Monday, July 22, 2013

Law & Order UK “Tremors” Recap & Review

Law & Order UK “Tremors” was adapted from the original Law & Order episode “Aftershock”, the Law & Order season 6 finale where Claire Kincaid met her untimely end at the hands of a drunk driver. “Aftershock” was a story told outside the normal Law & Order procedural format, featuring a look at how the characters reacted to an execution. “Tremors” is similar only in the focus on the characters reaction to a shocking event – the apparent suicide of a man who was found guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility - for a train accident he caused. Also, as in “Aftershock” where Lennie Briscoe tries to reunite with his estranged daughter, Ronnie Brooks also tries to do the same with his, and he botches it in the process. But “Tremors” had some major story differences – like the focus on finding out that the suicide was in fact a murder and the subsequent resolution of that case. It was like watching a completely fresh story with a true mystery on how the story would resolve.

The story also brought some closure to Jake Thorne’s issues with his sick (now dead) mother, and at the same time, established more tension between Jake and his new colleague Kate Barker. Kate appears to be a bit of a loose cannon and her nosiness is not welcomed by Jake. I like the tension between these two and it adds a more interesting dimension to the legal side of the story. Dominic Rowan and Georgia Taylor have a nice chemistry together.

Sam appears to be completely falling apart, partly from likely post traumatic stress from dealing with the train accident, and troubles with his ex as he tries to keep contact with his young son. He’s also facing pressure from Wes, his new boss, who may not have the confidence in Sam as does Ronnie. Sam seems to be taking a turn to drinking to cope, and hopefully Ronnie's experience with that issue will help save Sam from getting in too deep.

All in all, this was a solid episode that struck a perfect balance between personal stories and a crime story. It provided interesting back stories on the characters we already know while providing a solid footing for the new. The scene at the train station where Ronnie steps in to prevent yet another death resulting from the train accident was a fine job of filming and editing. The closing scenes where we see how the day ends for everyone over the backdrop of Ronnie’s voice mail to his daughter evoked many emotions and was well acted and superbly written. I suspect the tremors from this episode may continue to resonate for some time.

Here is the recap:

Bradley Walsh - DS Ronnie Brooks
Paul Nicholls - DS Sam Casey
Paterson Joseph - DI Wes Leyton
Dominic Rowan - Jacob Thorne
Georgia Taylor - Kate Barker
Peter Davison - Henry Sharpe

Guest stars
Aidan McArdle - Finn Tyler
Alexander Perkins - Soco Pete
Adam Nagaitis - William Braxton
David Ajala - Gavin Dale
Adjoa Andoh - Lilly
Jessica Gunning - Angela
Badria Timimi – DPA Officer
Ebony Gilbert - Cathy
Joe Reynolds - Ben
Alexandra Guelff - Emma

The story begins with a brief recap from the previous episode, "Tracks".

At the Crown Court holding cells, DI Wes Layton and DS Ronnie Brooks are on the scene where Finn Tyler’s body lies. Wes speaks with Kate Barker as Ronnie checks with security man William Braxton who has to be swabbed for his DNA as he touched the body, and explains that DS Sam Casey will take his statement. Wes discusses with Ronnie how Finn got the cord in there that he used to hang himself, and Wes wonders if Finn wasn’t the one who smuggled in the cord – maybe someone gave it to him. As Wes walks off, Ronnie looks at Sam who is leaving up against a nearby wall, glaring back at him.

Back at headquarters, Sam tries to get back to work but Ronnie stares at him. Sam stops his work as Ronnie asks Sam what he was doing in the cell. Sam gets evasive, asking to be left alone, and Ronnie says Finn Tyler’s brief also saw him there and asks if he is supposed to leave that out of his statement. Wes enters and asks Ronnie for any news and Ronnie explains that CCTV is still down and Wes says he wants all the footage for the whole time Tyler was in the cell. Ronnie reminds Wes that Sam is supposed to be on rest days after the trial but Wes reminds him of staffing problems and the problems with Tyler dying while in custody. He says that Sam has to stay on until they find who gave Tyler that cord and until his killer is in the cell and the case papers are on his desk.

