Opening

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Zen: Season 1 (2011)

Seasons:
1

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 18
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 1

Rufus Sewell's central performance is a knockout, and the on-location in Italy images make Zen a wonderful view.

100

Average Rating: 8.7/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

Rufus Sewell's central performance is a knockout, and the on-location in Italy images make Zen a wonderful view.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 6

My Rating

Season Info

Adapted from British writer Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen detective novels, the crime drama opens its first season with the introduction of the suave Zen (Rufus Sewell), an Italian cop who tackles mysteries head-on while fending off pressure from his superiors, who often want outcomes that will make their political lives easier. Among the cases he tackles: the murder of a billionaire construction magnate; the death of a disgraced aristocrat who may or may not have committed suicide; and the

Network: PBS

Cast

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Episodes

1
Air date: Jul 17, 2011

Vendetta

Suave Italian police detective Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell) reinvestigates a closed murder case. His boss insists that he confirm the original outcome while a justice official orders him?for political reasons?to reach another conclusion. Meanwhile, a psychopathic killer has targeted him for daring to send him to jail years earlier; and he finds himself attracted to the chief's married assistant (Caterina Murino).

2
Air date: Jul 24, 2011

Cabal

Zen investigates the death of a disgraced aristocrat who either jumped off a bridge or was pushed?possibly because of his plan to reveal the existence of a shadowy organization called the Cabal. A Justice Ministry official wants a suicide ruling, but a female prosecutor believes it should be classified a murder. At the same time, Zen deals with the prosecutor's advances and, like Tania, has difficulties putting his failed marriage to rest.

3
Air date: Jul 31, 2011

Ratking

Zen is assigned to the kidnapping of a wealthy industrialist and political party funder. In other events, Zen's burgeoning affair with Tania is threatened by their new boss, who's a stickler for regulations, including the one against workplace romances.

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (1)

The series' unqualified triumph lies in the acting.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

There's a flashy new interloper in the domain of Hercule Poirot and Endeavour Morse.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Zap2it.com
Zap2it.com

While I started out thinking this was going to be winner, by the end of episode 3, I changed my mind.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

Overall, Zen was stylishly shot and well-acted, telling a story that wasn't quite as sharp and satisfying as I'd hoped for, but it was good enough to leave you wanting more.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

There is little resistance to cliche in all this, but the cliche is so visually appealing that you'll feel like a spoiled child if you complain.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times

I think it has a fair share of problems, but it's very nice to look at, and Sewell is damn good as the central character.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club

So far I like Zen, or at least the idea of him.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Sewell looks good in the Italian suits and shades, the supporting cast is generally good and the atmosphere is effective even when the pacing has problems.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Huffington Post
Huffington Post

Clever series of politically and sexually charged Masterpiece Mystery! movies based on books by Michael Dibdin, and beautifully filmed on location.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This one is full of complicated mysteries and plot twists and turns.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal

I'll just say that the three-episode run of Zen was absorbing enough that I'm planning to check out the books next.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

Zen is lightweight, second-rate crime stuff in a cool, enticing setting.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety

The performances are superb, especially that of Sewell in the title role.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle

Both as twisty mystery and armchair vacation, it's a good way to pass a summer night.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times

Zen looks so good that you rarely stop to worry that there's very little police work going on in these alleged mysteries.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: HitFix
HitFix

A drama that began with Berlusconi-style conspiracies, as dark and intense as an espresso, suddenly turned into Enid Blyton with an Italian accent, complete with swarthy villains and underground adventure.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

It's all as addictive as an uber-fresh, ice-cold slice of watermelon on one of the hills of Rome in the scorching heat.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post

One of the many strengths of the TV adaptation of Zen is that it caught the gloom of Italy as well as the glamour.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

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