Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Law & Order UK “Buried” Recap & Review

All photos ITV

This episode of Law & Order UK “Buried” was based on the US episode titled “In Memory Of” from season 2. The UK version stayed true to the original, with the exception of the manner in which they recovered the memories of a young girl who witnessed a murder, and a slight deviation on the location of the murder.

This episode seemed a little choppy to me, however. The was the first episode where I think the story seemed flat. It’s good to see that Steel is turning out to be quick to anger, and he’s not afraid to get in someone’s face. Even Jack McCoy wasn’t always so confrontational.

Here’s the recap:
Some renovations are going on inside a home. When one worker opens up a wall, skeletal remains are found. Later, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) are called to the scene. The body is of a boy, about 8-9 years old. The skull has a massive fracture, likely from a hit to the head. Based on an object found with the body, it looks like the body was there for at least 20 years.

Back at the station, Brooks and Devlin review what they know with DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter). The home was privately owned in 1995 and there was no list of tenants. They checked out missing children database for the times in question, and find a young 8 year old male went missing on July 16, 1983, Thomas Keegan, who lived on the same street of the house where the body was found. The missing boy had a broken collarbone. The boy’s mother and father are Phillipa and Arthur Keegan, but the boy’s father died the year before the boy went missing. The investigating officer on the missing child case was DS Jeffrey McFadden, and they had a suspect, Edward Connor. Devlin gets a call that confirms the boy in the wall also had a broken collar bone.

The detectives speak with Jeffrey McFadden (Christopher Fairbank), who is out fishing. He recalls the missing boy well. They tell him they found the body. He said Edward Connor was the likely suspect but they couldn’t nail him and he had no solid alibi. McFadden clearly had issues with Connor. They had searched Connor’s house and got nothing. Connor later changed his name and went off the radar. They felt like they had the right guy even though they missed the corpse.

As they walk off, Devlin is critical of McFadden, calling him the crappiest copper he’s ever met. Brooks is a little less harsh, and he decides they should talk to Tommy’s mother. At the home of Phillipa Keegan (Barbara Martin) , they give her the news. She had been waiting for that news but still was trying to be hopeful.. She did not think it was Edward Connor who killed Tommy. She recalls the day he went missing she dropped him off at school – she didn’t kiss him because she didn’t want to embarrass him – it was her teaching training day so he was going to a friend’s for tea. When she came to pick him up, she was told that the boys had argued and Tommy went home. The key was under the mat so he could let himself in, but he wasn’t at home. She checked with the neighbors and then called the police. She stayed in that house for 20 years, just in case. They look at a picture of Tommy, with a cross hanging over the frame.

Afterwards, Devlin asks Brooks how Tommy’s mother can still believe in God after what happened. Brooks says it sounds like Devlin won’t be lighting a candle for Tommy, but then adds he already has, hasn’t he? Devlin says ‘Once a Catholic…” Brooks says it doesn’t to any harm to throw in the old prayer.

Back at that station, Devlin tell Chandler they are still trying to track down the tenants. Brooks has found that found Vernon Mortimer, who retired in 2005, who could have stayed in touch with Connor. The find that Vernon is not at the location they were given, he moved out a year ago, but he left his flat to his daughter, Julia (Holly Aird). They track her down, and she is working at a flower shop. They tell her about Tommy, and she says Tommy was her friend. They ask her about the day he went missing. Her mother would not let her go to their friend’s home that day because she wasn’t feeling well. Her dad made her tea and sandwiches, and she went to bed and didn’t wake up until the next morning when the police asked to talk to her. They ask about Edward Connor but she didn’t see him either. They ask if they can speak with her parents, and she tells them they moved out of London and live in Lewis.

Later, at her parent’s home, they talk with Julia’s parent Vernon (Keith Barron) and Catherine Mortimer (Margot Leicester). Connor changed his name to Ralph Drake and he wrote several children’s books under that name. She kept track of him as she felt he was the one who did it. She says Connor was a volunteer at a church youth group, and three months after Tommy disappeared he was accused of propositioning a 12 year old boy from there. Vernon seems to be annoyed at his wife’ comments.

At the home of Edward Connor (Anthony Higgins), he thinks he has been unfairly targeted because he was gay. He says he and Tommy chatted on the steps and he went in and left him playing football but when he came back out later he was gone. When Devlin asks if that was all, Connor sarcastically tells them that he killed Tommy, and Devlin says that is not funny. He said McFadden kicked the shit out of him and only stopped when he was bloodied and he told McFadden he had AIDS. But he had no alibi, Conner’s lover was married.

