Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Law & Order UK “Paradise” Recap & Review

All Photos ITV

This episode of Law & Order UK “Paradise” is based on the original Law & Order episode titled “Heaven “ from season 2. This is another week where the UK edition put forward an excellent retelling of the story, updating it to make it more relevant. They pairing of Walsh and Bamber continues to feel more comfortable every week, and we also get some interesting snippets thrown in about Brook’s personal history with his wife and drinking.

But what I really like with the UK version is the steely determination and prosecutorial passion of James Steel. Ben Daniels continues to capture the intensity of the role, and I think that he plays it perfectly. In this particular case, Steel is painted a man who has consistently put his job and career above his friends and family. Yet, I can see someone like Steel rationalizing that there is really no line separating the two – he must do his job well in order to protect family and friends and the lives that they live.

I find myself wondering, though, how the police in London were ever able to solve a crime without the ever-watchful eye of CCTV? It amazes me how much a person can be tracked.

Law & Order UK is taking these old cases and bringing new life to them – and doing an excellent job in the process. It will be interesting to see, if/when the show branches out to original storylines of its own, what kind of show it will become. I am looking forward to that day!

Here is the recap:
A father and daughter are walking on a busy London street, looking for their parked car. They hear a noise, and see flames and smoke coming out of a building. Windows are breaking as people try to escape. Later, with the fire department on the scene, a fireman vomits. DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) enter the burned out building, Devlin seemingly overcome by the smell. The enter, and find a row of bodies covered up, and Devlin says “God have mercy.”

Later, with fire officials investigating the scene, they believe this was a case of arson. The fire doors were padlocked shut, preventing escape. It was a social club used by the local Turkish community. There are 17 confirmed dead. DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) emphasizes it is an official major incident and she wants answers quickly. She wants them to get all the CCTV footage that they can find, but there are no cameras in the area. The place is called "Cennet" - the Turkish word for paradise

At Whittington hospital, the detectives are checking out those who were injured. A nurse (Susannah Wise) gives them a complete list of the injured. They try to talk to the person who runs the club, but he is being rushed to surgery. All he remembers is throwing a man, “Mickey”, out of the club for arguing with a waitress named Leyla. They ask the nurse to find the woman named Leyla, and she finds a Leyla Bilgin, who is being treated for minor burns. They find Leyla (Leila Farzad) in a hospital bed, and they ask to talk to her boyfriend Mickey, but she says he is not her boyfriend. She says he is an idiot, not a head case, and he would not have started the fire.
Back at the Major Investigations Unit, they have Mickey (Jack Gordon) in interrogation. He says he just had a fight with Leyla. Devlin implies Mickey was trying to teach Leyla a lesson, but he denies he started the fire. He was at home at the time of the fire, with his Xbox, and he was playing the game all night. Afterwards, walking outside, Devlin says he doesn’t think Mickey is the arsonist. Brooks recalls a situation when he got irritated with his first wife and he thought he could torch the place with them both in it. Devlin reminds him it was long time ago and he was drinking, but Brooks says he wishes he had been.

Back at the unit, they get confirmation that Mickey’s Xbox was in use as he said. But Brooks said anybody could have been in his Xbox, but they are told his password was used. He left 14 voice mail messages on Leyla’s phone at the time and camera footage indicates he would have been in his flat at the time. Later, Devlin wonders if the arson was racially motivated. Chandler tells them they have a briefing in 20 minutes. A woman arrives, and identifies herself as Borsen Ozkan (Souad Faress), her son works in the club, and they won’t let her bury him as they say he is evidence. She brings out her son’s belongings, and a picture of her son, saying she wants them to know who he is. She wants them to find who did this as she sobs.

