Thursday, October 6, 2011

Law & Order UK “Immune” Recap & Review

Yet again, the Law & Order UK writers take an original Law & Order episode (“Double Down” from season 7) and make it feel like something new and interesting. In “Immune,” a botched armed robbery has one obvious fatality and what police believe to be a hostage situation, and the hostage has a medical condition. Time is of the essence, and in an attempt to save the hostage before his illness could kill him, Jake Thorne and the CPS make a deal with the devil – in this case, one of the robbers and his equally scummy legal representation. If it wasn’t for another murder and some quick thinking by Jake Thorne, CPS would have to live with that deal.

New cast member Paul Nicholls (as DS Sam Casey) is fitting in quite nicely, and his character Sam Casey seems to have no problem in getting right into the thick of things with the CPS. (He also seems to have a low tolerance for barking dogs.) Ronnie and Natalie seemed to have bounced back quickly from the death of Matt Devlin;  at least, there seem no obvious negative effects to them being able to work a case efficiently. There may be a slight learning curve with Sam as it relates to the CPS; he clearly thinks they don’t know what they are doing. In this case, Jake showed that he still can outmaneuver even the lowest of the low defense attorneys.

Law & Order UK keeps my attention throughout, probably because the dialog is crisp and tight, and it’s probably the fastest paced show in the Law & Order brand. I enjoyed the some of the scene settings in the episode;  they had some different views of the inside of the courthouse hall that were interesting. I know I’ve said this before, but Law & Order UK does some of the best scene staging and camera work of all of the franchise. I love this show!

Here is the recap:

Bradley Walsh: DS Ronnie Brooks
Paul Nicholls: DS Sam Casey
Harriet Walter: DI Natalie Chandler
Freema Agyeman: CP Alesha Phillips
Dominic Rowan: Senior CP Jake Thorne
Peter Davison: Director CPS

Guest stars
Jessica Gunning: Angela
Tamzin Outhwaite: Miriam Pescatore
Rob Jarvis: Frank Donovan

An armed robbery of a fast food chicken place goes awry and turns chaotic, and the getaway car gets into an accident, preventing the robbers' escape. The robber in the car calls out to the other by name, calling him Jamie, saying there is someone behind him. Jamie shoots the bystander. The driver of the getaway car hijacks a nearby car, along with the driver, at gunpoint.

Later, DS Ronnie Brooks and DS Sam Casey question the witnesses. Only about a grand was stolen. An accomplice apparently was hit by a stray bullet. They hijacked a cab – an Omega - for the getaway car and the driver may be a hostage.

Back at MIU headquarters, Ronnie tells DI Natalie Chandler that the original getaway car was likely stolen. The Omega and the driver have not been seen or heard from. The bullets retrieved at the scene were from a 9mm handgun. Angela enters and tells them she found the Omega cab firm

They speak to the owner of the cab firm who says Mikey was a good driver. He told him to drop of his last fare and go home. The drop off was very close to the chicken place.

Back at MIU, Ronnie tells Natalie the driver was Michael Coombes, ex army. Chandler takes them into an interview room where Mrs. Audrey Coombes is already there, as she reported her husband missing. Without telling her about the robbery, they ask her about the last time she saw him. She tells them he left for work without his spare inhaler and is asthmatic and he has had a few bad attacks that require hospitalization. She thinks it was from his time in Afghanistan. Natalie gets a call, and takes Ronnie and Sam aside to tell them a man was taken in to Royal Caledonian A&E that was found unconscious with 600 quid in his pocket and he’d been shot.

Ronnie and Sam get to the ER and try to question Frank Donovan, but he is being rushed into surgery for the gunshot wound. The doctors force them to wait. After the surgery and when Donovan is awake, Ronnie and Sam question him about Michael Coombes. Donovan asks for water and Sam hands it to him but Ronnie takes it away from him when Donovan becomes evasive. Sam asks him to explain the money, and he says he got it on the horses. When Ronnie asks for details, he tells them to talk to his lawyer, Miriam Pescatore, that she will know.

Back at MIU as Ronnie fights with a vending machine, Natalie tells him that Audrey Coombes is calling her every 10 minutes and the local press has the story. Sam tells her bullet was a through and through. They wonder if it is in the Omega. They have no evidence to link him to the crime, but Ronnie comments that Donovan doesn’t know that.

The detectives and Natalie go back to Donovan and imply they have DNA evidence. Natalie tells them they have him on joint enterprise, and Sam says that means life. Ronnie tells him Coombes is a war veteran and does not deserve this, and he should do one good thing for Michael Coombes. But the questioning is stalled momentarily when Miriam Pescatore arrives and she wants to await the CPS.

