Prime Suspect 1973

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Prime Suspect 1973
Prime Suspect 1973 title card.png
Also known asPrime Suspect: Tennison (US)
GenreCrime drama
Based onTennison
by Lynda La Plante
Written byGlen Laker
Directed byDavid Caffrey
StarringStefanie Martini
Sam Reid
Blake Harrison
Alun Armstrong
Ruth Sheen
Jessica Gunning
Andrew Brooke
ComposerCarly Paradis
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Executive producersCamilla Campbell
Robert Wulff-Cochrane
Rebecca Eaton
ProducerRhonda Smith
Production locationsHackney, Inner London, England
EditorStuart Gazzard
Running time45 minutes
Production companiesITV Studios
Noho Film and Television
DistributorITV Studios Global Entertainment
Original networkITV, STV, UTV
Picture format1080i (18:9 HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original release2 March (2017-03-02) –
6 April 2017 (2017-04-06)
Preceded byPrime Suspect

Prime Suspect 1973 (also known as Prime Suspect: Tennison) is a British television detective drama series starring Stefanie Martini as the young Jane Tennison. It is a prequel to the long-running Prime Suspect series that had starred Helen Mirren.

The series debuted on ITV in the UK on 2 March 2017, comprising six episodes. In June 2017, it was confirmed there would be no second series.


Set in Hackney, the series depicts 22-year-old Jane Tennison (Stefanie Martini) as she begins her career as a woman police constable (WPC) in 1973 with the Metropolitan Police Service. At a time when women were beginning to be gradually integrated into the police force, Tennison has to deal with sexism, as well as difficulties in her home life, as her family disapprove of her career choice.

Under the guidance of DI Len Bradfield (Sam Reid), the naive and inexperienced Tennison assists in investigating the murder of a young runaway, Julie-Ann Collins. Meanwhile, criminal Clifford Bentley (Alun Armstrong) is released from prison and, along with other members of his family, is planning a bank heist. Links to Collins's murder threaten to expose the Bentley family's plans.


Main cast[edit]

Supporting cast[edit]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
1"Episode 1"David CaffreyGlen Laker2 March 2017 (2017-03-02)7.64
A young prostitute, Julie-Ann Collins, is found murdered in an underpass on a busy London estate. New recruit WPC Jane Tennison is drawn into the investigation, led by DI Len Bradfield, as the search for Julie-Ann's killer gets underway. Suspicion initially falls on her boyfriend, Eddie Phillips, who has no alibi for the time of the murder. Meanwhile, career criminal Clifford Bentley is planning a bank robbery from within prison, with help from his sons, John and David.
2"Episode 2"David CaffreyGlen Laker9 March 2017 (2017-03-09)6.64
The search for Julie-Ann's killer continues, as the team try to track her movements from the day she left hospital until the day she was found dead. Tennison uncovers a vital clue which suggests that despite her parents' claims that they had not seen or spoken to Julie-Ann for several months, she contacted them shortly before she was murdered. Tennison also finds the vehicle matching an eye-witness description in the Collins' garage.
3"Episode 3"David CaffreyGlen Laker16 March 2017 (2017-03-16)5.90
Evidence discovered in the basement of the Collins' house suggests that Julie-Ann was beaten by one of her parents. The search for the mysterious 'Oz' continues, until Tennison's perseverance results in a major breakthrough. Meanwhile, Clifford Bentley is out of jail and determined to carry out his final heist. Bradfield, however, warns him that he is keeping a close eye. The brewing sexual spark between Tennison and Bradfield becomes talk of the station.
4"Episode 4"David CaffreyGlen Laker23 March 2017 (2017-03-23)6.02
Following the arrest of the mysterious 'Oz', the investigation takes an unexpected twist. The Bentleys' plans are nearly blown out of the water by a visit from the police. Tennison gets a new lead that could bring the Bentleys into the murder investigation.
5"Episode 5"David CaffreyGlen Laker30 March 2017 (2017-03-30)5.62
Tennison plays the radio recordings to Bradfield who, sensing a chance to get his revenge on Clifford, diverts the team to carry out surveillance of the Bentleys, despite orders from his superior officer to stay focused on the murder case.
6"Episode 6"David CaffreyGlen Laker6 April 2017 (2017-04-06)5.72
In the aftermath of the explosion at the bank vault, the police operation descends into pandemonium and panic. As Tennison arrives at the scene, she is met with the news that Bradfield is dead from the explosion. At a search of the Bentley lock-up, Tennison uncovers evidence that it was where Julie-Ann was killed. The Bentleys' van is searched and a small silk bow is discovered which matches Julie-Ann’s bra. The police manhunt ramps up, with David Bentley now as their prime suspect. Tennison gets to the truth of what really happened.