Meanwhile,  Kate Barker arrives -  in a dour mood - at the pub to meet with Jake Thorne and Henry Sharpe. She breaks the shocking news about Finn Tyler’s death to Jake and Henry. Henry takes his leave to handle the fall out and tells Jake to take the afternoon and buy Kate’s lunch, giving Jake his credit card. As Henry leaves, Kate glares at Jake, asking him if he doesn’t feel responsible – he could have accepted a plea. Jake argues back that he only feels responsibility to the families of the loved ones who Tyler murdered. They continue to spar on the issue and Jake stops and asks her what she wants. Kate replies a pint and Jake thinks defense barristers usually opt for something more expensive. Kate reminds his she is on their team now, and as he moves to get their drinks, he quietly says not to remind him. They turn to the TV to see Gavin Dale talking about how Finn murdered his son and his wife and 15 innocent people. Kate sighs.

At Holdborn Mortuary, the examiner breaks the news to Ronnie and Sam that Finn had abrasions and bruises on his neck that indicate Finn was murdered. She believes the killer held him down with his knee, choked him from behind with the cord, scraping his neck and then strung him up – textbook staged suicide.

At M.I.U. Central Headquarters, Angela shows Wes and Ronnie the video footage and the sign in logs. Wes is shocked to see Sam Casey appear and he turns to look at Ronnie.

Afterwards, Ronnie begs Wes to speak to Sam first but Wes won’t allow it, so Ronnie watches the video feed from the next room. Under questioning, Sam says he was there to get the property forms signed, but when it comes out that Ronnie had the forms and Sam had been in the area for 10 minutes off camera, Wes continues to question him and puts on some pressure. He tells Sam he is not under arrest and they want him to cooperate with the case. Sam doesn’t care what Wes or his rep thinks, and he gets up and leaves the room. Wes goes after him and Ronnie also tries to stop Sam outside the room.

Wes tries to talk some sense into Sam but Sam thinks they are wasting time, and Wes tells Sam if he walks out now he is making a big mistake. Sam says he doesn’t give a toss and Ronnie tries to calm him but Sam says he held that dead boy in his arms and hasn’t slept for months, and he shouts that every time he closes his eyes he sees that boy’s face and his dad’s face when he had to tell him his son was dead. Sam admits he went there to tell Tyler how that felt and to try to feel that pain but he couldn’t do it because being a police officer came first. Sam says he swears he turned around and walked away. Wes reminds him it was a slow walk as he was off camera for ten minutes, and then suspends him pending further investigation. Sam storms off.

As Sam walks out of the building, Ronnie chases after him and Ronnie tries to calms Sam but also asks what Sam was doing for those 10 minutes.  Sam is crying and admitted he wanted to go in there and tell him what Finn Tyler had done and how it feels every time he kisses his boy goodbye all he can see is that kid dead in the train. Sam finally admits he just sat down by the cell door and cried like a baby. As Sam continues to cry Ronnie tries to console him and encourage him that he is a good copper and he will come through this. Sam swears he did not see Tyler. Ronnie thinks Tyler was already dead when Sam went down there. Sam asks if Ronnie believes him and Ronnie says yes he does.

At the Crown Court holding cells, Ronnie speaks with William Braxton about how long Tyler was in the cell before he was found. William said Tyler was brought back down right after sentencing so maybe an hour. Ronnie says they’ve only seen 45 minutes of CCTV footage and William said maybe it was 45 minutes, he wasn’t clock watching.

Back at the pub, Jake and Kate mull over the menu and Kate is not hungry, her client just killed himself.  Jake's phone rings, it is a call from "Cara" and he ignores it. Again Jake and Kate spar over the situation and as Kate questions Jake’s feeling any guilt, he says he was doing his job. She wonders if he ever opens up and cuts the bullshit and wisecracks and just gets real. Jake says nothing.

Elsewhere, Sam arrives at the home of his ex Kathy to pick up his son and she tries to put him off. She asks if he has been drinking and he says no. His son runs out and hugs him, and she allows Sam to take their son, saying she wants him back by 4:30.

At the Crown Prosecution Service, Wes meets with Henry and informs him that no one drove Finn to suicide, it was murder. Henry is stunned and says he does not know what is worse.

