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Circles of Deceit

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dennis Waterman, Derek Jacobi, John Hannah
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Import, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Studio: Acorn
  • Release Date: May 17 2011
  • Run Time: 394 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B004O0CJYM

Product Description

Former special-forces operative John Neil (Dennis Waterman, New Tricks, The Sweeney) remains on call for the brass at Britain’s security services. Whether taking on Irish terrorists, tracking down professional assassins, or pitting his wits against ruthless drug dealers, the ex-SAS man harbors no illusions about the work he’s doing—or the people he serves. He faces down deadly adversaries as well as devious bosses who keep him on a need-to-know basis, forcing Neil to rely on his instincts and his training in a world of betrayal, danger, and deceit.

Top British actors guest star in these four feature-length dramas, including Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius), John Hannah (The Mummy), Peter Vaughan (The Remains of the Day), Kate Buffery (Trial & Retribution), Clare Higgins (Silent Witness), and Leo McKern (Rumpole of the Bailey).

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Most helpful customer reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Marcia TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 11 2011
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Story: Episode 1: John Neil (Dennis Waterman, New Tricks) stars as a "damaged" former special service agent whose son and wife were killed by IRA terrorists. A top Govt. official (Derick Jacobi, Cadfael) reactivates Neil because he's expendable. Neil is sent to Belfast under cover as an IRA bomber. Alone, relying only on his wits, Neil tackles his arch enemy, the IRA.

Episode 2: A retired Russian spy (Leo McKern, Rumpole of the Bailey) contacts the Brits offering to sell secrets. He offers up a sleeper cell who lead Neil back to renegade IRA terrorists threatening the Prime Minister.

Episode 3: Neil follows a bank trader (John Hannah, The Mummy, McCallam) to a nest of former army renegades protesting that drug running or money laundering is a job for the police. His boss keeps reminding him he's investigating the death of an army officer and as a former SAS operative this is their business. What's really going on?

Episoe 4: On another "need to know" assingment where he doesn't need to know his boss is manipulating politions, Neil is sent to contact his old army chum whose mixed up in blackmail. When he turns up dead, Neil decides this is not police business, but he's overruled by his boss. Neil again feels guilty because now his friend is dead after his visit which reactivates the guilt he feels over the death of his wife and son. Neils not very good at following orders.

If you liked MI5 and/or Murphy's Law this is for you. I suspect it's filmed in Belfast because, despite the stellar British actors, I recognized the pub where Neil and his handler meet as the 19th century pub in Belfast near Queen's university. The supporting cast is made up of great British actors whose faces will be familiar even if you can't remember their names.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
By Harold Wolf - Published on
Compelling feature-length stories of the world of spies. John is widowed because of his undercover fight against terrorism. Now he pays with a haunting memory and a compelling life-style that keeps him in danger's snare through Circles of Deceit. Dennis Waterman (`New Tricks') plays reluctant but obedient agent Neil who just can't say not when another call is made to his hideaway home. Is it justice or revenge that caused him to continue putting his life in jeopardy? Can he make a difference? A retrieval of a 1990s spy thriller series that is relevant today.

The equivalent of 4 films, each story is a different mix of plots, with Neil often left to his own instinct for survival when his leaders have decided he is expendable. But this is one spy with a conscience, with spirit, with a nightmare past, but also with a heart for compassion and love. Plenty of action too. A reminder of good intrigue comparable to another British series "A Mind to Kill" but without as much blood.

All 4 episodes average 98 minutes and do have SUBTITLES. Many big guest stars in key roles.
1 THE WOLVES ARE HOWLING takes place in Belfast as the John goes undercover to discover arms information connected to the IRA. He also finds a connecting romantic interest. Neil is haunted by the violent terrorist-caused death of his wife and young son, mental anguish that will carry on in all 4 episodes. Randal (Derek Jacobi-Cadfael) is his handler on the case. Liam McAuley (Peter Vaughn-`Lorna Doone' `Bleak House') a sort of IRA Godfather is Neil's target, but daughter Eilish (Clare Higgins-`Hellraiser' `Pride & Prejudice') catches Neil's heart. Suspenseful, emotional, catastrophic finish.

