“Law and Order: UK” – Series 3 & 4
Running Time: 630 minutes approximately
Featuring: Bradley Walsh, Harriet Walker, Ben Daniels, Bll Paterson, Jamie Bamber, Freema Agyeman,
Opening: “In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”
I feel like there has been at least one incarnation of Dick Wolfs “Law and Order” franchise on air since I have been watching TV, and that’s because of the reliable formula that has been provided by Wolf, and the excellent stories and actors prevalent throughout all of the shows.
It was inevitable that the producers try the formula outside of the US and so we have “Law and Order: UK” which with a few minor tweaks here and there is, I think, a good reflection of what the show is with a very English twist. All the English stereotypes along with all the police stereotypes are present and are carried off well, although sometimes I found myself amused by all the accents and puns.
The show itself is broken into two separate pieces, the first involves the police tracking down the criminal and the second involves the prosecutors attempting to get a conviction. A simple set up and pay off that has worked for the show for over a decade.
The police are represented by the senior cop, Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and his junior partner, Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) arriving at a crime scene assessing whats what, and then reporting to their boss, Natalie Chandler (Harriet Ealker) who advises them on what jobs to do and earnestly pushes them along so they can then seek a prosecution from the lawyers James Steel (Ben Daniels) and Alesha Phillips (Freema Agymen) who with some challenges almost always get their man and/or woman.
The stories are almost all stand alone and episodic which means that every episode has a resolution one way or another, this can be a nice antidote to other crime shows that involve entire seasons to reach their conclusion. The charcters , whilst existing episode to episode do grow but you have to stick with the episodes to see their development.
As with all Law and Order shows the real strength is in the actors who bring believability to their roles, and this no more so than Jamie Bamber and Freema Agyeman who have both appeared in legendary Sci-Fi shows, Battlestar Galactica and Dr Who respectively, and it is refreshing to see them embrace their Earth bound roles with ease and relish.
I recommend these DVDs to all those who enjoy a good crime yarn with a very English twist.