Commander Adam Dalgliesh
by P.D. James - A PBS "Mystery" Series

DVD Movie review by Jules Brenner
Koch Vision release (DVD), 6/7/05
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One of the best set of police procedurals ever presented on PBS' Mystery series is now available as a collection on DVD. Based on the writing of master English author, P.D. James, it features Commander Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard as portrayed by the singular Roy Marsden. He is the central figure, a complex man who struggles in his personal and philosophical life to maintain balance and understanding of the extremes of human nature. He is aptly described as a smart detective with a poet's soul - observant, intelligent, intuitive, and Marsden fiercely lives up to the characterization. The good commander is a man you'd like to get to know.

Use these title links to acquire single issues or the entire series at discount with free shipping):

A Mind to Murder
Commander Dalgliesh finds himself caught in a whirlwind of political intrigue, blackmail and deceit when he is called to investigate a savage killing at the Steen Clinic, a discreet psychiatric and drug abuse treatment center for the elite. He arrives at the scene under strict orders to conduct a quick investigation. As the pressure mounts to name the murderer, Dalgliesh senses a cover up among his superiors, hostility from the staff and a growing fear that the killer will strike again. (101 minutes)

The Black Tower
A reckless move in a drug raid leaves Commander Dalgliesh badly wounded and with time off. When he arrives to visit a friend at Toynton Grange, Dalgliesh thinks he's on vacation. Instead, a string of highly mysterious deaths catapult him dead-center into a maze of mystery, blackmail and murder. Suspects abound, but there is only one witness - the brooding black tower at the top of the cliff. (287 minutes on 2 disks)

Shroud for a Nightingale
Worried by the sinister political implications of his current murder case. Scotland Yard's Adam Dalgliesh is off to a teaching hospital for nurses to interview a prime suspect, critically ill arms dealer Martin Dettinger. The hospital, he discovers is a hotbed of blackmail teeming with mysterious motives. At the somber adjoining training wing and nurses' residence, the risk of death seems greater than in any ward. Two young nurses are suddenly poisoned to death - one of them right before Dalgliesh's eyes. Not originally assigned to these cases and against orders from superiors, Dalgliesh takes them on. With trademark cool, the shrewd, incisive detective is soon navigating a labyrinth of intrigues, jealousies and some very dark secrets. Someone is trying to bury the past and is ready, willing and able to kill again to keep it from being resurrected. (1984 - 251 minutes on 2 disks)

Cover Her Face
Dalgliesh is called in to investigate the murder of a drug dealer found strangled in the basement of a respectable London book club. His key witness in the case turns out to beautiful young single mother, Sally Jupp, on a day visit to London to "introduce" her eight-week-old son to former employers and co-workers at the book club. The investigation switches back and forth between the urban drug scene, where one detective has already been killed, and the country residence of the socially conscious Maxie family, where the recently employed young woman has made more enemies than friends. As mysterious deaths pile up, Dalgliesh is immersed in a sea of suspects, aggressive, evasive answers and deeply hidden motives. (291 minutes on 2 disks)

Unnatural Causes
A mutilated corpse, its hands severed at the wrist, is found floating in a dinghy at sea. Investigating the bizarre death, Dalgliesh is drawn into an increasingly macabre murder case and a multi-million dollar currency scam. He quickly discovers that the victim had many enemies, all of them with a strong motive for wishing him dead - and all with cast iron alibis. As the case deepens, Dalgliesh's dedication to finding the murderer threatens his relationship with the woman he loves, puts her life at risk and ultimately finds him in a desperate fight to save his own. (1994 - 103 minutes)

Death of an Expert Witness
Dalgliesh has been hunting a "back seat strangler" in London. When a young woman is found strangled, her body sprawled over the back seat of a car abandoned in a bleak country quarry, he is rushed to the scene. Convinced that this murder is not linked to his investigation, Dalgliesh returns to London only to be urgently recalled to investigate when a senior forensic scientist is found murdered at a government facility not far from the quarry. Dalgliesh has to break through the wall of fear surrounding the tight-knit - and tight-lipped - staff before he can bring the killer, or killers, to justice. (295 minutes on 2 disks)

A Taste For Death
When threatening letters arrive at his fashionable London home, prominent Government Minister Sir Paul Berowne calls his old friend Adam Dalgliesh for assistance. Berowne's own household is a challenge. His exquisite wife makes no secret of her adulterous affair with a fashionable surgeon. His only daughter, deeply involved in left-wing politics, has rejected her Conservative father. He is even resented by his own, strong-willed mother, whose favored son was killed in an IRA terrorist ambush. Dalgliesh has barely started on the case when a series of bizarre deaths turn the informal investigation into an urgent assignment. (1992 - 289 minutes on 2 disks)

[The DVD packages include biographies, bibliographies, cast and credits. Encoding is for Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. These DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. 4x3 aspect ratio, Dolby.]

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