2 SLEEPING DOGS finds ex-agents in the UK with secrets and willingness to sell. One ex-KGB, Petrov (Leo McKern-`Rumpole') find more than just Neil with buying interest. Petrov has Rumpole mannerisms with a Russian accent and still drinking. Susan Jameson (`New Tricks' `The Queen' & reader for many Catherine Cookson audio books) has taken the role of Neil's handler, now called controller, and will keep the position for the final 3 episodes. Neil's investigation becomes a life & death market. Again Neil uses a female relationship to get inside the cell of aging spies in a North Yorkshire setting. Annie (Frances Barber-`Real Women') recognizes Neil's grief over his past family. She also provides brief nudity.

3 KALON has Neil sent to find a Persian Gulf spy's killer. Capt. Baker (Saskia Wickham-`Blue Murder' `Demons') was lover to the murdered man. Neil gets attracted to her while searching London's banking world as well as drug and money laundering paths. Neil's instructed to find answers at all costs. Banker Rylans (Simon Cadell-`Enemy at the Door') is in over his head, as is his gofer, Sturden (John Hannah-Batiatus of `Spartacus'). Susan Jameson is as ruthless a controller as in the previous episode. What would make London financiers turn assassins? What sickness came from that Desert Gulf sand?

4 DARK SECRET originally aired as #2; the 2 episodes are switched on the DVD with no problem to the stories. Neil's SAS pal has become lawless. Neil is to find him and investigate. Pal & Pvt. James Caine (Shawn McGinley-`Republic of Doyle' `Bleak House') has a friend Kate (Kate Buffery-`Wish Me Luck' `Trial & Retribution' both excellent) who finds herself between the 2 friends. Parliament Minister Simmons (Corin Redgrave-`Foyle's War' `Forsyte Saga' `Four Weddings and a Funeral') has a secret and is blackmailed. Neil never seems to learn that thanks to his controller (Susan Jameson) he is never privy to the entire plan & Dark Secret is not different. Off to Leeds including a topless bar scene (brief nudity warning.)

Heavy on suspense and plot rather than explosive murder and mayhem and bloody scenes. An intellectual spy vs. spy DVD. If you like period spy DVD, look at "Wish Me Luck" where women join the military spies of WWII.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By Un esclave ignorant s'inclina devant un Saint Majestic Dieu - Published on
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I read a great deal for work, so high quality visual materials are desert. This is a top quality drama series, and its only flaw is the box looks old and cheesy. Ignore the box. It is a wonderful escape and joy.

I only logged on to see if more sessions, and will always get this series as soon as more come out.

It was with a dash of sadness that I realized this is the first set on DVD in N. America.

The first reviewer did a fine job as I skimmed his review.

This is a spy drama that is addicting, touching, romantic in a way both genders should enjoy, fascinating and with quality stories that grab you. The actors and all involved should be praised for such a gift.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Engrossing British Contemporay Detective Series Sept. 22 2011
By The Gabster - Published on
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Really enjoyed this series and the realism of the characters. For those of you have may have a problem with various British dialects, the DVDs are Closed Captioned. The detective is grumpy, moody and suffering grief because of the loss of his family. This grief underscores his approach to solving extremely difficult convoluted crimes.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
realistic spy stories. Jan. 15 2012
By Michael Dobey - Published on
This is a great show. The stories are excellent dramas that are really close to reality. The main character is not a superspy , instead he's a man driven for justice, and in some cases he's just doing his job. Dennis Waterman really carries this show as the tortured spy. His wife and kid were killed by terrorists and he lives in a place overgrown with weeds and sorrow. He's a very good agent though and the stories which feature great performers of the highest caliber in each one; really seem as though they could have happened. The year of these four stories are 1994-95 and this is still a age where cell phones are a rarity, and the soviet union has only very recently fallen. Islamic terrorism is still a problem , that would grow worse each year , but it wasn't front page news back then. The dvd's look great and there's a cast filmography. This isn't a action show ,even though it does have death and shootings , the violence serves the stories and not the other way around. Itv really made a great program with this fine show.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Dennis Waterman before New Tricks Oct. 12 2012
By irlandali1 - Published on
Verified Purchase
The Circles of Deceit series was exactly as advertised on Amazon. The package arrived on time and in perfect condition. After the first episode, I found I was as pleased with the purchase as I had imagined. I am a big Dennis Waterman fan, and I had never heard of the series. I simply indulged a whim and was rewarded with a grand viewing experience. Another perfect Amazon buying experience.