The series is produced for ITV by Noho Film and Television, and was adapted by Glen Laker from the novel Tennison, written by original series creator Lynda La Plante.[1] Commissioned by ITV in June 2015 under the working title Tennison, the series was set to be penned by LaPlante, who had also written the original Prime Suspect novels, and contributed to episodes of the long-running television series of the same name.[2]

The announcement of Martini as Jane Tennison, as well as further casting was announced in July 2016.[3] In early 2016, La Plante pulled out of the project. Vera and Home Fires writer Glen Laker was drafted in to write the series.


Filming began in July 2016 in London.[3]


In June 2017, ITV confirmed that the series had not been recommissioned, despite high ratings for the first series.[4] The cause is reported to be creative differences between author Lynda LaPlante and ITV.[5]


Prime Suspect 1973 first aired on 2 March 2017 on ITV. Internationally, broadcast under the title Prime Suspect: Tennison, the series premiered in South Africa on 6 April 2017 on ITV Choice.[6] The series premiered in the United States on 25 June 2017 on Masterpiece Mystery on PBS, airing over three 90-minute instalments.[7]


The series received mixed reviews from critics, achieving a 50% approval rating based on 12 reviews as aggregated on Rotten Tomatoes.[8] Critics praised Stefanie Martini's performance and the period detail, in particular.[9][10][11] Upon its broadcast in the United States, the Washington Post recommended it as "one of the best shows you’ll find on TV this summer", while the Los Angeles Times said that "Tennison does not quite measure up to Prime Suspect."[12][13] In contrast, Salon considered it fortunate that the series was forced into early retirement, and noted that this Tennison prequel failed to focus on Tennison's character development with the same intensity as the "provocative... classic" original did with Helen Mirren's character.[14]


  1. ^ "Prime Suspect: 1973 Production Notes March 2017" (PDF). Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  2. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (18 June 2015). "ITV Sets 'Prime Suspect' Prequel 'Tennison'; Lynda La Plante Scripting". Deadline. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Stefanie Martini, Sam Reid, Blake Harrison and Alun Armstrong cast in Tennison [w/t]". ITV Press Centre. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Prime Suspect 1973 won't return for a second series". Digital Spy. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  5. ^ ""Prime Suspect: Tennison": An unnecessary prequel to a provocative "Masterpiece" classic". 22 June 2017.
  6. ^ "ITV Choice brings 'Prime Suspect: Tennison' on DStv in South Africa | Dataxis". Dataxis. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Prime Suspect: Tennison | Masterpiece | Official Site | PBS". Masterpiece. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  8. ^ Prime Suspect: Tennison: Season 1 - Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 14 July 2017
  9. ^ Wheeler, Gem (2 March 2017). "Prime Suspect 1973 episode 1 review". Den Of Geek. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  10. ^ Hyland, Ian (2 March 2017). "Prime Suspect 1973 star Stefanie Martini did a great job in solid police drama". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  11. ^ Curnow, Andrew (3 March 2017). "'Prime Suspect: 1973' Episode 1 review: ITV's new Jane Tennison prequel begins". Cultbox. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  12. ^ Lloyd, Robert (24 June 2017). "Review 'Prime Suspect' prequel gives us a young Jane Tennison". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  13. ^ Stuever, Hank. "Summer TV 2017: 'Snowfall,' 'Prime Suspect' are a good place to start". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  14. ^ McFarland, Melanie (22 June 2017). ""Prime Suspect: Tennison": An unnecessary prequel to a provocative Masterpiece classic". Salon. Archived from the original on 15 July 2017.

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