Sunday Snapshot for Mid-August
3 days ago
Don't miss the finale of Zen starring Rufus Sewell, this Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 9pm (check local listings) on MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! In Ratking, a wealthy industrialist is kidnapped, and Zen must get him back alive at any cost. Back at the office, Zen has a new boss who is a stickler for the rules — including the one prohibiting office romance.Check out my reviews of episodes one and two if you need a refresher:
The dashing Roman detective Aurelio Zen is stuck in the hot seat when an important aristocratic family's disreputable son falls to his death from a bridge over the Tiber River. The powerful Ministry, to insulate itself against scandal, puts Zen on the case and demands his swift dismissal of the death as suicide. But the beautiful prosecutor Pirlo, exuding power and no shortage of allure, presses for a probing investigation...and a little something with Zen on the side.The episode opens with a shocking death. Umberto Ruspanti, the troubled scion of an aristocratic and well-connected family, falls from a bridge near the Tiber River to his death. Zen (Rufus Sewell) is called out to investigate in the wee hours of the morning. Poor Ruspanti's untimely demise allowed for some major Zen/Mamma (Catherine Spaak) as he gets ready to leave his apartment and discovers that his mother has made him an espresso. BESIDES the obvious fact that no man should look that good in a suit (really, where are the guys who wear suits like that?) that early in the morning, how cute was Rufus being all concerned about waking his mother up? ADORABLE. *sigh* :)
With these cross-purposed powers breathing down his neck, Zen then learns of the Cabal, a shadowy criminal organization at the highest levels of Italian society. But Zen isn't buying conspiracy theories. He's simply trying to survive his dilemma as a pawn in a potentially sinister political game.
It's a case that demands a calm and delicate touch, and the stress is showing for Zen, even at home, where the stylish reputed maverick lives...with his mother. But he's relieving some tension in the arms of the murder squad's gorgeous secretary Tania Moretti. That is, until smug colleague Vincenzo Fabri moves in, leaving Zen in the hands of the overeager Pirlo, and a case that threatens to alienate Zen from everything — and everyone — he finds important.
Based on Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen novel, Cabal stars Rufus Sewell (Middlemarch), Caterina Murino (Casino Royale), and Stanley Townsend (Sherlock).
Rufus Sewell stars as the sometimes bumbling but always stylish Aurelio Zen in Zen: Cabal, airing Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 9pm (check local listings) on MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! When a disgraced aristocrat falls to his death, Zen must determine suicide or murder even as his smug rival moves in on Tania. Caterina Murino (Casino Royale) and Ed Stoppard (Upstairs Downstairs) also star in this adaptation of Michael Dibdin's novel.Oh I can't wait. Can. Not. WAIT. :)
Meet Zen. He has an unusual (Venetian) name and, in the shark tank of Roman politics, has an even more unusual reputation — as an honest detective. Aurelio Zen, the sometimes cool, sometimes bumbling, but always impeccably stylish murder squad detective is saddled with an "unfortunate" reputation for integrity, and it hasn't exactly helped his career. Nor is his personal life thriving. In spite of advances from female suspects as and colleagues alike, he is pushing 40 and living with his doting mother after a failed marriage.
But Zen is handed a chance to play politics and salvage his career when a debauched billionaire construction magnate is murdered in his heavily fortified mountain retreat. Zen is driven to find something it seems only he wants — the truth. Well, the truth and the murder squad's new secretary, Tania Moretti.
Meanwhile, a vengeful killer is making his way to Rome, brutally executing those who sent him away to prison for murder. The final target of his vendetta: Aurelio Zen.
Adapted from Michael Dibdin's acclaimed crime novel Vendetta and from the producers of Wallander, Zen stars Rufus Sewell (Middlemarch), Caterina Murino (Casino Royale), and Ed Stoppard (Upstairs Downstairs).
Rufus Sewell stars as MASTERPIECE MYSTERY's newest sleuth Aurelio Zen in Zen, premiering Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 9pm (check local listings). In Vendetta, Zen navigates the perils of corrupt Roman politicians and his first crush since the demise of his marriage. Caterina Murino (Casino Royale), and Ed Stoppard (Upstairs Downstairs) also star in this adaptation of British crime writer Michael Dibdin's acclaimed book.Personally, I have to think this series is a guaranteed win. Even if I end up not liking the story, I still get to see Rufus in a sharp suit. I can't lose, right? *wink*
"In Sinatra's time, his fame as a singer spread from his own country to the world. His turbulent personality, often shadowed by notoriety, seemed inseparable from the style and originality of his art and gave him an essential place on the public stage of the American century. Now he is gone, taking with him all his anger, cruelty, generosity, and personal style. The music remains. In times to come, that music will continue to matter, whatever happens to our evolving popular culture....Long after his death, Charlie Parker still plays his version of the urban blues. Billie Holiday still whispers her anguish. Mozart still erupts in joy. Every day, in cities and towns all over the planet, someone discovers them for the first time and finds in their art that mysterious quality that makes the listener more human. In their work all great artists help transcend the solitude of individuals; they relieve the ache of loneliness; they supply a partial response to the urging of writer E. M. Forster: 'Only connect.' In their ultimate triumph over the banality of death, such artists continue to matter. So will Frank Sinatra."
Fair is foul and foul is fair in the hamlet of Much Deeping, where the Pale Horse Inn is run by a trio of entrepreneurial witches, and the annual celebration of the town's witch trials of 1664 is about to commence. Arriving just in time is Miss Marple (Julia McKenzie, Cranford), who has set her knitting aside to pursue the murderer of her old friend, Father Gorman. Armed with a cryptic list of names sent to her by the good clergyman just prior to his death, Miss Marple follows clues as she joins the assemblage of eccentric guests and infiltrates the witches' sanctum santorum. But when a fellow guest at the Pale Horse Inn is found dead, the tidily tailored and unassuming sleuth must determine whether black magic or something even more sinister is at work. The Pale Horse is based on the novel by Agatha Christie. (One episode; 90 minutes)The Pale Horse is another case of filmmakers taking a standalone Agatha Christie novel and inserting Miss Marple into the storyline. Sometimes this plot device works better than others. :) I haven't yet read The Pale Horse, so I have nothing with which to compare the film adaptation - and that said, I really enjoyed watching the mystery unfold. The story opens with Father Gorman (Nicholas Parsons) called to the bedside of a dying woman (Elizabeth Rider), tormented by guilt and knowledge of "wickedness." She entrusts Father Gorman with a list of names and dates, which he immediately mails to his old friend (HAHA so convenient) Miss Marple for safe-keeping, with a promise of a phone call the next day. Father Gorman's only addendum to the list is a biblical reference - Revelation 6:8 ("And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.") - a cryptic clue for Miss Marple to decipher as the next day she receives the news that the priest was brutally murdered.