Friday, April 4, 2014

Law & Order UK “Pride” Recap & Review

Law & Order UK “Pride” brought back Dame Harriet Walter as Natalie Chandler, a former MIU Detective Inspector. She’s tied into a murder via her father’s connection to the victim, a connection not made clear to Natalie or to Ronnie Brooks until close to the end. This episode was based on the original Law & Order  episode “Identity” (season 14, episode 6), and while both cases dealt with identity theft and murder, “Pride” uses this case to bring back Chandler.  This time she’s not as in control of the situation as she'd been accustomed as DI. Her desire to believe that her estranged father is not a murderer causes her to go off the rails more than once, despite promising Ronnie she’d stay out of the case and behave. Natalie gets her answer in the end, although it’s not the answer she’d like to hear.

This case was heavy on the detective work and light on the legal work, but this imbalance did not detract from the story. Harriet Walter always brought a stern, yet likable crustiness to Natalie Chandler, and it was nice to see her as the focus of an episode now that she is no longer a series regular. Clearly, Bradley Walsh is the cornerstone of this series and it has been truly interesting watching Ronnie develop over the years. Ronnie is one of those people that if he was your friend, you would have confidence he would move heaven and earth to help you. He risked getting in trouble with his boss yet again to help Natalie get to the bottom of her father’s involvement in a murder and fraud.

It was a very nice touch to see a scene where a bus comes into the picture with a large ad in the side with the words “Identity.” Not only was in an indicator of what was at the root of the murder, but it also seemed a homage to the original episode.

Each week, Law & Order UK continues to impress me. It’s one of a handful of shows that I actually look forward to each week.

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

Guest cast:
Harriet Walter - Natalie Chandler
Martin Jarvis - Eddie Stewart
Roy Hudd - Felix Hargreaves
Laura Rogers – Sally Lester
Alexander Aze – Ethan Lester
Nicola Sanderson – SOCO Joy
Roxy Sternberg – Alice Edwards
Ella Kenion – Cashier
Matt Slack – Rob Hebden
Melanie Kilburn – Julie Perkins
Leila Hoffman – Florence
Jessica Gunning – Angela
Martin Jarvis – Eddie Stewart
Geoff McGivern – Geoffrey Sykes
Jack Beale – Clerk
Cyril Nri – Judge DeMarco
Fraser James – Dr. Toby Marsh
Michael Luxton – Paul Harrison

At the Lester home, as kids race into the house for a party, a woman screams as she opens a door to another room.

Later, DS Ronnie Brooks and SOCO Joy are on that scene where Neil Lester lay dead from a head wound from a paperweight. Ronnie and DS Joe Hawkins speak with his wife,  Sally Lester, and ask about her husband’s job and his recent actions. Things sound very good and Ronnie and Joe wonder who wanted him dead.

Back at MIU, Ronnie and Joe confer with DI Wes Leyton. There is a laptop missing from Lester’s desk, and there is no match on the prints on the murder weapon. The wife is not a likely suspect. They think there was something on the laptop. Wes tells them to find out why Lester came home early.

At AKDC Marketing on March 11, Ronnie and Joe ask about Lester’s job. The detectives ask why Lester went home early, and a colleague seems confused at the question, They find Neil Lester hasn’t worked there for 9 months, his job was cut.

On the same day, back at the Lester home, his wife was not aware of this. Ronnie gets a call and then asks Sally Lester about their finances, specifically a £160,000 in a savings account, deposited 3 months after he lost his job. She thinks they are mistaken.

Later, Ronnie and Joe are at LPB Bank and find the account was opened 6 months ago and closed it 24 hours later. It was transferred there by an Edward Stewart. Stewart recently took out another advance – a loan against the value of his property. They wonder what Stewart had to do with Lester,

The same day, at Lincoln Rise, they think Stewart took out a loan to pay Lester. When they knock on the door, a property developer answers. The house went to auction 3 months ago, the owner slopped paying his bills,

Back at MIU, Ronnie and Joe explain what they found and wonder if the two had a scam going. No leads on Stewart. Wes instructs them to continue to see if anyone knows anything about Stewart.

