little, evidence piles up that implicates DCC Dryden (Mark Bonnar). If I say any more, I will spoil things.

As did Series 1, this story shows police on all levels having something to hide at best and being thoroughly corrupt at worst. One cheats the disability system, another murders fellow officers, prison wardens torture an officer who is now a prisoner, and no one wants to help the Anti-Corruption people, some of whom themselves are not all that pure. The ending has a good twist or two and is in general very disheartening--but absolutely believable.

Most importantly, I want to assure my readers that this is one of the very few police--or indeed mystery--series that made me look forward to the next episode. Grab this one!

There are six parts running about 50 minutes each, and the subtitles are as always welcome.


A BBC DVD titled "Wild Brazil" has the subtitle "Land of Fire and Flood." It should be "Land of Fire, Flood and Drought" because it is divided into three parts: "A Dangerous World," "Facing the Flood" and "Enduring the Drought."

The program follows the daily lives of three sets of animals. There is a large family of giant otters, fighting the jaguars on the banks and the caimans in the water, a tribe of capuchin monkeys living mostly on the precipitous sides of a canyon, and a group of Cyrano-nosed coati. During the mating period sequences, attention is given to a male jaguar that feels the urge and finds a female by the sheerest chance. And life goes on.

I love nature programs about animals (although my favorite is an old National Geographic about carnivorous plants) and this is one of the best. I would nominate for the Funniest Mammal in Brazil Award a female capuchin who decides to mate with the alpha male of the group, who couldn’t care less. Not only her persistence but the look on her face as she stalks and "gets in his face" is priceless. And I can hear so many viewers saying, "I know someone just like that."

Even more fascinating is the capuchins’ use of tools, not to mention how these skills are passed down to the young who learn by watching. (Perhaps our schools might take a hint from this.)

Do not stop watching when the end titles roll up the screen, because each episode is follow by a "Diary" entry, in which we see how the camera in crew took many of these shots. In one of them, a scientist lashes some plastic food containers to trees and observes how different monkeys solve the problem of getting to the food. One chews through the plastic but another is far more original. He simply tears the container from the tree, turns it upside down, and has a feast.

But the real star is Brazil itself, with its yearly cycle of flood, drought and fire and the living things who have learned to survive both predator and natural disaster. Fascinating viewing for all age groups.

Each of the three episodes runs about 59 minutes, the picture is 4K ultra-HD, and there are subtitles (which helpfully give the spelling of the many proper nouns heard in this film).


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