Thursday, October 27, 2011

Law & Order UK “Line Up” Recap & Review

Alesha is the lead on a tough case in Law & Order UK “Line Up” which was based on the original Law & Order episode “Performance” from season 5. It looks like it may be a murder case at first when a video shows a girl being raped and then shot with a gun. But when  Detectives Brooks and Casey find the girl very much alive, they believe they still have a clear cut case of rape.

The case threatens to get complicated for Alesha when she gets Justice Reynolds for the case, and Jake offers to trade her for something a little less difficult. Alesha is not one to scare easily, and despite getting a judge who takes a “she asked for it” approach to rape cases, Alesha forges ahead. Unfortunately for Alesha, her biggest and most damning piece of evidence is thrown out early on. This episode was a nice feature for Freema Agyeman, as it allowed her character to do more than just work a case behind the scenes.

Paul Nicholls is proving to be a fine addition to the cast, and his character DS Sam Casey was given the lead on the investigation. Nicholls was able to show both his tough side (when he made the arrest) and his soft side (when he worked to convince the rape victim to testify). Paul is the perfect replacement for Jamie Bamber, and while his character has a personality all his own, he still plays off DS Ronnie Brooks in a similar comfortable manner as did DS Matt Devlin.

What continues to impress me about Law & Order UK is the exceptional writing which makes every character believable and relatable. This episode was written by lead writer Emilia di Girolamo and I know that when I see her name in the opening credits that the episode will really be worth watching. Again, I was not disappointed!

(Photos to be added at a later date.)

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:
Eva Pope – Renay Everett
Laurie Duncan – Danny Heywood
Rachel Clarke – Wendy Heywood
Jessica Lester – Anna Russo
Dorian Lougher – Gino Russo
Sara Stephens – Rita Russo
Reece Leighwood – Reece Beaumont
Philip Voss – Justice Reynolds
Jade Camille = Monique
Jessica Gunning – Angela
Mark Straker – Morgan Braithe
Will Ashcroft – Tristan Forbes-Langton

At the home of Wendy Heywood, her son Danny arrives home and she chides him for breaking curfew and confiscates his mobile phone. Later, when she looks at what is on the phone, she sees a video of a man putting a pillow over a girl’s face and shooting her.

Later, Wendy and Danny are at MIU speaking with DS Ronnie Brooks and DS Sam Casey about the video. They have no idea who sent the video – or so Danny claims. When Wendy and Danny leave, Sam asks Ronnie if he thinks the girl in the video could be acting, and Ronnie replies, “Not a chance.”

They review the information with DI Natalie Chandler and explain that the message on the video said “shhh” so as to not pass along the video or tell from where they got it. There is a date on the video and it was recorded 3 weeks ago. There are 2 different blokes who swapped being cameraman, they all have hoods on and only one shot shows part of a face. Angela is trying to identify the location but all they can see is a mattress and they think it could be a crack house or a squat. Natalie tells Angela to try to get a decent picture of the murder victim.

As Ronnie and Sam walk down the street, Sam gets a call saying that a concerned banker called and reported the video was uploaded to a DIY porn site last night. There was a contest and the video was in a “rape fantasy” category.

They speak with the owner of the web site who tells them the video has been downloaded 20,000 times over the past 14 hours. Ronnie asks where he plans on sending the prize money, and the site owner says that is confidential. Sam says if he doesn’t tell he will be arrested for obstruction. All he has is a user name and email address.

Back at MIU, Angela tells them the email address belongs to Christian Preston, and adds that his profile says he is 18.

At the Preston household, Ronnie and Sam speak to Christian’s mother and they tell her about the video and she says Christian is 13 years old. She takes the head[phones off Christian’s head and tells him to tell the police where he got the video. He said he got it at school and the video has gone viral.

Back at MIU Ronnie informs them that a uniform is at the school checking in the video. They ask Angela who has printed off a close up photo of the girl and a T-shit photo which has KaC on it. Ronnie shows it to Natalie and tells her they don’t think it a range of clothing but something more specific. Sam enters and tells them it is from Kidbrooke Athletics Club.

At the athletic club, Ronnie and Sam speak with a track coach who identifies the girl as Anna Russo. He last saw her 3-4 weeks ago. She loved running.

At Chapeltown Estates, Ronnie and Sam approach the front door to notify the parents, and after San rings the buzzer, they are both shocked to see Anna Russo open the door.

