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Wire in the Blood - The Complete Fourth Season - dramatic television series DVD / sci-fi fantasy television series review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Robson Green, Mark Letheren, Emma Handy, Hermione Norris
  Studio: Koch Vision
DVD release: 05 February 2008   Runtime: 344 minutes
(4 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Stereo - English), Subtitles (English, Spanish, French), 22 episodes, "The Nights of Camelot" featurette, Gag reel

Wire in the Blood is a British TV series that can best be described as "CSI: London" with a dash of Monk thrown in. There are obvious parallels to the CSI series: quick flyover shots of London, ominous music in minor keys, and (par for the course) gruesome corpses.

However, Wire in the Blood is not totally a forensic show. Instead, the series revolves around Dr. Tony Hill (Robson Green), a clinical psychiatrist whose gift (or sometimes curse) is a preternatural understanding of the criminal mind: he can read a crime scene and understand what the killer did - and what his or her motivations, however twisted, were.

The Season 4 Collection of Wire in the Blood contains four 90-minute episodes. I was somewhat surprised by how each differed somewhat in tone and pacing, but each eventually centers on Dr. Hill thinking "outside the box," uncovering the killer, and eventually convincing Detective Inspector Alex Fielding (Simone Lahbib) that he is right.

"Episode One: Time to Murder and Create" concerns the kidnapping and murder of young women who have mistakenly agreed to meet with their contact on an Internet S&M chat site; I found this to be the weakest episode on the DVD. First, the victims were all model-gorgeous, and I simply found it hard to believe that they would be drawn so carelessly to such a sleazy site. It might have been more believable and effective if the women were somewhat plainer looking. Second, I found out that there was a significant cast change between seasons 3 and 4, as DI Fielding replaced Dr. Hill's previous main contact in Seasons 1-3. Thus, the first half of the episode is, out of necessity, devoted to establishing the relationship between Dr. Hill and his new contact, which keeps the episode from going "full throttle" into the story.

"Episode Two: Torment" is a significant improvement. A series of gruesome murders of prostitutes mirror those committed by one Derek Tyler, who has already been caught and placed in confinement for the criminally insane. When the episode first started, I feared it would be too much of a Silence of the Lambs copycat. However, the story gains momentum and improves rapidly, with Fielding trying to track down the killer on the streets and Dr. Hill, suspecting Tyler holds the key, picking the brain of the now-mute killer. What works best is a key plot twist (which I don't dare reveal) that remarkably (but believably) turns the killer into a somewhat sympathetic character.

"Episode Three: Hole in the Heart" is the most sensational (and by far the goriest) episode in the set. Members of a secret sect are being murdered one by one in ways that mimic the deaths of religious martyrs, including John the Baptist. Furthermore, the killer of each victim is found dead himself at the scene. With no killer to catch, it is up to Dr. Hill to read the crime scene and uncover who - or what - motivated the killers.

"Episode Four: Wounded Surgeon," perhaps the darkest episode of these four, focuses most personally on Dr. Hill and his inner torments. His first conviction comes back to haunt him when Jason Eglee, convicted of rape and attempted murder - his victim still in a coma after nine years - is up for parole. Dr. Hill is convinced he is guilty, yet new evidence suggests strongly otherwise. This is also the slowest episode of the season, as the main crime story shares the stage with Dr. Hill's neurosis over missed opportunities in his life, which wash over him when he encounters an old friend at a high school reunion.

Overall, Wire in the Blood is not a great or totally original show, as it is clearly influenced by CSI. However, it is definitely worth watching, particularly Episodes 2 and 3. Dr. Hill is an interesting character you will start to root for, and DI Fielding, who has the rather thankless task of being Dr. Hill's foil, is likeable as well as good at her job. They work well together.

[NOTE: I found no extras or commentary on the disc, nor could I find any hidden Easter Eggs. While not required, some extras would have been a nice touch.]
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reviewed by Trent Daniel
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