The show follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police, the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court.
Jesse L. Martin,
The series shows the workings of the judicial system, beginning with the arraignment and continuing through the lawyers process of building a case, investigating leads and preparing witnesses and defendants for trial.
Required viewing for all film students and maybe cops and robbers.
It's been a long time since I saw this four part mini series. Each episode was around ninety minutes or so in length and the depth of characterization in each episode from the cast to the excellent script via the direction was superb. It went out on the best channel in Britain at the time BBC2.
This was made in the days at the BBC before John Birt came along and spoiled everything.
Les Blair worked using the same directing techniques to create characters as Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; both of whom had worked with one of the best producers of the genre, Tony Garnet, who produced this series.
Peter Dean, who made a name for himself later in Eastenders, is dead right for the main villain Jack Lynn: sharply dressed, confident and the king of his domain. The philosophy of the police in the piece is that active villains have to take their turn in prison whether the police can prove a crime or not; they fit them up frame them - and lock them up.
Not long before this was made a real life criminal called George Davis was allegedly framed by the police and locked up. In some parts of London you can still see signs on the wall saying 'George Davis in innocent OK' and it was suggested at the time this series was broadcast that the character Jack Lynn was based on George Davis. His wife, incidentally, dug up the cricket field in Leeds as a protest during an International match that had to be abandoned because of her actions. This turned George Davis into a celebrity over night and he was, eventually, pardoned for the crime and jailed later for another one.
There is another Eastenders's actor in this; Derek Martin who plays Detective Inspector Fred Pyle, the cop that fits up Jack Lynn. The film looks at it from the point of view of Jack Lynn 'The Villain's Tale'; the point of view of the police 'The Copper's Tale'; the solicitor 'The Brief's tale; and the point of view from prison 'The Prisoner's Tale.' The titles sounding a bit like The Canterbury Tales.
The cops and robbers were the same class of people; they spoke the same language, the same dialect, supported the same football team, had the same kind of wives and could quite easily have ended up on the other side of the law. Part of the job of a crook was to go to jail it came with the territory. They didn't moan they just accepted it they were away on business. Maybe the writer, G.F. Newman, and Les Blair are asking if this is the way it should be.
There is probably six hours of superb drama here all shot on 35 mm film - which should be required viewing for all film students and maybe the cops and robbers too. Will we ever see a DVD?
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