At MIU, Ronnie and Sam speak with Anna’s parents, her father is highly agitated so Ronnie asks to take a break and escorts him out of the room. Sam speaks with Anna and her mother and tells her she is not in trouble with them and asks her to tell him what happened. He asked if she consented to sex with the lads and she shakes her head no. She says he was in the park with her mate Jadie. The boys came over and asked if they wanted to go to a party. They went and found out there wasn’t a party it was just their flat. They went inside and it was empty and dirty and there were no lights. Jadie went off with Mark and she chatted with the other boy, and suddenly they are there around her.

Meanwhile, Ronnie is still trying to calm Mr. Russo.

Sam continues to question Anna who says the boys were older than her and drinking and smoking weed. When Sam asks if she was drinking and smoking as well, Anna asks if her dad can see her or hear her. Sam says no, and she admits to having one drink before, but does not smoke weed or do drugs. When Sam continues to question her on that issue, she become agitated that he does not believe her. He tells her he needs to know everything so it can be used against her in court, and she is shocked at the idea of court. Anna then says she does not want to do this or press charges and she runs out of the room.

Afterwards, and while walking down the street, Ronnie asks Natalie as this is no longer a murder investigation, shouldn’t they hand this over to Sapphire. Natalie says they are sending a SOIT to work with Anna but they are keeping the case. She tells Sam to take the lead and when he worries that Anna will walk out on him again, Natalie tells him he started the investigation so he should see it through. Natalie says the gun was real and worries whoever made the video may take it a stage further the next time.

Back at Chapeltown Estates, Sam speaks with Anna who tells Sam he does not get it. The boys are bragging about it and everyone thinks she is fair game. She does not want to be that girl. He says if no one stands up to him things will not change and she has to stand up to them so they don’t do it again. She wants to forget about it but he says she can’t forget about something like that. She insists she can’t. Sam asks her to look at him, and they says when she told him what happened to him that took real guts. He tells her she is not a victim, she is a fighter. He says if she finishes her statement, he will do everything in his power to put hose lad where they belong.

Back at MIU, Sam tells Natalie that Anna does not know who the boys are and Ronnie says Jadie and her boyfriend are apparently suffering from amnesia as their descriptions of the boys are white teens with short hair. Angela calls them over and says they need to hear something. Angela plays back a phone recording says there is a girl being attacked and they need to come quickly and they also have a gun. The operator asks for the address and the caller responds that it is 55B Rabans Park. The caller hangs up. Angela tells them the call came in the night of the attack and a dispatch car was sent but the place was empty when they got there so they thought it was a hoax.

At Rabans Park House, Ronnie and Sam enter the flat and find the mattress with a lot of junk scattered around, and Sam finds a pin that has a “D” which he assumes is for “Danny.”

Back at MIU in interrogation, Sam and Ronnie ask Danny if he was the one that made the phone call, and he denies it. They remind him it was the location of the video that was sent to his mobile phone and to half the school. He admits he and Anna are mates but says he has never been to that flat. They show him the pin and say his other said it was like the one she got him for Christmas and the one he lost the night Anna was attacked. Ronnie says they are testing it now and he bets his DNA is all over it. Sam adds they also retrieved several used condoms from the scene and when Sam asks if any will have his DNA on it, Danny says no. He says he likes Anna and he was going to ask her out. Danny says he can’t tell him who the others were. Sam says loyalty is one thing but what his mates did to that girl was sick. Danny replies they don’t know what they are like, they had a gun. Sam says if they witnessed what they did and doesn’t do anything about it, he is guilty too, it is called joint enterprise. Ronnie tells him he could go to prison. Danny said he tried to help her and Sam says they need names – NOW.

At the Video Identification Suite at MIU, Anna is looking at a photo lineup on the screen and identifies 3 men, saying the clothes on one stank like weed and the one who had the gun who was in control the whole time, telling the others what to do. She sees Danny’s face in the line up and says no. CP Alesha Phillips is observing the photo lineup, along with Ronnie and Sam.

Sam walks into the interrogation room and asks why she would like to them, they know Danny was there and Danny is backing her up and he saw the whole thing. She replies that she knew they would talk to Danny and if anyone talked they would be dead. She says Danny tried to stop them and help her but Sam angrily says Danny left the scene and he walked away. Anna says she liked him and she thought he liked her too. Sam says it is not her job to protect him, he is a witness and they will make sure he is safe. She asks what happens now, and Sam says they will bring them in and charge them with rape.

