Monday, August 8, 2011

Law & Order UK “Intent” Recap & Review

Law & Order UK “Intent” was based on the original Law & Order episode “Privileged” from season 5, where a man mistakenly kills two people in a drunken stupor and after a car accident, thinking that they are his foster parents. In “Intent,” the story starts out with a similar theme, but “Intent” changes the killer to a divorced man, also in a drunken stupor and after a car accident, who mistakenly kills a couple thinking they are his ex wife and lover. After watching “Privileged” on the TNT network (in the USA) that same morning that “Intent” aired in the UK, it is easy to compare both stories – and I liked the changes in the UK version.

I wish, though, that they would give Henry Sharpe (Peter Davison) a little more to do that be a sounding board for or a rubber stamp to Jake or Alesha. It may be my perception, but it seems to me that Sharpe’s predecessor George Castle (Bill Paterson) had more screen time and Castle was often passionately vocal about a case or his role with the CPS. I have to keep reminding myself that this is only the 5th episode with the revamped cast, but as next week is the finale for this season, and they don’t have much time for major character development for Henry unless they dump it all into next week’s episode.

Clearly the first half of the show with Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber, and Harriet Walter continues to work very well. There is a perfect blend of drama and wit that makes this part of the episode fly by. While the legal segment of this episode was still interesting, it was one of those cases that the guest stars seemed to outshine the regular cast. Jake Thorne’s cross examination of Lucas Boyd toward the end was a nice recovery and made for a dramatic close.

Here is the recap:

When the housekeeper arrives at the Lerner residence, she finds the broadband installation man waiting to get into the house. She lets him in, and they quickly find David and Elaine Lerner dead in their upstairs bedroom, both brutally stabbed to death.

DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) arrives on the scene and finds that the killer's point of entry and exit was the kitchen window. DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) is already in the bedroom with the coroner. It appears Elaine Lerner was stabbed while she slept, and David woke up and was then also killed.

Back at headquarters, the detectives tell DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) that the murder weapon was a chisel taken from a tool bag at the home. There was nothing removed from the house. Natalie wonders why, if he went there to kill the Lerners, why go unarmed and if it was a burglary, why leave empty handed? The killer cleaned himself up before he left and also cleaned the chisel before he dropped it. There are 38 sets of unknown prints in the home, which was being renovated, They are concentrating on a partial print on the headboard in Mrs. Lerner’s blood which was a good match to another partial found near the broken kitchen window, but the print is not in the system. Natalie tells them to print anyone who has worked in the house. When she asks about the daughter, Matt says they are meeting her at the house, but Ronnie says he is going to talk to forensics to see if the brutality of the killing rings some bells. Matt looks surprised, and complains that he gets the grieving daughter while Ronnie goes to have a cup of tea with Eleanor. Ronnie says it is all about delegation, and it’s an art. Matt says it’s a joke.

Ronnie speaks with Eleanor (Annabel Mullion ) in the forensics lab who tells him Elaine died first and she was pinned down. She says the killing seemed personal, the weapon was moving hard and fast and the killer was angry. She thinks they were both dead after the first couple of wounds.

At the Lerner home, Matt speaks with the Lerner’s daughter Elizabeth (Cara Hogan) who says her parents were lovely people and everyone loved them. There were no financial problems with the renovations. This was their dream home for their retirement for when they sold the agency – Sleepytime Sitters.

Matt speaks with a worker at Sleepytime Sitters who speaks highly of the Lerners. She mentions that there may have been an issue with Bob Mitchell (David Pullan), a former partner. Later, Matt gives this information to Ronnie, saying the Mitchell later had to declare himself bankrupt. They are going to meet Mitchell at his latest business, Zoners. They speak with Mitchell who said that the Lerners actually did him a favor. He gives them an alibi for the night of the killing.

Back at headquarters, Matt tells Natalie that Mitchell’s alibi checks out and that everyone else thinks the Lerners were saints. Ronnie tells her 26 of the workers have been printed an none comes close to the partial print. Matt suggests they go back to the beginning to see if they missed anything.

