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James Hibberd

A Final 'Suspect'

July 26, 2006 6:58 PM

Helen Mirren was asked if like Cher and Barbra Streisand, who seem to have farewell concerts every few years, the seventh installment of Masterpiece Theatre’s “Prime Suspect” miniseries was really the last.

“It’s definitive,” Mirren said at the PBS series’ press tour session Wednesday.

“In the real world these people don’t go on forever,” she said. “I like the idea of bookends. It began and it ends.”

The clip showed the iconographic Chief Inspector Jane Tennison in the last few weeks on the London police force before her retirement. Her relationship with booze appears to be making her forgetful, but Tennison is determined to solve one last crime before ending her career.

This had critics wondering if Mirren’s character, would die in “Prime Suspect 7,” a detail Mirren had no intention of giving up.

Mirren hadn’t been suffering from any melancholy about the end of “Prime Suspect,” until she saw the clip PBS showed at the press tour session.

“I didn’t expect it, but just now, funnily enough,” she said.

“Prime Suspect” has a generous production schedule, considering for the current installment there were 11 weeks to shoot the four hour miniseries. Mirren didn’t know how much was spent on “Prime Suspect,” but “certainly I get paid more” than she did when the first installment was filmed over a decade ago, she said.

Despite being a producer on “Prime Suspect” this time around, Mirren said she didn’t involve herself in the writing and directing.

“I’m always a little hands off,” she said. I never want a writer and director coming on board feeling they have to stick to a format.”


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