Porn! Yeah, that got your attention. Look, Prime Suspect is on the verge of cancellation and if screaming “porn” from the rooftops gets a few more eyeballs, I will gladly scream porn from the rooftops. Also, this case actually involved porn. Porn, strippers and Buffy alum Emma Caulfield were all on the menu for this week’s rich, layered, emotional episode. Hey, I’ll say “porn” every third word if it means they won’t cancel this show – OK?
Did I mention Emma Caulfield (a.k.a. the Artist Former Known as Anya) plays a porn star? And Det. Jane Timoney goes to a strip club? Granted, neither profession comes out looking particularly glamorous, or even that sexy. Which, if you really think about it, is probably as it should be.
FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS !
Several crime shows have taken on the evils of the sex industry, be it stripping or porn. But few have dared to get so morally ambiguous as to offer such sympathy, not to mention flat-out help, to a murderer because of the sex industry. So when Jane gives the murder suspect, who was financially forced into porn and then feared for her daughter’s safety from the same men, advice on how to fight the law it’s pretty extraordinary.
Also extraordinary are the layers this show keeps giving its characters. Det. Reg Duffy in particular has gone from a simple sexist caricature to a flawed, but caring and ultimately lonely man. We care about him, hell, we feel sorry for him. I never would have guessed that nine episodes ago.
Whether she’s slamming some porn king scumbag onto a desk or commanding him to sit his ass down, Det. Timoney makes her distain for the way the sex industry uses women well known. But that distain clearly doesn’t trickle down to the women in those professions. It’s a fine, but important line – and one Jane walks expertly.
A line Jane still is figuring out, though, is the maternal one. Her ambivalence towards being a parent to her boyfriend’s son coupled with her recognition of Reg’s underutilized parenting skills makes for an interesting dynamic. Though, I’m not entirely sure what the point of the nail in her foot was. To show a hobbled Jane? Because it was funny?
THAT GUMSHOE THING
Again, this show excels on keeping us off balance. The last episode was an adrenaline shot to the heart, with its deadly game of cat-and-mouse. This one is back to more basic detective work – well, as basic as detective work can be when it involves viewing a company’s entire porn catalogue. But, still, it keeps you guessing. And, it also knows enough to give us the satisfaction of still taking down the porn kingpin, even if he wasn’t the killer. I mean, it’s a different kind of cop show, but it’s not crazy.
So, how did you feel about this episode? Surprised Jane did what she did? Wasn’t it nice to see Emma again, if only for a little while? Someone needs to hire her for real.