Prime Suspect is a British police procedural television drama series created by Lynda La Plante which focuses on a no-nonsense female Detective Chief Inspector, Jane Tennison, who is attached to the Metropolitan Police division, and chronicles how she survives and thrives in a male-dominated profession.
The series aired in the UK on ITV as a series of made-for-TV movies from 7 April, 1991 to 22 October, 2006. In syndication each story typically airs as four-part seasons. There are seven seasons in the series in total.
The series originally aired in South Africa on M-Net and later aired on DStv's Movie Magic 2 (which later became M-Net Movies 2) channel, as a series of standalone movies. Broadcast dates of the original run of the series are not available.
Prime Suspect premiered in South Africa on DStv's Sony Entertainment Television (SONY) channel on Monday 18 July 2011, at 20h30. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
In the early hours of a winter morning DCI John Shefford is called to a bedsit in Holborn where the brutally murdered body of a young woman has been discovered by the landlady.
While DC Jones interviews her, DS Bill Otley hands Shefford a small black diary, which he promptly pockets. The pathologist finishes his initial examination and the body, identified by Shefford as that of Delia Mornay, prostitute, is removed in a body bag.
Jane Tennison, attached to the same station as Shefford and of equal rank, is certain that she has, once again, been the victim of sexual discrimination.
Although available at the first notification of the Della Mornay incident, her supervisors preferred to fish Shefford out of a drinking club rather than call upon her to head a murder enquiry.
The following day the body of Della Mornay is examined, and semen and blood samples show the man they are looking for has a rare blood group - and there is a suspect in that category on the police computer, George Marlow, recently released from prison after serving a sentence for attempted rape.
While Shefford and his team set out to charge Marlow in record-breaking time, Tennison applies herself to routine police work and the demands of her home life with Peter Rawlins, her recently divorced live-in lover.
The situation changes dramatically when Shefford's regular diet of junk food, cigarettes and alcohol results in a massive heart attack, and Tennison, sensing that this is her moment, pressures her superiors and succeeds in taking over the enquiry.
Shefford is a hard act to follow, and his team is angry and incredulous that Tennison has been appointed his successor.
Despite this she immerses herself in the details of the investigation, uncovering errors and conflicting facts about the case which convince her that though George Marlow is an obvious and convenient suspect, there is no real evidence against him.
Then a second body is discovered, and what started as a single murder inquiry develops into an investigation stretching back over ten years...
Note: these details are for the run of the show on SONY only. Original broadcast dates for the run on M-Net and Movie Magic 2 are not available.
Season 1 (4 episodes)
Premiere: 18 July 2011 | Finale: 8 August 2011 | Mondays, 20h30
Season 2 (4 episodes)
Premiere: 15 August 2011 | Finale: 5 September 2011 | Mondays, 20h30
Season 3 (2 episodes)
Premiere: 12 September 2011 | Finale: 19 September 2011 | Mondays, 20h30
Season 4 (3 episodes)
Premiere: 26 September 2011 | Finale: 10 October 2011 | Mondays, 20h30
Season 5 (2 episodes)
Premiere: 30 January 2012 | Finale: 6 February 2012 | Mondays, 20h30
Season 6 (2 episodes)
Premiere: 13 February 2012 | Finale: 20 February 2012 | Mondays, 20h30
Season 7 (2 episodes)
Premiere: 3 March 2012 | Finale: 10 March 2012 | Saturdays, 23h00