Thursday, April 24, 2014
Law & Order UK “Hard Stop” Recap & Review
Law & Order UK “Hard Stop” may be one of the best episodes ever in all of the Law & Order UK series. It was also Paterson Josephs’ final episode, as his character DI Wes Leyton, is shot and killed within the first two minutes of the story. The episode was based on the original Law & Order episode “Criminal Law” (season 16, episode 9) - a memorable episode all its own - where lead characters were in danger but no lead was killed. I enjoyed Paterson Joseph in this role and am sorry to see him go. It will be interesting to see how the MIU team responds to another change in leadership.
This was an exceptionally well written story which delivered not only high drama, but also deep emotion. The beloved Ronnie Brooks, in an outstanding performance by Bradley Walsh, is clearly rocked by Wes’ murder, yet he keeps a stoic outlook and continues to soldier on and work the case without letting others know how, or if, it affected him. The final scene, where we hear Ronnie’s voice reading the letter he wrote to Wes in the condolence book, was a true tear-jerker, and I imagine that everyone watching felt their heart sink as Ronnie asked the store clerk for that bottle of vodka. (I heard myself saying "Ronnie, NO!") After paying for the vodka and as he walked out of the store, when the clerk yells that he forgot to take the vodka with him and he keeps on walking, relief comes over me. It was a scene that brought both tearful emotion and fear, followed by a cheer for Ronnie as he walked away from the booze. Bradley Walsh, along with the wonderful writers over the years for Law & Order UK, have made Ronnie Brooks into one of the few fictional characters that I actually care about. In the long run, I think Ronnie will be just fine...at least I really hope so.
I was also thrilled to see a story line which gave Peter Davison more to do than having Henry Sharpe give his usual bluster. Henry clearly is stressed by the threat to his own life, and, unlike Ronnie, Henry loses his cool in a very visible way.
“Hard Stop” was a phenomenal episode and there simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe it...although the first word that comes to my mind is "perfection."
Here is the recap:
Bradley Walsh - DS Ronnie Brooks
Ben Bailey Smith – DS Joe Hawkins
Paterson Joseph - DI Wes Leyton
Dominic Rowan - Jacob Thorne
Georgia Taylor - Kate Barker
Peter Davison - Henry Sharpe
Mark Bonnar - Mark Glendon
Elinor Crawley - Abby Glendon
Adelayo Adedayo - Kayla
Rachel Atkins - Cleo Finch
Priyanga Burford - Martine Leyton
Gerry Cowper - Hope Corday
Bradley Hall - Adam Glendon
Julia Hills - Hayley Ashburton
Alexander Perkins - Pete
John Rowe - Judge Silverton
Matt Sapsford - Armed Police Officer
Pip Torrens - Philip Nevins
Lauren Trickett - Cashier
At MIU, the detective and whole team celebrates DI Wes Leyton’s birthday. Wes’ wife Martine arrives to take him to a surprise. Ass Wes and Martine leave, she won’t spill the surprise. In the parking garage, a motorbike pulls up behind their car and blocks their exit. The rider steps of and steps up to Wes’ car window. When Wes asks “Yes mate, what’s the problem?” the rider pulls out a gun and shoots twice, point blank, at Wes. Martine screams.
Later, Wes’ body is zipped into a body bag as forensics comb the scene. Ronnie speaks with Martine, sitting in an ambulance, who explains what happened. She is devastated and she sobs.
Ronnie speaks with Joe and finds there are no witnesses. Joe speculates if it was a carjacking; Ronnie says it was just a bloke on a motorbike. Joe gets a phone call and then tells Ronnie that shots were fired in Dalston at the flat of another police officer. Ronnie thinks this is not a robbery, it’s an execution.
Ronnie and Joe leave MIU to find many reporters waiting for them. They don’t answer any questions as they race to their car.
At the home of Archie Morris in Dalston on Thursday, November 27, Ronnie, Joe, and other officers enter Morris’ flat. They find him dead in his bed. Ronnie hears a noise and they find his wife, hiding in the closet.
Later, outside, Joe tell Ronnie Morris’ wife hid as soon as she heard the shooting start so she saw nothing.
