Posted: 07/20/2010

 

Trial and Retribution - Set 4

by Del Harvey




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With the recent demise of the long-running and hugely popular police drama Law & Order, we fans will be turning to other shows in hopes of satisfying our fix for intelligent and well-plotted television dramas. Thanks to Acorn Media, we can start by watching the British long-running and well-plotted series Trial & Retribution. Series 4 was recently released here in the states, and until we are given access to Britain’s Law & Order: UK series, we can definitely find solace in the arms of Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Walker (David Hayman) and Detective Chief Inspector Roisin Connor (Victoria Smurfit).

Mike Walker and Roisin Connor (pronounced “roy-sheen”) are the leads in the show as well as two tough-as-nails coppers who lay it all on the line to track down rapists, kidnappers and killers in this hit British crime series. In Series 4, we are treated to three of these mini-series, each one approximately 130 minutes long; which is roughly the length of a feature film.

In the first of the series, Paradise Lost (Volume XII), the brutal rape and murder of a young white teacher looks like an open-and-shut case. The victim’s black boyfriend has a criminal record and a feeble alibi, and the forensic evidence seems damning. But Connor seems to be exhibiting racial bias against the defendant and possible distorting her view of the facts. With accusations poisoning the proceedings, Connor and her colleagues must find the killer in an environment showing greater and greater hostility towards the police.

In Curriculum Vitae (Volume XIII), harried single mother Suzy MacDonald returns home from a business trip to find her 18-month old baby girl dead in her crib and her nanny vanished. Connor and Walker focus their attentions upon the recently hired nanny, who took Suzy’s car when she left. As they delve deeper into this emotive case involving this ultimate abuse of trust, the obvious conclusion seems just that. But the more they investigate the case, the more complicated it becomes and they find themselves wondering who is the real victim and who can they really trust?

In Mirror Image (Volume XIV), a small fortune in missing jewels taken from a murder scene suggests a botched robbery. The victims’ wealth and status come under the spotlight because they were a police commander and his magistrate wife, which only puts added pressure on Walker and Connor. Walker really begins to feel the heat when he drags out an investigation to prove that the slain fellow cop was the target of an elaborate conspiracy rather than a victim of a bungled burglary. But as they probe deeper into the family’s unsavory secrets, Connor’s suspicions fall on the couple’s sons, despite their airtight alibi.

The Trial & Retribution series was created by Lynda La Plante, author of the Prime Suspect novels and writer of the series of the same title starring Dame Helen Mirren. Trial & Retribution is perhaps her second-best series, then, although it often resembles the other series thanks in large part to the deftly chiseled characters and realistic plotting.

Trial & Retribution is released as Series 4, with three discs complete in one DVD package. The programs are presented in 16:9 widescreen, in color and stereo, with subtitles.

Do not miss this latest addition to a truly entertaining and intriguing police drama.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.



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