Ronnie and Matt return to the Lerner home and walk through the killing scenario. They reach the kitchen where Elizabeth is sitting. As they continue to walk through the process, Ronnie wonders why the killer went through the window and not through the door. There weren’t any prints on the door meaning the killer never tried it. Ronnie realizes that there was another door at one time, and she informs them it was a metal security door that her parents took out when they did the kitchen, adding the place was like Fort Knox. The person who owned the house before was Camilla Mallon, who was in the papers for a big hedge fund collapse which turned out to be a scam. This is why she had to move and why her parents got such a good price on the home. They realize that the Lerners were likely not the intended victims.

At the home of Camilla Mallon (Anna Wilson-Jones), Ronnie and Matt hear about the threats made to Camilla. She moved to a place with more security. Her business partners are still in prison. Later, Ronnie speaks with one of the people scammed who had sent a threatening letter, and he said he was more angry at the other two men who are already behind bars.

Matt speaks with another man who experienced a loss from the scam, who tells Matt that Camilla was a piece of work. He comments that Camilla’s husband stood by her during the trial and then afterwards she dumped him and then took him to the cleaners in the divorce.

At Waterloo and City College, Matt speaks with Camilla's ex, Lucas Boyd (Samuel West), who says no one really believed the threats to Camilla. He says there were no bad feelings with the divorce, and seems surprised that Matt would think he was a suspect. He says he does know where she lives and he knows what she looks like and would not mix her up with someone else.

Back at headquarters, Matt brings Natalie up to speed. Ronnie says he found that one half hour before the killing, a car hit a lamppost two streets away. The driver abandoned the vehicle and the vehicle is towed away the following morning. The car is registered to Lucas Boyd, Camilla’s ex.

In interrogation, Lucas apologizes to the detectives for not telling them about the accident. He admits he had a few drinks and just took the corner too fast. He met up with a few college in a bar and was driving home with Josh Shelton who teaches sports. They should have gotten a cab. After the crash, Josh took a cab and Lucas said he needed some air so he walked.

Matt speaks with Josh (Robert Beck) who admits he was wasted and adds that Lucas was a man on a mission and had been drinking. Lucas hit his head on the steering wheel during the accident and may have knocked himself out but came to after a couple minutes. He thought Lucas was going to walk it off.

At headquarters, Natalie tells Ronnie that Josh backs up Lucas’ story but could not be sure what direction Lucas headed afterwards. Ronnie comments that back in the days when he was drinking, he went on a bender for 3 days and aside from a train ticket to Hull and a receipt for two hedge trimmers, it is still a complete blank. Once he staggered home, it took him a half hour to realize he was in the wrong house – he lived two doors down. It is possible that Lucas being drunk and being hit on the head, may have gone to the wrong house, and as he was used to a security door, that’s what made him go through a window. Natalie wonders if the divorce was not so amicable.

At Reece, Jones, and Byers Solicitors, Ronnie speaks with Miss Byers (Helen Elizabeth ) who says Lucas was nice about the divorce, and says he really was entitled to more but he did not want to fight his wife. She last spoke to him a few days ago, and he’d read about those people being killed in his old house and was having nightmares about it – about killing the Lerners.

Back in interrogation, Lucas said he was drunk and he doesn’t remember anything after the crash. Ronnie presses Lucas and having too much to drink and that the killing was mistake. Natalie watches through the video feed in another room. Lucas is clearly rattled. He said he had blood on his clothes because he cut himself in the accident and he washed the clothes. Ronnie asks what he sees in his dreams and his dreams about killing them. Ronnie explains how he thinks Lucas did it. Matt enters the room where Natalie is observing and says the information he has should push Lucas over – the prints are a match. Ronnie continues to press, and makes a comment about Lucas going into the window and not the door because the security door was removed, and when Lucas says how would he know that. Ronnie says that is his point. Matt, in the other room, comments that Lucas is the killer and Natalie adds that he doesn’t even remember doing it.

