Friday, October 1, 2010

Law & Order UK “Confession" Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU

Law & Order UK “Confession” was based on the original Law & Order episode from season 5, “Bad Faith,” which was written by Rene Balcer. “Bad Faith” was an excellent episode, and I think that “Confession” was an excellent remake. It gave Jamie Bamber a chance to show his range – showing Matt Devlin’s anger over his friend’s death, his horror over his friend’s long suffering over sexual abuse by a priest, and his emotional coming to terms with his own secrets about the matter. Sadly, the issue of sexual abuse against children by the clergy is a story that still remains relevant, even though many years have passed between “Bad Faith” and “Confession.”

James Steel (Ben Daniels) goes after the pedophile priest with his usual zeal, and knows exactly where to hit the church – in their wallet - in order to get the evidence he needs to put a pedophile away for good. I also enjoy George Castle (Bill Paterson) who seems to have some of the traits of L&O's cranky Adam Schiff, although Castle sometimes seems a little more comical in his delivery (very enjoyable). And Bradley Walsh pulls everything together with his portrayal of world weary, and wise, Ronnie Brooks who knows how to put everything in perspective. Of course, it’s Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) who takes the ball and looks for the angle which gets Steel started on his crusade. A wonderful episode and fine performances by all.

Here is the recap:

A police officer is found dead in a park, shot once in the head, and DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) are called to the scene. DS Matt Devlin arrives and is distraught, racing over to the body, but Brooks pulls him away. It’s Devlin’s friend, PS Pete Garvey.

Later, Devlin and Brooks arrive at the officer’s house, where they deliver the bad news to Pete’s wife, Mel (Ruth Gemmell) and try to get information about what Pete did that day. Pete left a note he would be working late that day. She tells Brooks to talk to PS Jack Barr (Tim Chipping).

They speak with Barr, who works at Clubs and Vice Central HQ, who says Garvey was off duty and did not know who he was meeting, and adds Garvey was a family man. Brooks thinks Barr knows something and presses him, and Barr says he was hoping that he could track down the gun Garvey took before it was noticed it was missing.

The detectives confer with Chandler and she says there was no gun found at the crime scene. They think an argument got out of hand, and the killer pocketed the gun. There are no suspects from his active cases, so why did he go armed? Devlin gets rattled when they imply Garvey was dirty. They decide to go over all his cases. Later, Devlin tells Brooks no evidence was left so he thinks the killer knows how to clean a crime scene.

The detectives question an ex-cop whose case Garvey worked on that fell through. He has an alibi that checks out.

Later, they think they will not find anything in Garvey’s old cases. Devlin says the last few times they were supposed to meet, Garvey canceled, and that last time he saw him, Garvey drank a lot. Brooks thinks something was really eating up Garvey. They go back to talk to his wife Mel, and she says Pete had been having problems sleeping for the last 6 months or a year. He had been having nightmares and would wake up screaming. Last week she found him crying. He was also seeing a priest for counseling. This seems to surprise Devlin. It was Devlin’s and Garvey’s old parish priest, Father Nugent.

The detective are at the home of Jonathan Nugent (Matthew Marsh) who is no longer a priest. He says he hasn’t seen Garvey is years. He was not counseling him. They tell him about his death, and wife walks in and quickly exits. Devlin gets testy and asks Nugent if he has kids and then for his whereabouts on Wednesday night. Nugent says he was home with his family, and Devlin gets even testier.

Outside the house, Devlin tells Brooks that Nugent was a local hero for turning the area around but he is also a pedophile.

The detectives tell Chandler what they found with Nugent, and Chandler wonders if Garvey spoke with any of Devlin’s other friends.

At the home of Harry Lucas (Johnny Harris), he tells them Garvey tracked Nugent down and Garvey was tracking him and Nugent offered Garvey ten thousand pounds to go away. Garvey was building a case on him. Devlin says it was years ago and insists Garvey was over it, but Lucas says that shows how Devlin really knew him. Later, Lucas and Devlin argue and Lucas tells him that Garvey didn’t talk to Devlin because he knew how he would react – like it was nothing. Lucas said he trusted Nugent and sometimes though it was all in his head.

Later, Devlin tells Brooks that Nugent lied to them, and Brooks thinks one bullet would have solved Nugent’s problems. It seems, however, that forensics found the bullet, it went through Garvey's skull and traveled a distance. They were looking in t he wrong place. But it also looks like Garvey killed himself. Devlin can’t believe it. They tell him check out Garvey’s gloves which had been found in his pocket.

