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"Trial & Retribution" Episode #6.1 (2002)

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

It just gets better and better....

Author: Simon D. from Woking, UK
20 December 2002

...everytimer Lynda La Plante puts pen to paper. Apart from the series 'Lifeboat' that failed to grip me from the start, everything else has always kept my interest from start to finish. Trial and Retribution has now, in my humble opinion, surpassed the level of excitement experienced in the Prime Suspect series however the production and cinematography was always better in Trial and Retribution from the start. The split screen work that was recently championed by the critics in '24' was in fact pioneered by Lynda from the first installment a good few years earlier and was a fundemental part of the storytelling. (to better effect than in 24!) This is largely due to Lynda La Plante's hands on approach, bringing her already proven writing skills (she is a very successfull crime thriller novelist) together with the added dimension of being able to play with images on o screen. You can never show more than one word at a time on the pages of a book but with split screen you show simultaniously two, three, or maybe even four elements of the story unfolding at the same time.

Storywise this is the most complex chapter of this series of usually one off two part, four hour thrillers. Without giving the storyline away it is firing on many differant fronts and it twists and turns more than anyother Lynda la Plante story that I can remember. I have never bee more gripped by a TV thriller, so much so that I did wonder what would have happened if it had received a theatrical release in the States as it is artistically strong enough and if you removed all the adverts coupled with some smart editing you would have something that would thrill in this age of very glossy but devoid of depth Hollywood thrillers.Please do not stop there Lynda! (as if she would!)

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Flawed writing mars episode

Author: John Roberts
29 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You would think Lynda La Plante would know her way around police procedure being a crime novelist and creator of Prime Suspect. Her flawed teleplay damages the credibility of the 6th edition of Trial & Retribution.

This is a busy story. Walker isn't running an investigation as he's busy preparing for the commander's interview. Pat is lead on the murder of a young mother but that case is secondary. Emphasis is on the disintegrating relationship between Walker and Pat which comes to a head because of his family issues.

Ex-wife Lynn's new boyfriend Eric is a nutjob gone off the deep end on a terror campaign. Walker's brother Jimmy arrives after a 10-year absence and he's bad news being a conniving creep and criminal. The trial at hand is Walker accused of murdering Eric. He shot the crazed man as he advanced with a broken bottle after breaking and entering and terrorizing Pat.

All the Crown prosecution cares about is Walker used....gasp....a gun, the most forbidden act in the liberal UK. In their eyes Walker was to allow himself to be possibly killed rather than pull the trigger. Walker had minutes before taken the gun off Jimmy when searching for Pat's stolen jewelry.

Here's where La Plante's writing is poor. How did Jimmy come into possession of the gun? Was the gun traced? Was it checked for Jimmy's fingerprints? A cab drover witnessed Walker taking the gun from Jimmy. Why wasn't he tracked down to testify in Walker's defense? The glaring omission of these police basics seriously undermines plot credibility.

All that matters is the liberal obsession over guns. It doesn't matter Walker's action was entirely justified as Eric was a dangerous and violent threat. To validate her anti-gun statement, La Plante tacks on an unneeded "surprise" revelation. What La Plante forgets is you don't require a gun to follow through on threats of murder.

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