At a restaurant, Sam watches his son draw a picture of him wearing a police uniform, his son saying his teacher won’t know he is a policeman if he doesn’t have a uniform. He adds he is drawing a picture of his hero.

Back at M.I.U. headquarters, Wes, Ronnie and Angela discuss the video footage and Angela says Tyler was in his cell for an hour. They wonder where is the 15 minutes of missing footage, and Ronnie thinks it was edited. Angela explains she will get the time codes checked and see if there are any jumps. Wes leaves the room and Ronnie follows, telling Wes he believes Sam is innocent. Wes says Ronnie is loyal, he remembers, that. Ronnie says he remembers when Wes used to pound the streets just to get his man and he loved it out there and Wes is the last person he thought would ever turn corporate. Wes says it is a bigger paycheck, and when Ronnie says Wes was never motivated by money. Wes admits that he and Martine moved back to London because they are doing IVF and it’s the second round. He comments to Ronnie that Ronnie has 2 girls, and Wes says he wants to be a dad.

Back at the pub, Jake’s phone continues to ring but he does not answer yet another phone call from “Cara.” Kate asks who is Cara and Jake scoffs, saying it is going to be bags of fun sharing an office with her. She admits her nosiness. He asks why she is swapping side and she says she fancied a change. She asks again who is Cara and Jake explains it is his mother’s nurse. She asks if her mum is ill, and Jake replies his mother is dead – last week. Kate says she is sorry but Jakes tells her don’t be, his mother wasn’t exactly warm and cuddly. Jake presses her on why she is really joining the CPS and she explains she is bored with fake wining and dining with solicitors touting for business. She’d rather spend her Friday night’s with a DVD and Chinese. Jake says you don’t spend 6 years defending and wake up one day and become a prosecutor. She goes back to looking at the menu and picks her dessert, and Jake moves to get it. Jake’s phone rings again and Kate answers it.

At the Outreach Homeless Centre, Ronnie watches from afar has his daughter stands outside the building to let others in. He gets a call from Angela and says he will be right there as his daughter goes back inside.

Meanwhile, Sam is still with his son and his son says he wishes he would come back home, he never got scared of monsters when he was there. As Sam tries to console him those monsters aren’t real, Sam goes on about the real human monsters around them who look just like them and don’t hide underneath the bed or lurk in the dark, they are out there or in there. When Sam realizes he may be scaring his son even more, he says it is daddy’s job to catch them and lock them up. Kathy storms in and scolds Sam, saying she said 4:30 and she takes their son, saying it is the last time and it will be one weekend a month from now on and if he bring him back one second late he will lose that too. As they walk out Sam looks at the drawing his son made.

Elsewhere, Jake and Kate have exited the pub and Jake is livid at Kate, saying she had no right to answer his phone and asks if she checked his texts too. He yells that he can’t work with someone he can’t trust. She insists he can trust her but adds his mom’s nurse wants to be sure that Jake will be at the funeral tomorrow. Jake is shocked the nurse told her, and Kate replies she may have thought Kate was his girlfriend. Jake says he is not even having this conversation with her, and he storms off.

Back at M.I.U. headquarters, Angela explains to Ronnie that 15 minutes and 32 seconds are missing from the video in two different sections. The first was 10 minutes after Finn Tyler arrived in the cell – 6 minutes missing – and 11 minutes is missing immediately before Sam arrived. Wes thinks that clears Sam. Wes wonders who tampered with the footage.

At the Crown Court holding cells, Ronnie speaks will William about who sections of video missing. Williams says he passed along the video he had and the log is accurate. Ronnie says he thinks someone went into that cell during that missing time and kills Finn and it was murder and thinks the footage was tampered with. Ronnie wonders if Williams turned a blind eye and let someone into the cell…and Williams says if he knew what he was going to do… William said he was only in there a few minutes, and Ronnie asks who was?

Afterwards, with sirens blaring, the police arrive as Gavin Dale walks outside and arrest him for suspicion of murder of Finn Tyler.

