TV Review: The Bletchley Circle, Season 1

Bletchley CircleSUMMARY

After working to break German codes at Bletchley Park during the war, Susan now leads an ordinary life as a 1950s mother and housewife.  However, she finds herself intrigued by the serial killings reported by the news and soon discovers a pattern the police have missed.  When the police dismiss her theories, Susan decides to reunite with three of her Bletchley Park friends to find the killer before he can strike again.


I absolutely love period television shows, so when I heard about a mini series featuring four women who work together to solve crime, I was, as you can imagine, very excited.  Bletchley Park seems to have it all–intelligent women fighting sexism, strong female friendships, and an engrossing murder mystery, all set in post-war London.  Sign me up!

And the show lived up to my expectations, in part because I have a soft spot for teams working to solve mysteries and/or crimes.  I think it has something to do with seeing how everyone can possess a valuable trait or skill set, even if that set might seem useless on its own.  And I want to see people be friendly and work together.  No women in competition here!  The world is harsh enough–girls should stick together!

The Bletchley Park circle works very well together indeed.  Susan has a talent for breaking codes.  Millie works with maps.  Jean finds data and organizes it.  And Lucy possesses a photographic memory.  All of them can work out puzzles on their own, but when they combine their skills, they are formidable indeed!  And, I might add, fearless.  Whenever they find a lead, they pursue it, walking directly into the lairs of the suspected murderer.  “You do not walk into dark underground chambers and creepy buildings by yourself and without telling anyone when you are expected to return!” I wanted to scream.  But they did–and without a second thought.  These women were determined to save the lives of other women, even if it meant giving up their own.  It was inspiring.

I do have to note, however, that this season is dark.  And deeply disturbing. I have seen it recommended for fans of Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife, but while these shows do address adult themes and are clearly for older, more mature audiences, they still not do reach the darkness of The Bletchley Circle.  The murders and violation of the young women are fairly detailed, and some graphic images of couples are shown.  It was extremely difficult for me to watch this show and I mostly got through it because I was able to watch all three episodes in a row and try to see justice enacted as soon as possible.  This is the type of show that should have a trigger warning.

I still would like to watch season two, however, and I’m very disappointed the show was cancelled.  Television could use some more intelligent women fighting crime and leaning on each other for support.  And this show is quality with wonderful acting and characterization and a complex plot.  Two seasons of these women is simply not enough!

Krysta 64


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