George Castle, Director of CPS London (Bill Paterson) is giving a television interview about the case as the detectives watch. He asks for anyone with information to step forward. Chandler enters and says they found traces of unleaded petrol - straight from the arsonist’s handbook. It is from a tube, a reservoir from a car used for window wiper fluid. It was likely inside someone’s pants, coming straight down the leg, leaving trails of gasoline. The man leasing the building pays rent to a complex holding company that will take time to unravel. Devlin comes in and tells them that someone came in to hospital with second-degree burns, with something stuck in his leg. When they told him they would remove it, the patient later left without having the procedure, leaving the “evidence” in his leg. The detectives tell the nurse want the x-ray and a full statement from her and she also tells them she got the man’s full name and address – Mousa on Hamley Street.

Brooks and Devlin speak with Mr. Mousa (Daniel Ben Zenou), and they ask him to see his leg to see if he has an injury, but he refuses to show them. After they explain the situation to him further, Mousa drops his pants, and they see there is no injury. Brooks tells him is appears that someone may be using his identity. He says it’s probably the man upstairs, who they think is breaking into their flats, but the police have said they can’t prove anything, his name is Nazim Kasaba (Nabil Elouahabi), who works in a hotel kitchen. Later, at the Highbury Barn Hotel, Brooks and Devlin enter the kitchen asking to see Kasaba, and Kasaba begins to run. Devlin catches up and grabs him, and Brooks pulls down his pants, showing the injury to his leg.

Back at the unit, Kasaba is in interrogation with his attorney. He seems to have no alibi, and CCTV has him on camera in the area at the time of the fire. They tell him they will accompany him to the hospital to get the piece in his leg, and he tells them he will not go to hospital. He knows his rights, and they won’t get that piece out of his leg without his consent. Later, Brooks review what they have with Chandler. There is no DNA on the scene and no motive is known. Devlin enters and tells them that he went through the hospital records, and that 16 of the dead and 19 of the injured don’t exist – there are no papers and they appear to be in the country illegally. Chandler wants to go to the CPS to help get the evidence out of his leg. Later, while Brooks and Devlin discuss the whole illegal immigration issue Devlin gets a message saying James Steel is going to help to try to get the evidence from Kasaba's leg.

In Central Criminal Courts, James Steel (Ben Daniels) is asking for the order to obtain the evidence. The defense attorney thinks Steel’s actions are shameful, and the judge doesn’t agree with Steel’s argument that he needs the evidence to help solve all the arson deaths. She refuses his application as she does not want to violate human rights.

Afterwards, Steel has given the bad news to Mrs. Ozkan, whose son was killed in the fire, and she is outraged, saying that her son’s human rights were ignored. She says they don’t care about those killed because they are not British. Steel vows he will do something about this, and there is no prejudice in the law. Devlin then gets a call telling them that Kasaba was just carted off in an ambulance and this may be a break for them. Back at the hospital, Kasaba is being wheeled in, they are told he has sepsis from the injury in his leg. After Devlin and Brooks wait in the hall, the doctor comes out and gives them the piece of “evidence” that was in Kasaba's leg. Later, in forensics, Devlin is told that it matches the same plastic as the remnants found in the club. The piece also still had petrol on it. Devlin tells him he just made a lot of people happy. Back at the hospital, Brooks and Devlin talk with Kasaba who is out of surgery. Brooks tells Kasaba they thought he would like to know that they are going to charge him with 17 counts of murder.

At Marble Arch, Castle talks to Steel and Phillips (Freema Agyeman) about the case and getting a conviction. Steel says they still need a motive and Phillips says no one knows anything and there is no sign of mental illness.

At hospital, Kasaba’s lawyer tells Steel and Phillips that Kasaba did not intend to kill anyone, he was acting on instructions from another party. Steel isn’t buying all of it and the charge stays at murder, but if he cooperated the judge will take that into account at sentencing. Kasaba says it was only supposed to be a warning, he didn’t know that the fire doors would be padlocked. He asks them not to do this – don’t get him killed. If he talks they will have a duty to protect him, but Steel tells him to be a man and consider the victims. Kasaba says he owed his people a lot of money and that he would do this to settle the debt. The instructions were given by the man who smuggled the people over who were at the club. When Phillips asks who smuggled them over, he says they paid 5 thousand pounds for transport and papers, but the latest batch didn’t have the proper papers for them and they threatened to tell the police about him. He identifies the man behind this as Ediz Kilic Steel looks stunned.