At M.I.U., Gavin is questioned and is not sorry Finn is dead. Wes asks why Gavin went into his cell, and he says he wanted Finn to look him in the eye and say he was sorry for killing his wife and son. Finn was too busy felling sorry for himself. Gavin explains he was in Afghanistan for 6 months and kept a photo of his wife and son the whole time and it was the only thing that kept him going. Wes thinks Gavin hated Finn Tyler for taking that away from him, and Ronnie asks if that is why he killed him. Gavin explains he never killed him, he just talked to him and then he left. Wes asks why the cord from his jacket ended up around Finn’s neck, adding that tests will show that the cord is the same one missing from his jacket. Gavin explains that he gave the cord to him and told him to do the right things and left and if they are going to charge him with giving Fin the means to do it to go ahead but he is glad he did it as now the can all have peace. When Ronnie questions “all”, Gavin says he means him and the rest of the families, Ronnie clarifying he means the victims’ group.

Outside the room, Wes and Ronnie wonder if others in the group had something to do with this. Ronnie explains there were 15 in the group who were after compensation from the train company and the group became a support group. A few were interviewed after Tyler’s death and were happy about it. Wes thinks this was motive, and maybe Gavin Dale was not in this alone.

At CPS, Kate arrives in Jake’s office with her belongings and Jake is indifferent. Jake is clearly annoyed at her, bringing up again that he values his privacy. She replies that it is duly noted and lesson learned, and can apologize again if it will help. He ignores her. She asks if he shouldn’t be at his mom’s funeral, and Jake says he is not going, not that it is any of her business. He walks out of the room but quickly walks back in to grab his phone, saying that he can’t be too careful.

At a pub, Sam is drinking and his phone rings. When he sees it is Ronnie he ignores the call. Elsewhere, outside where his daughter Emma works, Ronnie leaves Sam a voice mail asking Sam to give him a call when he gets this. Ronnie hangs up and calls out to Emma. She asks what he wants and he asks for 5 minutes. She agrees.

Back at CPS, Jake is trying to get coffee out of the machine and she suggests he give it a kick to make it work, they had a machine like that at her last chambers. She kicks it twice with no luck and then offers to go out together and she will buy coffee, on her, as a peace offering, and he can show her where it is good around there. He makes one condition – that they don’t talk about him. She agrees, saying she is sure he is dying to find out about her. Jake looks like he is gritting his teeth,

Meanwhile, Ronnie speaks with Emma. Ronnie tells her he found her through her sister. Emma explains that Sarah said he was back in touch with her and said she had no right to tell her where she worked. But Ronnie is glad she did, saying nice things about Sarah’s son Matthew. Emma says Sarah also had the luxury of knowing Ronnie before the drinking. As Emma continues to talk with Ronnie it is clear she has some issues with him so Ronnie asks if they can start again. Emma asks about what made him stop drinking and Ronnie talks about what got him started. Emma assumed it was her but Ronnie assured her is was not. Emma says she was 4 when it happened and what is a 4 year old to think? He hands her a birthday card and asks her what a 24 year old is supposed to think? She is surprised he remembered and he recalls when she was born. He said he just missed out on the other birthdays. Ronnie explains you never stop loving your children even when sometimes you have to walk away. Ronnie’s phone rings and he takes the call from Wes; he explains to Emma that he has to go. She says if it wasn’t the drink it was the job. Ronnie asks to take her out for dinner tonight and suggest they go to the Italian he used to take her and Sarah for their birthday, like old times. She asks if it is without the booze and arguments. He suggest 8:00 but she counters with 7:00, saying she has plans with her friends at 8. He agrees.

As Jake and Kate walk outside, Kate asks if Jake owes it to his mom to be there. Jake is grateful she gave birth to him but that is where it ends. She asks if he has one happy memory but Jake indicates he has none. Kate mentions she had a client who had a brain tumor whose personality changed and when the tumor was removed his personality returned to normal. She wonders if Jake’s mother’s tumor was always there, making her the way she was, and turned to cancer later. She thinks it is good he took care of her seeing as they never got on. Jake explains he visited her every fortnight. Kate says Jake does have a heart, but Jakes counters she is dead she won’t know whether he is there or not. She says but he will, and one day he might regret it. He blandly says he doubts that and adds it is too late, the funeral is over. Kate says it is never too late.

