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DVD Review: Murphy’s Law – Series 3

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At first glance, one is ready to scold the Brits. Murphy’s Law? Seriously? The title has been used several times in the realm of both film and television. And the fact that this particular Murphy’s Law is one of those hard-hitting, gritty police dramas along the same lines of shows like America’s own The Shield, The Wire or Homicide: Life On The Streets makes the average party that’s had way too much of that sort of thing slightly weary about picking it up. Worse still, the first two series of this BBC undercover cop drama depicted a succession of self-important dissipation on behalf of the show’s writers — a problematic style that, thankfully, is not present in Murphy’s Law: Series 3.

Although the handlebar moustache he’s sporting this time ‘round unjustly does not receive any billing of its own, actor James Nesbitt returns to deliver another amazing performance as Tommy Murphy: the troubled undercover Irish agent working for the London police department. With his new ‘stache comes a new format for the show, as well. Instead of bringing us one standalone story after another, Murphy’s Law: Series 3 makes the wise decision of a story arc. Not only does such a procedure enable us to actually develop more feelings for our onscreen characters (or any feelings, as the case may be), but it also permits our storytellers to build up a better, brighter tale — no matter how dark it may get at times.

The show’s new set-up also gives us the opportunity to see more of the story’s main villains, whose ranks our hero “joins” in order to bring down. Though that isn’t always a good thing (especially in instances where the bad guys are also the good guys), the scoundrels at play here in Murphy’s Law: Series 3 have been written to a T. Mark Womack portrays the head heavy here, with Michael Fassbender (whom Americans will no doubt recognize from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and X-Men: First Class) is superb as Womack’s psychotic henchman. Also joining Nesbitt for this series are Georgia Mackenzie, Owen Teale and Michael Feast.

Acorn Media presents all six episodes of the excellent Murphy’s Law: Series 3 in a two-disc set and in anamorphic 1.78:1 ratios. Considering this is only a Standard-Definition title, the quality here is excellent. The video is quite beautiful, while the accompanying Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack is proof that you don’t necessarily need a 5.1 mix to really deliver. Optional English (SDH) subtitles are included. Like many of Acorn Media’s releases, there are no “significant” special features to be found here, save for a text-only biography on James Nesbitt.

If only they’d have included a text-only bio on Nesbitt’s handlebar moustache…

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.