Later, they question security who was first to arrive on the scene and they are first told the gloves were found in his pocket. Under questioning by the detectives, Sergeant Morrow (Martha Cope) admits she removed the gloves from his hands so it would not look like suicide which would have affected his pension and insurance policy. She took she shell casing and the gun and dumped them in the Thames.

Afterwards, Chandler, along with Brooks and Devlin, tell James Steel (Ben Daniels) and Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) that they think Garvey went to confront Nugent in the part and couldn’t kill him and turned the gun on himself. Steel thinks there is no case, but Brooks thinks he is morally responsible. They wonder if the are other witnesses or victims he has no case. Devlin walks out of the room. Brooks later asks Alesha is that all there is, and she says to leave it to her.

The next morning, Steel arrives in the office and sees Phillips sleeping on the couch. She tells Steel that Garvey was suffering from PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder- and if they can prove Nugent caused the PTSD, they can charge Nugent with manslaughter.
They later discuss the possible case with George Castle (Bill Paterson) and Castle doesn’t want to choose this battle. Phillips thinks they just need to make a stand for other victims. Outside, on the steps of the courthouse, Devlin muses over the situation with Brooks. They get the good news from Steel and Phillips, and later, the two head to Nugent’s and arrest him.

At Garvey’s funeral, Devlin talks to Lucas – Devlin wants a favor. After the service, Devlin wants Lucas to testify. He is reluctant as he has never talked to anyone about it. He can’t go back there. Devlin begs him, saying they need to give Mel peace. Lucas says he saw Nugent with Pete once and can talk about that.

At Crown v Nugent, Nugent pleads not guilty and applies for bail. Later, Robert Ridley QC (Patrick Malahide) talks with Steel and Phillips, wondering why a charge of manslaughter when it was a suicide. Steel says Nugent abused Garvey to such an extent that 25 years later he took his own life. They see messages from Castle, and he later directs them to the conference room. Steel says he made some gentle inquiries to the Cardinal but Steel mentions Steel’s strong techniques. In the conference room is Father Aiden Browne (Struan Rodger) who refuses to turn over files on Nugent. It seems Nugent was moved to many parishes and Steel thinks he knows why. Browne says they can afford the best lawyers and tells them to step lightly. After Browne leaves, Castle tells them to put Nugent way without incurring the wrath of the Catholic Church, calling the Cardinal a sore loser

Back at trial, Mel is on the stand talking about the change in Peter and got nightmares after he met up with Nugent. Under cross examination, Mel says that her husband never mentioned the abuse. Under rebuttal, Mel says that her husband wanted to keep their married life untouched by the past incident.

Lucas testifies about the encounter he witnessed with Nugent and Garvey. Under cross examination, Lucas tries to defend that he is not a liar and said he cheated on his wife but he knows what he saw. When questioned if Nugent ever touched him, Lucas gets very upset and says no. As Nugent stares at Lucas, Lucas screams for Nugent to tell them, and he breaks down. He says he is not a liar and he can’t do it.

A MIU Central Headquarters, Nugent approaches Devlin and says he needs his help. Nugent says he has a confession to make. He says there was a delay on the tube and he had to report to the local police station by 7 and he is going to be late. He was told if he went to another station a detective could sign for him. When Nugent says Devlin wouldn’t want to have an innocent man go to jail, Devlin leaps from his chair and gets in Nugent’s face. Nugent said he never touched Devlin, why would Devlin think he touched the others? Devlin signs the paper.

Back in court, Dr Roddy Armitage (George Anton) testifies about Garvey’s involvement with a case of abuse of a young boy. The young boy developed selective mutism as a result of his abuse and could not give evidence. Garvey saw himself in this boy, which bought out the PTSD. Under cross examination, Armitage must admit Garvey was not his patient and his observations are based on files.

Later, while Ridley talks things over with Steel, someone enters and hands Steel a piece of paper – and application to dismiss all charges. In court, Ridley says fresh evidence has come forward to show that Garvey was blackmailing him, and that the money appears to have been paid to Garvey, who adds he did want the information to harm Garvey’s family.

Later, Devlin talks to Mel and she didn’t know about the money. She wonders why her husband never told her. Devlin said Pete was a pain in the ass and an idiot, and they agree that they miss him.