At Chiswick High Street outside Jimmy’s hair stylist, Joe tells Ronnie that the landlady hasn’t seen Stewart in 3 months and Ronnie comments that Stewart hasn’t been in Jimmy’s for a while. Ronnie complains there is no sense of community anymore and whines about texting and twitting. Joe calls him “gramps.”

At Julie's, having a meal, they hear Stewart was there about a month ago and get a suggestion to speak with Felix Hargreaves at the Community Center, he and Stewart were thick as thieves.

At Oak Reach Community Center, where the people look very elderly, they meet up with Felix to talk about Stewart. They were paratroopers in 1952 and had since moved to Australia. Felix blows them off to go back to the old ladies.

Back at MIU, Wes tells Ronnie that Angie tracked down a next of kin, a daughter who is in Finsbury Park. But Wes tells Ronnie to take a closer look at the file and Ronnie looks stunned.

At the daughter’s home, Ronnie decides to take the lead. When the door opens, it’s former DI Natalie Chandler that is standing there.

Inside Natalie’s home, she explains her mother’s death and then once Joe introduces himself, she asks what they are doing there. They ask about her dad. She last saw him 4 months ago. They explain he defaulted on loan payments and repossessed his house. Natalie explains he didn’t take it well when her mother moved in with her when her mother became ill. They explain they talked to Felix and Natalie doesn’t understand why they did that. When Ronnie explains Felix and Eddie were good friends, Natalie asks what is going on. They explain they think her father went into business with Neil Lester, and Natalie has never heard of him. Joe mentions the possible bank fraud and then explains Lester was found dead Monday afternoon.

Afterwards, outside MIU with Wes, Ronnie and Joe discuss Natalie’s reaction and they don’t understand why her dad got into that business at 78. As they enter MIU, Angie is there and explains they traced Lester’s laptop to a second hand shop in Shepherd’s Bush. They see a photo of the person who was at the shop and Ronnie recognizes the person in the photo.

Later, Ronnie and Joe pay a visit to Felix’s flat. Felix tries to blow them off but Ronnie confronts him about seeing him at the second hand shop with the laptop that was taken from the murder scene. Felix seems stunned. As Ronnie continues to press, Eddie Stewart walks up and asks how he can help them. Joe arrests Eddie and reads him his rights.

Back at MIU, Ronnie’s phone rings and it shows that it is Natalie but the call is not answered. Wes asks how many times she has called now and Ronnie thinks about a dozen. Theydiscuss how to handle it and Wes cautions them to treat Eddie like any other suspect. Ronnie understands.

With Eddie in interrogation, Ronnie starts the questioning and Eddie says at the time of the murder he was home taking a nap. No one can vouch for him. Joe asks about the laptop, and he says he found it in a skip, and he’s a pensioner so he needed the money. He claims he does not know Neil Lester. Ronnie explains Neil’s murder and Joe believes he was there. Despite Eddie saying he does not know Neil, Ronnie and Joe bring up the £160,000 bank transfer. Eddie feigns ignorance and says he forgets a lot of things. Ronnie terminates the interview.

Wes is watching the video feed from the observation room and Ronnie and Joe enter. Wes shows them a photo of Eddie arriving at South Wimbledon tube at 2:18 and returning at 3:11. Eddie’s prints were all over the murder weapon. Wes tells Joe he will sit in on the next interview, telling Ronnie that he is too close to this and doesn’t want anyone saying there is a conflict of interest. Joe tells Ronnie that Wes has a point, and Ronnie tells Joe to get Natalie down there as quick as he can.

Ronnie walks back into the interrogation room with Wes. Ronnie continues questioning and Eddie continues to deny involvement. Wes brings up Eddie’s prints all over the murder weapon, and the presses harder. Eddie is silent.

Afterwards, in the hallway, Ronnie tells Wes they know Eddie was there and he bashed in Lester's head, but why? Wes thinks £160,000 is enough and Ronnie still wonders why the money changed hands. Wes says whatever the reason it ended up with Neil dead. When Ronnie continues to question it, Wes says Ronnie is clutching at straws and that Ronnie knows what he has to do.

Downstairs, as Natalie askd to be buzzed in to MIU, Joe stops her. When Ronnie comes up and Natalie asks to see her father, Ronnie explains that will not be possible. When Ronnie asks if they can go somewhere quiet, Natalie tells him to cut the bullshit and tell her what is happening. Ronnie explains they charged her father with the murder of Neil Lester.

