Review of Cracker (TV series)

By Christine Iannicelli

Watching TV is one of my favorite pastimes; consequently, I am always on the lookout for a new (or old) television show to watch. Going through the stacks at the Gabriele Library, I came across a 90’s British crime drama called Cracker. The show starred Robbie Coltrane as a criminal psychologist named Fitz who assists police officers in locating and interrogating murderers (essentially, he helps them “crack” the case). Robbie Coltrane is best known for his portrayal of the lovable Hagrid in the Harry Potter series and as a thief hiding out in a convent in the 1990 comedy Nuns on the Run. I am a big fan of Robbie Coltrane and detective shows so naturally, this series seemed like a good fit.

All in all, I enjoyed Cracker. It was unexpected, suspenseful, and eerie at times. The producers weren’t afraid to injure or kill off main characters and the lines between the good guys and the bad guys were often blurred. Most episodes begin illustrating a day in the life of the criminal. We learn all about them: their likes, their dislikes, their motives, and ultimately, what drives them to kill. There is an intimacy between the audience and the villains and at times, we get a little too close for comfort. Only when we’ve walked side by side with the villains do we get a break from their twisted reality and transition to the detectives trying to bring them to justice.

Robbie Coltrane is the star of the show and he does not disappoint. His character of Fitz is flawed and complex. He has a tumultuous relationship with his wife, he’s not very kind to his son, and he spends most of this time drinking, smoking, and gambling. Fitz is the classic anti-hero. But if there is one thing he’s good at, it is understanding the criminal mind. Frequently throughout the series, when Fitz is sitting across from a violent sociopath in an interrogation room, he will look them in the eye and say with all sincerity, “I understand you.” And in all honesty, he does. He knows with every fiber in his being why they do what they do, what makes them tick, and what ultimately motivated them to kill. It’s not enough for Fitz to convict someone; in fact, I’m not at all convinced putting criminals in jail is his main objective. What Fitz truly enjoys is the study of human behavior. He wants to help these damaged individuals understand exactly why they resorted to violence in the first place. Where did things go wrong? Once Fitz gets the criminals to open their eyes to the truth, only then do they often confess to their crimes.

Fitz is unapologetic about his behavior and methods. When his wife confronts him about his gambling addiction and begs him to quit for the sake of his family, he point-blank tells her no. He knows he can’t quit and he won’t lie to appease her. Fitz smokes, drinks, and gambles because he likes it. Plain and simple. Still, underneath that cynical, cold façade is a good man. We get glimpses of his compassion in rare moments throughout the series. They are short-lived, but we can tell Fitz cares deeply for his children and his “partner”, Jane Penhaligon. When it comes down to it, though, Fitz is a hard-living man who prides himself on his brutal honesty. Like its main character, Cracker doesn’t pull any punches.  Fans of Criminal Minds, Luther, or other psychological dramas will most likely enjoy this series.

Check out all three seasons at the Gabriele Library.

Lighthouse Catholic Media Kiosk

This semester, Campus Ministry is proud to present to our campus a new opportunity for continued learning and growth in our Christian Faith. located on the lower level of the library just outside of the Media Classroom is a kiosk of materials from Lighthouse Catholic Media and Stewardship: A Mission of Faith. This kiosk is loaded with contemporary CDs, books, pamphlets and booklets that will inform, inspire and engage you in thought regarding issues of our day and matters of Christian Faith. Whether you are a student, member of our staff, faculty or administration, this kiosk has something that will interest you and that can be a blessing for your families and friends. Lighthouse Catholic Media offers an opportunity for you to receive downloads of dynamic presentations on the faith. I encourage you to check out this new resource on campus and make use of it.  It has the potential of blessing you in countless ways.

Sincerely,

Fr. Rogers

 

EARLY HITCHCOCK CLASSIC INVESTIGATES GRISLY MURDER

By Francesca Macera

Vice President of the English and Communications Club

          In Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954), photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) finds himself gazing intently out of his rear apartment window after he is confined to a wheelchair for seven weeks. He takes pleasure in observing the peculiar and amusing undertakings of his neighbors, including a lithe young dancer whom he refers to as “Miss Torso” (Georgine Darcy) and a lugubrious bachelorette whom he calls “Miss Lonelyhearts” (Judith Evelyn). One fateful evening, Jeffries notices that one individual, a morose salesman by the name of Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), leaves his apartment repeatedly throughout the night with a mysterious briefcase before he returns to clean a collection of knives and swords. As the days drag on, it is apparent that his invalid wife has disappeared and that he is meticulous in cleaning out her purse and making frequent travel arrangements on the telephone. Convinced that Thorwald has committed murder and is planning to flee the country, Jeffries enlists the aid of his petulant nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) and his sophisticated lover Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) to locate the missing corpse and bring justice upon a man they believe has stooped so far as to conceal a vicious crime on his own spouse.

          Although this early gem from the twisted imagination of Hitchcock is more predictable and less terrifying than his later classics, Rear Window is still a vivid thriller that is presented entirely from the viewpoint of Jeffries, whose mobility is greatly limited for the entirety of the film. Therefore, the audience glances at the inhabitants of the adjoining apartment through the eyes of Jeffries; the result is that the cryptic actions of Thorwald come forth as even more dark and suspicious. With his caustic wit and charming Midwestern drawl, Stewart is quite engaging as he takes on the role of a clumsy detective who actually unveils a sinister plot.  Ritter is a joy to behold as the sour yet affectionate nurse who reluctantly becomes a pawn in the game of hide-and-seek that Jeffries takes up with Thorwald, while Kelly is serene and elegant as the beautiful heroine with cunning and intelligence.