Nestled inconspicuously in the midweek 9pm slot, Law and Order UK is one of TV’s constants. Already eight seasons in, it’s a subtle staple of the schedules that rarely fails to deliver on all fronts. The format is quick and snappy, derived from a USA counterpart and, at times, the fast paced stories can seem rushed and contrived. However, the knowledge that a resolution to the mystery will become clear within the hour timeslot and we will see the plot unfold from the crime to the verdict and often beyond, is comforting.
Law and Order UK does not pretend to be anything other than an hour of entertaining and easy to follow drama. There is no pretension here; a crime is committed, every character we meet will undoubtedly have played some vital part in the story (there is simply no time for many red herrings) and the police are a little bit too sharp in situations where the resolution can stretch the imagination. It doesn’t matter though; take Law and Order UK for what it is, and the hour flies by.
It is a little idealistic, usually painting the police and the prosecution team as heroic mavericks desperate only for the truth come out. Similarly, defence lawyers are painted as snarling and sneaky villains, searching for a loophole to get their crook off the hook. It’s a premise that works so long as you aren’t looking for a documentary.
Recent entries in the series have been exceptionally good. Stories centring around a murdered therapist, genital mutilation and infanticide have made for, at times, grizzly viewing. The ensemble cast gels very well, with excellent performances all round. Bradley Walsh is the stand out actor, bringing a uniquely likeable but equally flawed lead in DI Ronnie Brooks. The character is charismatic, but portrayed as a genuine and caring protagonist. He has been saddled with various sidekicks, all of whom the versatile Bradley has worked well alongside. Ronnie is generally an old school copper, but one who welcomes the change and input of his inevitably more youthful counterparts.
The prosecution usually come into play once we have grasped the basic facts of the crime and there is a suspect to be tried. One is as idealistic as the script and the other a stickler for the rules and therefore, there is inevitably Mulder and Scully-esque sexual tension. The show intersperses humour; it’s subtle and provides a welcome relief whilst not detracting from the main plotline.
The most recent episode opened with a cross dressed man frolicking in a hotel room with a somewhat bored looking middle aged prostitute. It had hit my areas of interest immediately. The cleaners thought this was the most interesting sight they would see; that is until they discovered a bed sodden with blood.
Ronnie’s question regarding a lack of corpse was not unreasonable. Grimly, the blood was the result of what at first appeared to be the miscarriage of a well to do teenager. As the story unfolded, the reality was even more shocking and the girl and her boyfriend faced trial for infanticide. It was a gripping piece of underrated drama and, if the series maintains such quality, then Wednesdays at 9pm will remain unmissable TV.
Posted By Our Man In The North