Back at the station, they discuss how McFadden was so fixated on persecuting Connor he took his eye off the ball. They have nothing else to go on. But Devlin starts to read over some comments out loud, and asks if they ring any bells. Brooks says it’s the same as the statement they took from Julia Mortimer that day. But Devlin says he’s wrong, they are her comments from 1983, and they are virtually identical, word for word. They suspect she is lying.

They go back to talk to her at Fleurs Du Jour, and they talk to her about her statement in 1983. But they said one of her ex-neighbors said they saw her with Tommy. She gets upset and says what happened to Tommy was in the past, and she walks off. They think she has something to hide.

Later, in the office of Dr. Elizabeth Rawls (Nimmy March), she says it was possible someone coaxed Julia into believing what she was saying was true and the real memory may be too hard to process. She suggests a process called EMDR where the patient follows an object with their eyes, to help retrieve lost memories. Afterward at the station, Brooks is skeptical about the process but Devlin thinks they should go with it. Brooks says if it will give Tommy’s mother peace they can go with it but first that have to convince Julia Mortimer. Back at the flower shop, Julia insists she has no bad memories, but Brooks says she is their only hope, but it is her choice. She says she keeps seeing Tommy’s face, frightened, calling out her name, but she is not sure if it is imagined or a real memory. She asks if they can help her with that.

Back at Dr. Rawl’s office, Julia is looking at a strip of flashing lights, and she is recalling that day. He mom was angry with her because she lied about getting sweets at the candy shop, calling Julia her little liar. She went out into the street and she did see Tommy and he waved at her. Her mother told him to come back indoors. She was going back into bed and the doorbell rang and it was Tommy and he wanted to make sure she was OK. Later, as the detectives watch Julia’s video, Rawls said Julia said her dad sent Tommy away, but Julia still seems to be blocking something. Back in Rawls office, Julia recalls looking for her father but not being able to find her, and she is scared. She went out of the flat, and saw the basement light was on. She walked towards the door and opened the door, went down the stairs, and he father was there with his back to her. She says she saw Tommy and he has blood on his head and hair and is not moving, and he is on the ground at her father’s feet.

Later, at the office of James Steel (Ben Daniels), he and Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) are watching Julia’s video. Phillips thinks Julia is not faking it, but Steel says they need to build a case on this evidence. Steel decides to talk to Julia, and she tells Steel and Phillips about her marital problems and problems with her dad. She says that night her father wasn’t angry he was crying, he was just sorry for himself. Steel says she hates her dad, doesn’t she? He continues to harp on her, saying it is a vendetta and she is just trying to punish him. Phillips looks concerned and Julia also is stunned. Julia said her father terrified her, but she yells that she wants him punished for what he did to Tommy. Steel apologizes, and hopes she understands why he had to press her in that manner. Steel says they can work on building the case.

In George Castle’s (Bill Paterson) office, Castle tells them Julia’s information alone is nothing. They know they have to corroborate Julia’s story. Later, Phillips tells Steel that Mortimer wants to come in with a lawyer, Julia called her father and told him what was going on.

In Steel’s office, Vernon and Catherine Mortimer are there with a lawyer Doug Greer (Colin Salmon), and they say she is lying, and they have done nothing but take care of her and he pays the lease on her shop. Vernon says he is worried sick about her, and are they really going to put him through this? His lawyer argues that they have nothing and the witness has zero credibility. After they leave, Steel can’t believe that Catherine is defending her husband and their reputation in the manner that she was. Phillips tells him that Mortimer got sacked from Ladbroke Life and Casualty in 1986, no one will tell her why.

Phillips heads to Ladbroke CEO and talks to him about Vernon Mortimer. He says he was a good salesman, but sacked him over his “demons.” He said they did a job once in Birmingham and he and Vernon stopped and Vernon went to the loo, and he went to a bar and had a few too many. The next thing he knew, Vernon was with a policeman. A 13-14 year old boy said Vernon made a pass at him. Later, at another location, Phillips talks with Kevin Jackson (James Puddephatt), who was the young boy in question, and he said he was just “experimenting” at the time, and said Vernon offered him money in exchange for sex. The police took a statement, but it never went to trial because his parent’s didn’t want to go to trial, his parents suspected he was gay, but he didn’t want the neighbors know he was hanging around station toilets. He had to see a shrink instead.

Back in Castle’s office, he tells Steel and Phillips that the judge won’t allow Kevin Jackson’s evidence as it was sexual conduct, not violence. He says they need to let it go but Steel doesn’t want to. Castle says he’s an old man and a pillar of the community, but Phillips argues that Mortimer was 39 and strong at the time Tommy was killed. Steel continues to press the issue but Castle isn’t buying it. Castle gets a call, it’s Dr. Rawls for Steel.