Back at CPS, Castle tells them that Kilic won the London businessman of the year award, 2 years running, and is a pillar of the London community. Castle is having a hard time believing that Kilic would be involved in this. They tell Castle it does not seem to be a racially motivated death, and Steel says they are just following the evidence. Phillips tells them that Kasaba said Kilic keeps and office in the back of a sport shop and Kilic keeps an office there. They want to take a look at the place, and Castle gives them the OK to search the shop.

At the shop called Trackers Need, they are told by the owner that he doesn’t know Kilic, that it is a sport shop. As the shop manager continues his denials, Devlin and Brooks begin to pick up golf clubs and golf balls and begin to throw them around, breaking glass. Philips tells him that 17 people are dead and he is protecting the people responsible. The shop owner caves and says Kilic keeps and office out back.

Later, back at CPS, Phillips brings back a box of things just from one drawer from that office, papers that could confirm the people smuggling. Steel wonders how Kilic is able to forge the documents. One name keeps popping up, and it’s someone Steel knows from university – a UK arrival official by the name of Faruk Osman (Selva Raslingham).

At the UK Arrivals Agency, Steel and Phillips meet with Faruk Osman. They explain that the victims were in the country illegally, and Steel shows him his name on the forged documents, seeming to originate from his office. Faruk is a bit flustered, he says he will get on to it right away.

Outside, Steel tells Phillips to dig up all she can on Faruk and see if he has any business connections to Kilic. Philips says Steel is brutal as Faruk is his friend, but he says he wants her to be doubly thorough. She asks if this has anything to do with his race, and he says he is not, it is to do with the facts, not that he is a Turk. Later in the office, Phillips shows Steel a news story and a picture with Faruk and Kilic standing next to each other, their arms around each other. It is from a Turkish London newspaper. She says it does not prove his involvement. Steel takes the article and photo to Faruk, and Faruk says it was just a dinner, everyone wants a picture with everyone else, and that Steel should just say what he thinks – that if he sees him with another Turkish businessman does that mean he is corrupt? Faruk tells him he Kilic helped him get his first job and he helped a lot of people. Steel presses and asks if Farouk ever did anything for Kilic in return, and despite Farouk’s protests Steel continues to press, saying this could end up with a jury. Faruk says Steel never changes, friendship, marriage, all come second place to Steel. Steel says he needs to be certain he has no connection, and Faruk asks how can he prove something that did not happen, or prove a non-connection. Steel says he has to be sure, and Farouk orders Steel out of his office.

Later, in George Castle’s office, Steel is telling him that he can’t believe Faruk is involved. Phillips enters, and says that after looking at phone records, she thinks she finally has something on Kilic. She cross referenced the times and dates that CCTV found him in the office with the times and dates on the phone, and she has him inside the building at the same time he made a call to a suspected arsonist, Freddie, who is on parole. Police got a statement from him saying he told him Kilic how to start the fire, including padlocking the doors. Kilic wanted to protect the people from speaking out. Castle tells them to bring Kilic in, and Phillips knows exactly where to find him.

At the Royal and Colonial Club, Phillips and Steel arrive and they are told the club room is only open to members. Steel says he is a member, but the man tells him that Steel is aware of their rules governing…and Phillips fills in the word “blacks”. The man corrects her, saying, “girls.” Philips says she thinks he means “women.” Steel says they needs two minutes with Kilic and the members will understand. They approach Kilic (Ken Bones) and Kilic tells them they have a lot of nerve. Steel introduces themselves, and Kilic tells them to make an appointment with his office. Steel says out of respect, he is making it look like he is begging, he has to ask them to leave with them, but if he does not, the police are waiting outside, which does he prefer?

