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Cracker

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1
A New Terror
2006-10-30
After living as an ex-pat for a decade, forensic psychologist Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald returns to England and finds his homeland profoundly changed.

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Cracker is an engaging, psychological crime drama produced by ITV that aired from 1993 to 1996, starring Robbie Coltrane and Geraldine Somerville. This primetime show has resonated deeply with its viewers due to its intelligent approach, gritty realism and, most importantly, the inimitable character at its center, Dr. Edward ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald, brilliantly portrayed by Robbie Coltrane.

The series takes place in Manchester, England, depicting a vibrant yet tempestuous city life filled with complex, often harrowing crime scene circumstances. Central to these happenings, the show's protagonist and heart, Fitz, is a flawed, chain-smoking, gambling-addicted psychologist who has more than his fair share of personal and relational problems. Despite these shortcomings, Fitz has an uncanny ability to get inside the minds of the perpetrators he pursues along with the Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Robbie Coltrane's character, Dr. Edward 'Fitz' Fitzgerald, is a police psychologist, or "criminal psychologist," who is called upon to work on complex cases that are difficult for the police to crack. Despite his turbulent personal life, Fitz possesses an uncanny knack for empathizing with the unlikeliest of characters, often providing the key to unravel the mystery that has left the GMP stumped. His methods, often unorthodox, are deeply grounded in his understanding of psychology to provide insights into the criminal mind, elucidating motives, predicting behavior, and sometimes even unmasking killers.

Geraldine Somerville, playing DS Jane Penhaligon, known affectionally as "Panhandle", adds an intriguing dynamic to the show. As a dedicated, competent detective and Fitz’s close confidante, she provides a strong, grounding balance to Fitz’s abrasive personality. The chemistry between Coltrane and Somerville’s characters adds depth to the narrative, both professionally and personally, creating a nuanced relationship that fuels much of the series’s ongoing tensions.

The show is stylistically gritty and intensely psychological, depicting a range of disturbing crimes that are often rooted in dark aspects of human psychology. However, it balances its darker elements with moments of levity, often provided by Fitz's sarcastic wit. The methods used to solve the crimes form the crux of Cracker, as Fitz, with his troubled life and complex relationships, manages to find parallels in the minds of the criminals he endeavours to understand.

Another element that sets Cracker apart from a regular crime procedural is its unique narrative style. Instead of focusing on the ‘whodunit’ aspect, the show often reveals the criminal early on and, instead, delves into the 'whydunit', cementing its crime-solving approach firmly in the psychological realm. This distinctive storytelling technique enables a deeper exploration of the complexities of the human mind, the society we live in, and the underlying factors which drive individuals toward criminality.

Cracker also excels in its examination of darker social issues. Throughout its run, Cracker broached many contemporary topics including drug addiction, racism, child abuse, homophobia and political dissatisfaction, spotlighting them within its crime narratives, while bravely pushing the boundaries of typical ‘90s TV drama.

Furthermore, the show spotlights police procedures and politics, giving viewers a glimpse into the lives of the dedicated law enforcement personnel who work these disturbing cases. Their struggles, both personal and professional, are portrayed with the same depth and nuance as that of Fitz’s character, adding additional layers of drama and intrigue.

Though the series concluded in 1996, favorable audience response led to a few later standalone specials, maintaining the original cast and continuing the dramatic pursuit of criminals in Manchester, expanding on Fitz's psychological mysteries, ever-engaging wit, and enduring personal struggles.

In conclusion, Cracker is a dignified, ground-breaking crime drama with a psychological twist. It stands out for its masterful storytelling, complex characters, and exploration of societal and mental perturbations. With its unique premise and masterful performances notably by Robbie Coltrane and Geraldine Somerville, Cracker is a testament to television's ability to provide a thought-provoking, multi-layered viewing experience.

Cracker is a series categorized as a canceled. Spanning 5 seasons with a total of 36 episodes, the show debuted on 1993. The series has earned a mostly positive reviews from both critics and viewers. The IMDb score stands at 8.5.

Genres
Drama
Channel
ITV
Rating
8.5/10
Cast
Christopher Eccleston, Robbie Coltrane, Geraldine Somerville, Barbara Flynn, Kieran O'Brien, Ricky Tomlinson, Lorcan Cranitch, Tess Thomson
Cracker is available on .