Later, CP Alesha Phillips arrives and Pescatore tries to cut a deal. She asks them to sign the agreement and Donovan will give him Coombes’ location. Phillips also wants the name and addresses of his accomplices. This negotiating bothers Sam. The agreement states that if Donovan is immune from prosecution for any crimes related to the holdup he will only get manslaughter.  Sam becomes very vocal about his disagreement about the whole process.

Later, Natalie, Sam, and Ronnie are in CPS Director Henry Sharpe’s office along with Jake Thorne and Alesha and they debate the proper course of action. There is concern about Mike Coombes' health issues. Alesha suggests they proceed as if Coombes is alive, and Jake agrees. Henry wants to see the agreement before they sign it and says they have 10 hours.

At the home of Frank Donovan, Sam and Ronnie conduct a search along with a search team. There is another address they can check out, and it belongs to Donovan’s mother.

They arrive a Maggie Donovan’s and when her son Gerald opens the door with a leashed backing dog, Ronnie and Sam bully their way in. Sam is agitated with the barking dog. Sam tells him the dog is dangerously out of control, and Gerald tells him the dangerous dog act only covers public places. Sam grabs the least and pulls the dog outside and shuts the door as the dog whimpers. Gerald tries to get his mother to not answer their questions. They threaten them with the breed of dog saying that it could be destroyed, and Maggie caves and said Frank was living with his girlfriend in Whetstone,

At the home of Katie Runyon, Ronnie and Sam ask her about Donovan. She says he’s been straight for years and he promised her. She says he got is life back and is studying for a law degree. She did not see him yesterday and asks how he could be so stupid. He called her in the afternoon and said he needed her van, she works for the council parks and gardens. He said he was dropping off some bedding plants and used the spare keys. Donovan put the van back as he said. They open up the back of the van, and Katie says there should have been a half a dozen saplings and a tarpaulin. Ronnie says he sees blood and asks to get forensics. Ronnie asks if Frank could have an accomplice, and Katie says maybe Jamie Harper, he and Donovan were cellmates.

Back at MIU, Ronnie tells Natalie what they found so far. He has a record. Sam says they just need a warrant, and Natalie looks at her watch. They have two hours left until they agree to the deal, and Natalie tells them she will sign it.

Armed police burst into Harper’s flat and Ronnie and Sam enter afterwards. No one is there. Ronnie has them all searching for anything that leads to Michael Coombes whereabouts. Sam finds a 9mm bullet,

Back at MIU, Natalie is on the phone with Jake saying they are sure Harper is on the run and used his girlfriend’s van to move the hostage. He was only gone a half hour so that means Coombes must be near. She tells him they are so close and asks him to give her until the end of the day, and Jake tells her to leave it with him. Alesha enters Jake’s office with Mrs. Coombes in tow, and she is irate, asking if it is true they could have rescued her husband by now. She explains she got a call from Miriam Pescatore, and Alesha explains who that is. Jake explains that they don’t make deals with criminals and Audrey Coombes becomes very irate. She says the answers are just waiting to be asked so just ask.

At the hospital in Donovan’s room with Miriam present, Jake and Alesha present the signed paperwork and Jake demands the answers to their questions. Donovan says it was James Harper’s idea to go for the chicken place and it should have gone like clockwork, He says Michael Coombes is at a lockup on Edmonton on Valens Road. Alesha races out of the room.

Later, with police at the lockup, Ronnie and Sam approach as the police are getting ready to cut the lock. Ronnie says the location was too far for the van to get there and back to the girlfriend’s and wonders what Harper really used the van for. They pry open the door and enter, calling out for Coombes. They find him, naked, and he is dead, his inhaler is nearby.

Afterwards, with the coroner on the scene, she says Coombes was hit hard and that was the cause of death. He’s cold and maggots are hatching and he’s been dead at least 24 hours. Jake knows what that means, and he looks over to Sam and Ronnie.

In Henry Sharpe’s office, Jake tells him that Frank Donovan knew that Coombes was dead when he made the deal and they got played. Henry tells them to throw it out and it’s worthless. Alesha is worried that if they break the agreement, no one will trust them and what happened the next time. Henry says that they will worry about that then and right now he is concerned about being sucker punched by Frank Donovan. He tells them to go into the plea and case management swinging, and hurt him.

At Crown v Donovan in the case management hearing,  the charges are being read, but Pescatore says there must be a mistake as they have a signed agreement with the charge of manslaughter. Jake says there is no mistake, the agreement is meaningless. The judge rules it is a discussion for another time.

