Policing Race and Gender: An Analysis of Prime Suspect 2

Gray Cavender, Arizona State University
Nancy Jurik, Arizona State University

"Prime Suspect," which features the life and exploits of Jane Tennison, a fictional Detective Chief Inspector with the London police, is one of public television's most successful film series. The award winning series has been praised for its accurate and trenchant treatment of women professionals, policewomen ever. Others, however, see Tennison and "Prime Suspect" as a failed, if valiant attempt, to transcend the stereotypes common to women in this television genre. In this paper, we consider the second film in the "Prime Suspect" oeuvre, "Prime Suspect 2." We focus first on the film's treatment of race (in terms of individual vs. institutional-level racism). Second, we consider Tennison's increasing charaterization as a lonely, isolated figure in a postfeminist narrative.

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Updated 05/20/2006