Law & Order: UK

Thursday, 16 September 2010, 9:00PM – 10:00PM on ITV1

Episode Two: Hounded

Back for a third series starring Ben Daniels as as dedicated Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel, Freema Agyeman as hard working, strong-willed young prosecutor Alesha Phillips, Bradley Walsh as DS Ronnie Brooks, a real East End, copper’s copper, friend and partner to the charming DS Matt Devlin played by Jamie Bamber. The programme covers diverse storylines taken from the original hit US series but all with a distinctly British perspective. Now the teams are back to solve more perplexing crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.

In episode two when the body of a 16 year old girl is found dead in her home in the middle of the afternoon, the investigating police, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber), cannot be sure a crime was even committed. With no forensic evidence and nothing to suggest the victim didn’t die of natural causes, Matt and Ronnie question why they have been called out in the first place. However, the victim’s mother believes she was raped because she never slept naked. On further investigation, an unlikely murder weapon is uncovered and a likely suspect – someone with whom Crown Prosecutor James Steel (Ben Daniels) has a history.

Determined the accused man Paul Darnelle (Kevin Doyle) is guilty, James pursues him with every power available. Like a man possessed, he pushes the boundaries of the law to the legal limit. Is our hero persecuting an innocent man or justified in his convictions?

Says Ben Daniels of his character James Steel: ” In episode two, he hounds a man with a tenacity that is not healthy. I loved this episode and it was my favourite in this series. I really felt I got my teeth into it.

“James is much more aggressive in this series which I really like, and to bring about justice he doesn’t always stay entirely within the law. Or rather he massages the law to attempt to bring about a conclusion. I think it’s a nice development.”

Even after three series Ben is still committed to researching his role as Senior Crown Prosecutor.

“Any legal issue I don’t understand, I will look into it. Freema, who playes James’ colleague Alesha Phillips, and I are very hot on this. We make sure we know exactly where we are and what is going on. We have to. We are both very thorough. I love working with Freema. You could not ask for more as she is such a hard worker.”

Does filming such gritty storylines take it out of Ben emotionally?

“Sometimes, but that is down to the research you carry out rather than the actual episodes themselves. You will read about real murders and real court cases and they can stick in your memory. There was one story I read about involving a guy who was killed in the woods. It was all filmed on a mobile, and then offloaded the video on to the internet. The story stayed with me for weeks after I had read about it. I was very keen to see whether the guys were brought to justice and what sentence they got. I became obsessed and that was partly due to the fact I was working on Law & Order:UK and wanted to know the outcome!”

This episode is produced by Richard Stokes, directed by Julian Holmes and written by Catherine Tregenna. The executive producers are Andrew Woodhead, Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer of the series.

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