At the CPS, Kilic is there with his lawyer, denying everything. They bring out the facts regarding Nazim and Freddie, and he says their stories are lies. Steel says he saw the claw marks where people tried to claw their way out of the burning building, and smelled the burned flesh. Kilic says this is a mistake asks how he can make this right. He says he would not do this to his people. Kilic’s lawyer says the evidence from known arsonists won’t be believed by the jury.

Later, Castle says Kilic’s attorney may be right. Castle says they need people to say in court what kind of person Kilic really is. Castle gets a phone call, and tells Steel he has a visitor. It’s Faruk, who says he went back through his department’s records, 3 years ago before he was managing, and found one of his employees was dismissed for stealing office property - stamps for the inside of passports. His referee for his original application was Kilic. His name is Gerald Lindon, and when Steel thanks him for the information, Faruk comments to Steel that the man was not Turkish and even non-Turks can be corrupt. Steel tries to tell him he wasn’t suggesting that, he had a duty to investigate the case. Faruk is incensed with Steel, saying that he is now under internal investigation. Steel said he had to look at every angle, but Faruk says he never thought he would come second, and no wonder Steel’s wife left him. When Steel says he will talk to Castle to see if he can talk with his boss on Faruk’s behalf, but Faruk declines the offer and tells Steel not to contact him any more.

Outside, Steel and Phillips are walking, and Steel says his wife used to say he was too pious for his own good, just before she threw a plate of toast at him. Phillips tries to reassure him he didn’t do anything wrong, she says they have to remain impartial. He asks her if that ever bothers her boyfriend, and she asks, “What boyfriend?”, saying it ended for months ago. He apologizes, saying he is officially rubbish – and she agrees. She thinks Faruk will come around, and they shouldn’t let his information go to waste. She tells them she will go talk to Gerald Lindon.

She talks to Lindon (David Maybrick), and he says he used to run errands for a while for Kilic, and Kilic suggested he applied for the immigration job, and offered him 10 grand for the passport stamps and forms. He said Kilic bought his old car from him a few weeks ago when Lyndon was going through a rough patch. Phillips wonders what he would do with the car, and he suspects it was for the old parts. At a repair shop, she is told Kilic is a regular customer, and shows him a car that Kilic still has there where the have used old parts. He points out that the washer line has been ripped out.

Back in Castle’s office, they refer to Phillip’s find the smoking gun, the piece from the car she discovered at the shop matches what they found at the fire and in Kasaba’s leg. Kilic apparently never trusted others to do his dirty work, except in the case of Kasaba. They already have Kasaba’s guilty pleas, and wonder if Kilic will do the same.

At Central Criminal Courts, Steel and Phillips are going through documents, ad Steel finds that the stolen passport stamp had expired,. Yet Kilic continued to bring in people and take their money, killing them to cover it up. Kilic committed an atrocity and Steel says he must be held responsible.

At Crown v Kilic, Kilic is on the stand, and Steel asks him to explain the evidence about smuggling in the people, from those involved and families. He denies it all. He says he only wanted to help them get a better life. Despite Steel pressing him hard, Kilic says he is a man of honor and principle. Steel asks him, as a man of honor, how his prints and DNA were found on the wiper fluid tank should have been?

Later, the jury reads the verdict back on every charge, and Kilic is found guilty for all victims, as the courtroom gallery erupts with joy. Afterwards, the camera pans on the burned out gutted building, and then to a shrine of candles outside, where Mrs. Ozkan is there. Steel approaches her, and she gently touches him and smiles at him, then leaves him to stand there alone as he gazes at the flickering candles, as we fade to black.

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Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

Nasty case this one, although I was only half watching it. It also looks like ITV are only going to show 7 episodes when there are in fact 13 episodes>:(

Jill said...

Just watched this one on DVD. We get the episodes later Stateside and I missed this one when it was on BBC America (I think I was in the process of moving).
I have to admit I LOVED seeing the shop owner wearing a Washington State University beanie! :)

Lace Neil said...

This episode made me cry when I first saw it, very powerful and moving.