TV Review: Zen -Episode One

It's not the greatest season of Masterpiece Mystery so far. This is some of the only television I actually watch, so I look forward to a good lineup. But we are being deprived of such entertaining shows as Inspector Lewis, Wallander, and Sherlock this year. Luckily, something new was thrown our way, and it stars Rufus Sewell.

I've always liked Rufus Sewell. He can play a bad guy (The Illusionist) and a good guy (Zen) and be believable in both. This time he is a Venetian detective in Rome. He's one of the only uncorrupted cops around, and he lives with his mother. He has a failed marriage behind him and he's hitting forty. He's also a really nice guy, which is good because there are a lot of douche bags around.

In this first episode, Zen is asked to review a case that is set to go to trial. His boss wants him to leave it as it is and let the guy accused of murder go to prison (and perhaps die) for it, even though the man is now claiming to be innocent. But then there's another set of folks higher up who want Zen to make sure that the guy is set free, whether he committed the murders or not. Zen just wants to get the real killer, so screw the bosses!

On top of that there is an old ex-con with a grudge who is out to kill him. And while he is unknowingly being stalked, he also has his eye on a married colleague. She's not a bad addition so far, but...I'm going to be honest here; I'm not a big fan of plopping romance and sex into stories. With a lot of movies I feel they are so unnecessary and they are only there to attract a female audience. It must work, yes? But that's what makes Sherlock Holmes so refreshing (aside from him being awesome). He's asexual, at least in most adaptations (not in the Robert Downey Jr. versions or some of the book sequels). I'd love to see a Zen who wasn't interested in women, or was perhaps even gay. I suppose those wouldn't makes the target females wag their tongues, though. But I appreciate a little more uniqueness.

I'll stop bitching about that now.

It's a decent plot with beautiful Italian scenery and perfect casting in Rufus Sewell, but in the end it's only good, not great. Hopefully the next episode will be even better.

My grade: B