At CPS, Director Henry Sharpe, Jake Thorne and Kate Baker discuss Natalie and the case against her father. They still lack motive and why the money came into play in the first place. They meet up with Eddie’s brief Geoffrey Sykes. Jake explains all the evidence against Eddie and Sykes makes light of it. Kate brings up the money and he makes little of that too. He also says Eddie is old and forgets things, he is a decorated veteran and spends most of his day playing bridge in the community center. He also says Lester kept a large amount of money away from his wife.

At Crown v Stewart Pleas and Case Management hearing on April 16, Eddie pleads not guilty. Jake asks for remand and when Sykes tries to argue, Judge DeMarco wants to hear Jake’s argument first. Jake thinks Eddie is a flight risk, bringing up Ronnie’s statement that Eddie wanted to move to Australia. Natalie, in the gallery sitting next to Ronnie, , gives Ronnie a glaring look. Sykes argues Eddie has never been in trouble in his life. The judge remands Eddie. Natalie leaps from her seat and says this is ridiculous, saying The Crown knows Eddie is not fit to stand trial, let alone enter a plea. The judge asks who she is, and she explains she is Eddie’s daughter, DI Natalie Chandler. The judge apologizes for not recognizing her as Ronnie tries to coax Natalie to sit down. The judge asks Sykes if Eddie’s fitness to enter a plea has been considered, and Sykes explains Eddie made no appeal for leniency, it would have been an obvious line of defense. Natalie chimes in and says her father was admitted to North Middlesex University Hospital last April from a fall and it is clear from the medical reports that his mental state was fragile at best. Sykes asks to make an application to withdraw the plea that had just been entered and asks for an adjournment so a full assessment can be carried out. The judge agrees, and as Natalie sighs from relief, the judge remands Eddie and the case will be adjourned for 4 weeks.

Outside the courthouse with Ronnie, Natalie asks Jake and Kate if they are pleased with themselves. Jake says of course not, he doesn’t chose the cases and says he is sorry, this is not an easy time for anyone. Jake thinks Eddie’s mental health is not the issue, he is still up for a murder charge and Jake can’t help him unless Eddie starts talking.

Later, at a bar over what looks like orange juice, Ronnie continues to discuss the issue with Natalie. Ronnie explains that Eddie is not playing ball and he reminds her he stuck his neck on the line by even talking to her. She appreciates that and Ronnie worries if Wes gets a sniff of this…Natalie says he isn’t going to. Ronnie asks what she would do, and she says she would question Eddie’s motive and that he never mentioned he knew Lester. Ronnie explains they can place Eddie at the murder scene at that afternoon. She can’t explain it. Ronnie thinks everything points to her dad and she wonders who would give 160K to a stranger? Ronnie explains that he gets it. Natalie counters that she is not letting Eddie go down for this, not if she can help it.

At Dr. Toby Marsh’s office on April 17, Dr. Marsh questions Eddie who is somewhat flip about the whole thing. He says Neil was an old friend and does not recall where they met and just wants to get things over.

Later, at CPS, Jake and Kate review the recording with Dr. Marsh and they realize that Eddie has not changed his story, that he did know Eddie. Jake thinks it is either a memory lapse or Eddie is being deliberately obtuse. Dr. Marsh says Eddie may be confused at times but he is 78 and it comes with the territory. When Jake asks if Eddie is fit to enter a plea, Dr. Marsh replies he’d like to see the defense prove otherwise. Kate brings up the fact that Eddie looks like a granddad and Jake admits that is not ideal but hopes the jury will look past sentiment and stick to the facts. Kate comments that Eddie and Lester were from two different worlds, the jury will struggle to find a connection. Jake replies it is down to them to find out what made those two worlds collide.

At the home of Felix Hargreaves on April 17, Ronnie and Natalie speak with Felix. Felix says Eddie is not a killer and should be here with him, not in some cell. As Ronnie and Felix talk, Natalie looks over some photos. Felix says Eddie loved that place, Eddie carried his wife across the threshold and Natalie was born there. Natalie goes to stick a kettle on. Felix tells Natalie her father did not hate her but he was a proud man and she made him feel like a failure, Natalie explains she only wanted to make sure her mother was looked after. Felix reminds Natalie of the “in sickness and in health” vows. Ronnie asks if Eddie owed any money, and Felix says Eddie never believed in debt. Natalie finds two jars of coins and Felix explains they were saving to go to Australia. He shows her a photo of a friend who moved there in 1968. Natalie asks Ronnie if two jars of coopers looks like someone who is going to gamble away their home?

