The girls in blue
Watching American TV shows broadcast in Israel this season could give you a sense of deja vu, and not necessarily in a good way.
The U.S. version of "Prime Suspect," which began life as a fine 1990s British police procedural starring Helen Mirren, will begin airing tonight on Yes Action.
The NBC series, whose final two episodes were broadcast in the United States in January, stars Maria Bello ("ER" ) as Jane Timoney, the tough, professional detective who has a hard time making it into the closed boys club of the police force.
The long shadow of the original series hovers over the NBC version, which is sometimes reminiscent of a completely different British detective drama: "Life on Mars," in which a police detective from the present has an accident and wakes up in the mid-1970s. In both shows, the men are boorish and stereotypically sexist, traits that would presumably be less overt today.
But "Prime Suspect" is familiar not only because Bello, who starred in the racy 2005 movie "A History of Violence," is trying to fill Mirren's large shoes. If you've seen other cop shows, chances are you'll recognize a lot of the faces in this one.
There's Kenny Johnson from "The Shield," Brian O'Byrne from "Brotherhood" and Aidan Quinn from "Third Watch." Kirk Acevedo was a police officer in two "Law and Order" spinoffs, and Peter Gerety might be familiar from his roles as a policeman in "Brotherhood" and "Law and Order" and as a judge in "The Good Wife."
Writer Lynda La Plante's "Prime Suspect," which premiered in 1991, was innovative and complex. Each season the series focused on a suspenseful event that developed in a thought-out way, and Mirren infused the character with so much personality and specialness that the detective turned into an icon of sorts.
The NBC version, many of whose scenes were shot on the streets of New York, is violent and bloody, but lacks cigarette smoke and foul language, and merges into the existing world of actors who play police officers on TV.
"Prime Suspect." Yes Action, 10:45 P.M.'South Park' marks 15 years on air
At more than 20 years old, "The Simpsons" may be the longest-running scripted show in television history, but other yellow animated characters are also setting records for longevity. This year, Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "South Park" is marking 15 years on the air, and a new season is starting tonight on HOT Comedy Central. Assuming a recently signed contract is upheld, we can expect at least another 20 seasons.
"South Park." HOT Comedy Central, 11:55 P.M.