On Friday November 28, while walking on Bow Street, Joe tells Ronnie about a motorbike seen cruising near Morris’ home last night but not plates have been IDd. Ronnie, who is on the phone, stops in his tracks and asks the person on the phone if they are kidding him. He sighs as Joe asks what?
Later, with forensics at the scene of another shooting, there is a body of a woman, shot in the head, in a car park. Forensics confirms there were 9mm casings, The woman’s ID says her name is Susan Lewiston who works at Domestic Violence Services, a refuge worker. Her car was parked outside the office.
That same day, inside Greenwood Women’s Aid in Friday, they speak with a manager who said Susan worked late, and she heard and saw nothing. They deal with women with abusive and controlling men. Susan has not received any recent threats. She had been shot before, about 4 years ago. She had been walking a woman to a car and her husband walked up and started shooting. Susan was injured but the woman was killed. Susan gave evidence at the guy’s trial and he was put away for it. She asks if he is still in jail, and Joe says they will follow up. Joe asks to see Susan’s recent case files. As she looks for the files, Ronnie, agitated, comments that a woman gets shot in their car park and lays in the car all night dead…and Joe tries to cut him off but Ronnie continues and asks that no one heard anything? Joe tells Ronnie he’s got this.
Outside, Ronnie wonders if it is an aggrieved husband why shoot Wes and Morris? Joe wonders if it is random but Ronnie says the scenes are the same and the casings are wiped down and thinks this is not your average nutter, this was planned. Ronnie thinks that the killer was parked nearby and waited for her to leave then drives into the car park and pulls up next to the car…and Joe adds “bang.” Joe sees a nearby camera and suggests they get the footage to see if they are right.
Back at MIU, they see the footage with the shooter on a motorbike at 8:12 PM and then see the motorbike leave later. They can see the license plate number.
Later, Ronnie and Joe arrive at “Swift Sure” and speak with a woman who works there, Hope Corday, who explains she reported the motorbike stolen. She seems to stall and Ronnie threatens her with a warrant and putting her in a cell. Joe quips that Ronnie hasn’t had any breakfast. Hope then says he started last week, she doesn’t get many English, and she hands him a name and address card, saying the bastard went AWOL with her Yamaha. Joe reads off the name: Patrick Benton.
Back at MIU in the same day, Ronnie and Joe watch various CCTV camera feeds. In the hallway, Ronnie stops Kayla and asks if Angela is about, and Kayla explains they had to send her home as she was upset. Kayla asks Ronnie if that is OK and Ronnie said it is OK if anyone wants to take any leave. She asks if that includes him, and he doesn’t answer that and instead asks for a favor – he wants her to get full info on Patrick Benton. Joe calls Ronnie back into the room and says he got it.
In the video room, they watch the video feed which show that Benton has been picked up on the camera by transport police in Kennington. He is heading south, heading towards Pope Square and stops there. Ronnie tells Kayla to tell all units to locate the suspect and stand by, do not approach under any circumstances. He also tells her to cross check all addresses in that area for police officers either serving or retired, anyone that could be a target. Joe suggests a break to Ronnie as they have been up all night, and Ronnie asks if he is kidding.
At Pope Square in Kennington the same day, Ronnie is furious when he sees an officer has taped off the area where the motorbike is parked, saying he said do not approach. He complains now they have lost him. As Ronnie continues to shout to Joe about the blunder, Joe says Kayla has an ID on a possible target and it is not a police officer. Joe looks across the street.
Ronnie knocks on the front door of #27 on Pope Square and Henry Sharpe answers. Soon after, Ronnie and Joe, along with a squad of police, race Henry out of his home. Ronnie asks if he knows Patrick Benton and when Henry asks “Who? No.” Ronnie explains Benton knows him and is coming there to kill him. Ronnie orders Henry to get in the car.
