HAMISH MACBETH

Starring: Robert Carlyle

Format: Cable TV 1-hour program on BBCAmerica (Monday Nights).

Genre: Mystery/Crime

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

According to an interview with Robert Carlyle posted on the BBCAmerica website, this is the third series of Hamish Macbeth and "probably the last." The actor hasn't completely ruled out another Hamish series but if there isn't he says he "won't play a cop again for awhile." (A "series" in British TV -- or a"season" as we call it in the States -- usually consists of 6 episodes rather than the 11 or 13 episodes we see from U.S. shows.)

First let me say that as an actor, I generally like Robert Carlyle. I loved him in "The Full Monty" and he's been in several other films and TV shows where he's done an outstanding job. I still remember the creepy and frightening killer he played on one of the episodes in the "Cracker" series. He gave a very haunting performance. However, that said, I'm having trouble getting him to fit into the Scottish Highlands as a laid-back cop who does just enough police work to keep his job without doing enough to rate a promotion or transfer. For me, he doesn't fit the part. I would have cast someone like Gordon Kennedy (the beefy Scottish Sgt. in the BBCAmerica series Redcap--the crime drama from a couple of years ago set on an army base in Germany featuring the special military police investigative unit known for their red berets.)

I haven't seen any references in print to this series being based upon the wonderful books written by M.C. Beaton, and I haven't been able to catch all of the end credits yet because they get scrunched to one side to make room for previews of upcoming shows, or advertisements, or something, but even when I was reading those tales, years ago, I fancied Hamish as someone a little more stout and well... hearty. I can't help it. I keep expecting Carlyle to be the bad guy, not the cop.

But putting all of that aside for a moment, I must say I do enjoy the scenery, especially the coastline, and the pace of the countryside. I haven't quite gotten used to all of the supporting characters but I think they'll grow on me with time. So, too, will Carlyle, I suppose. In the meantime, the storylines have been intriguing enough to smooth over my nitpickings about Carlyle not fitting my idea of a proper laid-back Scotsman. And much as I gripe about it, I'll be tuning in again on Monday to watch the next episode.

Currently the show is airing on BBCAmerica at 7 p.m. Eastern time, and at 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. Pacific Standard time on Monday nights. Be sure to check your local listings for additional airings scheduled in your area.

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