DVDs in Review #53: Wire in the Blood: The Complete First and Second Series

Category: , , , , By Rev/Views

The Show:

Based on the series of crime novels by the award wining author Val McDermid, Wire in the Blood (2002) is a set of stand alone case episodes starring Robson Green as clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill and Hermione Norris as DI Carol Jordan. Dr Hill is a psychologist with exceptional insight into the minds of the socialy dysfunctional, especially serial killers. He is first brought in by Carol Jordan to assist with a case where single adult males are being abducted, tortured to death and then cleaned before being dumped whole to be discovered.

Wire in the Blood is an exceptionally bleak and grim affair, over the seven "cases" which make up the first two series the show remains dark, unrepentant and merciless. Understanding that often the viewer's imagination is far worse than showing the deed Wire in the Blood will often only hint at the true nastiness being performed by the killers in this show. Set in the fictional northern city of Bradfield the show provides a realistic depiction of ordinary people dealing with extra-ordinary crimes.

It's fair to say that Wire in the Blood has managed to capture the spirit of 1970s BBC programming, which is an age of programming where the BBC wasn't afraid to tell stories which were genuinely unnerving or could be considered depressing -- bleak programming. Wire in the Blood is indeed a fine example of this genre, while also being an intelligent 'whodunnit' with interesting and compelling characters. Both Robson and Hermione are fantastic in their title roles, especially Hermione who gives a superb portrayal of DI Jordan.

If you're a fan of murder mysteries or police dramas and don't mind something a bit less glamorous than most, Wire in the Blood is worth a long hard look.

This set unfortunately comes without subtitles, which is an annoyance for me and something you should be aware of if you also have hearing difficulties.

The Other Stuff:

The Packaging:
Wire in the Blood has just recently been repackaged, having gone through at least two previous incarnations. The latest version is probably the best one yet, it's an exercise in simplicity with nothing more than a bold solid red backdrop combined with text on the front and the back has just a few pictures along with the blurb and details of the set. There weren't any pictures of this set online anywhere so I took the shots myself.

The case itself is a multi-page plastic affair, I can't help feeling cardboard would have been better for the feel of the show, but it's at least robust and will last a long time.

I also feel the box should have the words "Warning: Contains brief glimpses of Robson Green's penis." as well, I still can't scrub that brief scene entirely from my mind.

The Extras:
There are a few extras on the set, not masses but some. These are interviews with Robson Green, Hermione Norris and author Val McDermid, Uncut episodes with additional footage and some more.

The Details:
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Wide screen
Language: English
Number of discs: 5
Rating: 15
Region: 2 PAL
Runtime: 10 hours 30 mins
Subtitles: None

The Price:
It's available from sendit at the low, low price of £9.89, this is a price which is so low someone must be malfunctioning! This works out at 1.6 ppm, which if you look at previous British offerings is an amazing rate. It's one of the best I've looked at so far regardless of origin country.

The Final Word:

I am a little disappointed in the lack of subtitles in this offering from www.revfilms.com but apart from that error this is an excellent product and something which is ideal for someone seeking an exceptionally British look at the murder procedural mystery style show. While it is formulaic in it's nature it also has a pair of compelling leads and a rather unique style which hasn't yet been emulated in American television. It's dark, it's deep and it's bloody.


4 comments so far.

  1. Lisa Rullsenberg 19 January 2009 at 21:56
    Howdy (visiting from the land of MediumRob's blog)

    WitB is a pretty grim affair to be sure - but it is also desperately predictable in many ways: over he storyline everything is resolved, even if not comfortably. There is also something cumulatively not very pleasant about watching a programme that so repeatedly has women (and it is mostly women) tortured and abused, especially sex workers.

    I have to say though I have probably watched more episodes of this than is really healthy. I have usually hated Robson Green but the character of Dr Tony Hill is incredibly well played by him.
  2. Rev/Views 20 January 2009 at 09:00
    Welcome Lisa, thanks for the visit and the comments. I certainly don't have any sort of rebuttal because I agree completely with you on those points.

    But I don't really watch murder mysteries for the mysteries (British police shows are so predictable), I watch for interesting characters and I think Green and Norris provide a brilliant pair of characters. Especially Norris who manages to avoid the sidekick role most other shows would have her fall into.
  3. Lisa Rullsenberg 21 January 2009 at 13:24
    Agreed: not sure if you have seen any later series of WitB? Is RB becoming more nuanced in his portrayal or more cliched?
  4. Rev/Views 21 January 2009 at 13:31
    I haven't seen that far ahead to be honest. I came from reading the books to watching the show and as such all I've seen is the entire first two series plus bits of the third and fourth.

    I'll certainly review 3 + 4 later this year, I'm just waiting for the price to drop a little. Same with the Rebus dramatisations and Foyles War.

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