Thursday, December 9, 2010

If he had a brain cell, it'd be lonely

As an avid reader of mystery stories, I love anything featuring private detectives.  Most mystery series on TV seem to focus on policemen and women as they attempt to solve crimes.  I was therefore excited to discover the series Vincent, which features Ray Winstone as a former cop turned private investigator. The series I watched was from 2005 and contained 4 episodes.  There was a season 2, so I'd be interested to see it as well if it's ever released in the US.

We drop in on Vincent just as his personal life is going down the drain.  His long-time girlfriend Cathy has moved in with another man (a surprisingly mild-mannered Phillip Glenister) and is pressuring him to sell their jointly-owned flat.  Vincent still has a thing for Cathy and tries to convince her to come back to him, but she's having none of it.

Vincent has an office with 4 assistants who perform various duties.  In the four stories presented in the first series, the team investigates a cheating girlfriend (with tragic consequences), a young man's death in a nightclub, an autistic young man who might have killed a woman, and a cocaine distribution ring.  While the stories are interesting, there are quite a few events that make the series not quite as believable as it should be.  In the episode where the team is investigating the young man's death in a club, Vincent and his co-workers are threatened by a menacing, powerful crime boss, whose son is suspected of the crime.  By the end of the episode, the crime boss has inexplicably decided to confide in Vincent (rather than follow through with trying to kill him, which he has been doing non-stop up to this point).  In the final episode, Vincent gets a bit to close to a beautiful, jet-setting cocaine dealer, and after knowing each other a few days, she apparently decides to give up a life of crime to be with Vincent.  And let's not forget the fact that the not-exactly-svelte, generally rumpled, aging Vincent is inexplicably irresistible to beautiful women (even if they are sometimes annoyed by his habit of having to answer phone calls and rush off after exchanging two sentences with them).  There are also story lines which are developed, but never resolved.  In one case, Vincent's young assistant is sent to follow a teen aged boy who is getting into trouble and suspected of doing drugs.  The tape of the son's activities is shown to his father, who is upset, but that's the end of that story.  What happened as a result of the father seeing the tape?  We never find out.

I did mostly enjoy the series, even if I found the story lines to be a bit far-fetched.  Still, it was interesting to see the gadgets that the team employed in their investigations, and the relationships between the members of the team.  Small bits and pieces were dropped from time to time about Vincent's employees  (the two female assistants have children/former partner problems), so it would be interesting to see if these events came into play later in the series.
Final Verdict for Vincent:  Three Gherkins, for a generally enjoyable look at a modern private detective

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