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The Commander (2003) Online

The Commander (2003) Online
Original Title :
The Commander
Genre :
Movie / Crime / Drama / Mystery
Year :
Directror :
Michael Whyte
Cast :
Amanda Burton,Matthew Marsh,Nicholas Jones
Writer :
Lynda La Plante
Type :
Time :
2h 25min
Rating :
The Commander (2003) Online

Commander Clare Blake has risen to the top of her profession in the male-dominated Metropolitan Police Service and is now the head of the serious crimes unit. Some years previously she arrested James Lampton for murder. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison but is now out on parole and is a successful author with a best-selling book. Blake's colleagues however, especially DCI Mike Hedges, believe Lampton is responsible for another murder and are out to prove his guilt. Things become complicated when Blake and Lampton become intimate and the question arises whether he is being honest with her or is simply a master manipulator. {locallinks-homepage}
Cast overview, first billed only:
Amanda Burton Amanda Burton - Commander Clare Blake
Matthew Marsh Matthew Marsh - DCI Mike Hedges
Nicholas Jones Nicholas Jones - DCS Les Branton
Martin Walsh Martin Walsh - Graham Warner
David Calder David Calder - George Hart
Robert Wilfort Robert Wilfort - DI Jeff Dunn
Terence Hillyer Terence Hillyer - Eddie Myers
Gillian Goodman Gillian Goodman - Gina Moore
Anna Farnworth Anna Farnworth - Maddie Engel
Hugh Bonneville Hugh Bonneville - James Lampton
Clint Dyer Clint Dyer - Murray Dickson
Jake Abraham Jake Abraham - Tony Farmer
Paul Brightwell Paul Brightwell - DS Brian Hall
Poppy Miller Poppy Miller - DC Carol Browning
Joan Bakewell Joan Bakewell - Herself

User reviews



As with far too many British shows it starts out solidly and shows promise. Then someone forgets to vet the plot and the writing and it all unravels into drivel. Which is too bad because I like La Plante's work, and I like Burton. With the ending I can only hope that LaPlante is creating a show about a powerful woman who is riddled with the same hubris as her male counterparts, and that we are not to see her as a role model. As I said I can hope. Next up series 2.

**********************SPOILER alert*************************** But come on folks any police chief who sleeps with a suspect is out on his/her ear. Any police chief who cannot smell a sociopath from a hundred feet would be out on her/his ear. Any serial killer who kills as soon as he's out of jail is a bad sociopath, and this guy seems to be a good one.


After reading the negative comments left I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this. However, I'm so pleased I gave it a go, I found it to be a perfect blend of entertainment,suspense and mystery. It kept me guessing right till the end, when it reached a thrilling climax. I think that it was showing that no matter how high people reach in the ranks,everyone is human and no one is infallible. I think Amanda Burton played the part as The Commander extremely well, she appeared confident and assertive in her role yet you could still feel her vulnerability and loneliness which led her to misjudge the real killer. I actually enjoyed this as much as Prime Suspect, I am only disappointed there were not more Series made.


Usually I like Amanda Burton's acting, honestly. But accepting this role was a complete mistake.

The Commander in this series does everything a good cop wouldn't do. She garbles evidence and sleeps with suspects. On top of that, she has a huge ego. Now, ordinarily this wouldn't kill a series - it would maybe even be an interesting touch.

The problem, however, is: this is about all the series has to offer. Obviously the title "The Commander" wasn't a misnomer for this one; the commander is all the series is about. No interesting crime or mystery, just this commander being a disgrace for the whole British police. It's not credible that a person like this would ever become a commander and moreover, it's not interesting to watch.

As an alternative title I suggest "The Clare Blake show".


What might have been an excellent detective thriller turns to unwatchable slush halfway through because of an utterly ludicrous romance plot.

Burton plays Clare Blake, a policewoman promoted to the top of her profession, despite being so lacking in judgment and self-control that she risks destroying her own career by jumping into bed with a convicted killer who is under investigation for another two murders, then conducting an affair with him in full view of her colleagues, the press, and the public. When a junior officer remarks "I can't believe she'd be so stupid!", my wife and I could only nod our heads in agreement.

The villain, by contrast, is shown as so brilliantly adept at manipulating people that we could only wonder how the prosecutors ever found a jury that would convict him.

We kept watching this farce lurch from plot hole to plot hole while Burton did her best to lend it some undeserved dignity, but by the end we would have needed a forklift to keep suspending our disbelief. Unless you desperately need to see Amanda Burton in her underwear, avoid this one at all costs.


All the way through my wife and I were thinking, the plot can't be this stupid. Sadly, it was.

Like many of the other reviewers here, neither of us could believe that a senior police officer could possibly be so incredibly naive that she could believe she could get away with entering into a relationship with a recently released killer. A 20 year old DC? Maybe. A Commander level with years of experience? Not in a million years. And yet that is what La Plante would have us believe.

Worse, we are supposed to believe that the Commander is happy to continue with the relationship and become more deeply involved even after credible suspicions become apparent that he might be responsible for two recent murders? Really?

