A Mind to Kill Series 3
Recurring character(s): DCI Noel Bain (Philip Madoc), Hannah Bain (Ffion Wilkins), Medical Examiner Margaret Edwards (Sharon Morgan), DS Leila Hamoudi (Sara McGaughey), DI Frankie Butt (Elen Bowman)
Original air date(s): 12/29/1998, 03/24/2001, 05/19/2001 and 05/26/2001, 08/16/2002 to 09/06/2002
DVD Date: 04/19/2011
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 776 minutes
— ♦ —
Review: This third (and final) set of discs for the Welsh crime drama A Mind To Kill actually spans multiple seasons and different production companies ... and the quality of the episodes seems to reflect this to some degree. I enjoyed the first two seasons of this series, and after the cliffhanger conclusion of the second season, was anxious to see how it would all play out.
The first episode on this set ("Shadow Falls") originally aired in late 1998, about a year after the conclusion of the second season, and is, for the most part, a stand-alone episode. Indeed, it is typically listed by various sources as the third season all on its own. DCI Noel Bain is investigating an apparent suicide in a remote part of Wales, and though the evidence seems to confirm it to be the cause of a young man's death, he's suspicious nonetheless. Most of the cast from the previous seasons are gone, as is the mobile crime lab, but I was grateful to see that Bain's daughter, Hannah, is present as is his colleague and potential romantic partner, pathologist Margaret Edwards. A good, solid episode to start this set.
The second episode ("Box"), which didn't originally air until Spring 2001, more than two years after the first, seems to give a new look and feel to the series, which is fine as far as it goes. New production company, new opinions on where to take the series. I get that. But what's really disturbing here is how awful this screenplay is. The storyline is beyond derivative, the pacing painfully slow, the direction awkward and amateurish. The only aspect that saves this episode is Hannah graduating from the police academy, joining her father on the force, promising to be a interested (and interesting) player in all subsequent episodes.
Episodes three ("The Little House in the Forest") and four ("Sound Bites) are just all right, plot-wise, not particularly special or memorable. But they are brightened by the inclusion of a new partner for Bain, DS Leila Hamoudi (played by Sara McGaughey, who also -- I think -- played a villain in an episode during the second season). Hannah is still around, her role being to challenge her father and keep the investigations in perspective. Overall, I really enjoyed the dynamic that Bain has with his daughter, and am glad she has such a prominent part to play in this final set.
The last four episodes ("The Inner Life of Strangers", "Colour Blind", "Engineer", and "Blood and Water"), though uneven in places, are consistently better than the few that precede them. Another new partner is introduced for Bain, DI Frankie Butt (Elen Bowman), who I didn't like nearly as much as DS Hamoudi ... though I have to say by the final episode, I did have more respect for her character.
In some respects, it's unfortunate that this fine series seems to have had such a tumultuous final few seasons on air. Though the new producers seem to have stumbled here and there, particularly with episodes 2 through 4 in this set, they got something oh so very right: the series closes in an appropriate manner that will no doubt make viewers smile and reflect that, when all is said and done, this was a series worth watching.
Below is a synopsis of each episode, provided by the studio. (Note: the order given on the Acorn website is not the same as on the actual discs).
"Shadow Falls": Investigating a suspicious suicide in a tightly knit community, Bain wants to close the case and go home. Prompted by his daughter, Hannah, he digs deeper, unearthing a dark secret that binds three couples together.
"Box": Bain tracks a sexually disturbed killer who holds his victims captive. At the same time, he copes with a new constable at the station: his daughter, Hannah, whose courage and inexperience soon put her in danger.
"The Little House in the Forest": When a 15-year-old girl is found murdered, a pedophile living alone in the forest is easy to blame. But Bain knows that simple answers arenít always the right ones, and he steps in to help a young colleague solve the case.
"Sound Bites": Abandoned by his ambitious father and left to care for his mentally ill mother, the son of a local politician vows revenge. Bain follows a trail of fire to learn the truth about the familyís past.
"The Inner Life of Strangers": When a successful pop singer suddenly retires and comes home to Wales, not everyone applauds her decision. Then two of her closest business associates are murdered, and unless Bain can stop the killer, she may be next.
"Colour Blind": The death of a young Pakistani man looks like a hate crime, but is it? Racial tension is the last thing the community needs, and itís up to Bain and his team to keep the situation from escalating into full-scale violence.
"Engineer": A couple commits a desperate act when their only daughter falls into a coma after a routine surgery. All they want is a public admission of guilt from the surgeon; all Bain wants is to prevent another tragedy.
"Blood and Water": A young pregnant woman is killed by her jealous foster brother. A witness to the crime wonít come forward, and the killerís brother is a policeman who covers for him. With this kind of stonewalling, will Bain get his man?
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