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With rumors of an American reboot making the rounds, we thought it might be time to dust off one of the best police procedural shows ever made, a slow burner called Prime Suspect, featuring an unusually hardass turn from Helen Mirren.

Due to the arcane rules of British TV, it weighs in at just under three hours, tackling a single murder investigation run with all the twists and turns you’d expect from an unusually good Law & Order episode. The gamechanger—and why its worth braving the DVD market to see it—is the acting, including Ms. Mirren turning in one of the most take-no-prisoners cop routines we’ve ever seen. And by the time September rolls around, it may be getting a serious infusion of cultural cred.

If you like what you see, there are six more of them out there, including seasons exploring immigration, prostitution and alcoholism. (That’s where those Wire comparisons come in.) And fortunately enough, large chunks of it seem to have found their way onto Youtube for preview purposes. Enjoy yourselves.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom