RogerBW's Blog

Julie Enfield Investigates: Terminus 29 June 2019

1994 police procedural audio in five parts, by Nick Fisher. A mutilated corpse is found on the railway tracks; Detective Superintendent Julie Enfield tries to work out what happened.

Which seems straightforward and generic enough, but the reason I paid attention was Imelda Staunton as Enfield. Alas, she's the main reason to listen; the plot offers no innovations to the experienced mystery reader, and the the investigation in the reader's head jumps straight from "we have no idea at all who it might be" to "it's very obviously this person".

Then the explanation undergoes a huge swerve in the final episode, which is presumably meant to cause the listener's sympathies to undergo a sudden change; but really, however justified they may feel they are, serial killers are still serial killers.

Enfield herself is a Tough Female Cop with a chaotic home life, having to prove herself in a male-dominated world; she's very clearly been devised in the wake of another police series with a strong dramatic lead, Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren (which started in 1991). But of course these are just five half-hour episodes, audio only, and so there's less scope for building up depth of character. Instead we get broad strokes: old and infirm father, pregnant dog, and so on.

On the other hand, while the writing is pedestrian, it's competent, and Fisher does a reasonable job of building up tension. Even so, it's more of a time-filler than a work for the ages.

Freely available via iPlayer.

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