August 12, 2014 11:05 AM EDT

The title of this British series may have referred to the targets of crime investigations, but the chief person of interest was always detective Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren). A cop with a drinking problem and unstable relationships, Tennison was better at chasing down killers than her personal demons. The series, created by writer Lynda La Plante, dealt with the special challenges Tennison faced as a woman officer—in one season, she has an abortion, which is neither condemned nor treated as a social statement—but not by making her a paragon. Tennison could be curt, volatile and simply unpleasant. But her weaknesses also made her empathetic and intuitive. Acted with daring and honesty by Mirren, Tennison made strengths of her weaknesses.

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