(11/16)

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this instalment, a close friend of a famous rock star is murdered at a hotel suite. Suspicion falls on a wealthy car dealer known for running high-stakes poker games, until a member of the rock star’s entourage comes forward with some new information.

Stark and his team are called to a swanky hotel suite where 25-year-old Shaun Mason has been asphyxiated. The room is registered to Justin Bishop, a young rock singer who was at the hotel the previous night to launch his second record. “Looks like the party’s over,” says Stark.

Shaun was one of Justin’s close-knit entourage of three, which includes Justin’s brother Rob and his manager, Brody Miller. When Stark visits the three friends at the flat they share, he learns that Shaun had something of a gambling problem and had lost a great deal of money on the night of his death. The ME’s report, meanwhile, reveals that Shaun suffered bruises and cuts some hours prior to his death – including one cut on his head seemingly caused by a bracelet or watch.

Reyes and Isaac learn that the man who held the poker game at which Shaun lost money is one Andy Zahai – a wealthy car dealer known for his high-stakes games. Suspecting that Zahai may have killed Shaun over money, but aware that there is not enough evidence to make an arrest, Stark comes up with a plan. The wily prosecutor joins one of Zahai’s games at an exclusive restaurant and has soon won a great deal of cash – and, more importantly, Zahai’s expensive watch.

Tests show that the clasp on the timepiece caused the injury to Shaun’s head, and Zahai is arrested. However, he has a cast-iron alibi for the murder. Though he did fight with Shaun during the game, he was still playing at the time of death – and the other players, including a judge, can verify that fact. Zahai is released and Stark and his team find themselves back at square one.

Phone records from Justin’s flat show that somebody was making regular calls to one Jillian Parks – the editor of a Hollywood gossip magazine. The rag has recently been publishing intimate images of the singer, leading the prosecutors to suspect that one of Justin’s entourage may have been selling the pictures for big money. “We might have just found our motive,” says Devlin. Justin has an alibi for the time of Shaun’s death, but Rob and Brody do not. Could either of these two have killed Shaun to protect the singer?

Aware that Justin and his group might be unwilling to talk, Stark decides he must “divide and conquer”. He arrests Justin for murder, and waits. Before long, Brody Miller comes forward. “You’ve arrested the wrong guy,” he says. Brody claims to have seen Rob kill Shaun, and reveals specific details of the crime that were never released, suggesting that he is telling the truth – or that he is guilty himself. When Jillian Parks then reveals that it was Rob who was selling the images to the magazine, Stark arrests his suspect.

As the case moves to trial, Jillian’s testimony shows that Rob killed Shaun because he threatened to expose his lucrative sideline. But a conviction looks unlikely when Brody, the prosecution’s key witness, is discredited. The defence shows video footage that places Brody elsewhere at the time of Shaun’s death, meaning that he cannot have witnessed the murder. While Brody did not see Rob kill Shaun, however, it is clear that he knows somebody who did – since he revealed specific details of the crime that were not released. “Well this is a first,” says Devlin. “We know who the killer is, we know why he did it, we even know that somebody saw it happen – and we’re going to lose this case!” Stark and his team must race against the clock to find the real witness before the case is thrown out of court.

Elsewhere this week, Trevor seems to have returned to his old ways when he loses his temper at work and is fired. Julie, however, stands by her boyfriend and decides it is time to take their relationship to the next level.

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1