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ZEN - Now That's a Useful Hippie Term

If you can give yourself over to the creative choice of using U.K. actors to play Italians while sporting their various Welsh, Cockney, Leeds, Irish, and London accents, then ZEN is the limited series to fill an empty night or two of viewing.

In brief, Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell) is a Venetian working a Rome police precinct. He's the archetype clever, resourceful, and incorruptible detective. In other words, a complete disgrace to the badge.

Central Casting Siren, Tania Moretti (Caterina Murino) is the lucky recipient of the latest in a long line of divorced, can't-hold-a-job, but decent man working in a business which encourages payoffs, kickbacks, and political clout. Zen is interested in none of that. So they hook up, of course.

And, who do they call when the most difficult case comes to the fore?


And he solves them, in between boinks with Tania.

It is a somewhat uninteresting series. At the conclusion of the contracted three episodes, the producers attempted to sell the concept and another batch to European and American television. No takers.

The reason?

Too many detective shows.

And they're right.

Even prior to the useless lockdowns, which drove many to the streaming services, the number of Law and Order style shows (With a pinch of private investigator thrown in) stood at critical mass. Zen's timing might have been off. But it might have been for another reason.

The show is good, not great, and Rufus Sewell, always a dependable performer needs some help. He gets none in the series.

The show lacks a center. No one cares about Tania's divorce, or Zen's divorce, or the Chief's heart attack. The dead bodies accounted for in the three episodes are of a corrupt judge, a corrupt lawyer, a politically-connected industrialist, a couple entitled trust fund brats, and a few other societal mishaps best left at room temperature.

Sympathy for the criminal ain't part of the gestalt.

Nor is there any real investigating going on. Zen dodges bullets from the mysterious Ministry. Avoids a come on by the rapacious prosecutor (Cosima Shaw). And figures out labrynthine plots in the last ten minutes.

If you've nothing else . . . Zen.

Prime (via BritBox)

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