Law & Order UK “Denial” was based on the original Law & Order episode “DNR” from season 10. In that episode, a bitter husband plans a hit on his wife, who is a judge, but she lives. The same thing happens in “Denial”. While the story didn’t feel new, this episode offered a little more for Director George Castle (Bill Paterson) to do other than just barking orders and being cranky. Castle seems to be able to connect with the dying judge by reminiscing about the past and calling her to her duty as a member of the court. It was a great scene for Paterson.
Law & Order UK not only does a great job at telling a story, but I am always impressed with the set and camera work and their selections for on-location scenes. They are doing a wonderful job of highlighting the city of London, yet still keeping the scenes feeling natural and not staged. So while “Denial” may feel like the same old story, one can clearly tell it’s not being told in the same old place!
Here is the recap:
High Court Judge Rachel Callaghan (Juliet Stevenson) appears to have been shot during what seems like a carjacking. Her husband Dan (John McArdle) races to her aid. Later, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin arrive at the scene. It seems that Rachel sprayed her attacker in the face with red dye gel and they should be able to catch him “red handed.”
At the hospital, Rachel is alive but in surgery. The detectives speak with Dan. He saw nothing suspicious. He had been the one that was driving but he took in a mirror for her while she parked the car. The Callaghan’s daughter Lindsay (Georgina Rich) arrives.
At the Mortlake Industrial Estate, the car's GPS tracking device has been located but not the car. PC Griffin (Michael Maris) gives them the device and the plate info. Back at MIU, the detectives tell DI Natalie Chandler that Griffin seems to have missed spotting the car that was in the security video. Two people appeared to have been in the car. Angela (Jessica Gunning) arrives and tells them they found the Mercedes and Chandler sends Brooks and Devlin off.
They check out the car, but the man driving says it is his car, not stolen. Later, at MIU, the driver, Nick (Oliver Le Sueur), said he did not know the papers were forged and that the car was stolen. He just bought it yesterday but is worried if what will happen to him if he says who sold him the car. He admits he needed the car to look the part of a rich banker. He looks at a photo array and identifies Martin Flynn, but said he had no red paint on his face.
At Camden Close House, the detectives arrive at Martin’s apartment with an armed team, and Martin (Duane Henry) escapes. But Devlin is waiting in the alley and apprehends him. At MIU, Martin is questioned and identified Eddie Wade as the man who shot the judge. They tell him they found the gun that likely shot her in his flat. He said he knew nothing about the murder and only wanted to scare her. He said Eddie already had stolen the car when he asked Martin to help him and Eddie had paint on his face. He just wanted Martin to take the car to the dealer to be shipped abroad. But he knew someone who wanted the car and sold it to Martin anyway. He said Eddie had a something bigger that had nothing to do with the Mercedes.
Later. The detectives and Chandler discuss whether the bigger deal was the shooting of the judge. Chandler tells them to set up surveillance for Eddie’s flat in case he comes back for the money. As Rachel’s husband Dan knew where she would be, they wonder if he was the one who orchestrated the hit.
At the hospital, the detectives speak with Dan and he doesn’t know Eddie. And only he knew when she was getting home. He gets angry when they ask questions about his marriage. Brooks and Devlin tell Dan they want to speak with Rachel alone. They show her a picture of Eddie Wade and she identifies him as the man who shot him. She also said when she get out of the car she expected Eddie to just get in a drive away but realized he meant to kill her anyway. They go over what she did up to that point, and said her husband was being childish about coming back, he had to take a tacky old mirror out of the car and take it inside. It was his idea to take in the mirror.
At MIU, they look at phone records for the phone Eddie gave to Martin, and a call came from a pager at 11:45 AM. The sales clerk doesn’t recall who bought the phone so they are checking the CCTV cameras to see who bought it. They also decide to talk to the judge’s clerk to see if she knows who else knew Rachel was on the way out.
In the chambers of Judge Callaghan, the detectives speak with Andrea and find that she told them about a conference that Rachel was to attend and she confirmed her attendance the last afternoon. The judge has had some threats made to her because of the nature of her cases. They ask for her on-going case files.
Back at MIU they look at the cases and focus on one case the judge was building against Walter Reeves, a site manager who works a protection racket and the judge was about to ruin him. One of the companies Reeves has is his pocket is Aeroclear where Eddie Wade worked there up to three years ago and who also does repairs on the building the judge lives in. The concierge may have known what went on, so they bring him in to MIU about it and he says he does not want to get involved. He admit he’s the one who blew the whistle on Reeves and the judge left his name out of the case file for his own protection.
The detectives speak with Mr. Smith (Edward Hughes) who own Aeroclear and says Reeves has been a thorn in his side for a long time. He does not think that Eddie’s and Reeves paths would have crossed, though, adding Eddie would not have worked on the judge’s building. He adds he got a maintenance contract 7 years ago on Dan Callaghan’s recommendation. He said he and Dan did a lot of work together before he and Eddie fell out.
Back at MIU, the detectives explain that Dan and Eddie have a past history with his construction work and apparently Eddie did a lousy job and Dan was all over him.
They bring Dan to MIU for questioning. The show him a photo of Eddie and he denies ever seeing him before. They bring up his past with Eddie and Dan still says he can’t place him. They confront him with more facts and he said the workforce on the construction project let him down. He also said it was his wife’s idea to bring in the mirror. Devlin says Rachel said it was Dan’s idea and that they had been arguing earlier in the day. Dan gets irate. Devlin continues to press and Dab gets more upset. He feels badly about Rachel, who has now lost the use of her other kidney and she is getting worse. Dan tries to make a quick exit but Brooks arrests him on conspiracy to commit murder.
