Monday, July 11, 2011

Law & Order UK “The Wrong Man” Recap & Review

Law & Order UK “The Wrong Man” was based on the original Law & Order episode “Prescription for Death” which was the first episode aired of the mothership. (This is not to be confused with the first Law & Order episode filmed  -  that was “Everybody’s Favorite Bagman,” the pilot episode, which was the 6th episode aired. But I digress…) It introduces two new cast members, Peter Davison as CPS Director Henry Sharpe, and Dominic Rowan as Senior Crown Prosecutor Jacob “Jake” Thorne. We know why Thorne is there, as CPS James Steel (Ben Daniels) resigned in the episode “Skeletons”. But we don’t get an explanation as to why Henry Sharpe is there, and frankly I don’t recall if anything was said during "Skeletons" about the status of CPS Director George Castle (Bill Paterson). Henry Sharpe seems much more calm, collected, and charming than the always cranky George Castle, and in a way, I like Castle’s bristling approach better. Jacob Thorne also seems less of a commanding presence than Ben Steel. I do like both Davison and Rowan  and I suspect that as the season goes along, both actors will have the opportunity to bring more depth to their characters.

As always, Bradley Walsh (as DS Ronnie Brooks) and Jamie Bamber (as DS Matt Devlin) are perfectly matched. The case itself, though, was somewhat dull. The scene in the train station added some much needed excitement to the first half of the episode. After the surprise wears off that the man they have in custody is not who he says he is and the case focuses on Dr. Austen (James Fox), the suspense slipped away. My expectations were much higher for this first case with two new cast members. Still, this was a decent episode that featured great acting and writing, and was an hour well spent.

Here is the recap:
A woman, Suzanne Martin, who was brought into the hospital with what appeared to have a sore throat or flu symptoms,  dies while being treated, much to the horror of her father who watches helplessly. Later, Sister Logan (Frances Tomelty) is in DI Harriet Chandler’s (Harriet Walter) office and expresses worry that this is the third unexplained death in her ward in the past 6 months, and each time it is swept under the carpet by hospital administration. She thinks someone on the ward is killing patients.

DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) speak with the coroner who says if they want a cause of death they will have to wait, and he stalls them, saying this is the NHS, not CSI. They decide to talk to the head of the hospital emergency department, Dr. Edward Austen.

At the hospital, they speak with Dr. Austen (James Fox) who said he was not there at the time. He said the crash team responded immediately and Christine Mills is a very responsible registrar. He is not sure what they expect to find, saying it is regrettable but not a crime. When Ronnie mentions that a source said there have been other reports like this, Austen says unless Ronnie’s source makes the claims public he hesitates to believe them. He adds a Dr. Simonson admitted Suzanne.

The detectives speak with Simonson (Donald Slack ) who said Suzanne had a chest infection and he ordered a chest x-ray before he left for the day. He is shocked to hear she is dead and said she was not that sick. He worries they think this is his fault, and Ronnie says they were asked to look into it. Simonson tells them after he left, one of the registrars would have taken her chart and as the detectives walk off, he calls out for them to talk to Dr. Mills.

The detectives speak with Dr. Mills (Nadia Cameron-Blakely) who says Suzanne had pneumonia and the chest x-rays confirmed it. She says Simonson did nothing wrong. She adds Suzanne's illness was complicated by a chemical pneumenitis when the lungs becomes inflamed by a chemical irritant. She says Dr. Grant was treating her. After she leaves, Ronnie comments that this is starting to feel like pass the parcel.

They speak with Dr. Grant (Hugh Skinner), who admit he was treating her but only briefly, they were still waiting for x-rays. They did not know what they were dealing with at the time. He makes a quick exit.

Back at M.I.U. headquarters, Ronnie and Matt discuss what they know, and Ronnie, looking at the medical file, thinks half the doctors are serial killers anyway. Matt replies to give him a shooting in the alley any day, at least knows how to spot a smoking gun. Ronnie notices a word crossed out on the chart that looks like “code name.” Ronnie suggest a rendezvous with “deep throat” - and when Matt gives Ronnie the look, Ronnie quickly adds “not the porn film."

They speak with Sister Logan about the item crossed off in the chart, and she says it is illegal to tamper with hospital records. She tells them the word crossed out was codeine and it was replaced with another drug. The prescribing doctor may have changed their mind. There are cases where codeine is contraindicated but that would have been noted down when admitted. She also notices there is a page missing in the chart.

Later, the detectives tell Chandler what they found out. She wants to know what was missing to make sure this is a cover-up and not just a coincidence. They see Suzanne's father there and Chandler tells them he has been in every day.

At Ladbroke Grove Medical Centre, the detectives speak with Dr. Rosa Lignell (Glynis Brooks) who tells them Suzanne had depression and was on medication and as a last result, they put Suzanne on phenelzine sulfate. This drug cannot be used with an opiate like codeine as it can be fatal.

