Maria Bello: 'Prime Suspect' as tough cop
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DRAMA PREMIERE "Prime Suspect"
WHEN | WHERE Thursday night at 10 on NBC
WHAT IT'S ABOUT The guys gang up on Bello's Jane Timoney, an American cousin to Mirren's Jane Tennison from the British original seen on PBS' "Mystery!" Those were '90s London detectives; these are today's NYPD homicide sleuths, closing ranks against the "invading" babe.
Not that she isn't a tough babe -- we say in the most admiring way -- who'd pull a gun on a cabbie to make him put out a cigarette. So she takes her squad's assigned grunt work and turns it into case-solving, by paying attention and playing a feel for people. (Except maybe pushing too hard on "one of the boys" but fair boss Aidan Quinn.)
MY SAY There's texture galore in this city-shot cop hour, eyed by handheld lenses echoing "Homicide's" edge (and director Peter Berg's "Friday Night Lights" intimacy). But NBC's "Prime Suspect" also delivers the network polish of an outgoing star turn that invites the audience in. Bello ("ER") holds herself much less in reserve than Mirren's portrayal, the career-making saintedness of which may prevent some fans from welcoming Bello's robust take on its own terms.
At least Bello's not a personal-life train wreck, now the female-cop cliche it wasn't when Mirren battled the old boys' club.
BOTTOM LINE Prime police work and workplace wars.