Jane Seymour was once a Bond girl named Solitaire, in the 1973 film, Live and Let Die, and was also written about much for her heterochromia, or simply put, different coloured eyes. She subsequently went on to do many award-winning roles in films and television, and has landed, at age 71, a breezy crime caper, Harry Wild. It is politically incorrect these days to mention this, but the years have not lessened her oomph.
This eight-part show is on amc+ under the Amazon Prime umbrella, and has a selection of good shows available at a small subscription fee, that is totally worth the additional expense on OTT channels (if only for the nine seasons of the splendid series Foyle’s War).
Harriet ‘Harry’ Wild retires as a literature professor, but is simply not the kind of senior citizen to stay home and knit or cultivate ‘old people’ hobbies. Her stodgy son Charlie (Kevin Ryan) is a cop, and is very displeased when Harry, using her knowledge of obscure literary texts solves a murder and makes the Dublin police look like fools. On the way, she also acquires a teenage sidekick, Fergus Reid (Rohan Nedd), who had mugged her earlier; she discovers that he is a good, caring kid, and stole only when the situation at home with his alcoholic and debt-ridden father became desperate. The deal is that he helps with her sleuthing adventures and she tutors him so that he can ace his exams.
Charlie almost bursts a blood vessel every time his incorrigible mother interferes in police work—she is not just fearless and sharp, she dons disguises and changes her voice when required. Besides, she is not constrained by rules and laws like the cops are, so she crashes anywhere and gets information out of anyone. She also gets carte blanche when she has an affair with Charlie’s immediate boss, Ray Tiernen (Stuart Graham).
When their initial exploits make it to the newspapers, Harry and Fergus are approached by people for help, and they decide they might as well become private detectives. They make an odd pair, but their friendship has genuine warmth and despite the huge age gap, it is a partnership of equals; Fergus also falls for Harry’s granddaughter Lola (Rose O’Neill), which annoys the hell out of her mother Orla (Amy Huberman), because Fergus is poor and black.
Created by David Logan and Joe Spain, directed by Rob and Ronan Burke, the series is funny and enjoyable, despite the contrived plots—in one episode they crash a school pretending Lola is one of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s children, certain that nobody will check because they have so many! A large part of the credit for making the show such a binge-worthy blast goes to Jane Seymour who plays Harry Wild with uninhibited relish.
It’s not often that an actress of her age is cast as the lead in a detective series, and then not made to act like a prim Miss Marple. Harry lives her life to the fullest and with that touch of wildness that makes her name so apt for her. A second season is on the way!
(This piece first appeared in seniorstoday.in)