Question? If our killer was really so worried about being caught out that he needed to construct such a pair of amazingly complex alibis in advance of the killings (as was revealed towards the end), wouldn't it have been a whole lot easier if he'd simply changed his method of killing so he wasn't the obvious suspect as the method was the ONLY thing that connected him to the murders? With someone of our boy's obvious intelligence, you would have thought that might have occurred to him. It obviously never occurred to La Plante though.

I kept hoping for a twist in the plot that would lead us to a credible ending. No such luck. When both of us concluded that there was no possible way Blake could survive being caught in the relationship at the end without being chucked off the force for gross incompetence, that ends up not being the case at all. Instead, the reviewing team comes up with the equivalent of "Who's been a naughty girl then? Shame on you. Don't do it again or there will be trouble next time. Tsk tsk tsk."

What a joke.


Commander Clare Blake (Amanda Burton) is the head of the serious crimes unit in the New Scotland Yard. In 1989, she arrested James Lampton (Hugh Bonneville) for murdering his girlfriend. He is supposed to be reformed and gets paroled. She allows her forward to be printed in his best-selling book with the proceeds going to victim support. DCI Mike Hedges investigates a murder and arrests Lampton. Hedges do not get along with Blake. Meanwhile, there is a cover-up of a police shooting unbeknown to Blake. Surveillance footage is edited. Also the movie follows another criminal on the loose.

I like the idea of a female commander in a male-dominated world. Blake doesn't have the gravitas of a hard-nosed investigator that somebody in her position should have. There is one really bad turn which devalues a lot of the early work and only adds to the questionable Blake character. I have big problems with her relationship to Lampton. Also, I don't particularly like the ending. This is a solid police crime drama for two thirds and then I have problems.


Yes, it was a lapse of good judgment for Commander Blake to become romantically involved with a paroled murderer whom she had helped to convict 12 years earlier, but her decision is NOT inexplicable. She really has no time in her life to look for a suitable romantic partner -- her sister is dying of cancer and is dependent on her; her chief subordinate, whom she mistrusts (and he, in turn, hates her) is under suspicion for the apparent assassination of a suspect; and there are constant demands on her time and energies. So she yields to temptation-- drawn to the smooth talking, handsome parolee (played by Hugh Bonneville), unaware that her activities are being monitored and photographed by those who want to see her disgraced and demoted. Nonetheless, her complex character actually enhances a suspenseful tale, similar to the Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect) series, also written by the prolific and ingenious Lynda LaPlante. I warmly recommend this drama (3 parts, actually: Entrapment, Virus and Blackdog, though only part one has been available in America.) If you own a DVD player that can handle the PAL (Zone 2) format, order the 3-DVD set from England -- and savor this intricate and intense police procedural. Matter of fact, consider acquiring a second Lynda LaPlante series, the 8-DVD set, Trial and Retribution, available only in the PAL format. I am about to order another LaPlante series, The Governor (with Janet McTeer)-- about a new prison warden struggling the win the respect of the inmates and guards alike--because I can't think of another mystery writer whose work I find as consistently high-quality.


Moments of intensity followed by gross abuse of the viewer by having the Commander of an elite police unit fall under the spell of a convicted murderer. WOULD NOT EVER HAPPEN, NOT EVER, NOT IN THIS UNIVERSE !!! I will be writing the producer as well. They should watch good murder mysteries and then at least copy them !


I read a previous comment left and I ask without prejudice 'did the previous reviewer and myself even watch the same pro gramme'. i guess its a case of different strokes for different folks.

I have to admit I love Amanda Burton I think she is a top actress totally underestimated and underused anyway.

I was totally convinced James Lampton Was being set up by hedges and co. Last scene he and Commander Blake have together was outstanding I was sitting on the edge of my seat man it was brilliant.

In fact folks i loved this so much i have bought the DVD box set and re-watch it occasionally.......... I don't think Amanda Burton can do any wrong every show I've watched that she has been in i have enjoyed so in my opinion she is picky when it comes to her work choosing only what she feels enthusiastic about.

I think the point of the show was to allow the view to see what a mess an error of judgement can make. The think that really impressed me is that the mistake made by Clare Blake wasn't just swept under the carpet in the next episode unlike so many other series's I've watched. no it was dealt with thoroughly she was made to face up to it and I'm vol 3 of Season 1 'Blackdog'is really made to sweat it. anyway I loved it great show Lynda la plante deserves an Oscar and as for Amanda Burton two of them a golden globe, emmy bafta and NFTA.

I am only slightly biased. This is my opinion of the show no disrespect to any other folks reviewing


Watched all the episodes on Acorn TV recently. It's certainly a series that one watches to pass the time but in the long run, it's nothing special. The acting is good, the camera work is not. There are just too many closeups of eyes, mouths, teeth etc. In the episodes where there is violence, waving the camera around and having the images go in every direction, does little to add to the scene. The editing is sometimes ridiculous as scenes are interspersed randomly with others to which they have no relevance or relationship. Makes it all very confusing and distracting for the viewer.