Later, in Steel’s office, Rawls she tells them that Julia recalled more. She plays back the recording while Julia stands by, listening, getting upset. She is saying that her father kissed her on the lips and stroked her under her nightdress and she told her mother. He mother told her never to tell anyone about it. She thinks her father then targeted Tommy.

At the trial of Crown v Mortimer, Vernon Mortimer pleads not guilty and is allowed out on bail. Afterwards, Julia barges into Steel’s office area and she says she wants to pull out of the trial. Steel says she can’t, they have gone too far. She says her mother is worried what this is doing to her father, and Steel thinks Julia’s mother is manipulating her. When Julia storms away, she walks into Tommy’s mother, who is waiting outside the office area. Julia apologizes to Tommy’s mother Phillipa, and Phillipa tells Julia her father helped her search for Tommy, yet all the time he knew. She knows Tommy would never go into the basement alone because there were monsters in there. She begs Julia to help her, and Julia agrees.

While walking to court, Steel is approached by Mortimer’s lawyer Mr. Greer, who tells Steel that Julia spent last summer in an institution.

In court, Phillipa Keegan is testifying, and says that Mortimer would arrange treats for Tommy and take him to plays. She was happy that Tommy had a father figure. Under cross examination, Greer reminds her that she never told the police, because she trusted Vernon at the time, and she didn’t know. Greer says maybe there was nothing to know.

Back outside the courthouse in the rain, the Greer, along with Mortimer, brings out the fact that Julia is a mess and he will demolish her in the witness box. Steel says she’s doesn’t trust anyone, and of her father cared he would confess. He says he loves her she is his daughter, and Steel tells him not to look to him for absolution. As Steel walks off, Mortimer shouts at him not to walk away from him, he doesn't t know him.

Back at trial, Julia is on the stand, recalling the day Tommy disappeared. She said she was also not well that day and went to bed early, but later went outside and say the basement light was on. When she looked in she saw her father in the basement with Tommy lying there in blood. He said her father saw her and shouted at her to go back to bed, and ran after her up the stairs with his eye bulging out. She ran into her bedroom. He later came into the bedroom and hugged her, saying that she just had a nightmare because she was ill, and if she told anyone about it, she would lose him forever. She recalled this information when she started recent therapy with Dr. Rawls. She also tells them she recalled her father’s sexual abuse when she was 7 years old, and when she told her mother, it stopped.

Greer brings up the fact that she had not seen her parents in a long time, and he begins to question the method that she recalled the event. He brings up her “delusions” of last year, and says she has always been resentful of her father. He thinks she is just getting revenge on her father, which upsets Julia, who shouts “He did it! That is why all my life he has been there watching me!” The lawyer brings up the fact her father forced her to have an abortion at 15, which made her sterile. Steel comments that this is hardly relevant, and the judge asks Greer what is his point. He says Julia is deeply unstable. She yells out at her mother, saying she told her but her mother blamed her, calling her a “dirty, precocious little whore” and she always took her father’s side. Greer says this is Julia’s motivation, she was just a spoiled child, who resents the bond between her loving parents. Vernon watches as Julia continues to break down, crying.

Later, Phillips thinks they have lost, but Steel thinks they have one last chance with Vernon. He watched Julia fall apart and is carrying guilt for all those years, how will he be under pressure?

Back at trial, Vernon Mortimer is on the stand. Steel picks at how he is hurting his daughter, and Mortimer has destroyed more than one family. Will he take responsibility for the damage he caused and be a father again? Mortimer looks ashamed, and then blurts out that he sexually assaulted his daughter when she was 7, it went on for four months, and Julia told her mother who threatened to call the police As the courtroom gasps, Greer tries to get him to stop or get the jury out of the room, but the judge says the jury will hear it. Mortimer says he did not know where to get help. He approached young boys in toilets. All he wanted to do was help Tommy after his father died and loved him like a son. He made him “do things” for him for 6 months in exchange for treats. Tommy wanted to stop, as it felt wrong. When he was in the basement Tommy said he was going to tell his mother. Vernon killed him with a hammer, hitting him just once. He didn’t want to lose his family. He put him inside the fireplace and bricked it up. Phillips Keegan cries out “my boy!” and Edward Connor, who is also there, claps.

Outside the rainy courthouse, Ronnie Brooks is walking with Phillipa Keegan when McFadden calls out to him, saying they got their man in the end. Ronnie asks, “We?” and McFadden walks off. Julia Mortimer also exits, and sees her mother, and asks her if she knew. She says that she just wanted them to be a family. Julia walks off, passing Connor, heading over to Phillipa, hugging her. Steel and Phillips exit, walking past Mortimer, hardly looking at her, as they fade to back.

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1 comment:

Jane said...

I thought this was a good episode, the series is picking up its funny how they have given similar backstories for the detectives as the US one.