Film & DVD Review: THE COMMANDER I, II & III

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3 DISK COLLECTOR’S EDITION BOX SET

Distributed through the Contender Entertainment Group
Certificate 15 (UK)
Run time: 8 Hours

Reviewed by Jacqueline Sharp

Amanda Burton, one of the most beautiful and talented actresses on television, is excellent in her role as Commander Clare Blake in The Commander, I, II and III. She looks stunning in her uniform, as Serious Crime Group Commander: immaculately dressed; confident and well groomed. One hot lady! However there is more to her than meets the eye.

She appears to be a strong woman who is in control. She takes her job seriously as she moves into a new position controlling the Murder Review Group. Commander Blake gives her team the impression that she is no walk over. Yet they manage to unnerve her. You will enjoy the turbulent relationships she has with her team: testing loyalty; pushing boundaries; manipulation and exploitation.

In The Commander I she embarks on a love affair with James Lampton, (Hugh Bonneville), a convicted murderer turned novelist. Unfortunately their encounter turns out to be very ugly indeed. The affair opens the question why on earth would this woman in such a responsible position take such risks? The story hooks you!

The acting is very powerful and is combined with an excellent script. What is most wonderful about the script is that it is impossible to foresee what is coming next! This is one of the great strengths of the whole series three part box set.

Another strong portrayal worth watching out for in The Commander I, II and III is Matthew Marsh as DCI Chief Hedges. He revels in his role. He is crooked, rugged, convincing, intense and amusing. Marsh has made his role his own.

The story of The Commander I flows into The Commander II and III. James Lampton’s role only exists partly in these as the storyline refers to him by name only.

The focus of The Commander II and III is about a murderer who uses his computer to hack into security systems at hospitals, killing patients. He even hacks into The Metropolitan Police system blackmailing them for money.

Commander Clare Blake seems to have added pressure put upon her at this point in her life. Her sister Sara Blake, (Lizzy McInnerny), is suffering from Cancer. The pressure mounts on Clare, with her being stalked by the sister of a murder victim who was killed by Clare’s former lover James Lampton.

What is most interesting in the second and third series is how Clare’s character changes and evolves. She goes from being a strong woman one minute, to vulnerable the next, sensitive even. Then the fight is on, she has to fight back, find the strength to save her job and reputation.

Commander Blake tries to turn things around and make allies of her most difficult colleagues bringing them together to dig each other out of their pit, trying desperately to keep their jobs.

Chief Constable Stephen Blackton, (David Patrick O’Hara), is a significant character in The Commander II and III, as he had been recruited to investigate the affair with James Lampton and Commander Blake, as well as investigate the murder of Lionel Cripps, (The Commander I), a police informer. Blackton digs deep, uncovering evidence. He plays mind games, turning up the heat and keeping the pressure at boiling point.

His character is fascinating, one minute you think he has got everyone where he wants them, then next things take an unexpected turn.

As for the ending well you will just have to go out and buy the 3 part box set. It’a well worth the money. Truly outstanding acting, fantastic script. Excellent value for money.

Lynda La Plante has delivered again.

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF LYNDA LA PLANTE

Lynda La Plante, Writer and Producer of The Commander 3 part box set was born in Liverpool.

A RADA trained actress, who has had roles in dramas such as Fox, Minder and The Sweeney. She has worked with the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.

Lynda is best known for her television series including; The Governor, Trial and Retribution, Killer Net, Mind Games and more recently The Commander, I, II and III. She has had some success in America co-writing and producing The Prosecutors for NBC and Bella Mafia for CBS.

In 1982 she won a BAFTA for Widows and in later years her television series Prime Suspect picked up six BAFTA awards

La Plante Productions was formed in 1994, giving Lynda the right to maintain creative control over her work. She later formed Cougar Films in 2001. LPI was formed in 1993 which is the International division of La Plante Productions.

The Commander I

  • Devised and written by Lynda La Plante
  • Directed by Michael Whyte
  • Executive Producer, (Lorraine Goodman)
  • Associate Producer, (Liz Thorburn)
  • Police Advisers, (Raffaele D’orsi and Lucy D’Orsi) The Commander II, (VIRUS)
    The Commander III, (BLACKDOG)
  • Devised and written by Lynda La Plante
  • Produced by Lynda La Plante and Peter McAleese
  • Directed by Charles Beeson
  • Associate Producer, (Liz Thorburn) CAST LIST
  • Commander Clare Blake, (Amanda Burton)
  • DCI Hedges, (Matthew Marsh)
  • James Lampton, (Hugh Bonneville)
  • George Hart, (David Calder)
  • Eddie Myers, (Terence Hillyer)
  • DC Carol Browning, (Poppy Miller)
  • Gina Moore, (Gillian Goodman)
  • DI Jeff Dunn, (Robert Wilfort)
  • Chief Superintendent Les Branton, (Nicholas Jones)
  • Sarah Blake, (Lizzy McInnerny), (Commander II and III)
  • Chief Constable Stephen Blackton, (Patrick O’Hara)
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