Later, Henry is at CPS with Jake, Ronnie and Joe, and he is looking at a photo of Mark Glendon, a specialist firearms officer who took his work home. Henry prosecuted the case. Ronnie feels that is why Henry is next on the list. The others either saw him shoot his wife of gave evidence at the first trial and now they are all dead. Henry says it is sickening, and Jake thinks this is about eliminating witnesses. Henry states Wes was the senior investigating office. Joe asks why now, 4 years after the trial. Jake said the court of appeals called the conviction unsafe and a retrial starts tomorrow. He adds that Kate is taking it, whatever case they have left. Ronnie says they are on locating the other two witnesses and one is his own daughter, Abby, who Henry says was a witness for the prosecution. Jake comments that her evidence proved unreliable, she lied. Joe wonders if Benton is still banged up, who is doing the killing? Henry’s bodyguard walks in and Henry comments that he should go home and check on Louisa, his wife. Ronnie says Henry can’t go home, and he should stay away from the office, too. Henry objects, asking how he is meant to work? Jake replies he’s not, adding he will take care of everything here. Ronnie says his new friend – the bodyguard – will take him to his wife.
On Monday, December 1 at Royal Artillery in Woolwich, Ronnie and Joe speak with Abby – Lance Corporal Glendon - who is in uniform and is practicing her shooting. She says she’s had nothing to do with her dad since the trial, no visits, letters or phone calls. Ronnie mentions the evidence she gave against him was a lie, and she said she did not see it but he did kill her mom. She has received no threats and when Joe offers her protection, she replies she can handler herself. Ronnie comments about her 9mm gun and Abby thinks she is a suspect now. Joe explains they need to eliminate her from their inquiries. She says she's been in the barracks for days and they can check. She grew up with her dad abusing her mom and they did nothing. She could dial 999 when she was 4 years old and he hadn’t been arrested once. Ronnie asks where is her brother Adam, and she says they got split up and went to difference care homes and they drifted apart. They are not in touch. She does not know Patrick Benton. When Joe asks if she is sure, she says he has to go. She walks off.
Afterwards, Ronnie tells Joe they have to keep an eye on that one. Joe replies for her own protection, she hates her dad. An officer confirmed her alibi. Ronnie asks him if he has a thing for a young girl with a gun, and Joe explains she’s hardly going to spring her old man. The other witness is Hayley Ashburton, and Kayla is tracing her. Ronnie gets a message and then says he doesn’t believe it, what’s he up to now?
At Brent Prison on Wednesday, December 3, Ronnie and Joe meet with Kate and Henry. Ronnie tells Kate that Henry is not supposed to be anywhere near here. She replies she has been trying to tell him that, but Henry says he can’t just sit on his hands waiting for another body to turn up. Joe explains they are doing all they can, but Henry, with sarcasm, asks really, how is Wes Leyton feeling this morning? Joe explains he spoke to the sister of the other witness who thought she was heading up on a train for the retrial today. Henry states she is an eyewitness to the shooting and they need her. Ronnie thinks the shooter will not get to her before they do, and Henry counters that they’d better hope not.
As Henry races down the hall, Kate reminds Henry he can’t talk to him and that he will jeopardize the whole trial and that she shouldn’t even be there. Henry thinks however Glendon has done this he’s doing it from prison and that is the only reason his name is on the list. The all remind Henry of the seriousness of the matter and Henry says he knows Mark Glendon better than anyone else and he’s worked the case for years and he is not stepping aside. As Henry moves to go into the room which is being guarded by two officers, Ronnie blocks Henry’s way and says this time he will have to. Henry tells him to give Glendon what he wants, and Kate explains that what he wants is Henry dead.
Afterwards, Ronnie and Joe question Mark Glendon in an interrogation room, who says he has never heard of Patrick Benton. Ronnie explains the murders. Glendon makes a comment about the one DI being killed and when Ronnie and Joe explain about Wes, Glendon is unfeeling.
Meanwhile, Henry and Kate wait in the hall and Jake arrives, asking Henry if he’s lost his mind. Henry replies very nearly. Jake tells Henry he needs to leave right now and Henry says okay. But then Henry makes a quick move into the interrogation room and moves to Glendon. Ronnie and Joe stop him. Glendon knows Henry and Henry says Glendon will not get away with this. Glendon tells Henry he took his kids away from him and he is lucky is he so forgiving. Henry reminds him a jury found him guilty of murdering his wife and Glendon counters that a court of appeals disagrees and now it is time he went home to his family. Henry reminds him he is not free yet, and Glendon replies “yet.” Henry accuses him of murdering witnesses, and Glendon blows it off, saying it is a terrible feeling, your life in someone else’s hands. Henry looks ready to explode as Glendon tells him he will see him in court, and he walks away, adding, “maybe.”
