Rumpole has finally retired and has relocated to Miami where son Nick has a position at the university. Rumpole decided to retire after losing a long string of cases before Judge Bullingham, but is quite bored with ogling pretty girls and reading about interesting crimes in The Times. In Chambers, there is now a need to fill the vacancy a young radical lawyer seems to be the front runner. When he needs help on a case, Phyllida Erskine-Brown offers to write to Rumpole and asks for his assistance. To everyone's surprised, Rumpole returns to Chambers and finds himself with a nice little murder case to defend, yet again, before Judge Bullingham. Written by
This 2-hour telefilm, made after the second season of the Rumpole television series, was adapted by Mortimer from his novella. It begins with Rumpole retired to Florida, ogling bathing beauties on the beach, but he doesn't stay there for long; a mysterious murder case involving bloodstains (his area of specialty) calls him back to London. He now has to ingratiate himself into a Chambers that no longer wants him, all the while facing off against a dangerous cult. Mortimer is one of England's best TV writers, and he combines the usual well-drawn characters with a solid mystery plot with some nice twists and turns, as well as hilarious character-driven humor. The calibre of the acting is, as always, spectacular. Rumpole is in many ways the English Columbo (McKern, like Peter Falk, had only one eye!), and if you like one, you'll probably like the other; at any rate, if you're a fan of Rumpole, this film is a must-see. Rest in peace, Mr. McKern; you (and Rumpole) are sorely missed.
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