'Murder On The Home Front'
(Patrick Kennedy, Tamzin Merchant, et al / DVD / NR / 2014 / PBS)
Overview: Set during the London Blitz of 1940, 'Murder on the Home Front' is a vibrant, original crime drama. This is a world where criminals can use the blackout and devastation to hide their darkest activities. As the Luftwaffe drop their bombs, below people are literally getting away with murder!
DVD Verdict: Oh my goodness, I totally LOVED this two-part mini-series! I had watched 'The Bletchley Circle - Season Two' just before it on DVD so my mind was already deeply snuggled up in the 1940's and '50s, but even so, this show was simply delicious to watch.
We open in London, 1940 and with a man giving the explanation to the word Autopsy, and further explaining that Julius Caesar was found to have died from the second stab to his chest - the one that pierced his heart. Which, as we further learn means that there was no way he could have uttered his now-infamous words, 'Et tu, Brute?'
The camera then pans back and he's in a pub talking to a drunk, and as the bombs begin to fall, the air raid shelter sirens can be heard, we begin our journey into getting to know pathologist Lennox Collins (Patrick Kennedy).
A yong woman is found strangled with a swatztika carved on her tongue after the raid and so Dr. Collins is called to the scene of her home. Whilst there an eager beaver news reporter Molly Cooper (Tamzin Merchant) tries to sneak in, but is quickly sent packing. She is just as quickly then hired by Dr. Collins as his assistant and so the perfect pair are off and running in the search of whodunnit.
Ms. Cooper wants to be a crime writer so Dr. Collins allows her to watch all his autopsy's whilst taking all his spoken notes at the same time. She them becomes friends with the female crime scene photographer Izzy, which goes to show it wasn't only men that worked in high profile jobs back in the 40's!
As the case gets deeper and darker, they go back to the house to find more clues, only to find it had been bombed the night before. Still, a suspect is lurking around and soon he is on death row for that murder and two more! Is he innocent or is he being set up? And by whom and why, are the bigger questions here.
The swinging jazz club moments are lovely to behold, especially the guy who plays 'Snake Hips' Johnson on stage each time. With only three main suspects to choose from, based on our incarcerated fellow being truly innocent, it's a lesser game of Cluedo here, for sure. All in all this is a wonderfully presented 1940's drame, which features some OTT acting; sure, some very colorful sets, some cheesy dialogue (sure), but a lovely twist ending. And it leaves it open for a second series, one can only hope!
Oh, and FYI, the series is dedicated to Molly Lefebure FRSL (6th October 1919 - 27th February 2013) who was a British writer with an interest in the English Lake District, the Lake Poets, and who was also the inspiration for this two-part ITV/PBS drama. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:
Interviews with the Cast and Crew.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk