WAKING THE DEAD

(Series 4)

Starring: Trevor Eve, Claire Goose, Wil Johnson, Holly Aird, and Sue Johnston.

Format: Cable TV 2-hour program on BBCAmerica (Monday Nights).

Genre: Mystery/Crime

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

As far as I can tell, none of this excellent series are available on video or DVD. If you want to watch the show, you have to track it down on BBCAmerica on Monday nights. If you don't have access to the BBCAmerica channel on cable, you need to find a friend who does and have them tape the program for you. And if you do have BBCAmerica and want to see the episodes again, you have to have the foresight to videotape them when they air. I'm embarassed to admit that I get so involved in watching the program that I forget to tape it, even though I generally watch each episode twice, since the BBCA likes to show each episode two or three times on one night. (Currently each episode airs three times. 6 p.m., 9 p.m., and midnight. Check your local listings, as they say.)

Since this is the fourth series, the main characters have worked through some personal and professional problems together though they still have some rough edges. Chief Inspector Boyd (Trevor Eve) heads the Cold Case Unit. Mel Silver (Claire Goose) and Spencer Jordan (Wil Johnson) are the two detectives assigned to the unit. Dr. Frankie Wharton (Holly Aird) is the forensic expert and Dr. Grace Foley (Sue Johnston) is the psychologist and profiler.

In this series, one of the episodes involves several unsolved contract killings from years ago. The case is reopened when the murder weapon used in the unsolved cases is used again, in a new murder. This was an absorbing story, with a sympathetic killer and a very striking use of a flashback in the telling of the story. Another episode features a case that remained unsolved for 15 years until a young man injured in a traffic accident turns out to be one of two children abducted 15 years earlier. The boy's twin sister is still missing as the Cold Case squad tries to unravel where the boy has been all of this time and where his sister might be.

Other cases have political overtones, ritual sado-masochistic killings, and a killer by proxy. Each case could very well be "ripped from the headlines" or written up in your local newspaper. The crimes are somtimes chilling and always compelling. It's interesting to watch as the team uncovers bits and pieces of information backed by forensic evidence that leads to the solution of the crime.

One aspect of this series that I like is that the writers incorporate a variety of crimes in the various storylines. It's not just murder after murder after murder...although there are quite a few unsolved murders that the unit investigates.

I am fascinated by the mix of detective work, psychological profiling, and forensics that is interwoven through each unsolved or "cold case" the unit takes on. Unlike some TV crime series, each case on "Waking the Dead" seems unique. Some are more difficult to unravel or follow than others but each has enough twists, turns, and dead ends to keep most crime fans involved with the story.

I highly recommend this series and I hope that one day soon, it will be available on DVD.

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