KUED's Sunday night Masterpiece Contemporary at 8 p.m., A Place of Execution, is a convoluted two part detective yarn about a 1963 murder in rural England and the investigative reporter 40 years later who takes another look at the case.---
The reporter is played by Juliet Stevenson. One critic described her as perpetually displaying a worried Smurf mug, for those who remember the TV cartoon show. Whether that's a compliment or not I can't tell. Nevertheless Stevenson is one of Britain's most talented actresses. No more so is that evident than in the late lamented Anthony Mingella's haunted widow classic, Truly Madly Deeply.
Every time I find myself yearning for the England of my youth I think about that film. Stevenson literally drips with tears and mucous as she struggles to cope with losing violinist Alan Rickman. So he comes back to help her through her dark time, quoting Pablo Neruda poems to her in bad Spanish and dragging a bunch of video-addicted ghosts with him.
It's full of scenes of north London parks, quiet cafes where you can enjoy a cup of tea and a few pages of Dostoyefsky and that extraordinary London skyline with its deep white clouds. Against that backdrop, la Stevenson delivers a deeply moving, pitch perfect performance, underscoring her gifts as an actress. Hopefully Place of Execution will display more of the same.