by Brad Nelson 3/25/14
I want to do a mini-review here as a blog post because, frankly, the subject matter isn’t good (or bad) enough to warrant a full review. But if you have a Neflix streaming account, you might want to check out “The Bletchley Circle.”
The first season of this British series consists of a three-part series. And I believe there exists a second season as well, although it’s not on Netflix as yet. The series is based upon four women who all worked at the super-top-secret Bletchley Park during the war (that’s WWII for those is Rio Linda). Bletchley Park was England’s code-cracking unit where they broke the Nazi’s Enigma machine, among other accomplishments. And in the early parts of episode one, you see these woman working at Bletchley doing code-breaking work, although their official status (their cover) is that they are mere secretaries.
The first episode then fast forwards a few years. These four woman are all settled in with husbands and families, with at least a couple of the husbands being either abusive or a bit dodgy. In fact, this show casts most of the men in a bad light. It’s somewhat a feminist’s fantasy.
But the first couple of episodes are eminently watchable, although I think the third, and concluding, episode relies so heavily on serial-killer cliches that it’s a yawner. But building up to that yawner is an okay story.
There is a series of murders of women that are being committed. And one of the stay-at-home former code-breaking ladies (surely somewhat bored with home life) takes an interest in the case and begins applying the techniques she learned at Bletchley Park. She thinks she has detected a pattern in the killings, something the police aren’t aware of.
So Susan (played plainly and competently by Anna Maxwell Martin) “gets the band back together,” so to speak. She enlists her three other former Bletchley cohorts into her private investigation.
Even though all (or most) of the men in this series are ignoble, the female characters themselves are not obnoxious. They are believable and well-played. The problem with this series ultimately is that the writers have very little imagination. They finally present at the end the kind of serial-killer situations you’ve seen a hundred times before. But otherwise it’s a quality series. Nothing epic, but watchable if you’re into British-style drama.
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