At MIU, Sam seems happy that the CPS finally has a backbone. All they have, though, is the confession. Natalie asks them to see if they can get someone to pick out Donovan in an ID parade.

They conduct a photo ID process and none of the witnessed can make a positive ID.  Pescatore seems happy and walks off, saying it’s been very informative. Natalie asks about the kid behind the counter, and Ronnie says he never went outside, Natalie wonders if he caught a glimpse through the window.

Back at the Chick-Chick-Chicken place, Billy, the guy at the counter says he never saw the guy. His boss – who is also his uncle – chastises Billy about how he handled the cash for that day that he didn’t put the money in the safe. The detectives take Billy outside and Sam pushes him up against the wall and accused him of lying, saying that Billy did put the money in the safe but helped himself to it after the robbery and claimed the robbers did it. Ronnie tells him he is an accessory after the fact, and in this case, it’s for murder. Sam tells him if he is honest with them an puts the money back, they will keep quiet on the issue. They ask how much money did they really take.

Back at MIU, Natalie is surprised the amount is 600 quid. Donovan had the whole take. They know that Donovan used the van to move a body, but maybe it was not Michael Coombes body – maybe it was Harper’s. Ronnie wonders to where Donovan moved Harper’s body. Sam thinks Donovan knew his girlfriend was working up on Totteridge Common and no one would question seeing her van up there in the woods.

At Totteridge Common, the detectives and a search party comb the woods. The find Jamie Harper’s body.

Back at Crown v Donovan, Jake and Pescatore continue to argue about the immunity agreement. Ronnie and Sam enter the courtroom, and the judge tells Jake if he honors the agreement they can keep the confession and if they back out of it they lose the confession. Ronnie whispers to Alesha what they found. Alesha whispers the information to Jake, and Jake asks for a moment to confer with Ronnie and Sam. The judge grants him the time, and Ronnie and Sam tell Jake that Jamie Harper is dead. Sam goes to tell him that they just found him, and Jake stops him and says for him not to tell him, he does not want to know. Ronnie and Sam both look slightly surprised.

Jake tells the judge they withdraw their objections to the immunity agreement and they agree to amend the indictment to one count of manslaughter and accept the plea of guilty. Sam walks out of the courtroom in disgust. Pescatore looks smug as Jake says they offer no further evidence. The judge says there will be sentencing in two weeks.

As Jake and Alesha are walking out, Sam comments that Donovan kills three people and gets manslaughter. Ronnie says they prosecuted the hell out of that one. But Jake says he only knows of two murders he was involved in, Gordon McKenzie killed at the scene, and Michael Coombs. Ronnie says he killed James Harper as well, and Jake says Ronnie can prove that, can’t he? He asks if they have any witnesses that put them together the day Harper died? Jake goes on to say he has – Frank Donovan himself. Alesha remembers Donovan’s confession, and Jake goes on to say Donovan admitted to being with James Harper, and admission he would not have had had he not allowed the agreement. He can use that admission to charge him with the murder of James Harper. Ronnie comments that Donovan gets away with the murder of an innocent bystander but goes down for the murder of Harper, Jake says justice is blind, and sometimes a little bit sneaky.

AT CPS, Pescatore is in the conference room with Jake, Alesha, and Henry, and she says not in a million years, she has the agreement. Henry says she knows full well it was not meant to cover a situation like this. Jake argues back but she says this is the system and it doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t stop because he doesn’t like it. He says win at all costs but she counters just within the law. Jake asks if this is what Frank Donovan deserves, and she says it is what he is entitled to. He says this is irrelevant. But she reminds him it was all crimes related to the Chick-Chick-Chicken. When Henry says this is unrelated, she says that is crap.

In court, Donovan testifies that he needed the money to cover gambling debts for a loan shark. He says it was Jamie’s idea and that it was ideal. Jamie blew it as he was wired. He went in an panicked and only got 600 quid. He said Jamie was all over the place and they dumped the driver and torched the car. He found his share was only going to be 300 but he needed it all so he killed him. Pescatore said it was because he needed the money, which is why he robbed Chick-Chick-Chicken in the first place. He said yes. She says he killed Harper as a direct result of what happened there, saying he did not have a choice.

