The Great Wall of Silence
Prime Suspect continues with episode 11, “The Great Wall of Silence.” While dealing with problems at home, Jane has to also solve a murder that may involve gambling.
Tonight’s episode, the third-to-last in our continued Prime Suspect deathwatch, is a welcome return to drama worth watching, making it the first decent episode since mid-November. It follows the investigation of a man murdered in the basement of a Chinatown restaurant. The dead guy is one James Pageant (or possibly Pagett), a rich businessman with no apparent reason for turning up dead in this place. Timoney and Velerio immediately suspect a connection with an illegal poker game that meets upstairs, but all of the witnesses vanish when a powerful attorney for the Chinatown Benevolent Business Owners Association (or something like that) arrives. When they interview his wife, she insists that Pageant’s gambling days were behind him and that she always knew when he was lying in the past.
Duffy has mandatory therapy after a shooting, and he focuses on how he was thinking what his underwear left on the bathroom floor after his morning shower would say about him.
The investigation is a good MacGuffin, although it led to the awful and inconsequential pun of the title. As it turns out, the vanishing witnesses are as unimportant to the story as the connection to Chinatown. Forget it, Jake. It does lead to Timoney being dressed down by the Chief of Detectives, who reminds her that he reports to the Chief of Police, who reports to the mayor, who needs the votes that the Chinatown Benevolent etc. delivers in the next election. While I doubt that this conversation, fraught as it is with the smell of potential ethical violations, would happen in the open like it did, I like the reminder that Timoney’s work takes place in an institution that does not necessarily share her priorities.