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Prime Suspect: The Peculiarities of the Conflicts Essay

Our everyday life is full of different challenges and issues. These challenges can be the results of our interactions with people, of the peculiarities of our private life or our career. There are a lot of tensions and pressures in our everyday reality and our task is to cope with them successfully.

In 1991 Lynda La Plante created a story for the TV series Prime Suspect about Jane Tennison, a detective in the Metropolitan Police, who had to prove her professional competency in the world of men. There are many conflicts and oppositions in the series which can be presented in the form of interpersonal triangles.

The most vivid interpersonal triangle which is based on conflicts and hostility includes Jane Tennison and her colleagues Bill Otley and Michael Kiernan who cannot accept the fact of Tennison’s being a first-class detective and a great professional in this sphere.

The main conflict of this triangle depends on the problem of the occurrences of sexism in the behavior of those men who work with Jane Tennison. The Metropolitan Police is the world where men dominate. Bill Otley and Michael Kiernan consider that women should not even try to succeed in this sphere. Moreover, a woman cannot take the position higher than a man’s one.

Thus, Jane Tennison has to fight with the antagonism of Bill Otley and Michael Kiernan singly and also with their tandem. Tennison’s actions are directed toward her proving herself in the position, gaining of the reputation and decreasing of the tension. However, Bill Otley and Michael Kiernan’s actions are directed toward breaking down her will and persistence.

Thus, Jane Tennison suffers from the open sabotage of her orders by Bill Otley and the team. The problem is in the fact that Jane Tennison faces this opposition every day, and she has also to fight for her professional and private freedom.

Tennison can emphasize this point saying, “Whoa, you’re in my space!” (Prime Suspect 1). She means not only the peculiarities of the immediate situation, but she declares her position according to the whole situation in the office.

Jane Tennison is dedicated to her work greatly. She is rather talented and very ambitious. She cannot admit compromises, and there is only the ‘law of justice’ on which she depends (Prime Suspect 1).

Her intentions are directed to reaching the success in her professional life, but she forgets about the needs of her private relations. That is why it is emotionally difficult for her to work in the situation when her colleagues have the purpose to prevent her from doing her work effectively.

The relations of Jane Tennison with the team can be considered as confrontation. It is obvious from the example of communication between Tennison and her team when they sarcastically call her ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’. “Listen, I like to be called governor or the boss. I don’t like Ma’am – I’m not the Bloody Queen.

So take your pick. – Yes, Ma’am” (Prime Suspect 1). However, Jane Tennison knows what she does, and it is not an easy task to battle with her. She is not a ‘sir’, but her methods of working can be considered as male, not female. Tennison is used to act as a police officer even in her private life.

Bill Otley follows a policy of open confrontation in his relations with Jane Tennison because he cannot admit the fact that a woman can be more successful in the work than he. Otley is a good specialist, and he can successfully cooperate with Shefford and Michael Kiernan and provide high results. However, he has to obey the orders of Tennison, and he is sure that a woman cannot be a good detective.

His position is close to the position of all the men in the office. Nevertheless, their antagonism is not so obvious. Otley is ready to attempt every action to prevent Tennison from doing her work, even to conceal important facts about the case.

Michael Kiernan is also rather sarcastic in his attitude toward Jane Tennison. “Oh, I see… female murder squad officer. The ball’s in my court, isn’t it? – The flying squad recommends she is got ‘em… balls!” (Prime Suspect 1). The officers accentuate the fact that a woman cannot be equal to a man even if her methods of work are rather direct and strict.

Michael Kiernan also shares the opinion that the police office is the men’s world and there is no place for women there. In addition, there can also be observed a conflict between Michael Kiernan and Bill Otley which is based on their career intentions. Thus, when Jane Tennison focuses on her professional growth and experience her opponents are inclined to concentrate on her sex rather than on her professional qualities.

In the triangle of Jane Tennison, Bill Otley and Michael Kiernan Tennison is able to show the strength of her character and to win the respect of her team. She succeeded in it even in spite of the fact that her colleagues did not want to give her difficult and controversial cases. However, Jane Tennison has paid the cost for her career successes. This cost is her failures in the private life.

The opposition of Jane Tennison, Bill Otley and Michael Kiernan depends on the question of sexism and a kind of discrimination. Tennison does her best to succeed in the world of Bill Otley and Michael Kiernan who do not consider her as the equal partner in their work.

Works Cited

“Prime Suspect 1”. n.d. Web.

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I., G. (2019, July 2). Prime Suspect: The Peculiarities of the Conflicts [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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I., Giovani. "Prime Suspect: The Peculiarities of the Conflicts." IvyPanda, 2 July 2019,

1. Giovani I. "Prime Suspect: The Peculiarities of the Conflicts." IvyPanda (blog), July 2, 2019.


I., Giovani. "Prime Suspect: The Peculiarities of the Conflicts." IvyPanda (blog), July 2, 2019.


I., Giovani. 2019. "Prime Suspect: The Peculiarities of the Conflicts." IvyPanda (blog), July 2, 2019.


I., G. (2019) 'Prime Suspect: The Peculiarities of the Conflicts'. IvyPanda, 2 July.

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