At Crown v Boyd plea and case management hearing, Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) asks for remand. Despite an argument by Margaret Rumsfield (Jill Baker) the judge agrees to remand.

Afterwards, Margaret discusses Lucas’s situation with Alesha and Senior Crown Prosecutor Jake Thorne (Dominic Rowan). She argues about the partial thumbprint, saying it was not obtained properly, because of the second hand account of a dream which came from Lucas’ own solicitor, and claims it is privileged. Jake calls it a long shot. She says nothing ventured nothing gained, asking if he learning nothing from their time together. When Jake says Mags was his mistress, she clarifies pupil/mistress.

At Crown v Boyd, Margaret argues her point about the privilege, saying Lucas disclosed personal information to Byers thinking it would be kept confidential. Judge Gillman (Martin Turner) understands her argument but says the print did match. Margaret argues that partial prints can be misleading, but Jake counters that is not the case when combined with blood stains and DNA from both victims. The judge refuses her application, and Margaret then changes the defense to by non-insane automatism.

Later, Jake and Alesha speak with a shocked Elizabeth about this change in defense. Jake tells her it all comes down to intention. Alesha says since Lucas did not know them, the defense is claiming Lucas didn’t know what he was doing. Elizabeth said her parents are still dead despite this, and Jake says they will make sure the jury does not forget this.

In the consulting rooms of Dr. Roddy Armitage (George Anton), Lucas explains that he has no idea why,  and that he has nightmares. He can see them but does not know why and does not recall doing it. He does recall being at the bar with Josh and music playing in the car and swerving and hitting the lamppost and hitting his head. Josh hailed a cab and Lucas thought he walked home.

Afterwards, in Jake’s office, Roddy explains that the alcoholic blackout along with the head injury could have caused the dissociative episode. It is possible he did not know what he was doing. Alesha said he still caused it by drinking so would still be guilty of manslaughter, but Roddy says there are multiple factors and one can’t say which one triggered the episode. If it was the head injury that is a different story. Jake asks if they are missing the obvious – a guy got drunk, got worked up, went looking for his ex and went to the wrong house because he was pissed, and that Lucas knew exactly what he was doing, he just did it to the wrong people. Roddy says there is no conscious motive for wanting to kill the ex wife and thinks the motivation was more primal. Jake comments that money or passion, they both take them back to the ex.

At the home of Camilla Mallon, she says he still sees Lucas occasionally and remain civil together. She thinks Jake thinks Lucas has resentment but says the divorce was amicable.

Later, Alesha tells Jake that Lucas only agreed to the divorce because it was Camilla’s idea, and Camilla says jump and Lucas says how high. Jake and Alesha think something finally cracked – a husband scorned is something they can work with.

At Crown v Boyd, Miss Byers testifies that Lucas had the grounds for divorce as there were multiple examples of unreasonable behavior and their sexual relationship had been long over. There was an 80/20 split of assets, and Lucas told her he wanted to give Camilla whatever she wanted and perhaps she would think she was making a mistake, he did not want the divorce to go through. When Jake says the divorce did go through and Lucas was left with a burning sense of injustice, Margaret leaps up and says Jake is indulging in lurid speculation. The judge tells him to save it for his closing speech. Jake says he is pointing out that the defense of automatism implies that Lucas has a total loss of control over his actions whereas harboring a grudge and deciding to kill your ex wife is an entirely different matter, whether you end up in the right house or not.

In CPS Director Henry Sharpe’s (Peter Davison) office, Henry asks Jake if he ever had a drunken blackout. Jake says he lost a few hours here or there as a student and thinks the worst thing he did was throw up in someone’s garden. Henry comments that their expert agrees it could have been a dissociative episode. Jake says the whole automatism argument seems too convenient,

At the White Horse, Jake is at the bar when Margaret approaches. He asks her if this is where she softens him up and tries to get her to lower the charges. She says she is buying him a drink to thank him for establishing her client’s new defense. They are changing to loss of control as a result of battered person syndrome. It appears Lucas was subjected to abuse all through his marriage and Jake’s witness was able to bring it to light. She says Lucas Boyd was just as much of a victim as the people he killed. Jake tells her to try to tell that to their daughter.

