Trial and Retribution

Thursday 27 March 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

The trial begins. The prosecuting QC presents her evidence: the incredible, coincidences, the tracks crossing again and again. The boys’ lies and subsequent admission about being at the pit. Andy meeting Maria at the club. The boys on CCTV with Maria at the petrol station. The prints on the bottle. Darren is looking increasingly agitated. Andy trying to reassure him. The defence begins. Darren looks nervous and white-faced as he stands up in the dock. He tells the judge he’s changed his mind, he wants to give evidence. Andy shouts across the court, what he’s doing, telling him to sit down. His barrister looks worried. The judge adjourns until the following morning.

As they get back home, Ray takes Andy to one side, gives his son a pep talk. He understands Andy fancied the girl, he wanted to have a bit of fun with her at the chalk pit but it’s obvious it was Darren who flipped out and killed Maria. We get the feeling that this is what Ray has always done, stamped his authority and attitudes onto his son. He tells Andy he’ll get him out of this mess, even if it means being at Darren’s expense. Later that night at the Harper home, the phone rings – it’s the tagging company. Andy’s signal has been immobile for over an hour – they think Andy has removed the tag and done a runner. Ray goes upstairs, finding that Andy has hung himself. A note reads “Sorry dad”.

Darren is at Feltham. His barrister arrives telling him of Andy’s death. He’s in deep shock but withdrawn, hard to read. It seems obvious what will happen next, Darren will pin it on the dead boy. After all Andy isn’t around to argue. Darren’s barrister leads him through his defence, how Andy knew the girl, how Andy picked her up to show off, how he took her to the pit despite Darren’s concerns.

Ray can barely contain his anger. He shouts that Darren’s a liar, that Andy was a good boy, that Darren killed the girl and is now responsible for his son’s death. Darren’s eyes on Ray. He asks him if he really wants to know the truth? Who’s really responsible for his son’s death? And it starts to spill out. Darren’s barrister tries to interrupt, to get him back on course, but Darren tells him to shut up. His story is quiet and intense. They didn’t tell the truth because Andy was terrified of anyone finding out the truth about him. They didn’t go to the pit that night to have sex with Maria. They went there to have sex with each other. The court is in shock. The jury find Darren not guilty, though Walker tells Connor to keep on it, be a stubborn copper, go back again and again. She decides to go and talk to Darren.

At the flat, the front door ajar. A baby crying. The door swings open. Connor sees Ray Harper, sitting on the floor. He faces Darren who holds a gun, knowing that Ray would be coming to kill him after the trial. Connor tries to calm Darren. She’s just came to talk to him. He should put down the gun. But he continues, he needs to talk, to tell someone. They weren’t planning to hurt Maria. They were trying to help her.

They picked her up at the petrol station, when they stopped for vodka and coke. Darren persuaded Andy to help her out, give her a lift. Once in the car, she recognised Andy, and how he wasn’t exactly turned on by her performance back at the club. She picks up Andy’s camera, flicking through the photos – photos of Darren and Andy, together. The penny drops for Maria, and begins to mock and tease the boys. The son of big tough-guy Ray Harper is gay. Terrified of who she might tell, trying to shut her up, Andy pulls off the road and into the chalk pit. Maria jumps out of the car, stumbling out across the mud, in the driving rain. Darren tries to calm her down, but she’s having none of it.

Satch and Palmer pull up outside the flat, running upstairs. Inside, Darren continues to tell Ray and Connor the story, Ray now has the gun, the tension in the tiny flat increasing. At the pit, Maria continues to scream at the top of her lungs about Andy Harper being gay. In a desperate attempt to stop her, Andy raises the vodka bottle, and smashes it across Maria’s head. She falls to the ground, howling in agony, and crawls away into the dark, rainy night. Darren runs off, while Andy waits for his father to pull out his now stuck car.

Inside the flat, Ray drops the gun, pushes past Connor out into the daylight. Darren sobs in Connor’s arms.

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