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<p>P.D. James: Death in Holy Orders (DVD)</p><p>Martin Shaw stars as Scotland Yard detective Commander Adam Dalgliesh, who is called to conduct an unwelcome investigation in an isolated religious college torn apart by suicide and murder.</p>
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A powerful mystery that sometimes feels like a clash of titanic forces offset by a detective hero's quiet, emotional reawakening, Death in Holy Orders is a cut above most Brit-TV sleuthing. P.D. James's renowned poet and Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh (Martin Shaw) looks into the suffocation death of a student at the theological College of St. Anselm, a place where he spent peaceful time in boyhood. Upon his arrival, Dalgliesh finds a perfect political storm converging. The Church of England is planning to close the school after selling off its art assets, and the eager agent for this mission is an archdeacon (Clive Wood) who might have murdered his wife but definitely destroyed an Anselm priest's reputation by branding him a pedophile. Meanwhile, Dalgliesh, a reclusive widower whose wife died during childbirth, is encouraged toward a fuller life by an old mentor and an interesting woman. This is a crackling whodunit with strong psychological underpinnings. Fans of Roy Marsden's self-contained, sometimes inscrutable Dalgliesh in 10 miniseries during the 1980s and '90s may be startled by Shaw's raw soulfulness in the role. But the latter's interpretation grows on one very quickly. --Tom Keogh
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