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Prime Suspect: Inner Circles (1995)

A seemingly straightforward sex murder investigation by Superintendent Jane Tennison leads to a hidden political scandal.


Sarah Pia Anderson


Eric Deacon, Meredith Oakes (story)
1 win. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen Mirren ... Supt. Jane Tennison
Thomas Russell Thomas Russell ... Geoff (as Tom Russell)
James Laurenson ... Paul Endicott
Helene Kvale ... Lynne Endicott
Jill Baker ... Maria Henry
Kelly Reilly ... Polly Henry
Gareth Forwood ... Denis Carradine
Anthony Bate ... James Greenlees
Phillada Sewell Phillada Sewell ... Olive Carradine
Jonathan Copestake Jonathan Copestake ... Micky Thomas
Julie Rice Julie Rice ... Sheila Bower
Roger Milner Roger Milner ... Norman
Tony Spooner Tony Spooner ... Alan
Hamish McColl Hamish McColl ... Younger Neighbor
Sam Rumbelow Sam Rumbelow ... PC Wilson


Superintendent Jane Tennison, on loan to another jurisdiction, is sent in to investigate a murder of a businessman. It looks like a fairly obvious sex murder, but the facts prove otherwise. Now as Tennison investigates, she uncovers the crime's link to the goings on with the local municipal government and finds something larger and darker there than she anticipated. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


R | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

PBS/Masterpiece Theatre





Release Date:

11 February 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Epäilyksen polttopiste: Sisäpiirit See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television, WGBH See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Polly played by Kelly Reilly has a small part in this film. The Prome Suspect series is based on Lynda La Plante's Tennison book series. 14 years after this movie Kelly Reilly would star in another series by Lynda La Plante; Above Suspicion. Kelly Reilly played the main character Anna Travis. Starring with her was Cíaran Hinds who played a significant role in the previous Prime Suspect series (series 3). See more »


James Greenlees: It's a close-knit community, Sergeant. Bad news travels fast.
See more »


Followed by Prime Suspect 5: Errors of Judgement (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

'Prime Suspect IV' continues to go strong
4 August 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

This is going to be fairly similarly worded to my review for the previous case 'The Lost Child', mainly because their strengths are exactly the same to each and to the previous three series.

Neither 'Inner Circles' or 'The Lost Child' are as good as the three previous series (though it would have been a Herculean task to do so, considering their sheer brilliance), but high expectations were met if not quite surpassed. Both are very good, terrific even at its best and almost all the elements are spot on. It continues with the changes in format introduced in 'The Lost Child', including Lynda La Plante not being involved and the lengths of the episodes being shorter, for the fourth series it was three cases clocking in around just over five hours overall for 'Prime Suspect IV' rather than one case split into two halves like in the first three 'Prime Suspect' series.

'Inner Circles' sees the changes working even better here now that the format feels a little more settled, being not quite as rushed this time round. My only complaints are the ending, which is rather muddled and tries to cram in too much, and Kelly Reilly, who has her limited acting range and never-looking-comfortable demeanour in an early role both of which improved in 'Above Suspicion'.

However, 'Inner Circles' is stylishly and cleverly filmed, with slick editing and atmospheric lighting, and there is a consistently wonderful atmosphere throughout. It is very gritty, if not quite as dark as 'Prime Suspect III', and effectively claustrophobic. It is very hard to forget the music score too. The scripting, like its predecessor, is some of the best there is of any mystery/detective drama, being superbly constructed and intelligent, plus it is hard to not be impressed by the cunning subtlety of the conflicts.

Story-telling is very compelling and twisty, with an atmosphere that is gritty and harrowing but also intricate and honest. It is a complex story that keeps one guessing right up to the end while also being easy to follow. Tennison's personal life is balanced very well.

Jane Tennison continues to be an interesting character, the character and the depiction of the police force was very ahead of the time back in the 90s and holds much fascination now even if not so novel.

Helen Mirren gives a typically magnificent performance in the lead. The supporting cast are not on the same level as Robert Glenister in 'The Lost Child' as far as 'Prime Suspect IV' goes but still do solidly, with only Reilly not impressing.

Altogether, very good indeed and shows 'Prime Suspect IV' continuing to go strong. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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