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.
Season 5 premiered on SONY on Monday 30 January 2012, at 20h30. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are two episodes in the fifth season.
DS Jane Tennison has been transferred from The Met to Greater Manchester Police where who has to do a stint as a community relations officer at local schools. When she confronts her boss, DCS Ballinger, he gives her the shooting of a young drug dealer to investigate.
She goes to the scene of the crime and meets what is to become her investigating team: DI Clare Devanney, DI Rankine and DC Henry Adeliyeka.
They believe that, aside from the dead man outside the flat, known as Nazir, a wounded man is still inside the apartment, now surrounded by armed police.
The local drug lord known as 'The Street,' waltzes up to the flat with his hands in the air and brings out the badly wounded Michael Johns, a figure not known to the police.
However, they are intrigued by The Street's involvement and the dead man is a known dealer who worked for him.
In the hospital neither Johns nor his girlfriend, Janice, are prepared to say who shot him; the police have a long list of potential suspects.
Over dinner that night, Ballinger and Tennison discuss the shooting and, after one glass of wine too many, they fall into each other's arms and spend the night together.
The following day, Tennison and her team are presented with an unexpected confession. Campbell Lafferty, Janice's 14 year-old brother, claims he shot Nazir. Michael laughs when Tennison tells him that Campbell has confessed and both are left wondering just who the real killer is.
Campbell is released, but minutes later the police discover that he probably is the real killer and they go to find him. But someone else has found him first; his mother tells Tennison that he was abducted on the way home.
The Street is responsible and he has taken Campbell to a disused old Victorian swimming pool where blood already smears the pool walls. Johns is also there and The Street, knowing that Campbell has killed his drug dealer, Nazir, expects vengeance to be meted out on the boy by the wounded Michael.
Campbell Lafferty is dead. Tennison and Rankine are called to the identification of the body and are rounded on by Campbell's mother.
Returning to the incident room after removing themselves from such an uncomfortable situation, the hunt is on the find the place Campbell was killed - his body was dumped in an old lavatory.
After an appeal on the local 'Crimewatch' program provides little additional information, Tennison calls in The Street and Michael Johns for questioning - a decision Devanney questions.
The Street reveals little, seeing the interview as a game, but Michael is caught in a troubled silence.
Rankine, meanwhile has been going through The Street's old files trying to discover how he manages to constantly be one step ahead of the police and he uncovers the fact that Devanney's father is a notorious criminal and she could be The Street's police connection.
In custody, The Street is using his right to a phone call to try and connect a friendly face - that is revealed to be not Devanney, but Ballinger, who has left his mobile in his car and is presently in the arms of Tennison, who has no idea of his betrayal.
In the morning, The Street is released, but the police continue their questioning of Michael Johns, who is about to implicate The Street in the murder of Campbell when Ballinger rushes into the interview room and stops her.
Tennison is furious and leaves the room - only to meet Rankine who has now uncovered the link between The Street and Ballinger. Tennison is appalled - and hurt - and realises that to get Ballinger she has to get The Street.
But The Street has abducted Janice in order to blackmail Michael.
He needs to talk to Ballinger and in a dramatic climax in a disused railway station, the main protagonists come face to face as The Street holds a gun on Tennison and Ballinger has a choice to make - who will live and who will die?
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