The detectives speak again with the coroner who did not test for those other drugs. They ask him to test again for codeine and phenelzine and for a rush but he gets flip about it, citing budget issues and tells them they are wasting their time. He adds you’d have to be an idiot to take codeine with phenelzine as it could kill you. He glares at Matt and Ronnie tells Matt to take deep breaths as they leave.

The detectives speak with Dr. Grant who says it was a busy night and he wrote codeine without thinking, but he gave her something else. They tell him some of the patient notes went missing, and he says they go missing all the time. When Matt mentions the phenelzine sulfate, Grant seems surprised. He said this was not on the history. But they tell him the triage nurse said it was there. He writes it off as a mistake, but Ronnie tells him when Grant makes mistakes, people end up dying, They also tell Grant they are digging deeper into her death and doing another tox screen.

Back at M.I.U., the detectives confer with Chandler about Grant’s reaction to their questioning and their theories. Angela (Jessica Gunning) hands Matt the tox screen results which is positive for phenelzine and codeine. Chandler says this is not a coincidence and to bring Grant in.

When the detectives head to hospital to get Grant, they speak with Sister Logan  and hear that Grant is not in and he has also not been seen since yesterday morning.

Back at headquarters, the detectives tell Chandler that Grant is not in his flat but his car is there. He has not been seen at the hospital. Angie tells them they got a hit on Grant’s credit card; he just bought a ticket to Bruges and the next train is in 45 minutes.

At St. Pancras International Station, the detectives, along with other officers, race around to locate Grant before he gets on a train. Matt checks the men’s restroom and finds Grant hiding in one of the stalls, and he arrests him and reads Grant his rights. Ronnie picks up Grant’s bag and quips to Matt that he hopes he let him wash his hands first.

Later, at M.I.U., the detectives question Grant, with his lawyer present. He said he panicked and thinks he is being set up by others at the hospital. He says Austen gave the injection, he just filled in the chart. He never changed the chart, Christine Mills changed it and she told him to keep quiet about it. He had to go along with it, they gave him no choice. He says Austen is erratic sometime and everyone knew Austen is a drinker and that Mills has had a thing for Austen for years. They stick together and swear he is telling the truth.

Later, the detectives confer with Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) who is observing the questioning. She thinks they may not have enough to charge him. Chandler walks in and says there is someone they should meet. She turns on another monitor to show another man who Chandler said flew in from Milan and he wants to know why they are looking for him. Matt asks if they are looking for him, and Chandler says she believes they are. He is Dr. Adrian Grant (Ben Righton). The detectives wonder if that is Adrian Grant, then who is the guy they have been questioning?

The detectives speak with the real Adrian Grant, who has been in Haiti for the last year. He identifies the photo of the other man as Ian Naylor, they were roommates for a few months. He is a chiropodist.

The detectives pass along with new information to Alesha and Senior Crown Prosecutor Jacob “Jake” Thorne (Dominic Rowan). Naylor took on Grant’s identity and got a job using Grant’s qualifications. Matt comments that you put on a white coat and stethoscope, that people will believe anything you say. Ronnie quips that it is a bit like a wig and a gown. Jake says that’s too right, he’s been getting away with it for years.

While walking down the street, Jake and Alesha confer with CPS Director Henry Sharpe (Peter Davison). They have Naylor on at least 10 counts, and he expects a straight guilty plea on the fraud. Sharpe tells them they will nail him on the deaths later but for now focus on the fraud, it’s not like Naylor has a foot to stand on.

Later, Jake speaks with Naylor and his brief about the guilty plea. The brief says Naylor has been suffering from emotional trauma as a med student. Naylor insists Austen is responsible and says they should talk to Simonson, he nearly lost a patient because of Austen.

Jake and Alesha speak with Dr. Simonson who explains that Austen also incorrectly gave morphine to a man who had meningitis but Dr. Mills caught the error in time. Simonson says people make mistakes and Austen is getting older and gets tired, since his accident.

Back at CPS, Alesha and Jake speak with Ronnie and Matt about what they found out about Austen. Matt tells them they found 5 other problem cases where Austen treated people. Ronnie says Austen was caught drunk driving in the late 1980s and disqualified from driving in the 1990s and his blood alcohol level was off the charts. They wonder if he fell off the wagon. Alesha comments there was another car crash 3 years ago and Austen was on pain killers – and they speculate he may now be addicted to pain killers, which is a lot easier to hide.

Jake speaks with Dr. Malcolm Chester (Roland Oliver) about the car accident and the pain killers and question why Chester would give an alcoholic pain meds. Chester thought that Austen was long ago over that problem, and adds that it would have been legal for Austen to prescribe more painkillers for himself.

Afterwards, Jake and Alesha talk about this and he asks if she checked with the hospital pharmacy, and she says he is not getting the drugs from there. The staff clams up when she asked about medical errors. Jake thinks one person will talk.

