TIME FOR MURDER (DVD)
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Time For Murder is a six-episode mystery series that has the look of 1980s soap opera but consists of intelligent plots and fine acting. Based on screenplays by some renowned authors such as Fay Weldon, Gordon Honeycombe, and Frances Galleymore, each episode stars a set of protagonists that reveal clues throughout the 50-minute segments about murders that have just occurred. With little to no gore, macabre characters and spooky sets create atmosphere, and there are surprises throughout to keep viewers guessing sometimes up until the very end. Characters in Time For Murder look so freaky that they seem straight out of the commercial for the retro game Clue, and the series is sleuthing and playful in a similar game-like way. The first episode, "Bright Smiler," wins the contest for having the most psychotic-looking villain. In it, screenwriter Avon Eve (Janet Suzman) checks into Bolton Hall Health Hydro and becomes embroiled in the job dissatisfaction of her off-kilter masseuse, Sonja (Jane Asher). Humorous scenes of Eve attempting relaxation while Sonja, clownish with bad dye job and penciled brows arched way too high, uses Eve's treatments as therapy sessions, make this episode the funniest. While some episodes, like "The Murders at Lynch Cross," and "Mister Clay, Mister Clay," are drier and more predictable plot-wise, others, such as "This Lightning Always Strikes Twice" contain amazing twists that complicate as the program continues. In it, Daniel and Lady Barbara Penwarden (Claire Bloom) hire English tutor, Mr. Lattimer (Charles Dance), to coach their overprotected daughter, Sara (Amanda Root). As Lattimer discovers why Sara is detained, he yearns escape.