Acorn TV has released The Commander Complete Collection on DVD. The show is a British crime drama that ran from 2003 to 2008. It is written by Lynda La Plante, the creator of Prime Suspect. Fans of crime stories, strong female leads and plot-heavy thrillers will love this new release coming to stores January 16th.
The Commander stars Amanda Burton as main character Clare Blake. Blake is a no-nonsense professional who after 20 years on the force has reached the top. She is New Scotland Yard’s highest-ranking female officer as the Serious Crime Group Commander and head of the Murder Review Team. Blake throws herself into her work, the lines between private and professional life blurring throughout the series. In her search for justice, she gets reckless often and receives much attention from her superiors who don’t like that way of working on cases. Will her offbeat methods cost her the job she worked so hard to get? Will it even take her life? You’ll just have to watch to know for sure.
I like shows where the lead character is driven, especially ones where the goal obscures their own self-preservation instinct. Clare Blake is such a character. She is very measured and methodical. Claire is very serious about what she does and her thoughts never leave her work. She gets too close to her cases which leaves her vulnerable, and that is where a lot of the drama from the show comes in. The series is a very interesting view of the character and Amanda Burton does a fantastic job bringing her to life.
If you have ever seen the series Silent Witness it’s similar to that, Amanda Burton plays the lead in it as well. If you like your murder with a bit of romance and lies then I think you will enjoy this one. Crime procedurals have known by now who their audience is and I think The Commander plays to those strengths.
There are tons of recognizable guest stars on the show, especially if you are familiar with other modern British TV. Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), James D’Arcy (Dunkirk), Saskia Reeves (Wolf Hall), David Patrick O’Hara (The Departed), Yorick van Wageningen (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Celia Imrie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Simon Williams (Upstairs, Downstairs). Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey), Matt Day (Rake) and Greg Wise (The Crown) to name a few of the guest appearances.
One of the complaints of the show apparently is based on the decisions of the main character, Clare Blake. I think it is too spoilery to go into detail but let’s just say that some do not approve of her methods of getting information. These viewers say that it’s too unrealistic. I agree that certain things are not believable, but how many shows are written with those types of issues? I think if you can overlook the fact that The Commander is not a realistic, documentary look at the police force then it can become more entertaining. Or at least it is an interesting look at that type of character in the situations that she finds herself in.
Even though this is a valid criticism for why some don’t like the show, I didn’t feel it was a detriment to the story or the actor’s portrayal. The Commander is shot professionally and looks like what you would expect a modern moderately budgeted television production to be. The Commander Complete Collection has all 17 episodes on 7 DVDs for about 990 minutes of entertainment. These are uncut, presented in widescreen, and with English subtitles.
Acorn TV gives us a nice arrangement of some special features that give us more insight from the people behind the scenes and the creative forces at work on The Commander. These include:
Interview with star Amanda Burton – 7 minutes
Character retrospective with creator Lynda La Plante – 9 minutes
Supporting cast featurette – 14 minutes
The Commander Final Thoughts:
The Commander Complete Collection is a compelling police mystery show. If you are already a fan this nice slim package will be perfect on your shelf. Unsure viewers can always watch the first few episodes on Acorn Streaming to get an idea if the show’s tone and direction are right for them. I recommend this DVD release for anyone who would love to own the complete series in their collection. You can purchase it here from Amazon or other fine retailers.
Note: This DVD was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgment or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.