Back at CPS, Henry asks to get this straight – Donovan confessed to a murder to avoid be prosecuted for that murder and wonders how they got there. Alesha tells him the loan shark story pans out – Donovan owed him 1,000. Henry says by them allowing the agreement, Donovan is off the hook for Harper’s murder. Henry asks to be reminded that this is the Crown Prosecution Service. Jake says it is not over yet, if he can prove he didn’t know that James Harper had been murdered, he can argue he was not in possession of all the facts when he made the agreement. Alesha reminds him they all saw him taking to the police, but Jake says no one knows what they said. Henry tells him to tread with care. Jake says Pescatore can go about crying abuse of process, and it’s not him that needs to tread carefully,

At MIU, Jake discusses the situation with Ronnie and Sam, and Sam says they told Jake. But Jake asks – told him what – and Ronnie says that is why Jake stopped them, that Jake knew it would come to this. Jake says it was a possibility. Sam says it is legal bollocks, but Jake counters it will put Donovan behind bars and they will have to give evidence. Sam thinks they will have to commit perjury, but Jake says no one is asking them to do that. Sam is upset they are asking them to risk everything, but Ronnie says they only need one of them to give evidence. Jakes says probably. Ronnie says tell him where and when, adding that doubling up would be a criminal waste of manpower.

In court, Alesha is questioning Jake who is testifying about his brief conversation with Brooks and Casey saying that Harper was dead. He said he was disappointed as they hoped they would apprehend him in order to use him against Donovan. He accepted the immunity as the best of bad situation. He did not know that Harper had been murdered, only that he was dead. Under cross examination by Pescatore, she gets caustic and the judge tells her to rein in the sarcasm. She asks if he did not make room for the possibility that Harper himself may have died violently. He said he avoids assumptions as you never know when the will trip you up.

With Ronnie testifying, he says he never said Harper had been killed. She said that is an important aspect of the case and asks Ronnie if he makes a point of burying the lead. When Jake moves to object, Pescatore ends her questioning. Jake says they have no further witnesses, but Pescatore calls Sam Casey as witness.

Sam is in the restroom when he hears his page. In court, he swears to tell the truth. Pescatore questions him about him entering the hearing to tell Thorne about Harper’s death. She asks him if he told Jake that Harper had been murdered, and Sam says no. She is stunned at the answer and continues to ask him if he neglected to use the word murder, and he said it was implied. He said that it what they do, every death they are involved is murder and he thought Jake would know that, adding that Jake is not as smart as he lets on. Jake smiles. Sam says it is his mistake.

Later, at Crown v Donovan, the judge rules that she favors two servicing police officers and an officer of the court over a convicted criminal. She sees no evidence of abuse of process and allows the prosecution of Frank Donovan for the murder of James Harper. As Donovan is being led away, Pescatore walks past Jake and says he has it all sown up neatly. Jake says her client is a murderer. She says he deserved a fair trial, and he counters that is something she tried every trick in the book to avoid. She said he sandbagged her, and storms off as he responds that he will live with that.

In the main hall, Jake approaches Ronnie and Sam and Sam tells him he could have gotten fired for what he did in there. Jake reminds him that Frank Donovan will get life because of what he did in there. Jake says strictly speaking it was not perjury. Sam replies they both know what that was, but Jake assures him he did the right thing. Sam asks if the ends justify the means, and Jake says sometimes. Sam says the trick is knowing when. Jake reiterates the trick IS knowing when. He then makes the comment about Sam saying he was not as smart as he lets on, and Sam, smiling, says he quite enjoyed that. Jake nods and walks away, smiling. As Ronnie walks back up to stand with Sam, they watch Jake walk away...and we fade to black.

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Jack said...

Just watched this episode tonight on ITV and was reminded of the US episode it is based on even though I'm sure I saw it at least ten years ago!

I'm a bit confused to the legal logic at work. How was it the CPS were allowed to try the killer for the other murder of Harper as long as the prosecutor didn't know Harper had been murdered?

Allthings Lawandorder said...

I hope I don't make matters more confusing. I think with the way the immunity deal for Donovan was worded, Jake had to stop the detectives from saying more than telling him Harper was dead. As long as he didn't know it was murder and that Donovan likely did it, he could proceed with his current case. But, once Jake was cleared of the accusation that he behaved improperly, he was allowed to proceed with charging Donovan with Harper's murder.

Confusing, I know!

Jack said...

The thing is that the deal that the killer got was for all crimes relating to the robbery. What I can't understand is how does the prosecutors knowledge or lack of knowledge about one of the murders make a difference to that deal?

Allthings Lawandorder said...

I think - just my interpretation - is that Jake needed the immunity agreement to go through so he could get Donovan's admission he was with Harper. It seems that Harper's murder wasn't considered an actual part of the initial robbery so it was a crime that was excluded from the scope of the immunity agreement.