Later, back at CPS, Kate runs into Philip Nevins and when Kate comments that it’s cases like this that make her glad she switched sides, Nevins reminds her he has to defend the innocent. They disagree over Glendon’s innocence, Kate saying he is killing witnesses. Nevins comments she has so much passion, he can see why Henry likes her. Jake enters and Nevins comments if’s good of him to let the little girl have a go. When Nevins walks off, Jake tells Kate that Nevins does mind games for sport, and not to let Nevins bully her. Kate is annoyed at his comment, telling Jake not to start, it’s bad enough being patronized by Nevins. As she storms off, Jake says to himself “Thanks, Jake. Oh, you’re welcome Kate.”
In Central Crown Court on Thursday, December 4, Kate and Nevins argue about the witnesses being killed and not being able to give evidence. Kate puts the blame on Glendon but Nevis says this is speculation. The judge reminds her Glendon is not on trial for the recent murders. While Henry watches, Kate tries to get the transcripts of the murdered witnesses admitted into evidence, and Nevins makes counter arguments that this is hearsay. Kate counters it has to be hearsay as the witnesses are dead. The judge hold up his hand.
Afterwards, back at CPS, Jake, with Henry walking behind, tells Kate it was a nice try and Kate says this leaves them with Hayley Ashburton as a key witness. Henry is there and Kate explains Hayley will be arriving any minute. Henry complains that it is about time and Kate counters they should cut them some slack, she is amazed they can work at all given what’s happened to Wes. Henry admits she is right and apologized. Jake adds there are a lot of people working on this putting themselves in t he firing line and Henry is not making it any easier on them making himself a target. Kate states Henry does not realize the danger he is in – the danger they are ALL in. Jake tells her she can hand the case over to someone else, and Kate replies bugger that. She admits, off the record, that she is scared but she is not walking away. Henry hopes Hayley Ashburton feels the same way.
In London on the same day, Ronnie and Joe wait for Hayley to arrive from the train with other officers and they stop Hayley after she exits the train and they tell her to come with them.
Later, at MIU, Ronnie and Joe speak with Hayley in an interrogation room about the situation. She is clearly stressed and worried she will get shot. Ronnie explains they need her evidence in court and she worries about him seeing her in court. They try to assure her but she explains her fears over the last 3 years and now she is looking over her shoulder all the time. She says she can still see his face , like it was nothing. She watched him shoot Nicki and he just walked away. Joe says as long as she is with them she is safe and she is their only hope. She says okay, she will do it, she wants Mark Glendon to get what he deserves.
Afterwards, in the MIU office, Joe runs up to Ronnie and tells him that he knows who Patrick Benton is. Glendon’s kids got sent to foster parents, Keith and Jackie Benton. Patrick was their son, but he’s dead - a stillborn.
Later, Ronnie and Joe have Abby in interrogation and they know that she lied to them; they believe her brother Adam is using Patrick’s name. She admits he is her only family and she wanted to tip him off but his phone must have been switched off. They speak now and then, the last time she spoke with him was a couple weeks ago. She begs them not to tell her officer, it is all she had. She swears she has nothing to do with this and does not want her father to get out. Joe comments she does not seem surprised her brother killed 3 people and she explains that Adam was talking about their father getting out and she assumed he meant the retrial. It was like he’d forgotten everything that had happened. She takes out her phone and shows them a photo of Adam from about a year ago, and Joe tells her he needs to borrow it. She say it is not Adam’s fault, he did not stand a chance with his father.
Afterwards, in Henry’s office, Ronnie shows him the photo of Adam and explains his phone is switched off but phone activity will show where he is. He adds there is no evidence he has been in touch with his father, he could be working on his own. Jake says they will need to question him but they need to catch him first. Ronnie smiles and says they are close. As Ronnie moves to leave, Henry offers his condolences about Wes, and Kate mentions sending flowers to Martine. Ronnie thinks she would appreciate that. Henry says he has been so caught up in everything he hasn’t stopped to think what it must be like for Ronnie. Ronnie pauses, and then smiles and replies, “Neither have I, Henry.”