Back in the office, Steel and Phillips wonder if Nugent is finding other victims, He wonders when he met his wife, and she moved out of the house last month and look the kids with her. They wonder if he is abusing his own family. When they tell Castle about their theory, he flips out of it, asking what part about not incurring the wrath of the Catholic Church did he not understand? Steel thinks they are hiding something. Steel says to call the Church’s bluff and hit them where it hurts – in their pockets, and to have Harry Lucas threaten a civil suit that could cost them millions.

At St. Valerius church, Father Browne gives Steel the files Steel wanted and admits they tried everything to rehabilitate Nugent. Steel says they didn’t hand him over to the authorities. There are over 40 names on the list from the file obtained from Browne.

Back at CPS, they confront Nugent with all the statements from other victims and will bring it out all in court, 44 indictments. He says the victims has found a voice. Ridley whispers to Nugent and Nugent gets up and walks out, Phillips following. Ridley tried to cut a deal, and Steel says no deal. Nugent’s victims want to face him in court and he wants to give them their chance.

At Central Criminal Court, Phillips waits with Devlin and she thanks him for doing this, touching his hand. He hears the page ordering him to court #10. He gets on the stand and testifies that when he was 9, with chickenpox, Pete used to visit and said he found some porn mags when cleaning the sacristy. He laughed because all the boys knew about Nugent’s dirty magazines. He says Nugent gave Pete the magazine and Nugent told Pete how to touch himself and Pete wanted to show him how it was done. Devlin rebuffed him and then Pete started getting upset, saying earlier that day Nugent told Pete he had sinned and that they have been sinning for weeks. Nugent dragged Pete to the chapel and made Pete swear he would never say anything. He told Nugent he would go to hell if he ever did. Brooks sits in the gallery alongside Mel, who looks stunned. Ridley questions why Devlin never told an adult, and Devlin said he promised he wouldn’t. He had to admit that Nugent never touched him but says he was always there, lingering with his eyes and hands, watching him while he showered, All the later boys knew about him Ridley says Devlin failed to spot that Garvey was suffering from depression and he could have prevented the death of his friend. When Ridley says Devlin needs to ruin Nugent’s reputation, Devlin shouts back, asking how do you ruin the reputation of a pedophile? Ridley says he needs to believe the lie so he can live with the guilt. Devlin says he just wants Nugent locked up.

Later, the jury renders a verdict of guilty of sexual abuse of a minor, on ALL counts.

Later, Brooks finds Devlin sitting alone in church. Devlin says he hasn’t been in a church in nearly 20 years, and Devlin says to take it easy on him. He is remorseful about Pete but Brooks tells him it was Pete’s choice of his line of work. Devlin tells Brooks that Nugent came to see him and looked him in the eye and said he never touched him, but he doesn’t know, sometimes he is not sure what he remembers. He gets emotional, and Brooks says he is talking to the wrong bloke, he lost and entire decade from cheap whiskey and luckily it was the 1980s. Devlin laughs, and Brooks tells him not to spill too many beans, Devlin has done nothing wrong. Brooks tells him he’ll be outside when he is ready. Devlin cries as he sits alone in the church as we fade to black.

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.


gahks said...

One of the better offerings the show has given us. :) The fact that Rene Balcer wrote the original source material was of course hugely helpful.

Major Case Fan said...


I got a txt from a friend with a source that rumors D.Wolf is creating a Miami based L&O set to air after CI?

Is Any truth to that? If it is, it should follow L&O: CI's style instead of L&O; or it shouldn't be directly based on homicide cases. And I'm not talking a Miami Vice or CSI: Miami thing.

2010 - Law & Order: Los Angeles (which rocked so hard Wednesday)

2011 - Law & Order: Miami (maybe?)

2012 - Law & Order: Canada (just kidding, the L&O's need to stop after Miami)

All Things Law and Order said...

A text from a friend with a source means it's a rumor. So far, no reliable sources are even talking about this issue.

Fair warning to all:
Any further discussion of this rumor will be removed from this topic, as this topic is about Law & Order UK.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind discussing it, but in EVERY topic someone comes in saying they heard the rumor, which Matt Nix started all this! It's a bit much.

I agree All Things, this should be talked about in only the CI topics (IMHO) because it's the show this rumor is related to; any others like UK or SVU; I agree the comments should be cut!