Jane’s last case

November 8, 2006
Murder, Booze and Misery: A Female Cop’s Last Hurrah


PARIS, Nov. 7 — “Some years just work out that way,” Helen Mirren said with almost regal understatement. “But, yes, it has been quite an incredible year.”

Indeed it has.

Now 61, with four decades of stage and screen roles under her belt, Ms. Mirren has appeared in quick succession this year as Elizabeth I on HBO, as Elizabeth II in Stephen Frears’s movie “The Queen” and now, for the last time, as Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison in the evergreen television police mini-series “Prime Suspect.”

And in each role she has triumphed, winning an Emmy Award for “Elizabeth I,” the best actress prize at the Venice International Film Festival for “The Queen” and plaudits in Britain for her valedictory bow in “Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act,” which will be broadcast in the United States on PBS’s “Masterpiece Theater” on Sunday and Nov. 19.

“It was a physically and emotionally exhausting year because they were all very demanding roles,” Ms. Mirren said in a telephone interview from Alassio, Italy, where she is preparing her next part in an adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s children’s book “Inkheart.” “But I have had three or four months’ rest since we finished ‘Prime Suspect.’ ”

With this seventh episode of “Prime Suspect,” Tennison wraps up her last murder case and heads into retirement, ending a 15-year on-and-off career as one of television’s most popular and charismatic detectives.

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