Friday, October 15, 2010

Law & Order UK “Masquerade” Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU

Law & Order UK “Masquerade: was based on the original Law & Order episode “Good Girl” written by Jeremy R. Littman. Again, the UK version seems just as good as the original, with a little more emphasis the personal struggle that Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) has with the case. Watching Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and Devlin (Jamie Bamber) work the case is entertaining, not so much for the case but for their side discussions and editorializing. It was also nice to see them give Harriet Walter a little more screen time as many times her character Natalie Chandler seems to be on and off the screen too quickly.

Listening to George Castle (Bill Paterson) grumble and gripe is a enjoyable and helps offset the almost always very serious and straightforward James Steel (Ben Daniels). Unlike the US L&O counterparts these days, Law & Order UK seems more subtle in their social commentary – sometimes there really isn’t much social commentary – and I think that is what I like about the show. It focuses on the cases and the struggles of those people involved in the cases. It’s plain old detective work and legal maneuvering, yet it is still compelling television.

Here is the recap:

Archie Rahman, a student, is found dead – stabbed - in his flat. DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) and DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) later arrive at the scene. There are recent body fluids on the bed.
The detectives confer with DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) . They don’t have much to go on. Chandler tells Devlin to get with the neighbors and tells Brooks to speak with Archie’s parents. Chandler and Brooks speak to the parents who are in one of their interview rooms and they last spoke with him on Saturday night and he told him to stay in. He had a friend Darla and they broke up a few months ago.

Later, Brooks and Devlin speak with Darla (Suzie McGrath) and said Archie acted like she was beneath him. She has not seen him since they broke up. She is stunned to find he has been murdered.

At M.I.U. central Headquarters, Teddy (Tariq Jordan) brings the detectives a library book on pottery that was collected as evidence that was checked out on Sunday. They head to the library to find out exactly when the book had been checked out. It was checked out on Sunday around 11:00 by Rebecca Anderson. They later speak with Rebecca (Charlene McKenna) about the book and she denies checking out the book. She was at the library with a friend, Sally Douglas, and does not know Archie. She insists the book was not hers.
The detectives speak with Sally (Kimberley Nixon) who confirms she was there with Becky and they left about 6:00. Later, Devlin tells Brooks that he checked and on Sunday, the library closes mid-day.
The next day, they go back and talk to Sally again and confront her with the inconsistency. She says they went into the university reading room. She tells them about what she is studying, and it sounds like the book that was found fits in with what Sally is studying.

Their computer tech Angie (Jessica Gunning) shows them CCTV video which shows Sally running in an area around the corner from Archie’s flat, and she is running toward a cab company.

The detectives go to Monarch Radio Cars and he recalls the girl and said she came in crying. She kept saying “take me home.”
They go back to Rebecca and tell her what they now know and they want her to take her down to the station and when Devlin moves to cuff her, she relents. She tells them Sally said she was very upset Sunday and to just say they were in the library together. The book was in her name because Rebecca had a bad credit rating and she needed a kosher ID to get a flat so they swapped cards.
Back at M.I.U. Central Headquarters, Sally is there with her mother. Chandler says they have matched Sally’s prints to those at the flat and reads Sally her rights. Sally’s father Martin (Andrew Dunn) barges in and is irate. Chandler warns him about him impeding the interview. She continues to read Sally her rights and Martin calls for a lawyer. Sally waits for the lawyer rather than say anything. Chandler tells Devlin to make sure someone form the CPS is watching.

Later, Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) arrives to watch the questioning. Chandler questions Sally and she recounts her story and how she met Archie. She admits she went to his flat and says she felt weird after he gave her some wine, and then accuses Archie of raping her while she was drugged. Alesha is watching and gets uncomfortable. He tried to rape her again and she tried to get out so she stabbed her. She dropped the knife outside. She said she was ashamed and that she did not see a doctor or tell anyone, she thought it was her fault.

Outside, the detectives and Chandler wonder if she was dosed with rohipnol. Chandler and Brooks want more evidence to back up Sally’s story and are somewhat skeptical. Phillips says unless they can prove her story is a lie she will walk on self defense. Devlin clearly does not want to pursue it but Alesha says it is worth investigating. Chandler says they need to get the charging officer and put Sally away, and as they all walk off, Phillips again looks uncomfortable.

At arraignment, CP James Steel (Ben Daniels) opposes bail because Sally lied. Phillips enters the courtroom and sits in the gallery. The judge grants bail and says Sally must surrender her passport and report to the local constabulary every day at noon.

Afterwards, Steel wants to be sure Phillips wants to say with the case, and she does, despite her own past experience. Philips thinks the case is thin and asks Steel if they are doing the right thing. Steel wants to make sure they get the truth and tells her to keep her thoughts about not having a case to herself until they get through this circus.

Sally leaves the courtroom to many waiting reporters, and Steel is also cornered by them and says they have to establish that she was raped, and the reported asks if Steel is calling Sally a liar.

Back at CPS, they discuss the case with Director George Castle (Bill Paterson). They tell him there was no trace of GHB in the flat and no murder weapon, and Phillips seems to be giving more info for the defense, which Castle notes. Steel says Sally's story is inconsistent. Steel and Phillips argue the details. Steel thinks it is a crime of passion and when Castle tells him they have to establish Sally knew Archie beforehand, Steel tells Phillips to start with Sally’s friends. When Philips quickly walks out, Castle asks Steel if Phillips is letting her "thing" affect her, and Steel says she is their best prosecutor.

