Comparing TV, film versions of ‘State of Play’

Andrew Hauptman, producer of the new film "State of Play," remembers what he thought while watching the original six-hour miniseries in London when it was first broadcast in 2003. "The reaction was, 'This is the best piece of television I've ever seen,' " says Hauptman, who is American. "And I've gotten that reaction from so many people I've shown it to. It just grabbed you by the neck and didn't let go."

Written by Paul Abbott, "State of Play" (which is available on DVD from BBC Video) was a galloping thriller with multiple strands covering a variety of themes: personal ambition between friends, government collusion with private industry, and the thorny relationship between the press and law enforcement when each wants the other to butt out (except when one has information the other needs). Everything unraveled from a pair of seemingly unrelated deaths that opened the first episode, as two gung-ho Fleet Street reporters named Cal (John Simm) and Della (Kelly MacDonald) followed a trail of clues that led to the inner workings of a big-oil-bashing independent energy policy report being prepared by ascendant politician Stephen Collins (David Morrissey), who happens to be an old friend of Cal's.

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