At Crown V Glendon, trial day 1 on Monday, December 9, Hayley is giving evidence and clearly she is rattled with Glendon there. Nevins continues to question her and gets her to say that she crouched down behind a car during the shooting and shut her eyes. She says she can’t ID Glendon as the shooter. Jake, Kate, and Henry look stunned. Glendon winks at her and she trembles.
Afterwards, Jake and Kate follow Hayley through the courthouse and Kate says they do not have a case without her evidence. Kate says she could be charged with perjury. Hayley comments they can’t keep him in prison but they will put her there. Jake says they can protect her and she wisecracks just like they did now in there. Henry races up and begs Hayley not to do this. She replies that they have no idea, it is just another job, another case to them. As Jake objects, Hayley says this is her life. Henry counters it’s not just her life that is affected. She says she can’t, she’s sorry, and she races off. Henry takes a shaky breath and when Kate tells him it will be okay, he tells her, “Don’t Kate, just don’t.” He walks off, leaving Kate and Jake staring at each other.
At MIU on Monday, December 8, Ronnie sirs in Wes’ office, writing a note in a condolence book. Joe knocks and asks Ronnie if he heard what happened and if he thinks Glendon will walk. Ronnie closes the book and says Kate did a good job on the re-examination but you never know what a jury will do. Joe asks Ronnie how is he, otherwise, admitting he himself has hardly had a chance to breathe the last couple days. Ronnie says he is fine and thanks him for asking. Joe asks when does he think the service will be, and Ronnie doesn’t know. Joe wonders how Martine is feeling, then asks Ronnie he does not know if he is being out of order and asks if Ronnie need to take a break, step back for a bit and take some time off, no one here would…Kayla walks in and says she just had tech on, Adam Glendon just switched on his phone and they got a location.
As Ronnie and Joe race down the MIU stairway, Ronnie tells Joe the address and Joe realizes it is CPS.
At a gated location, Henry asks other officers if they can get going while Ronnie and Joe speed in their cars to the location. Henry begins to leave with his protection detail. As Ronnie and Joe arrive at the same location, Ronnie sees a motorbike stopped nearby and gets out of the car to check things out. The motorbike begins to drive by, and the driver is holding a gun. Ronnie ducks, yelling for Henry to get down. The motorbike speeds past and fires a shot. Joe pulls out the car into the path of the motorbike which swerves and slides to the ground, throwing the rider off and his gun slides sway. The officers surround the rider and Joe grabs the gun.
Back at MIU with Adam Glendon sitting in interrogation, Henry watches on the video feed in the other room and comments to Ronnie that Adam is just a boy. Ronnie reminds him he is a boy that killed three people with his father’s gun. Henry asks Ronnie if he thinks Adam will implicate his father, and Ronnie says Adam says he acted alone but they are trying. Henry comments that the jury has been out three hours already and there could be a verdict any time now. Ronnie replies there is no time to waste, then. As Ronnie leave the room, Henry says he just wants his life back.
In interrogation with Adam and his brief, Ronnie and Joe present the evidence on the gun used and a notebook with the names and addresses of the victims. Ronnie says it’s not a question of whether he did it but how and when his father gave the orders. They continue to try to get him to say that his father got him to do this. Joe says that he failed, Adam had a plan but he failed and got distracted. Ronnie asked why Henry, he wasn’t even a witness, and not even in the retrial, and Adam says Henry deserves what’s coming to him for how he disrespected his dad. Joe thinks it is revenge. Ronnie says he always thought people like his dad were trained to be dispassionate and keep his emotions in check and never make it personal. Joe adds he knows he taught him that so he can’t see his father being happy with him. Adam says they know nothing about his dad, and Ronnie asks what about his sister, did he plan on killing her? He says he loves his sister. But then Adam says, referring to Wes, that he did their mate and his misses was screaming. Ronnie takes a deep breath and leans back in his chair. He then asks Adam if that is how his mum died, when his dad blew her brains out? Joe tries to caution Ronnie. Ronnie asks if Adam loves his father and if he thinks his father loves him, adding what sort of dad would make his only son do the things he’s done? Adam says his dad is more of a man than he’ll ever be, he didn’t have to make him do any of this, he is proud to have done this for him. Ronnie asks Adam if he thinks his father is proud of him, and Adam smiles and says when his father walks free from that court, he knows he will be. Ronnie says his father is not bothered by him and doe she honestly believe he will hear from him again? He adds that Adam will sit in a prison cell for the rest of his life wondering why dear old dad never gets in touch, and that he was a means to an end. Joe asks Adam to help himself out here, his dad is not coming to save him this time and he is on his own. He is 19 looking at spending the rest of his life in prison and not to let him do that to him. Adam says nothing as Joe says his father told him to kill these people, didn’t he? When Joe asks what does he say, Adam replies he thinks they should watch their back.