Phillips speaks with Rebecca and she thinks Sally is telling the truth and doesn’t know about a boyfriend. She later speaks with another friend who doesn’t know about a current boyfriend but tells Phillips that Sally broker her arm and was off for a while and when she came back her boyfriend at the time had moved on to someone else.

Back at CPS, Phillips tells Steel she checked with the ex-boyfriend and he barely remembers Sally. There is no information on another boyfriend. Steel wonders why Sally needed an alibi. Soon afterwards, Archie’s father is in Castle’s office, with Steel and Phillips, complaining about the case and that Archie's name is being destroyed while they are doing nothing. They try to explain why they need to go on with the case, but he says this is killing them. He tells them he got a call from the press and they threatened to publish an old school report about Archie who had been suspended for attacking a girl,

Steel and Phillips talk with the reporter Russell Wood (Nicholas Bailey) about the story who says Archie was suspended for a week for going into the girls changing room when he was 13. He pulled at a girl’s clothing, Steel says the tabloids is not where this should be played out and if he prints it they will take him to court. The reporter says they will bury the apology on page 10 when the injunction comes through. Steel and Phillips argue about whether what Archie did at the past could mean he had escalated.

At M.I.U., Steel and Phillips speak with Chandler about the school report and Steel says they have to find something to prove Sally is lying. They speak with Brooks and Devlin who have been working on Sally’s phone records. There is a number Sally has been calling in short bursts but no long enough to speak to anyone. As the line seems to ring endlessly, suddenly someone answers. He speaks with the person and then tells the others they will not believe this.

Back at Taylor Mansions, the phone Sally was calling was the main phone in the hall of Archie’s building. Phillips tells them to get the outgoing call records for that number.
Back in Steel’s office, Phillips tells him that the outgoing calls from that phone match a phone number connected to Martin Douglas, Sally father, who is paying for her phone. Sally did know Archie. Phillips says she wants to believe her but wonders if Sally knows what this is doing.

Steel and Philips speak with Sally’s barrister Chris Thompson (David Yelland) about the phone calls. Phillips speaks with Sally who is waiting in the hall and tells her they know she lied about Archie and people may think she lied about the rape too. Phillips tells her about her own experience about testifying about a rape and asks Sally to tell her the truth. It looks like Sally is going to break and Thompson comes out and stops her and they walk off. Philips tells Steel that Sally wasn’t raped and if Thompson won’t take the deal, Sally has to go down for the murder.
Later, Steel tells Castle what is going on, and they walk into a group of protestors. Castle gripes about the different groups all having their own agendas.

In court, Brooks is testifying that Sally knew the victim for several weeks. Thompson forces Brooks to admit they have no evidence that Archie was the other person on the other end of the phone.

Back at CPS, Thompson, along with Sally’s parents, pressures Castle, steel and Phillips to drop the case. Martin makes a racist comment about Archie and Thompson tries to shut him up, but Martin is hot and storms off. When they all leave, they talk about Martin’s temper and Steel recalls the information about Sally’s broken arm. He wants to see her medical report.

Later, Steel looks at the report and it was a spiral fracture, likely caused by someone grabbing her arm and suspect her father Martin. They think this is the key to get Sally to open up.

At Crown v Douglas, Sally is testifying and Steel asks about her parents and begins to ask about the broken arm and how she did it. She said it was an accident form a fall but he mentions the spiral fracture is from a violent twist, not a fall. He questions about her father and his behaviors toward her and asks who broke her arm. She hesitates and he asks if her dad broke her arm. He asks about her boyfriend at the time, who happened to be black, and asked if her father broker her arm because her father disapproved of her boyfriend. Steel pressures her, saying that she killed Archie because she was afraid her father would find out about them. Under more pressure from Steel, she admits that Archie threatened to tell her parents about their relationship and he was angry about it. They got into a fight and there was a knife and she picked it up but cant remember. She admits that Archie did not rape her. She did not want her dad to hate her anymore.

Later, the verdict comes in, and Sally is found guilty of murder.

Afterwards, Phillips heads to a pub and Steel is there to give her a drink. He said he knew she would show up because she always does. They head over to a table with a group of people and as they sit down, we fade to back.

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.


Anonymous said...

i really hope this is the last time we'll be revisiting Alesha's rape.

Anonymous said...

Good show. We need a John Munch appearance!

janethyland said...

Ratings continue to be poor for this show,week after week, whatever the competition...and really there hasnt been much competition except for week 4 when it was up against New Tricks.

This week Have I Got News For You won the 9pm slot with 5.2% audiencce share..its a comedy show. Law and Order got 4.3 million (18% audience share).

To be seen as a success a 9pm prime time show should be pulling 5.2% at least...especially when it is the only drama being made available at that time. And this season the competition that beat Law and Order has been factual documentaries and natural history and comedy.

There seems to be very little interest in the UK version in the UK.At the moment its pulling in the same ratings,and even lower,that The Bill, which is the crime show it replaced...and The Bill had been on the air for 27years so you would expect some erosion.
week 1 4.9million
week 2 3.89
week 3 4.4
week 4 3.1
week 5 4.2
week 6 4.3

one more week to go...and not much comepition on the night.

janethyland said...

Ive seen the French remakes. They are better than the UK remakes.
However they are all derivative and produced largely to make money.
The real quality is in the American originals, those Law and Order shows of the 1990's that must have seemed so current and original at the time...and not just about making money.

Anonymous said...

ITV (the network that shows L&O:UK in the UK) don't seem to be promoting the show much. I never knew it existed until reading a post on a messageboard. I wonder why they don't advertise it as much?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you find rape so unentertaining - if this show is too real for you perhaps you should keep to CSI Miami or something more pedestrian.