What: This three-week series that ran in July on PBS' "Masterpiece: Mystery!" was unexpectedly fun and hip. The underrated Rufus Sewell stars as Aurelio Zen, a detective with a reputation for integrity. This two-disc set has the three movies, "Vendetta," "Cabal" and "Ratking."
What's to like? Everything -- the acting, the Italian locations, the mysteries, the romance; the fact that these are three "movies," each with a great story and satisfying ending. Though it's set today, the show maintains a cool retro vibe (listen to that mod music) and Sewell wears the role of Zen with the same effortless charm he wears his suit.
Best description of the character: He's James Bond, but he lives with his mom.
Great quotes: "He's not a super hero. If I punch someone my hand hurts," Sewell says, later describing Zen this way: "He's sneaky, he can be underhanded, he can pull strings, he can break rules, but not in a cool way. He's just a bloke. He just wants to get through the day."
Extras: A 30-minute documentary has the same stylish feel of the show. Actors lean against walls, perch on bikes or sit dashingly on steps as they discuss adapting the books by Michael Dibdin, filming in Italy, corruption, Italian drivers and Zen's women (which, to give you a taste of the show, includes not just babes, but Zen's mother).
Very sad note: Actor Francesco Quinn, who played Zen's best friend and is the handsome look-alike of his dad, Anthony, died of a reported heart attack earlier this week at 48.
Info: "Zen: Vendetta, Cabal and Ratking" is now on DVD ($34.98) and Blu-ray ($39.98); BBC.
-- Toni Ruberto