Each episode seems to show that the police can do very bad things but still continue to work in their very high positions. Makes one wonder about the integrity of New Scotland Yard. Overall, it's something to watch but just veray average, and nothing to rave about at all!
Billy Granson

Billy Granson

Search out the TV series... it brings back memories of the Prime Suspect series from 20 years ago. Not as gritty, but almost as overall enjoyable viewing. All prominent actors do commendable work, but as the title indicates, it's truly Amanda Burton's show.. bit.ly/14c7OUX ..and she carries it extremely well. Highly recommended should you enjoy British cop dramas (with a slight mix of Hollywood). Seasons 4 (6 episodes) and 5 (3 episodes) are available for purchase on Amazon (bit costly)... assume they'll eventually make their way to Netflix. PS It was on netflix streaming.. but it's now another great series gets pulled off streaming.. totally annoying!!


Amanda Burton is superb as the female head of a homicide bureau, surrounded by male detectives who show a strong anti-feminine bias and who want to get her fired (sacked, canned, terminated, etc.).

This female commander is no pushover though. She plays the male game superbly. She is a complex character, complete with faults, and thus utterly realistic. Also she is totally delightful.

Her superb detective skills, and equally superb ability to outfox and manipulate her fellow workers who have it in for her, keep her ahead of the pack.

My two regrets in watching this series: 1. It is much too short and more episodes would have been great 2. I can not find such a female in my life to fall in love with


Once again Acorn Media is offering a complete great British series for many of us who had no access to it in the past. This time around the series is THE COMMANDER and it ran from 2003 through 2008 on ITV1. And like the other offerings from Acorn this one will have you switching discs as soon as the one you're watching finishes.

The series is about Commander Clare Blake (Amanda Burton), a solid detective who's been promoted to head an elite murder squad at a time when the role of women on the police force wasn't looked upon well by their male counterparts. DCI Mike Hedges (Matthew Marsh) is one of those who doesn't feel she deserves the promotion, thinking he is more qualified. The two but heads often, not just because of their disagreement over her promotion but because Blake feels that the tactics used by some members of the force go above and beyond. At the moment is a case involving Hedges that call into question if he and his team shot a man trying to attack them or if he was set up to be murdered.

The first season not only takes on the issue of Hedges but revolves around a killer released from prison on parole, a man Blake helped to convict but who feels has been rehabilitated. So much so that she wrote an introduction to the book he wrote about his time in prison thinking it would only circulate there. In fact James Lampton (Hugh Bonneville) has become a celebrity darling and his book is headed for number one on the charts released to the entire public. As the show progresses Blake and Lampton find themselves attracted to one another and begin an affair. This, of course, puts Blake and her career in jeopardy. And when new murders begin happening Hedges automatically assumes it is Lampton behind them while she defends the man. That Hedges begins using his bullying and illegal means to prove his assumptions it does nothing more than cloud the waters. But then so does Blake's affair. At the bottom of it all is the question just who is killing these women now? And could it indeed be Lampton.

This is just the kick off to the series which goes further each subsequent season. Blake's family comes into question a number of times, most pointedly her sister Sara (Lizzy McInnerny) who is dealing with the duel issues of struggling with cancer and the divorce from her husband for another woman who has taken the children. Episodes deal with her issues as well as a kidnapped and murdered god daughter in season three.

What makes the series work is the combination of police procedural combined with the office politics of the police system going on at the same time. It's not enough to be a good police officer with skills to find out who did what, you also have to know how to placate the higher ups in an effort to remain on good terms and to move up the ladder. Few shows deal with that behind the scenes look at the lives of police officers and it was refreshing to see it.

Burton as Blake does a magnificent job here. She displays the coolness of the police officer under fire by her peers simply because she is a woman as she tries to find the guilty party in each episode. At the same time she displays a sense of vulnerability when she deals with her personal life, be that the affair she has in the first season with the supposed murderer or in dealing with the selfish needs of her sister. Granted her sister is in the worst way possible but she doesn't make helping her an easy task.

The show is well crafted and believable on all levels from costumes to sets to location shoots. All of this combines with great acting on hand from every person found on screen. The direction is smooth and the stories of each season run along at a pace that will hold your interest and keep you watching, waiting to see what happens next. Fortunately you don't have to wait since this is the complete series. The only thing stopping you from enjoying the next episode is when the last one finishes.


Linda the Plant's Preposterous Plots seem to be entirely shameless. An equivalent of the denouement of this would be Clint Eastwood facing off with Lee Van Cleefe and, after the tremendous build up of tension, a buzzard drops a rock on Lee's head. Total eclipse of dramatic climax.


This was a most refreshing police procedural... and sorry to those who could not stand seeing the heroine do some really stupid things... that is what this whole series is about... smart people who do emotional stupid things. Thank you Lynda La Plante! It is most interesting to watch how our heroine dodges the figurative bullets she pretty much shoots at herself, and the poor chump comrades who support her (sometimes). The stories are good (not great) but the Dutch detective

appears just in time to boost the slightly fading enjoyment.