For a long time, the remake that wouldn’t die in NBC development was “The Rockford Files,” but for the moment that really seems dead. Instead, the classic that NBC currently insists on trying to remake is “Prime Suspect,” the memorable ’90s British cop drama starring Helen Mirren as steely, cynical investigator Jane Tennison.
Attempts have been made in the past to transplant it to the US, but the closest we ever got was CBS’ short-lived “Under Suspicion,” in which Karen Sillas played a very Tennison-esque cop. But after starting and stopping development on this latest version, NBC has finally greenlit a pilot to be produced by Peter Berg.
I remain skeptical on the necessity of it, as what was so startling about the series in the early ’90s will feel routine right now. (Someone on Twitter pointed out the danger of getting the “I liked this the first time… when it was called ‘The Closer'” reaction.) But it really depends on the casting. A female-centric cop show in and of itself isn’t that exciting, but a female-centric cop show with a great actress at the center of it could be.
Because of Berg’s involvement, many people have suggested Connie Britton would be ideal. We certainly know how talented she is, and an American Tennison would be quite a departure from Mrs. Coach. My own personal choice would be Maura Tierney, who’s both healthy and available thanks to the failure of “The Whole Truth.” Fienberg, meanwhile, suggested either Angela Bassett or Jennifer Connelly (whose career might be at the point where she’d consider a series).
So if you’re a fan of the original (or if you’ve watched one of the many clips on YouTube) and want to see justice at least vaguely done to it here in the states, whom would you cast as Tennison? Has to be at least 40-ish, a strong presence, convincing as a loner cop, magnetic, potentially self-destructive, etc. And also has to be someone who would plausibly do a network TV show at this phase in their career. (i.e., no Sandra Bullock – not that she’d be right for the part, anyway.)