Framed: The Complete Series – Review

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By Sarah Morgan

Lynda La Plante. If the only thing she’d ever done was create Prime Suspect, she’d be a crime thriller legend.

But, since ditching acting in favour of writing in the 1980s, she’s been behind a string of TV hits, from Widows to Trial and Retribution, and has penned numerous bestselling novels too.

So, back in 1992, when Framed was first broadcast by ITV, there was plenty of excitement surrounding it, particularly as it also starred the then-current James Bond actor, Timothy Dalton.

I was one of those who couldn’t wait for it to be aired – I was a huge Bond and Dalton fan, and the chance to see my hero in something new was almost too much for my teenage brain to deal with.

framed dvd review

“Trouble at home”

But when I finally saw it, I remember being slightly disappointed. Not by Dalton himself, but by the plot. I haven’t seen Framed since, so when the chance to review it came up, I couldn’t resist – would it still fall flat, or would time have been kinder to it?

Dalton is cast against type as villain Eddie Myers, who faked his own death and has been living it up on the Costa Del Crime in Spain ever since. Holidaying copper Larry Jackson (David Morrissey) spots him, reports what he’s seen to his superiors, and helps bring him back to face justice in Blighty.

But Myers is a clever so-and-so. He spots a weakness in Larry he thinks he can exploit, so announces he’ll only speak to him while handing over valuable information about other villains who are still at large. Larry loves it, and is soon charmed by Myers; while spending an increasing amount of time with him, he neglects his wife and family, causing trouble at home.

However, there’s even worse to come when his colleagues begin to suspect that Larry might not be the straight-arrow they all believed him to be.

framed dvd review cover“Mind-boggling twists”

Although Dalton and Morrissey dominate the screen, there are some good supporting performances, including from Timothy West as Larry’s boss and Penelope Cruz, aged just 18, as Myers’ moll.

Myers is one of La Plante’s greatest villains, a sly so-and-so who can charm the birds from the trees, and Dalton is well-cast. A young David Morrissey holds his own as Larry, and yet there’s still something about the story that doesn’t quite work. Perhaps it’s the number of mind-boggling twists that’s off-putting – especially as, while thinking about it later, they don’t seem to hold water and raise more questions than they answer.

The whole series, at around four hours, feels a little long too. In the US, it was cut down into a two-hour TV movie, and I can’t help but think that might work better. By the time the end credits roll, you’re hankering after Jane Tennison – it would certainly be interesting to see how she’d handle Myers.

‘Framed: The Complete Series’ is released on DVD by Network


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