'Dirty Tricks' (Acorn Media)
(Martin Clunes, James Bolam, George Potts, Julie Graham, Neil Dudgeon, et al / DVD / NR / (2000) 2010 / Acorn Media)
Overview: After befriending an accountant (Neil Dudgeon, 'Midsomer Murders'), he beds the man’s randy wife, Karen (Julie Graham, 'Bonekickers'), before a wealthy widow (Lindsay Duncan, 'Under the Tuscan Sun') next catches his eye. When Karen meets an untimely demise, a plodding police detective (James Bolam, 'New Tricks') gets involved, and things take a decidedly dicey turn.
DVD Verdict: We are quickly off and running here in black comedy 'Dirty Tricks,' the winner of an International Emmy® for best drama; and based on the book by Michael Dibdin ('The Aurelio Zen Mysteries') ... for almost immediately (and from his bedroom, as he simultaneously tries to avoid CID Moss ie: James Bolam - 'New Tricks'), Edward (Clunes) begins the third party tale of explaining to us viewers why the headline in the paper about him being a murderer isn't quite as true as it reads!
Taking us back some two years, Edward is a teacher in a little rundown, grotty School of Teaching on the high street. Teaching the English language to foreigners, he's ok with what he does, but unmotivated. After a dinner party at his accountant friend's house (CPA Dennis, Neil Dudgeon - 'Midsomer Murders'), he finds the mans wife has the crazy hots for him! So much so that soon he beds the man’s horny wife, Karen (Julie Graham, 'Bonekickers') ... until an unfortunate accident results in the death of his accountant friend ie: he smacks him on the head with a paddle whilst they are all on the lake one day!
Through lots of wine drinking, it becomes obvious very quickly to Edward that his new wife (yes, they get quickly married!) isn't exactly the trustworthy, fun person he once thought her to be. But then, another unfortunate accident results in HER death in his front room! And suddenly, part two of this series takes us romping head first into some old fashioned Keystone caper!
Enlisting the (shady) aid of a Garcia (Martin Marquez, 'Eastenders') both he and the sinister South American student set out to move some bodies around, whilst at the same time setting up for murder the man who had gotten his wife pregnant; his old school teaching boss, Clive Phillips (Matt Bardock, 'Casualty'). And, for the record, there have been no cell phones in use here, even though it was filmed in 2000!
Edward, as we see and as he continues to inform us, is now boarding a plane to Spain to go stay with his old mate, and with the added bonus of a multi-million pound inheritance to look forward to, he is rubbing his hands with glee to not only escaping England but the police!
In a slight flashback, he is even seen igniting his passion in an effort to woo Alison Kraemer - the single mother who he met in France; and whose daughter sees right through him! Lindsay Duncan ('Under the Tuscan Sun') is fabulous here as Edwards 'new flame,' but even she isn't truly convinced he had nothing to do with the deaths!
In truth, the last 20 minutes of this does drag and we know where it's headed anyway! I mean, there can only be one ending to this farce and it isn't even disguised that well! Safe to say, without giving you Spoilers, that once Edward lands in Spain and has trouble locating his friend, well, Garcia isn't too far behind! Oh, and for all you trivia hounds out there, Bolam's character is named C.I. Moss and his man D.I. Lewis ie: way too close to Morse & Lewis from the good ol' days of Oxford detecting! [RT] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Biography of author Michael Dibdin