PBS Zen a Masterpiece of a Roman Detective Mystery
Masterpiece Mystery presents Zen, a Roman police detective who always gets his man or woman, yet has a secret agenda that mixes politics with police work

Hollywood Today, 21 July 2011
By Robin Rowe

“What’s wonderful about Zen is he’s a little bit sly,” says Zen star Rufus Sewell. “The whole experience of Zen was so much fun for me. Not so much for the dialog and the action, although it was great to have a holster and a gun…. It was so wonderful being able to listen on camera with the full confidence that the audience is going to get the opportunity slowly to see that world through my eyes. All I have to do is think my way through it.”

'Zen', based on the bestselling novels by Michael Dibdin, is the story of Aurelio Zen, an honest cop in Rome who must be very clever in order to be an honest cop in a corrupt Rome. Zen is always finding himself in position that political bosses are ordering him to fix his latest case to the outcome they need for political reasons. What makes it impossible, and the real mystery for Zen to solve, is how to create an outcome that includes justice and the opposite outcomes that his chief and politicos demand he produce.

Rome is gorgeous. Rufus Sewell deliciously underplays his role as Zen, a Roman police detective from Venice. Separated from his wife and living with his mother, he’s caught up in a secret romance his chief’s new secretary. Caterina Murino is wonderful as Tania Moretti, the new hot chick at the office who is the object of an office bet as to who will sleep with her first. Ben Miles is Zen’s secret political boss who gives Zen impossible missions. Miles was wonderful in the BBC series Coupling as Patrick and brings his likable wit to the series Zen. Stanley Townsend from Sherlock is fantastic as Zen’s irascible police chief Moscati.

Zen has an unusual Venetian name and an unusual reputation. In the shark tank of Roman politics, he’s known as an honest detective…much to the detriment of his career. Zen is handed a chance to play politics and salvage his career. Aurelio Zen always tries to do the right thing while making it appear that he’s following the conflicting orders of his bosses.

Outwitting prosecutors, politicians, mobsters, kidnappers and killers, Detective Aurelio Zen brings justice to modern-day Italy…whether the authorities want it or not. Zen is a three episode mini-series from Masterpiece. Vendetta premiered on July 17th. You can catch up with that in repeats or online. If you liked Vendetta, Cabal airing on July 24th is even more clever and delicious. The final episode, Ratking, airs on July 31st.

If you love Masterpiece Mystery, don’t miss Zen.

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