Back at M.I.U., Ronnie tells Wes that the uniforms spoke to everyone in the victim’s support group except for David Manning who moved abroad with his son after his wife died. His stepson Bill has been attending the group and speculates if he is involved. Ronnie adds that Eva Manning spent the last 5 years battling cancer and she got the all clear 3 days before the crash. Wes suggest they get Billy in for an interview. Ronnie says they can’t find him in records and he is not answering at the number the solicitor gave them. Wes wonders if Gavin knows where to find him. Angela walks into Wes’ office and said they looked through Gavin’s phone data and there is a long text conversation with Billy. The number is being investigated but it came from an unregistered pay as you go. The conversations were mainly about meeting up but on the day Tyler died, Billy send a message to Gavin saying there was no going back and it is now down to him. Wes thinks this is some sort of pact, and Ronnie thinks Gavin was the chosen one.

Later, Wes and Ronnie question Gavin about Billy Manning who insists he does not know. Ronnie brings up what looked like a pact and the just wanted Finn to do the right thing and kill himself. They continue to press Gavin and Ronnie explains that despite that Gavin thinks Finn Tyler killed himself, someone held Tyler down with his knee and then choked him to death. Gavin is stunned as Ronnie explains how Tyler was killed and then strung up to look like suicide. Gavin insists Tyler was alive when he left him, and Wes said whoever tied the cord left his DNA. When Ronnie tells Gavin he will get life. Gavin says they all talked about it but for most it was just talk. Only he and Billy cared and they drew straws to decide which one would talk Tyler into killing himself. Gavin drew the short straw and he made the cord into a noose and his DNA will be on it but swears that is all he did. He thinks Billy did the rest but Gavin did not know this. Billy told him Tyler killed himself. Wes says they have no record of Billy Manning, and Gavin explains that Manning is his mother’s name, he started using after she died. His real last name is Braxton and he’s going away tonight. Wes asks where.

At the Gatwick Express Line, Wes and Ronnie race to catch up with Billy Braxton. They see him standing at the train platform, and Ronnie tries to talk to Billy about his mother dying in the crash. Trains continue to speed by and as Ronnie continues to talk Billy through, Billy begins to cry and gets more unstable as he speaks about his mother and how selfish Tyler was. Billy admits he went into the cell and the cord was on the floor, and says he had to do it, for his mom and Gavin’s boy and all the other people Finn killed. He says Finn was going to get away with it and how was that justice? He picked up the cord and said this was for Eva Manning and he got his mom justice. Ronnie looks down, and then asks Billy where is his luggage? As the train speeds up to the station, Billy makes a move to jump in front of it and Ronnie, suspecting this, reaches and grabs him and pulls him away. Billy sobs as Ronnie keeps a hold on him.

Afterwards, Ronnie is leaving the station with Wes and other officers and gets a phone call. He tells the caller he is on his way. Ronnie explains to Wes that he has to do this.

Meanwhile, Ronnie's daughter Emma waits at a restaurant. We hear Ronnie talking about his day. As he does so, we see Jake visiting his mother’s grave and he comes to tears wile Kate stands nearby and watches. We also see Sam drinking at a pub, and clearly he’s had a few too many. Ronnie steps in to stop him, showing Sam his shield, which has been returned. As Ronnie takes a tipsy Sam out of the pub, his daughter sits alone at the restaurant, waiting for Ronnie who does not show, so she leaves. We also see Ronnie at the restaurant, but at a later time at the same table, and we find he is leaving a voice mail for Emma, saying he is sorry he let her down and he wants to try again and he hopes she is listening. He says he loves her. He hangs up and sadly gazes around the restaurant as we cut to black.

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1 comment:

chillicothe20 said...

What an episode. I loved so many things, and had one big gripe. I will just list a few thoughts.

- Georgia Taylor is a great addition and her character is very likable and unique. She doesn't feel the usual stereotypical woman amongst the men (as a few of the original L&O female lawyers did).

- Bradley Walsh absolutely makes this show. He is consistently my favorite in each episode of the show.

- Emotions! Every scene was packed with emotions in this ep, especially the latter half. It definitely was quite the ride. I will say though, the whole "we're not drawing dads we're drawing heroes" thing with Sam and his kid made me cringe. I feel for Sam and his issues, but that scene/line was super predictable and felt forced.