Afterwards, Henry says that Margaret has taken Jake’s motive and turned it into her defense. Alesha wonders why she did not stick with the automatism which would give her complete acquittal, adding that failing that she could have pushed for manslaughter. Jake comments that it paints Boyd as a victim; with an unsympathetic jury he could be looking at murder but now instead of a angry bloke who got drunk and decide to kill his wife, he becomes a nice guy who bumped his head and snapped after years of mental cruelty. Alesha says it won’t work as Jake did not kill his so called abuser, he killed the Lerners and that battered person no defense for killing strangers. Jake counters that as long as Lucas believed he was killing his ex, Mags can argue the history of abuse was relevant. Henry says Jake will have to redress the balance and he wants him put away for murder.

Back in court, Dr Hester Bligh (Sophie Ward) testifies for the defense about Lucas abuse and humiliation, saying Camilla withheld sex and money, Lucas still loved her and was desperate for her affection. She adds there is a point where the victim realizes he must break free from his abuser, by violent means if necessary. She thinks that is what happened the night of the murder. Jake questions how common it is for victims of spousal abuse to kill his or her abuser, and she admits it is not to common. He also gets her to admit people who go through a painful divorce often drink too much and get angry about the past. Jake cuts her off from answering any more.

Margaret questions Lucas about Camilla cutting short their honeymoon to work and that once she locked him out after coming home late. He admits he had to force open the window to climb into his own home like burglar, despite that she was inside. He says he felt bad the next day and it only happened once, Margaret also mentioned Camilla asked Lucas to get a better paying job as she was sick of supporting him, and he says she had high standards and it was something he loved about her. Margaret asks if Camilla told him she loved him, and he says Camilla found it hard to be affectionate and that could be hurtful sometimes but he knew she cared about him. He adds he loved her very much.

As Jake gets ready to question Lucas, the judge cuts him off and tells Jake they will resume at 10 AM on Monday for his cross examination.

Later, when Alesha leaves the building, she sees Camilla and Josh walking away together.

In Henry’s office, Jake complains that the jury seems to be buying it. Henry tells him a lot of men feel emasculated by the woman being the breadwinner, and he never understood it himself, saying he has been angling to be a kept man for years. Alesha says it comes down to how many on the jury hate their wives, and Jake adds or how many heartstrings Mags managed to pull. Alesha wonders if Lucas had been wronged, and mentions that she saw Camilla and Josh Shelton outside the court arguing and she got the impression they were lovers. She says if Lucas thought Camilla had a lover, it could explain why Lucas also killed David Lerner. Henry adds Mags can’t run on loss of control based on Lucas finding out his wife was having an affair and that the judge would throw it out of court. Jake says they will talk to Camilla but if he has to poke around in the intimate details of the woman’s love life, he tells Alesha she is coming with him.

At Camilla’s, with Josh present, Camilla explains what happened with Lucas. She tried with Lucas but then she started to see how needy he was and needed constant reassurance. She tells them about the night he broke in. She managed to persuade him they needed time apart and he would spend a few days with a friend. She went to bed and put the deadbolt on the door. She woke up at 2 in the morning to find he broke in through the kitchen window and found him standing at the foot of the bed with a knife, sobbing, saying he was going to kill himself if she did not let him come home. Part of her thought it was an act, but she could never be sure and that is why she stayed, then she met Josh and knew she had to leave for her own sanity. She never knew how to tell Lucas about them, and insists Lucas still does not know, they are very careful. Josh says Camilla is still scared over what Lucas might do to himself.

