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DVD Review: Without Motive

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Without Motive is a gritty police series from 2000 set in Bristol, England. Along the lines of Prime Suspect, the series follows one case. Detective Constable Jack Mowbray (Ross Kemp, EastEnders), a tough cop and family man, finds himself being affected by his latest case, the hunt for a serial killer of women, dubbed “The Bristol Murderer.” He and his fellow policemen are becoming unnerved by the case in a way they never have before. Their unease is shared by the community, its residents increasingly upset the longer the killer goes uncaptured. Murder after murder occurs, seemingly without motive.

[Ross Kemp as Detective Constable Jack Mowbray]

In Series 1, Mowbray and his crew investigate the serial killer case and close in on one suspect. But do they have the right man? In Series 2, copycat crimes cause the team to doubt their earlier arrest.

Without Motive depicts life in Bristol, England, and the problems experienced by the local police force. Mowbray and his colleagues are stressed, and take out their frustrations on each other. His boss, Detective Chief Superintendent Henderson (Kenneth Cranham, Rome, Layer Cake), pressures him to bring the case to a conclusion, so that they can prevent future killings. A series of similar murders occurred in Wales, but when the two police forces team up, the head of the Welsh investigation team is deemed not fit to continue.

Mowbray is a tough, no-nonsense cop, “I’m not in the ‘There, there’ business.” His attitude at work also starts to affect his home life, putting his marriage and family at risk. He literally takes his work home with him, exposing his son to gruesome crime scene photos.

When watched back-to-back, Without Motive runs like a dark, extended thriller. Viewers can get immersed in the detailed investigation and the in-fighting between Mowbray and his associates. It’s a mature series, featuring graphic scenes and adult themes, but an extremely compelling one.

Without Motive includes Series 1 and Series 2, for a total of 12 episodes, on four discs. Subtitles and scene selection are available. The total running time of the four discs is 600 minutes.

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