Nazis and Serial Killers

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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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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5 Responses to Nazis and Serial Killers

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, the basic idea — that an amateur might be able to see a pattern that the police don’t — seems reasonable enough. Serial killers were hardly unheard of, but most people didn’t notice them and the concept of “serial killer” didn’t come in until the 1970s. And code-breaking (though heavily mathematical) often required some degree of inspired intuition. (Interestingly, Zodiac’s coded letter was broken not by the NSA or other professionals, but by a clever amateur. See Robert Graysmith’s book on the Zodiac killings.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Well, the basic idea — that an amateur might be able to see a pattern that the police don’t — seems reasonable enough.

      They over-play that angle in the series and don’t move onto anything else. But the premise itself is sound enough. A genius (and some of these woman have Spider-Man like super-talents) might pick up on something.

      It’s just that they don’t develop much of a plot. But the characters are good. The dialogue is good. The acting is good. The production values are good. They just needed an insertion of imagination into the storytelling.

      One aspect of the man-hating theme in this that makes some sense is when the women ponder that it is only (or mostly) men who do these horrible things. And they’re right.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I saw the first two or three episodes, but couldn’t keep up my interest in the rest.

    Frankly, I am getting tired of most of the feminist rubbish which passes for entertainment in TV and the movies. The story is always how some poor woman is being abused and unappreciated by her boss because she is a woman. This no doubt happens, but what the writers don’t seem to get is that bosses everywhere abuse and undermine people who work for them regardless of gender. Welcome to the world as equals. Life is a bitch and then you die.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I saw the first two or three episodes, but couldn’t keep up my interest in the rest.

      Yes, it is that kind of show…lukewarm. But it is quality compared to most of the crap on TV. I hope I gave a taste for what the show is about.

      Too bad they didn’t use this good cast to better effect. They really don’t do that much but mumble scientific jargon about patterns and such.

      The feminist stuff is annoying. I can’t find any writer credits, but I’m guessing this was written by your typical British emasculated man.

      Much like “Gravity,” the series lacked depth. I posit that the Left has been sucking the soul of out cinema for decades now. Yes, they made bad movies back in the 1930’s as well. But they were bad for a reason…low budgets and assembly-line timelines. Today’s movies have huge budgets, often take years to make, and have available the best talent that money can buy. But it isn’t buying much. And I posit again that it is because the Left has torn the aesthetic soul out of man. When one’s normal thinking is a cliché, what is left for the imagination to get hold of?

      • Timothy Lane says:

        My solution to crappy TV is not to watch it. I watch MLB games, some movies, and the evening shows on Fox News Channel. I also listen to a lot of music and some radio (basically Rush Limbaugh). And I spend a LOT of time on the computer and reading. For some reason, I’m able to get by without watching series TV.

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