As they approach the Lester home on April 17, Ronnie moans to Natalie they can have his job for this, he’s already had to lie to Joe. Natalie cracks back that it is a shame he wasn’t that conscientious when he worked for her. Ronnie knocks on the door and tells Natalie not to say a word.

Inside, Ronnie speaks with Sally Lester and shows her a photo of Eddie. She has not seen the person before. He asks about her husband's interest outside of work, and Sally says he only interested in family. Natalie chimes in and asks if she really expects them to believe this, Lester was out of work for 9 months and didn’t tell her. She mentions the 160 grand. Even after Ronnie apologizes for Natalie’s lack of diplomacy, Natalie goes on to say it begs the question what else he was lying about?Sally’s son Ethan calls out to her and Sally gets snippy with Natalie, saying Natalie doesn’t know a thing about her husband. Natalie counters neither does she. Ethan runs in and says the stupid thing keeps freezing, and Sally explains she will look at it later. When Ethan says he wants to play now, Sally stands up and chastises him. He runs off. Sally explains it is Neil’s old laptop, Ethan left it at a friend’s house. Neil only had the office laptop a few months, he had the old one for years. Ronnie says he will have to take that laptop away and says he will bring it back once the tech boys give it a once over.

Outside the house as Natalie storms off, Ronnie chastises her and tells her to think like a DI. He reminds her that her dad’s prints were all over the murder weapon and she has to treat this like any other case. He asks her to forget her dad as when he was at home, think of him when he was fighting for king and country. Could he kill a man? She says not without good reason.

Later, at the bank, Natalie asks how the bank would arrange a loan without conversation, and is told that Eddie had regular correspondence with them that the money was for essential structural repairs. Natalie says the house did not need that much repair, and the bank rep says he may have intended to rent the property when he moved abroad. Natalie asks what is she talking about, and Ronnie gets a call. The bank rep explains Eddie asked for all his correspondence to be sent to a post office box. Ronnie, on the phone, says he will be there in 20 minutes but then after the call tells Natalie Wes needs to see him and not to do anything, asking her to promise.

At MIU on April 17, Joe stops Ronnie and tips him off that he is in trouble, but Wes catches up to him and berates him about having to persuade Sally Lester from not making an official complaint. Wes mentions impersonating a police officer and intimidating a witness, saying Ronnie completely lost the plot. Ronnie explains he was trying to help a friend. Wes says this is his first and final warning and he must stay away from her, he will not have him jeopardizing this case. Wes storms off and leaves Ronnie standing there. He sighs and calls out to Joe and as they run into Angie, she comments about Ronnie being in a hurry. Joe asks if Ronnie is always like this, and Angie says he will get used to it.

At PPC Mail Services on April 17, Natalie tries to get info on the post office box and uses her old badge as DI Chandler. She asks about Eddie and the worker says Eddie was nice but his kid was a brat. Natalie is surprised and asks for Mr. Stewart’s age, and the worker says he was late to mid 30s, She asks for the CCTV but he says her colleagues already asked for this. She sees Ronnie come out from the back room, and he scolds Natalie, reminding her that she promised him. She asks if he looked at the footage, and he comments he cannot believe it. Ronnie then explains Neil Lester owned a PO box in Eddie’s name, CCTV footage shows him visiting here at least twice month for the past 6 months. Inside the box were overdue bills, final demands from the bank, and a repossession order. Joe has been on Lester’s laptop and over 400 potential identity forwards. Natalie realizes her dad did not give up his home, and Ronnie say Lester stole it from him. She says they have to talk to Jake about this, and Ronnie tells her “we” don’t have to do anything, telling Natalie to go home and let him do his bit.

