Slid back into its slot for one last time after an absence of several weeks, the momentum had been somewhat lost since the dramatic events of the previous Law and Order episode, in which Wes was killed and DS Ronnie Brooks faced a struggle coming to terms with events.
In this episode (which has now been confirmed as the last, as Bradley Walsh is leaving the role), the force faced a particularly challenging case of a stabbing committed by a fifteen year old caught up in the dark world of street gangs.
Various mishaps, including insufficient forensic evidence and a particularly rottweiler duty solicitor, led to the prime suspect being released without charge twice, an injustice which began to affect Ronnie significantly given the lads’ constant taunts of him. As events came to a head and a gang of youths ended up being searched for knives, Ronnie claimed that the suspect made a gloating confession about the murder. We did not see this happen, but we did not have to as no viewer doubted Ronnie’s honesty. This is a character who has developed and led eight series of this drama and there was never any questions with the audience over who was telling the truth.
However, he wasn’t granted the same beliefs elsewhere as he has a new boss on whom he has not made the best first impression. The case spiralled and fell apart in court when an excellent performance by guest star Colin Salmon saw a defense barrister heavily imply that Ronnie was racist and had been deliberately victimising the boy due to his colour. Bradley Walsh played a blinder, both in court as he expressed his genuine shock and horror at this allegation, and in the heartbreaking scenes where he was informed that he was being taken off the front line force for a desk job.
Often it isn’t the words that are said that convey drama but the body language and facial expressions, and the crushing look of devastation was spot on.
It looked, as the episode drew to a close, that we would end Ronnie’s story on a bitter note as he would be forced to give up the job he loved and be condemned to being labelled a racist dinosaur. Thankfully (and more than a little conveniently, but I’m overlooking that!) late evidence in the form of a blood stained T shirt was found and the culprit was brought to justice. When the lad confessed to what he had said to Ronnie, the officer was rightfully exonerated, and I’m glad that he was. It would have been a horrible injustice to the character to retire him on such a sour note.
The series has had an excellent run of underrated drama and writing, but I think the decision to rest it is the right one. It just won’t be the same without DS Ronnie Brooks and it’s always best to go out on a high before things get stale.
Will you miss Law and Order UK? Do you think it was the right time to rest it? What are your best memories of the show? Leave any comments below.
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Written By Our Man In The North