Later, Sam and Ronnie arrest Reese Leighwood, Garret Evens and Callum Morden for suspicion of the rape of Anna Russo. Sam reads their rights.

While walking down the street, CP Jake Thorne speaks with CPS Director Henry Sharpe about the case. Jake says what they boys lack in intelligence they are making up for in loyally – with a collective “No comment.” Jake also says Alesha wants to head up the case.

Back at CPS, Alesha asks Jake to guess which judge they got, and Jake asks “Not Robert “she asked for it’ Reynolds?” Alesha says yes. Jake comments that Reynolds was pulled off a case last month and hope he is overzealous to make up for it, Alesha tells him not to count on it. Jake says he would be happy to switch and would trade her for an aggravated burglary, he thought he would spare her the hassle as these cases are not fun. Alesha tells him he is a crap liar.

At Crown v Leighwood, Evans, and Morden, Alesha argues bail, that the boys may interfere with witnesses. The 3 defense barristers reply the gun was fake and that Anna Russo was happy to have this filmed, that this was normal teenage sex. The judge adds there was no sign of a struggle or never any use of the word “no” , calling this a “he said – she said”. He grants bail. He does impose a curfew between 7 Am and 7 PM, and also witness and location bans.

When Jake and Alesha return to the office, Miss Everett - Reece Leighwood’s barrister - is waiting with an application to exclude the mobile phone footage. She adds that one more rape case and she can turn them down but for now she is stuck defending Reece. She said Reynolds summed it up, there was no sign of rape and her client pulled out a toy gun, Alesha said that if she believes that she would want the video in. Alesha says she is scared the jury will see her client and his friends wanted a bit of fun. Everett adds that the jury will see Anna Russo is alive and the rape is every bit as fake as the murder. Jake replies it is not about the video, he thinks she is worried about the additional charges. She walks out of the office.

At Crown v Leighwood, Evans, and Morden, Alesha argues that Everett wants the video excluded to avoid the weapons and indecent images charges which are proven by the footage. Everett says the video will prejudice her client. Alesha reminds her the client is the one who sent the video, but Everett counters that her client is a child and he made the video and sent it to his mate, calling it bragging, not child porn. Judge Reynolds agrees with Everett, saying there was no sinister intent on sending out the video. He excludes the video.

Back at CPS, Alesha tells Jake and Henry that without the mobile phone footage they have to drop the distribution of child abuse images and weapons charges. The gun can’t be found. Jake reminds them that the boys did not clear the scene of their DNA. Alesha thinks that if the jury saw the video they would convict without question. Henry reminds them they still have the ID, the evidence, the witness and the DNA which is usually more than they get. Jake says if they really want to piss of Renay there is another way: they could adduce bad character evidence, Alesha adding “other victims.” The boys filmed and distributed that attack and there is no way this is their first time. Alesha said the police checked, but Henry said it just means they haven’t been caught. Jake adds that Anna is the exception, Alesha needs to find the rule.

At Chapeltown Estate, Alesha speaks with Danny. He asks how many other girls are out there too scared to report what Reece and the others did to them. Danny hesitates, and says there was one girl who Reece said was up for it and he sent out a text about the girl wanting a line up, He said he saw the video and the girl laid there just like Anna. She asks Danny if he knows her name.

At Gallion Park Comprehensive, Alesha speaks with Monique who said he didn’t know Reece filmed it and Reece later told her if she told anyone he would send the video to her mum. She thought Reece liked her and after they did it, his mates came in to have a go too. She couldn’t fight them off and did not know how to stop it. Alesha tells her it will be OK.

Later, Alesha tries to convince Anna to testify. Alesha reminds her there were three of them and she couldn’t fight or run, and she froze to protect herself and that is a normal response and a survival instinct. It worked, she is there and she is alive. Alesha tells her it now is the time to fight.

At Crown v Leighwood, Evans, and Morden, Anna testifies from a remote location and she describes the attack. She also said she was frightened and embarrassed and she wanted her dad to come save her. She continues to describe the attack, saying that he raped her.

Everett cross examines her and asks if force was used, and Anna says she could not move. Everett asked if she was threatened with a knife, and Anna said they had a gun. Everett asked if she saw the gun before she had sex with the boys, and Anna replies no they still had it in. Everett asks if her client ever threatened her with the gun, and as Everett continues to go on, Alesha jumps up and asks the judge if that is a question or a statement. He says to treat it like a question, and then asks Anna to go ahead. Anna says there were three of them and she could not stop them or move. Everett asks if they handcuffed her or tied her up, and Anna says no. Everett brings up the 3 condoms and that her client’s DNA was on the inside and hers on the outside, and Anna says that proves he did it, as DNA does not lie. Everett asks how can they believe that in a dark room, this boy could put on a condom without this so called victim running off? Anna says she does not know what it is like and she is making her sound like a sket. Everett asks if a sket is a prostitute or a girl who has sex with a lot of boys. Alesha and Jake turn their heads and glare towards Everett.

