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The immigrant and Chicago Fire

I admit it. I’m hooked on “Chicago Fire.” It’s not as stylish as “Downton Abbey,” but it’s every bit as good a soap. In reading Frank McCourt’s second memoir, ’Tis, I was reminded why I like the NBC show. Now remember McCourt was writing in the late 1990s about a memory from the early 1950s [...]

Honoring Columbo

The International Mystery Festival Writers Festival, back in June, honored Peter Falk, the actor we think of as Columbo. It’s not such a terribly big deal because the IMW Festival is hardly international. It’s held in Owensboro, Kentucky, and half of the festival is targeted at Kentucky mystery writers working in television and film. But [...]

Masterpiece Mysteries! – Part 5

You and I will have to wait until September for “Wallander” to return to PBS’s Masterpiece Mysteries. Wallander, that brooding Swedish detective created by mystery novelist and father of the Nordic noir craze, Henning Mankell. Mankell formed Yellow Bird in 2005, to produce television films of his books . . . a Wallander series. Mankell [...]

Masterpiece Mysteries! – Part 4

I’ve written here about the classic Sherlock Holmes of the movies and television . . . the movies of the 1930s and ’40s that starred Basil Rathbone, and the long-running Granada/PBS television series that starred Jeremy Brett. And I’ve also written about the new Sherlock Holmes, the young Sherlock Holmes in the television series “Sherlock” [...]

Masterpiece Mysteries! – Part 3

“Endeavour” will be there to carry the “Inspector Morse” banner after ITV and PBS retire “Inspector Lewis” next year. “Endeavour,” which aired this year on Masterpiece Mystery as a one-off television movie, is a prequel. It’s Inspector Morse as a young man, in the early years of his career as a police detective. He’s learning [...]

Masterpiece Mysteries! – Part 2

Morse was gone. The series ended in 2000 . . . and it wasn’t coming back because Morse died in the last episode. But Lewis was out there, very much alive . . . and, in 2004, a producer at Britain’s ITV television channel proposed bringing Lewis back for a one-off, a television movie. He [...]

Masterpiece Mysteries! – Part 1

Imagine my surprise, Sunday evening, when the first episode of the new season of “Inspector Lewis” aired on my local public television station. New season. I’m still of the mindset that new seasons start in the fall. I know, I know, new seasons for short-run television series on cable channels come at any time. I’ve [...]

Sherlock Holmes is everywhere – Part 5

As powerful as Basil Rathbone was in the role of Sherlock Holmes 60 and 70 years ago, the classic Holmes was Jeremy Brett. He starred in the Granada television series, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” from 1984 to 1994. Forty-one episodes in all. The idea the show’s producers held to was to make a fully [...]

Sherlock Holmes is everywhere – Part 3

CBS is betting that its third attempt to bring a contemporary Sherlock Holmes with a female Watson to the small screen is indeed charmed. “Elementary,” starring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson, is to air on Thursday nights at 9:00 (CST) in the fall. The network’s first two attempts [...]

Sherlock Holmes is everywhere – Part 2

After those buccaneer actors Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law brought out their turn-of-the-last-century action movie, “Sherlock Holmes,” perhaps all there was left to do was to bring Sherlock into the 21st century as a young man. And the BBC did it. With “Sherlock” that last year aired three episodes here on PBS’s Masterpiece Theater. [...]