The Vice The Complete First Season 

1999

In sharp contrast to "CSI" and its spin-offs, the British take their crime dramas very seriously. Think "Prime Suspect" or "Cracker." And perhaps too seriously, as is the case with "The Vice."

 

Not well-remembered despite a five-season run beginning in 1999, "The Vice" specialized in the sleazy and the seedy, taking advantage of the UK tube's lax restrictions on showing skin. This first-season set consists of six episodes, with each pair comprising its own self-contained movie.

 

In a solidly sober performance, Ken Stott ("Charlie Wilson's War") leads this cadre of cops quashing individuals and organizations playing upon the public's base desires, whether that be drugs, sex-for-hire, pornography or a healthy dose of all.

 

"Dabbling" is the best of the bunch, with one vice member getting in over his head in his undercover work to bust a prostitution ring. The object of his desire? Sonya Walger from HBO's explicit "Tell Me You Love Me." Understandable, mate.

 

The series is overly talky, but at least that approach is more realistic. It boasts a killer theme song in Portishead's iconic "Sour Times."

 

"?Rod Lott

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