'DCI Banks: Season One'
(Stephen Tompkinson, Jack Deam, Andrea Lowe, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2014 / BBC Video)
Overview: The tenacious and stubborn DCI Alan Banks unravels disturbing murder mysteries aided by his feisty and ambitious young assistant, DS Annie Cabbot.
DVD Verdict: I love this TV show, believe me! It is in season four now (20 episodes) in the UK and has stuck with me from the very first time I saw 'DCI Banks: Aftermath.' [FYI: In the UK 'Aftermath,' although only a two-parter is classified as "Season One"! So, this sent, although entitled 'Season One' is actually 'Season Two' in reality!]
Based on the Inspector Banks novels by Peter Robinson, 'DCI Banks' follows the tenacious Detective Inspector Alan Banks (Tompkinson)and his headstrong partner Annie Cabbott (Lowe) as they attempt to solve three gruesome crimes.
In the first one, 'Playing with Fire,' a blaze engulfs two canal boats (one by accident) in a deliberate act of arson over a is-it-genuine or is-it-a-fake painting. Sadly here, for all us fans of the genre, you can tell who the "bad guy" is from the moment they appear in the story. That said, watching the headstrong Annie Cabbott (Lowe) trying to weasel her way into each angle of the investigation - to earn brownie points - is both hilarious and awkward.
In the second one, 'Friend of the Devil,' a heavily disfigured and wheelchair-bound woman is found dead on the moors with her throat slashed in a case eerily close to the murder of a young girl in the center of town. Soon another case from 20 years back is brought to their attention and suddenly the hunt is one for a serial killer. The thing here is that there is 100% no guessing game as to who the killer is as they are revealed in the opening moments (slashing the throat of the wheelchair victim!) That said, the way they get to them is a delight to watch, but sad as one of the main characters dies here too.
The third and final episode is 'Cold Is the Grave,' where the teenage daughter of Chief Superintendent Rydell goes missing. DCI Banks' immediate superior, Rydell lives in a HUGE house, has a beautiful wife and his teenage daughter is shooting questionable photos in London. So he asks, of the books, for Banks to go find her and bring her back - which he does. But not all goes smoothly and soon Banks is in hot water for helping his boss and said boss is in his own steaming hot water!
Personally, I find the cast to be really enjoyable to watch, and the stories are interesting and well written. Sure the chief is a little glum here and there, but overall he seems like a relatively happy fellow, even with the reasonable hope of a love interest. There is a minimum of forensic or medical nonsense that makes it hard for someone who knows a little bit about such things to watch without squirming.
The cast is great, especially Stephen Tompkinson as DCI Banks. His character is so totally honest and charming and he just gets right into you mind and heart. It makes you feel that DCI Banks and Stephen Tompkinson are the same person. The stories are great and the mysteries are "real."
People actually die in the show and are not all saved just in the nick of time like every other detective show. I obviously highly recommend this show and hope it will be back for a "fifth" season. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.