9/23/11 by Stella Atrium
Maria Bello has been on TV episodes of cop shows so often, she seem familiar to the audience in her first starring role in Prime Suspect as Det. Jane Timoney, a tough homicide detective who gives as well as she has to take from the sexist boy's club in the NYC squad room.Somehow Bello comes off as older and meaner that Kelli Giddish as Annie Frost in Chase, and with none of the personal quirks that enliven Kyra Sedgwick's performances in The Closer.
Bello is often cast as the female heavy, in fact. She played the hard-nosed dog trainer in Jane Austen Book Club who gets the sweet guy almost in spite of herself. She has been cast opposite A-list actors in the movies, often as the unhelpful wife.
Johnny Depp -- Secret Window - unsympathetic wife
Mel Gibson - Payback - junkie ex-wife
Viggo Mortensen -A History of Violence - long-suffering wife
Prime Suspect is placed in a NYC squad room with alcohol slurping, snide comment dropping, probably cursing, definitely resentful co-workers. Even Aidan Quinn, as Bello's boss, looks like he gained 20 pounds to fit the stereotype of Irish Catholic cop.
Bello's snap-brim hat is a nice touch, but too reminiscent of a 1960 cop show with Frank Sinatra titled The Detective. The new series seems stuck in the previous decade because Jane Timoney is the ONLY woman at work. Her female nemesis, the mother of the boyfriend's son, folds her hand with the first threat.
This addition to the lineup of women as cops and lawyers is the more gritty, harder-hitting, less forgiving flavor. At least it's not Charlie's Angels that premiered the same night.