Mysteries Italiano

I’m finding and enjoying  many mysteries on MHZ Choice. The Donna Leone Mysteries are based on her books. Commissario Brunetti and Venice are the stars. In each episode, Brunetti works through bureaucratic obstacles and family crises juxtaposed against the eye-appealing Venetian background. Strangely, it was produced by a German company and is in German with English subtitles. It didn’t bother me, but may be a problem for others. The cast is excellent. After the first four episodes, the actors playing Brunetti and his wife Paola changed. They seemed to be a better fit for the roles but I might think that because I saw them in more episodes. Vianello, Elettra, Patta, Raffi and Chiara stayed the same, a good thing.  The scenery and characters always kept me interested  me and I was sorry to reach the last episode. The seasons were two episodes, then dropped to one. MHZ has it grouped as one season.

A show that appeared recently in the menu and I hesitated to watch was an Italian version of Nero Wolfe. I know I titled this post as Mysteries Italiano and have presented a German production of an Italian inspector and now I’m giving you an Italian version of an American detective, The mysteries are why wouldn’t an Italian company want to do Brunetti and why would an Italian company want to tackle Wolfe?

When I committed to viewing Nero Wolfe, I wondered how it would stack up to the American version on A&E. There are noticeable differences. The Italian Archie has fewer rough edges. He speaks Italian like a native. I can’t imagine Timothy Hutton’s version of Archie doing that. Francesco Pannofino, the Italian Wolfe, is not as intimidating as Maury Chaykin in character or physical size. Still, he  is formidable. And, for my money has the best “Hmm” between the two. The reworking of stories was successful and the episodes were fun. Inspector Graziani, the Italian version of Inspector Cramer, effectively provides the officialdom’s frustration with Wolfe. The Italian version features a regular nosy reporter to joust with Archie. The last episode may be too maudlin but overall I enjoyed the series and wish they had planned more than one season.

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