Inspector Manara, Season 2 DVD Review: Crime and Amore

Luca's intuitive yet iconoclastic approach to crime-solving is a lot of fun to watch, but it is the romance of Luca and Lara that is sure to keep viewers interested and involved.
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MHz has recently released the second season of the Italian crime/comedy series Inspector Manara 2. Fans of the first season will be sure to enjoy the further adventures of the title character, Luca Manara, played by the charming and handsome Guido Caprino. In the first season, a reluctant Luca had been transferred to a sleepy little Tuscan seaside town, where he soon, unexpectedly, found himself busy chasing down clues to countless murders and other associated crimes. He was helped in his endeavors by the lovely Inspector Lara Rubino (Roberta Giarrusso), a former fellow student from their days at the police academy. Luca, although immediately very popular with all the love-starved local ladies, ended up pursuing Lara, and the two fell in love and got together by the end of the first season.

As the second season begins, Lara and Luca are getting married, with their friends and the entire town thrilled to attend. But the course of true love never quite runs smoothly for this pair. As Luca fumbles with his lines at the altar, a young cyclist bursts into the church, interrupting the ceremony, and falls down dead in the aisle in the first episode, "Matrimonio con delitto (Marriage with murder)." Luca and Lara put their wedding on hold and try to solve the crime, but it is clear that the pair may have not been ready to swap vows just yet. They try living together, but they don't seem to mesh well as roomies, either. In "L'addio di Lara (The farewell of Lara)" Lara decides to accept an offer to attend a prestigious course at the police academy in Milan. This will help her in her career, but also take her away, at least for a time, from Luca.

il-commissario-manara-1-e1410126776483.jpgThe gang's all here, L-R: Toscani, Sardi, Buttafuoco, Barbagallo, Lara, and Luca

The rest of the series focuses on Luca and how he will function without Lara. At first he goes back to standard operating procedure, wooing lovely ladies, like Lara's replacement, Inspector Marta Rivera (Anna Safroncik), who arrives in town with her own romantic issues and mysteries from her past. As much as viewers will miss Lara at first, she does return towards the end, and if Luca isn't careful, the season could be bookended with another wedding, but this time featuring Lara and a completely different groom.

Although Luca and Lara's easy camaraderie is missed in some of the middle episodes (Marta is lovely to look at, and eminently capable, but the two don't have quite the same spark), there is still lots of fun to be had with the other recurring characters and colleagues of Luca - especially husband-and-wife cops Toscani (Augusto Fornari) and Sardi (Lucia Ocone), who now have a baby girl, and whose sleep(less) schedules affects everyone at the station. The comic relief/police officer duo of Barbagallo (Tribastone Mario) and Buttafuoco (Massimo Andrei) keep things light, even in the midst of a murder investigation. Buttafuoco even attempts a romance with Luca's landlady and surrogate conscience, Ada (Daniela Morozzi).

All of the episodes in the second season are entertaining, but some of the standouts include "Delitto tra le lenzuola (Crime between the sheets)," where a woman's dead body is found in Luca's house - in his bed - making him temporarily a suspect, but mostly underlining how much he misses Lara. As he tries to solve the crime he also decides to move back in to his old room at Ada's farmhouse, as the new house he shared with Lara seems too empty. The last three episodes, where his relationships with Marta and Lara come to a head, and a multi-episode arc concerning the kidnapping of a young girl is finally solved, are also quite entertaining.

The twelve episodes included on the disk are:

"Matrimonio con delitto (Marriage with murder)"

"L'addio di Lara (The farewell of Lara)"

"Delitto tra le lenzuola (Crime between the sheets)"

"Miss Maremma"

"Mondo sommerso (Underwater world)"

"Sotto tiro (Under Fire)"

"Alta società (High Society)"

"Fuori servizio (Out of service)"

"L'amica ritrovata (The newfound friend)"

"La verità nascosta (The Hidden Truth)"

"Uno strano incidente di caccia (A strange hunting accident)"

"La donna senza volto (The faceless woman)"

Luca's intuitive yet iconoclastic approach to crime-solving (he actually gets suspended for a few episodes about half-way through this series) is a lot of fun to watch, but it is the romance of Luca and Lara that is sure to keep viewers interested and involved. There are four disks in the collection, with an approximate total running time of 631 minutes. The series is in Italian, with English subtitles. There is one extra, a featurette on the making of the series, where a third season, which was apparently prepared and written, but as yet never produced, is discussed. That is the only disappointment to be had in Inspector Manara 2 - that there may not be more shows to watch featuring these lovable characters.

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