Afterwards, Alesha wonders if they are wrong, if Lucas knew all the is time why didn’t he do something about it? Jake wonders what if Lucas didn’t crack after years of slow burning resentment, what if something happened the night of the murders to trigger it. Jake wonders why Lucas got drunk and what was different about that night. Maybe he just found out something upsetting and had to get hammered to deal with it. Alesha wonders if Lucas deliberately drove the car into the lamppost with Josh in the car. Jake asks Alesha, “You didn’t have plans this weekend, did you?”

At CPS in Jake’s office, Alesha and Jake go over the information they have so far and wonder how Lucas found out about Camilla and Josh. Josh said that night he had been coaching a rugby match and came straight to Lucas’, did a few urgent emails and took a shower and then they drove to the bar. Jake wonders if he check the emails on his phone, and Alesha says she can check. Jake asks her if she his hungry, then makes a quick exit, saying he is starving.

When he returns with some food, Alesha tells him that Josh’s phone was low on batteries so he borrowed Lucas’ laptop. The police tech guys went over Lucas’ computer when he was arrested and called up Lucas’ history and found that Josh logged in that night and sent a few emails then closed it down. Ten minutes later, someone went back on line and bought a printer cartage using Lucas’ credit card then called the same Internet provider and logged straight into Josh’s email again. Alesha thinks Lucas may have just gone back in to log on but as Josh had not actually logged out of his session, just closed it, and Lucas went straight into Josh’s account by mistake. He saw all the emails from a “Miss Moneypenny” and if he opened one it would have been obvious it was from Camilla. There were also references in the emails about how “L” was coping with the divorce. Josh never cleared his inbox so the emails go back three years and Lucas would have realized everything. Jake says this gives them sexual jealousy and revenge – and they can get him for murder.

At Crown v Boyd, Jake is cross examining Lucas and brings out the fact that Camilla was sleeping with one of Lucas’ colleagues behind his back. Margaret claims this is conjecture but Jake brings forward a print out of the emails between Josh and Camilla, which documents the three year relationship and that Lucas saw the emails the night he murdered the Lerners. As Lucas struggles to find words to answer, Jake goes on to say that Lucas started drinking after seeing the emails and was working to find the courage to confront his so called friend about the affair. Jake also says Lucas waited until he had Josh alone in the car and attempted to drive him into a lamppost and then went to find his ex wife. Lucas says he lost control of his car, and Jake retorts they’ve heard a lot about loss of control during the trial, and because of it, the defense wants them to believe he can’t be accountable for his actions. Jake suggests they stop and look at those actions. Jake states that the Lerners were asleep when Lucas broke in and armed himself with the chisel and then stabbed the both repeatedly. His clothes were covered in the victims DNA and his thumbprint was found in Elaine’s blood by the bed. Lucas says he did not mean to. But Jake says the intended victims was Camilla and he was so drunk he broke into his old house, where, consumed with rage and jealousy, he brutally murdered two innocent strangers – David and Elaine Lerner, believing they were his ex wife and her lover. Lucas says this is not what happened, and says he was upset but he had a right to be. He says he would have done anything for Camilla and all the time, she and Josh…he had to show much he had hurt her. When he realized it was not her in the bed, he said  he was relieved. Elizabeth Lerner glares at him, and Margaret turns her face downwards. Lucas tells Camilla he loves her so much and if he killed her, he could not live with himself. Jake adds that Lucas feels no such guilt about the Lerners.

Later, Lucas is found guilty on two counts of murder, and Elizabeth Lerner breaks down.

Afterwards, Alesha comments that Lucas was passive/aggressive, he was still controlling his ex wife two years after the divorce and he has the serve to accuse her of mental abuse. As it lightly begins to snow, Jake comments that aggressive definitely won out over passive. Alesha wonders if Lucas knew he’d done it all along, and Jake replies that Roddy thinks he only started remembering during the trial. Alesha says that’s one hell of a flashback. As they walk off, we fade to black.

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1 comment:

Michele said...

You have to remember that Peter Davison was still appearing in 'Legally Blonde' in London's West End while LOUK S5 (and S6) were being filmed, which means he was less available than Bill Patterson.