Edge of Darkness (1985)

Edge of Darkness (1985), directed by Martin Campbell.

It was the time of the preacher
in the year of oh-one
Now the preachin' is over
and the lesson's begun

--Willie Nelson

When a police detective's daughter is murdered in front of him, he goes deep into the rabbit hole to find out "why?" He never really comes out again. The "easy" mysteries are solved: is that a happy ending?

This is the best TV miniseries I know. Mysterious, intelligent and heartfelt, with every act it expands into larger circles of unexpected story, with strong mythical components:

I say the story goes in "unexpected" directions, because although it seems to villainize everything the 1980s BBC hates -- industrialists, nuclear power, Thatcher, Reagan, America in general and the CIA in particular -- it also trips up those motifs and surprises us. It must have been hard to admit that left activists could be police informants and Green organizations actually CIA fronts.

The greatest delight is Joe Don Baker, outstanding as Darius Jedburgh, CIA wild man from Texas, bigger than life and twice as complicated. Turns out he is the only one Craven can trust. They make a good team because neither gives a damn about the established order anymore and will pull it all down.

Bob Peck was never a big star, but I always enjoyed seeing him whenever he turned up. Because of him, Craven and his pain stay with us for a long time.

Joanne Whalley, age 24, so beautiful it kind of hurts. Her film career took off just after this.

Score by Michael Kamen and Eric Clapton with the latter on mournful blues guitar.

The director did a lot of UK TV before moving on to Zorro and James Bond films. He remade Edge of Darkness as a 2010 feature film with Mel Gibson; I haven't seen it yet.

Available on DVD. I originally imported a PAL edition but it is available on North American NTSC DVD now.