At Central Crown Court on Thursday, December 11, Kate confers with Nevins and the judge about Hayley – the only witness - recanting and the other witnesses being killed. Kate explains Glendon’s son Adam has been charged with the murders and Kate believes his father manipulated him to acting on his behalf. Nevins asks where is the evidence? The judge agrees with Nevins, and Kate counters that Mark Glendon should not be allowed to use the law to break it, and if he walks free today it is an endorsement of murder. The judge tells her to be steady, he can’t delay the procedure based on speculation, the jury will decide.
In the courthouse entry at the security checkpoint, Joe walks in after Abby. Joe talks about what happened with her brother and Abby is emotionless about it. She mentioned to Joe she never got his first name, and when he replies it is Joe, she extends her hand to shake his and thanks him, and then salutes him.
Inside the court room, the jury verdict is in: they find Mark Glendon not guilty The courtroom erupts, many are comments of protest. Henry, Jake, Kate, Ronnie and Joe all have looks of disappointment. The judge thanks the jury for their hard work, shouting over the din, and then tells Glendon he will be taken back to the cell and processed for release. Abby, sitting in the gallery, looks emotionless. Henry looks at Glendon, who smiles and waves at him. As the judge shouts for order, Abby stands up and grabs a gun of a nearby court officer and aims and shoots at her father. Everyone else screams and ducks for cover. As the other armed officers in the court move in on her, she drops the gun and puts up her hands in surrender. When the shooting stops, everyone gets up but Mark Glendon, who has been shot in his head and lies dead.
Afterwards, on the courthouse steps, Henry takes a drink of water as Ronnie. Jake and Kate approach. Ronnie offers Kate some tea with three sugars, and Kate says she needs them. Jake tells Kate they want to take her statement if she is ready. She replies as she will ever be, she will come and find him when she is done. She walks off. Jake asks Henry, who has been staring off silently, if he is okay. Henry pauses and then says he thought that was it. He thought that was him. Jake explains this isn’t something they give any training for, and Ronnie says the first thing he learned was to get home alive, get back to work first thing in the morning and make your tea. Henry replies it’s been quite a week. Henry holds out his water bottle for a toast and says “To Wes.” Ronnie toasts him back and they says it’s time he was off, and he leaves.
At MIU headquarters on Friday, December 12, Joe is packing up Wes’ office as Ronnie walks in. Joe comments he was not sure what to do with the condolence book. Ronnie says he will take it, and leaves the office.
Later, Ronnie delivers the book to Martine. He then goes to a convenience store, and we hear Ronnie's voice reading the letter he wrote to Wes:
“Dear Wes, this isn’t something I ever imagined I’d be writing. I’m sitting in your office but I keep expecting you to walk back in and say it’s all been a mistake. We were raised to never admit to needing help. We ARE the help. When I was at my lowest, even when I didn’t know it, you were there without question. I never thanked you for that, ‘cause I honestly thought I’d have more time…”
As we continue to hear Ronnie’s voice reading his letter, Ronnie goes through the store and he selects various items. He gets to the cashier who tells him what he owes. He gets his wallet.
“…It’s all such a waste...”
He pauses and the cashier asks if there is anything else.
“I feel so much anger, I can’t even be upset…”
Ronnie pauses to think and then asks for a small bottle of vodka. The clerk grabs it and places it on the counter and he pays her.
“…You never let me down...”
The cashier gives Ronnie his change. He grabs his bag and leaves the store.
“…and I won’t let you down now…”
The clerk calls out to Ronnie that he forgot his vodka as he leaves the store, but he continues to walk out and does not look back.
“I don’t want to day goodbye Wes, so I’ll just say, “I’ll see you around mate. Ronnie”
We fade to black.
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