Inevitably, if a little upset, most media will cover Robbie Coltrane’s death with the headline “Harry Potter star dies”, or some minor variation of it.
Understandable, though. For current and future Potter fans, Coltrane will forever be Rubeus Hagrid, the gentle giant of the wizarding world. But for those of us former classics who have enjoyed Coltrane’s film and television performances for 40 years, he’s so much more.
I suspect I wasn’t the only one who turned around this past weekend to re-shoot his greatest triumph as a dramatic actor: Cracker (all episodes on ITV Hub), created by Jimmy McGovern.
For three seasons in the ’90s, Coltrane drew on the role of Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald, a brilliant, charismatic criminal psychologist living in Manchester who has a genius intuition to open and expand his mind. the killers don’t turn to his tumultuous personal life, it’s basically a wreck on a detour.
As Fitz memorably said of himself: “I drink too much, I smoke too much, I gamble too much. I to be too much.”
Cracker ran from 1993 to ’96 and earned Coltrane three consecutive Baftas for best actor.
He returned with a pair of two-hour specials a decade later, but none of them measured the magic of the original 23 episodes.
In fact, nothing has measured over the years. Cracker responsible for driving a series of crime series featuring flawed protagonists who are good at their jobs and lousy with their own lives. Although Fitz has had many imitators, he has never had a peer.
If you have never seen Crackers, The best place to start, obviously, is at the beginning. But I chose to revisit, in my opinion, the culmination of the series: the three-part story ‘To Be a Somebody’, which kicks off the second season.
Fitz’s complicated relationship with his wife Judith (Barbara Flynn) – they fight like cats and dogs, but can’t shake their attraction to each other – has reached its lowest point.
DCI David Bilborough (Christopher Eccleston) doesn’t want Fitz to be near his case anymore. DS Jane Penhaligon (Geraldine Somerville), whom Fitz always calls “Panhandle”, doesn’t want him around she anymore.
The two were constantly straining on the brink of an affair, until Fitz, agreeing to go on vacation with her, humiliated her by not showing up at the airport.
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One of many setups Cracker apart from all other crime dramas is the care with which McGovern writes the supporting characters. They all feel fully developed. Even murderers are not lost, unmotivated psychopaths.
In ‘To Be a Somebody’ the villain is Albie Kinsella, played by the wonderful Robert Carlyle, a deeply worried Liverpool man (and Liverpool FC fan) who has just buried his father and disappeared. His anger at life’s injustices turned into a killing spree.
He intends to kill 96 people to avenge the 96 (last year that has increased to 97) Liverpool supporters who died in the Hillsborough disaster. His targets include a police officer and a reporter with Sun, which slandered Liverpool fans in a despicable way.
When a Pakistani shop owner refuses to let Albie have a newspaper and a box of tea bags because he is four cents short, Albie goes home, shaved to make him look like a bald guy, returns to the shop. and stabbed the shop owner along with his father. old army bayonets.
Police claim they have a racist murder outright. Fitz knows what’s different and is thrust into the cold when the smug, smug psychologist who takes his place becomes one of Albie’s victims.
‘To Be a Somebody’ is the most powerful and provocative work Cracker of all of them. It’s a great crime drama, but it incorporates many serious issues: racism; bias and dishonesty in the media; a tendency to judge working-class people by the way they dress and talk; the imaginary grievances of a certain kind of white man who believes he is being replaced.
These problems have not gone away yet. Many have gotten worse. Sadly, Robbie Coltrane yes gone far, but he has left us with a great amount of work, in which Cracker is the best.
See it as a lesson in how crime movies have declined over the past four decades.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-reviews/pat-stacey-robbie-coltranes-fitz-remains-an-unbeatable-creation-42074689.html Pat Stacey: Robbie Coltrane’s Fitz Is Still an Unbeatable Creation