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CRACKER (5 Star Review) 


Six years after Robbie Coltrane first ambled onscreen in a crumpled blue suit and a cloud of cigarette smoke, the glory of Cracker remains undiminished. Coltrane's Fitz is one of the great characters of British TV drama, a criminal psychologist whose brilliance unmasks killers, hypocrites and fools, but deserts him a calamitous private life. An insatiable drinker and gambler, Fitz recognizes his addictions and demons but rarely wishes to control them. In fact, he's deeply unhappy when he tries. Granada's first five episodes, now released on video (with the second five out soon) follow Fitz through the blood and guts of some particularly gruesome murders whilst his marriage breaks down, he half recovers and collapses, and his relationship with DS Jane Penhaligon climbs its rocky way inevitably to the bedroom. Fitz is an incredibly brave man but also a weak one. He's tough and tender, intelligent and idiotic, understanding and intolerant, civilized and childish, charming and amazingly rude, depending on whose upset him or how much he's had to drink. His father in law is not surprised to be addressed as an "ill natured old Polak bastard". 


But this is why we love Fitz. He's as human as anybody else. His personal failures are just as resounding as his professional triumphs - which is where the Americans missed the point when they cleaned him up for their own version of the series. Yet the power of Cracker is not all Fitz. When he later jets to Hong Kong the magic stays at home. Fitz belongs in Manchester, screaming the odds at the chief inspector, bitching with the detectives he solves cases with, abusing the explosive DS Jimmy Beck, physically chewing up bits of paper and wreaking havoc upon the lives of his wife, his mistress, his son, his daughter and himself as well as the hellish bastards he finally brings to justice. Among them is Albie Kinsella, played by Robert Carlyle, whose crimes take on a spectacularly personal significance as he avenges the death of his father at Hillsborough.There are other famous faces, and some not so familiar, but they all rise to the occasion equally with chilling portrayals of the child killers, sex murderers, religious leaders, innocent suspects and mad bystanders of the writer's nightmarish imagination.


The Unofficial Guide To Cracker 1999-2006