Later, outside the courtroom, Anna’s father asks Alesha why they didn’t ask the judge to do something, and Alesha tells him the defense barrister’s job is to discredit the witness. She says she knows it seems wrong but that is the system. Rape victims are witnesses in their own trial. Anna’s father hopes Anna does not regret it. Alesha tells him that Anna is a fighter and is a lot stronger than he gives credit for. She adds he will have to be strong with her as the defense has just started with her.

Back in court, Everett is questioning Anna about her statement where Anna used the word “cotching” to describe what she was told Jadie and Mark were doing and she asks what that word meant. Anna said it means to chill or hang out. Everett says it is from the French word choucher meaning to lie down or to have sex. Everett asks if cotching would mean to have sex, and Anna says she does not know, she just wanted to find her mates. As Everett accuses Anna of wanting to have sex with her client, Alesha objects to the questioning about the origin or slang words, and the judge agrees with her and tells Everett to rein it in.

Another barrister questions Anna, saying that Anna lied to prevent getting in trouble with her dad. The other barrister also questions her about going to the flat without planning to have sex with the boys and that she couldn’t say no. Anna replies she could not speak – and the barrister says she means she didn’t. As he presses her on the fact that she did not say no, Anna says she is not listening to this, and she storms off. One of the boys smiles and Anna’s father races out of the courtroom to aid his daughter. Anna runs out into the hallway, and passes Danny who is waiting there, and stops as her father calls out to her. Jake and Alesha also exit the courtroom and watch as her father consoles her. He asks them if they still don’t think she won’t regret this.

At Kidbrooke Athletics Track, Alesha speaks with Anna who talks about her dreams of winning medals. Alesha tells Anna that her dreams aren’t over because of what they did. She adds she knows how hard it is to keep going and see it though but she has to cross the finish line. She will find the strength to carry on.

At CPS, Danny is standing at the door to Alesha’s office and comments that they don’t believe her. Alesha replies that he doesn’t know that. She asks Danny if is mom knows he is there, and Danny says he can’t stop thinking about how upset Anna was. Alesha tells him to worry about his own evidence and Anna has given her already. Danny says they are going to walk, but she says at the end of the day it all comes down to consent. Juries want to hear about strangers with knives not schoolboys with condoms. Danny says they have to go down for what they did to Anna. Alesha says unless one of them changes their plea to guilty – and that’s not going to happen – it could go either way. Danny asks that if one of them says they were guilty then all of them would go down? Alesha tells him most likely, yes. When he asks if she is sure, Alesha stops and asks what is he telling her?

Back at Crown v Leighwood, Evans, and Morden, Danny testifies that he tried to stop them but they wouldn’t listen. He adds that Reece asks that Anna wasn’t screaming, was she and that she wasn’t struggling and she was enjoying it. He said he told Reece they were hurting her and had to let he go. He testified that Reece laughed. Danny adds he tried to leave but Reece had the gun and that one was blank and the rest were real. He adds Reece pointed the gun at him and said that Danny had to do what he asked. He said everyone in the room had to do it so there would be no witnesses and they would all be the same – meaning they would all equally be guilty and not "grass" (inform) on each other. Danny admits to raping Anna while he was at gunpoint, adding that she just lay there. He sobs that he is so sorry.

Later, at Crown v Leighwood, Evans, and Morden, all three defendants are found guilty of rape . Because of their age, the judge asks for pre-sentence reports, but says the offense is a grave one and they will go to prison.

At a later time, Jake is sipping a beer at the pub and Alesha enters, saying that Reece got 6 years and the other two got 4. For Danny, Reynolds knocked off a year for the guilty plea and two for the gun in the back, and he gave him 12 months. Jake asks Alesha if she is happy with that, and she complains about the inconsistencies with other offenses. Jake reminds her it was Reynolds and she did well. He adds that at least Anna Russo can try to put it behind her for now.

At Kidbrooke Athletics Track, Alesha watches as Anna runs the track with her father there for support. Alesha smiles and walks away…and we fade to black.

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