Jake later tries to question Naylor but his brief is reluctant to allow him and tried to cut a deal. Jake says he is not there to bargain and outlines that if his statement about Dr. Austen is withdrawn, Naylor is now the prime suspect in the murder. He adds that Naylor may enjoy the extra time in prison.

In Henry Sharpe’s office, where it appears he is settling in and choosing paint colors for his office walls, Alesha tells him they don’t think Naylor is guilty, and Jake thinks Naylor is telling the truth about Austen. Jake gets notification that Naylor is pleading guilty to all counts related to the fraud.

Back at M.I.U. Alesha, with Jake in tow, breaks the latest news to Ronnie and Matt. Matt tells them they found that Austen is getting prescriptions filled at 13 different places, all for codeine and all in his own name. He does it on a rotation and it has ramped up in the last months and he is popping them like Smarties.

Jake and Alesha speak with Christine Mills who says Austen is not an addict. But Alesha explains the proof they have which indicate it is otherwise. Jake tells Mills she needs to start thinking about herself and they know Austen persuaded her to lie. She says she was not called in until Suzanne arrested. She confronted Naylor about it and found that Austen was the one who gave Suzanne the codeine. She said Austen was on call and was groggy when she woke him and he had no idea he had done anything wrong. She could not see Austen hung out to dry for one mistake so she altered the chart. He did not tell her to lie, she wanted to help, but she did not know about the addiction.

Later, as they walk down the street, Alesha tells Jake when they searched Austen’s house they found pills everywhere. His wife was oblivious. Dr. Austen’s defense, Phillip Nevins (Pip Torrens) tries to outline Austen’s career and his accomplishments and insists Austen is a good man and dedicated doctor. Jake outlines all the charges they have against Austen and Nevins says he guesses he knows where they stand.

At Crown v Austen, Naylor testifies about the night Suzanne died and that Austen gave Suzanne the codeine. But Nevins outlines Naylor’s fraud, and the fact that he is not a doctor and says he was a liability and wonders how many mistakes he may have made. Naylor says it was frustrating as he was just as good as the other registrars. Jake then asks what was frustrating, and Naylor says he knew he could treat the patients just as well as they could but unlike them, he knew he could not make a mistake, This is why he pages Austen and this is why he only did what he was told, if he messed up, he would have lost everything.

Dr. Mills is questioned by the defense about the patient’s history, and she says she did not ask that question, and admits it is possible that Naylor may have given the information to Austen verbally and failed to mention the anti-depressants Suzanne was taking. She also says he had no reason to believe Austen was suffering from an addiction, and he is the best doctor she has ever worked with and is an inspiration.

Afterwards, walking down the street, Jake comments to Alesha that they were worried about the wrong witness. Alesha said Austen was still negligent as he was impaired by his addiction. As they talk, they see Suzanne's father having some words with Austen and his attorney and he is clearly distraught. Austen says it was not his fault and there were contributing factors. As Austen drives off, Suzanne’s father says Austen killed her and says he is a murderer.

Back at CPS, Jake tells Alesha that when talking to Suzanne’s father that it was obvious that Austen knew he was to blame. He wonders about the last drunk driving incident and if Austen went into rehab. Jake speculates that Austen knew he was an addict when he started taking codeine, then he knew the risks and he knew what it could mean for his patients. This means the crime happened before he even stepped onto the ward.

With Dr. Austen testifying, Jake brings up the time that Austen spent in the clinic for drug and alcohol rehab for medical professionals with addiction. Jake brings up the dangers of prescribing codeine to addicts, and saying that Austen knew he had an addiction when she started taking the drug. Austen said the benefits outweighed the risks, but Jake reminds him three years later Austen is still taking the drug. Jake brings up the high doses Austen is taking. Jake speaks of the side effects of long term codeine use and claims this affected his judgment. Jake then begins to fire off questions about which drugs to prescribe in certain circumstances, and Austen fumbles.  Jake says Austen can’t think clearly under pressure any more, but Austen says it is a mistake. Austen says he is not an addict and hasn't taken any medication in months. Jake then asks Austen to empty his pockets, and the judge allows it. Austen empties his pockets and, pausing, pulls out a bottle of codeine pills. Austen is unable to state how many of the codeine pills he has taken that day. He says he never meant to harm anyone.

Jake is back in his office with Alesha when Sharpe opens the door and comments about them getting a guilty verdict after only 20 minutes and the must have done something right. Austen got 2 years suspended, and Sharpe says it was an elderly judge and it was hardly surprising. Sharpe says Jake could appeal the sentence, but Jake says he doesn’t think so. Sharpe asks if Jake is getting soft in his old age. Jake says no, he just doesn’t think he will win. Sharpe smiles and leaves the office, and Jake looks at Alesha and says “what?” She comments that she though she saw a glimmer of humanity , “but no, my mistake.” She smiles at him and he smirks back, as we fade to black.

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1 comment:


from what I know (based on the research), Director George Castle has been appointed (promoted) as the Director of Public Prosecution, C.P.S. . That's why 'Skeleton' episode was his last cast.