Law & Order: UK

Monday, 7 March 2011, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

In the new six-part series of LAW&ORDER:UK the critically acclaimed cast; Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber, Harriet Walter, Ben Daniels, Freema Agyeman and Bill Paterson tackle more emotionally gripping, unmissable stories. 

Series four sees DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) investigating the death of an ex-Premier League Footballer and the witness intimidation which follows; the murder of a junior doctor which unravels into a conspiracy involving senior level government officials and the attempted murder of a high court judge. Meanwhile Senior Prosecutor James Steel (Ben Daniels) is accused of tampering with evidence and perverting the course of justice after an old case is reopened… 

A quality array of guest stars including Juliet Stevenson, Eddie Marsan, Tobias Menzies, Nicola Walker and Matthew McNulty will join the cast for series four. 

In Help, the first episode, ex-Premier League Footballer, Robbie Nichols, is beaten to death with a tyre iron on a London street one evening in what looks like a robbery gone wrong. Investigations lead DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) and DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) to everyman, Mike Jones (Lorcan Cranitch). He was seen in the area at the time of the murder, has motive and, once arrested, has his DNA matched to the murder weapon. Proclaiming his innocence, Mike points the finger at a well known East End gangster who he says he saw at the scene of the crime on the evening in question. The police are at odds as to who to believe. 

Trying the accused is no mean feat for Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel (Ben Daniels) who is up against the eccentric defence barrister Jason Peters (Eddie Marsan). Witness intimidation, false plea bargaining and corruption stand in the way of the truth but in the end, will the decency of one good samaritan be enough to finally put a murderer where they belong? Michael Cochrane is Judge Burchville. 

Freema Agyeman, who plays Alesha Phillips, believes this is the kind of storyline that makes LAW&ORDER: UK so pertinent to today’s society. 

“This episode is addressing the culture of fear that has come to the fore of late when bystanders have to face the possible consequences of doing the right thing. Everyone will have an opinion on this subject; we’ve all thought about and considered what we might do in a similar situation,” says Freema. 

“That is one of the things I love about this show that the stories are so relevant in 2011 even though they are based on much older episodes from the US. That and the fact that we tackle dramatic storylines which address completely different issues each week whether it be racism, conspiracy, mental health or corruption. 

“Some of these subjects will never be easy for me to deal with but paradoxically I always feel better after we have tackled a traumatic episode because I feel like I have contributed in a public forum; we are able to air it and discuss it. Apart from being a great hour’s entertainment, one of the functions of this show is to provoke and promote discussion and that all starts with the cast and crew.” 

Freema is very excited at the reception LAW&ORDER:UK has received in the US. 

She explains: “It’s the biggest relief that they like it! A real buzz has been generated over there about our show. I feel a real sense of pride on behalf of the show.” 

And Freema admits the US has shown an interest in her as a result. “My agent is getting requests so I might just give it a try later this year. I’ve never really had the confidence to go over and self promote before but it is something I have always wanted to try – although I’m fully expecting it to be a totally different world than I’m used to.” 

Having now filmed four series of the show, Freema says she feels ‘completely at home’ in the role of Alesha. And her new found self-possession has translated into her character as well. 

“I’m really comfortable in the role and have a real sense of pride on behalf of what all of us have achieved with the show. And I think as I get more comfortable playing Alesha so she gets more confident. 

“A director who we worked with back at the beginning and who recently returned for another episode told me he loved the headmistress in Alesha which he’d never seen before. I think she’s outgrown that rather Victorian child aspect of the role where she was there to listen and learn. There has been a change in her status and there is certainly plenty more room for her to grow which keeps me interested in the part. I can see the journey we’ve come on and the one ahead; I really enjoy playing Alesha.” 

This episode is produced by Richard Stokes, directed by James Strong and written by Terry Cafolla. The executive producers are Andrew Woodhead, Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer of the series. A Kudos/Wolf Films/NBC Universal Production.

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