In court, Dan is in the box for the bail hearing where a conflicting statement given by Rachel obtained by Dan’s barrister Simon Wheeler (Terrence Harvey) is read. CP Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) argues the facts they know. Phillips objects to bail as the crown believes Dan will try to interfere with the witness – his wife. They both make their arguments and the judge grants bail of 50 thousand pounds.
Back at CPS, Phillips and CP James Steel (Ben Daniels) discuss the case with Director George Castle (Bill Paterson). Dan does not seem to have moved a lot of money, they don’t have a trace on the cell phone yet, but Dan lied about knowing Eddie Wade. All they have is circumstantial evidence and the word of his wife. But George seems bothered by the situation.
At Royal Hampton Hospital, Phillips tries to get information from Rachel. She said she did not tell Dan they had to leave early until mid-day. The call to the man who shot her was made at 11:45. Her daughter Lindsay tries to console her. Phillips explains about Dan’s lies, but Rachel says they have no case and if they prosecute Dan she will give evidence in his behalf. Lindsay tries to chime in but gets silent.
Later, Lindsay catches Phillips outside and Phillips asks about her mother and father’s relationship. Rachel intends to sue the hospital for causing renal failure. Lindsay says her father adores her mother, and says it is not about money, Rachel’s estate goes to Lindsay’s kids.
Phillips gives the information to Steel that there is no financial motive but there is an eyewitness who says she saw Dan in the garden that day in his running shorts. Dan was also at a party the night before where Dan was drunk and introduced himself as Mr. Rachel Callaghan and sounded bitter and he and Rachel ended up arguing. But they need motive.
At Jordan Callaghan Architects, they are told Dan had to be let go. Dan was a perfectionist and would not listen to his clients. Rachel also didn’t seem to have known he was fired. He also had helped put Rachel through law school and Dan wanted Rachel to be proud of him. She was going to retired and Dan was going put a deposit on some land and build their dream home, but then she got promoted.
Phillips later tells Steel that the deposit for the property was 25 thousand pounds and Dan got the deposit back for 20 thousand in cash. They think Dan started plotting her death after her promotion. Steel gets a call and finds that the phone Eddie used to make the call was used within 500 meters of the Callaghan cottage.
They give Rachel the news and she still refuses to believe it. She adds that they did have an argument that day and Dan went outside to cool off. He wears his running shorts around his house. Lindsay tries to get them to back off. But then Steel tells them that Dan lost his job 5 weeks ago. Rachel looks shocked.
At CPS, Castle is having a drink when Steel and Phillips give him the news. He had heard about it. He says Rachel has asked the doctors to withdraw her medication and she wants to die.
At Crown v Callaghan, Steel argues that the statement the defense presented against Rachel was false and he wants to examine her via video. Steel wants the jury to make up their own minds and if he can’t do this Dan will get what he wants – his wife’s alibi followed by her death. She is allowing her husband to go unpunished and Judge Hall (Diana Quick) agrees to allow it but if Steel pushes Rachel one step too far she will stop the proceedings.
Later, Steel talks this over with Castle who has concerns, but Steel says he will be careful.
In the hospital room, Rachel sticks to her story saying Dan never left her sight and someone else must have known they were leaving early. Steel tries to poke holes in her story and continues to press about their marriage and that Dan did not tell her he lost his job. She did not know, though, that Dan took back the deposit on the plot of land. She says that is a check trick. Steel says it is the exact sum of money that the shooter was promised. Steel reminds of her oath as a judge and that she has made sacrifices for the law so how can she bear for this to be her dying act? He asks what would she do if she were Steel? Rachel says she is sure she saw him. The Judge Hall ends the cross examination.
Afterwards, Steel tells Wheeler that he is not dropping the charges. Wheeler says he got what he wanted. Lindsay asks Steel if Rachel stuck to her story, and when they tell her yes, she says deep down, she knows it was her dad and so does her mother, but out of guilt Rachel will never admit it. Lindsay spent her whole childhood trying to get her mother’s attention and so did her father. Lindsay wants Rachel to see her and her kids and think they are worth living for. But, alarms go off and they find Rachel has disconnected he dialysis machine. The nurses race to her aid.
Later, Steel is back in court, challenging Rachel’s mental fitness as Rachel attempted suicide and is too depressed to think rationally. He wants her examined by Dr. Armitage. Wheeler makes his argument but Steel says the doctors are withholding withdrawing treatment until this issue is resolved. Judge Hall giver permission.
At the Strand, Judge Hall tells Castle that Rachel refused to answer question and Armitage recommends she be put on suicide watch.
Back in court, Judge Hall says she has no choice but to declares Rachel not competent to give evidence in Dan’s case.
Later, George Castle goes to visit Rachel. They share past memories.
Back at CPS, Phillips and Steel try to understand what Dan did. Dan and Wheeler arrive and said they intend to appeal Judge Hall’s decision. When Phillips asks why he doesn’t just divorce her, Dan says he loves her but he goes on to describe how she talked to him.
Back at with Rachel, Castle tries to convince her to live and literally gets in her face about it. She says Dan’s love for her was the one thing she could rely on. Castle tells her to do the right thing and tell her the truth. She says they had a row and he stormed outside. As she continues to tell her story to Castle, Dan tells his story to Phillips and Steel. It comes out that Dan did set it all up. Castle says now that she admitted it there is no need to die, but she says she got the court approval to terminate her treatment and it is not irrational to die when you have been ultimately betrayed by the person you love.
At Ludgate Hill. Castle tells Steel and Phillips that the court will allow Rachel to terminate her treatment and it won’t be long. She wants her husband with her.
Later, at the hospital, Dan is escorted there by George Castle and the police. George watches from outside as Dan embraces Rachel, and she dies. As Castle looks away sadly, we fade to black.
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