At the CPS on April 18, Jake outlines the facts to Eddie and ask if Eddie is willing to cooperate. Eddie says he has nothing else to say. Kate explains they know what happened, that Lester stole his identity and took out a loan against his home. Eddie says he took out the loan himself and he is not the victim. He gave the money away because he wanted to. Kate doesn’t understand why he is sticking to that story and they all want to help him. Eddie gets up to leave and Jake tells him the judge has ruled him fit to enter a plea. Sykes tells Jake to keep talking. Jake tells him Eddie could seek a good year indication which means if he pleads guilty now, he can significantly reduce his sentence. Eddie states he is not interested. Jake stresses it could be the difference between 10 and 18 years but his hands are tied unless Eddie starts talking.

Later, Natalie waits in the CPS hallway and meets her father as he gets off the lift and is being led off. She runs up to him and asks what did he say? He shields himself from her and walks off with the officers. Natalie asks Jake but he says he is sorry, he did all he could. Natalie runs toward her dad as he walk out the door and she shouts, asking why wouldn’t he help himself? He looks back at her as they lead him off.

At MIU on April 18, Natalie sits, looking forlorn, by the lifts as Ronnie walks out. She seems to be crying and asks Ronnie to do one more thing for her. Ronnie worries what Wes would do if he helped her again. She cries and begs him, saying she does not know what else to do. As she covers her face, Ronnie asks when did he ever take any notice from his governor?

At the prison visiting area on April 18,  Eddie meets up with Ronnie and when he sees Natalie there, he tries to walk off. Natalie says to let him go, he’s always been too bloody pigheaded to help. He says she can’t talk to him like that, he is her father. She tells him to act like it for a change. She asks for 5 minutes and then says she will never bother him again. He walks up to her. Natalie asks why didn’t he go to the police but Eddie still denies anyone stole from him. She calls Eddie a stubborn idiot, saying he’d rather go down for life than see his grandchildren marry and have children of their own, because he is too proud to admit the truth? She is trying to help him and all he does is throw it back in her face. She explains she spent weeks, months trying to defend him and she doesn’t even know why anymore. She wonders if people are right, that she doesn’t know who she is. Fraud or no fraud, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he killed a man. Eddie pauses and then nods, saying the bailiffs came banging on the door, the neighbors stood watching and he tried to reason with them but they said it was too late. That’s when he called the bank and they told him what he had done. Or what Lester had done. There was an email from Neil Lester saying he could win an all expenses paid trip to Australia except there were many personal questions. He gave them his date of birth, insurance number, you name it, he told them. He found out where Lester lived by a search of his email address. He thought if he could get his hands on his computer he’d get it all back somehow. It was too late, it was all gone, deleted like it never existed. Lester showed no remorse. He just stood there and made him feel stupid. Lester laughed in his face. Eddie tried to get away from him but Lester had him backed into a corner and then…He never meant to hurt him. He just wanted his life back. He’s had to live with that day since, that he killed a man and left a child without a father. He asks for what, pride? Natalie asks why he didn’t tell her in the first place, she could have helped him. Eddie was afraid, that she’d think he couldn’t manage on her own, which is why he thinks she took her mother away from him. She explains she did that to help him, why else did he think she left her job? Eddie says it was his responsibility, Natalie reminds him she asked him to come with her. Eddie begins to cry, and says it was their home, it was all he had left. He cries and Natalie reaches out to console him as Ronnie looks on.

Later, Natalie arrives at the CPS and walks into Jake’s office. She tells Jake and Kate that her dad will plead guilty to manslaughter; he inflicted the blow but did not go there with the intention of killing him or causing serious injury. He accepts that he caused death by his actions. Jake says he will do what he can. Natalie leaves the office.

At Crown v Stewart in the plea and case management hearing on April 21, Eddie pleads not guilty of murder but does plead guilty to manslaughter. Jake says the plea is acceptable to The Crown. Jake asks that the charge of murder lie on file. Natalie watches from the gallery. As the judge adjourns for pre-sentencing reports, Eddie looks away and as Natalie sadly watches from the gallery, we fade to black.

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1 comment:

DewieTheBear said...

Really enjoyed this episode. The chemistry between Walter and Walsh was palpable, and I did sort of like more time spent with the "Law" side (as much as I enjoy Dominic Rowan, Georgia Taylor still comes off like too much of a petulant child). I re-watched "Identity," and while Lonnie's story was emotionally engaging, ultimately it didn't pack an emotional punch, unlike "Pride."