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Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

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  • Summary: Michael Dibdin's Italian detective Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell) comes to the small screen in this adaptation of the first three novels for Masterpiece Mystery.
  • Genre(s): Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Jul 15, 2011
    It's all as addictive as an uber-fresh, ice-cold slice of watermelon on one of the hills of Rome in the scorching heat.
  2. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jul 18, 2011
    The performances are superb, especially that of Sewell in the title role. He underplays the part to sublime perfection, making Aurelio Zen one of the most attractive and fascinating TV cops in years.
  3. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jul 14, 2011
    I'll just say that the three-episode run of Zen, based on a series of mysteries by Michael Dibdin about a Venice-born, Rome-based cop named Aurelio Zen--you thought maybe he was a Buddhist?--was absorbing enough that I'm planning to check out the books next.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jul 15, 2011
    In this clever series of politically and sexually charged Masterpiece Mystery! movies based on books by Michael Dibdin, and beautifully filmed on location, lone wolf Zen finds his reputation for integrity challenged on all sides.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jul 15, 2011
    Both as twisty mystery and armchair vacation, it's a good way to pass a summer night.
  6. Reviewed by: Lesley Smith
    Jul 18, 2011
    Despite the pleasures of these performances, the series drags. Inside each of Zen's 90-minute episodes lies, one suspects, a crisp hour.
  7. Reviewed by: David Zurawik
    Jul 18, 2011
    There are just too many problems with the lead character and writing for this to ever become a PBS staple like "Inspector Morse" or "Miss Marple" had been.

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Jul 31, 2011
    Just got done watching the 3rd and (final?) episode of BBC's Zen. FANTASTIC! The writing, production quality, the acting, all beyond what is offered on any other station. The cinematography blows away most theatrical movies. I just read BBC axed pursuing a series of this? And there is even more Zen stories already written and ready for the taking? You guys gotta get with it and continue this as a series. There's plenty of loose threads in sub-plots to continue further. You have a goldmine. The question over the past 3 Sundays in our house has been: Do you want to go to the movies? No, we want to stay in and watch Zen! Sonoma, CA Expand
  2. Aug 5, 2011
    Once I got over the fact that all the Italian characters were speaking English, I fell in love with this show. Zen, his new girl friend, his mother, his co-workers, even his enemies were really great. What a shame if it is true that the BBC canceled it. I guess American networks aren't the only ones that don't give truly excellent programs a real chance to build an audience. Watch it online at PBS.com while you have the chance! Expand
  3. Jul 18, 2011
    We were given an advanced showing in the UK, as it is a BBC production, and I loved it. Antonioni cool for the 21st Century. Great performances, and beautifully shot too. I would recommend this, The Shadow Line and Sherlock as the benchmark for new Britishcrime drama. Expand
  4. Aug 24, 2011
    Terrific, elegant show. Both Rufus Sewell and his lead actress are eminently watchable, and the stories are compelling. This one's a keeper. Would love to see them shoot some additional episodes. Expand
  5. Sep 4, 2011
    Characters and stories are excellent. I just wish the characters felt Italian. With hardly an accent from any of the characters, it is just a bit difficult to get deeply involved. Expand
  6. Sep 27, 2011
    Surprisingly bad. The show starts with what is a brilliant idea: it is set in beautiful Rome! And the characters are sexy Italians! Then they take this great premise and trash it completely ... with British actors speaking in British accents. It's totally out of place. it's all I could think about everytime they opened their mouths. If that is not enough, the plots are weak and it is difficult for the audience to get involved. If the accents were not so grating, I would find myself bored senseless. Expand