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.

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

Episode One: Broken

Following the success of the first two series of LAW & ORDER: UK, which achieved audiences nearing six million, the star studded cast is back with more 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.

BRADLEY WALSH (Torn, Coronation Street) is DS Ronnie Brooks, a real East End, copper’s copper, friend and partner to the charming DS Matt Devlin, JAMIE BAMBER (Battlestar Galactica, The Last Detective, Ultimate Force) whose approach to policing is part seduction part force. Both report to DI Natalie Chandler (HARRIET WALTER, Morris: A Life With Bells On, Broken Lines, Atonement) a working mum who would back them to the end.

While the CPS team comprises BEN DANIELS (The Passion, The State Within, Cutting It) as dedicated Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel, a man on a mission for justice; FREEMA AGYEMAN (Dr Who, Torchwood, Little Dorrit) as hard working, strong-willed young prosecutor Alesha Phillips; and BILL PATERSON (Little Dorrit, Criminal Justice, Sea of Souls) as their respected boss CPS director George Castle, a man trying to balance his ideals with the bigger picture.

The new cases faced by the teams are even more compelling and shocking then those featured in previous series. They include: a toddler being led to his death, a 16 year old girl found dead in her home in the middle of the afternoon, a prison officer shot dead on a council estate, a mysterious killer using a bayonet to slay his victims, the stabbing of a student and the murder case of DS Matt Devlin’s best friend.

Guest stars across the new series include: Rupert Graves, Deborah Findlay, Kevin Doyle, Rocky Marshall, Patrick Malahide, Ruth Gemmell, Matthew Marsh, Celyn Jones, Wunmi Mosaku, and Robbie Gee.

The terrifying death of a toddler haunts the first episode of Law & Order: UK which deals with the difficult and morally complex issue of children who kill. As a society, we are very unforgiving of child killers but if the killers themselves are only children, it begs the question – who really is responsible for the crime? With two children in the frame, each blaming the other, can forensic evidence prove who is guilty of strangling little Conor to death?

In an emotionally gut wrenching episode, CPS director George Castle (Bill Paterson)defies his superiors and instead takes instruction from the victim’s mother who has a surprising point of view on the crime. But can the justice system, and ultimately the government, afford to be lenient?

This episode is produced by Richard Stokes, directed by Andy Goddard and written by Emilia di Girolamo. The executive producers are Andrew Woodhead, Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer of the series.

Following the highly successful launch of Law & Order: UK, ITV has commissioned another 13 episodes to go into production later this year.

Law & Order: UK is based on Dick Wolf’s groundbreaking US format which remains one of NBC’s top-rated, dramatic series.  Commissioned for the UK by Peter Fincham, ITV’s Director of Television, Channels and Online and Laura Mackie, ITV’s Director of Drama, the first series was launched in February with seven episodes to 6.5m viewers and a 26% share of the audience.  Series One then averaged 6.3m viewers and a 25% share across all episodes.

The critically acclaimed cast, including Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber and Freema Agyeman will be returning to continue their fight for justice.

Series One attracted a fantastic line up of guest stars including Dervla Kirwan, Holly Aird, Iain Glen, Lesley Manville, Patrick Malahide, Colin Salmon, Juliet Aubrey, Sean Pertwee, Frances Barber, Cyril Nri, Derek Riddell and Keith Barron.

The new series will also be co-produced by Kudos Films and Television, Wolf Films and NBC Universal. The executive producers are Jane Featherstone (Spooks, Ashes to Ashes), Andrew Woodhead (The Fixer, Spooks) and Stephen Garrett (Burn Up) for Kudos and Dick Wolf, creator and executive producer of Law & Order for Wolf Films.  The producer will be Richard Stokes who also produced Series One of Law & Order: UK.

The brainchild of creator Dick Wolf, Law & Order is the most successful brand on primetime U.S. television. The series is a two time Emmy Award winner, including the 1997 Award for ‘Outstanding Drama Series’.  It is also the record holding drama series for the most consecutive nominations (11).  Law & Order has also turned into one of television entertainment’s most pre-eminent brands, with successful spin-offs, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  Law & Order is the longest running crime series in the history of U.S. television where network NBC has just announced a 20th season.

Laura Mackie (Director of Drama, ITV) says: “This new commission brings our total order to 26 episodes which demonstrates our commitment to series that have concepts and storylines that can run long term. Audiences clearly loved the first series which featured the cream of British acting talent with gripping “torn from the headlines” storylines and this will again be at the heart of the new series. Kudos and Wolf Films made Law & Order: UK dynamic and fast paced and I’m delighted to be collaborating with them again on the new run.”

Dick Wolf (Creator and executive producer of Law & Order) says: “This is a great day for the ‘Law and Order brand. On the heels of the original ‘Law and Order’ tying ‘Gunsmoke’s’ all time drama series record of 20 years, and ‘Law and Order: SVU’s’ renewal for season 11, its wonderful to have pick ups on both sides of the Atlantic. I am very proud of the work the actors, producers, writers and crew have done on ‘Law and Order: UK’ and it would be my sincerest pleasure for it to be one of the cornerstones of ITV’s programming slate for years to come.”

Angela Bromstad (President, NBC and Universal Media Studios, who also oversees international TV production for NBC Universal) says: “NBC Universal is delighted with the commission of a second series of Law & Order: UK which has clearly been a great success with British audiences.  We are proud to work in partnership with ITV, Kudos and Dick Wolf in the continuing production of such high quality television drama with broad and enduring appeal.”

Stephen Garrett (Executive Chairman, Kudos) says: “We’re immensely proud of the show’s success and the fact that something so quintessentially American feels so essentially British.  ITV’s support has been absolute and in these difficult times another order of 13 episodes is a ringing endorsement of their continuing commitment to quality primetime drama.”

The remaining six episodes from the first series will be screened at a later date, yet to be announced.

Monday, 6 April 2009, 9:00PM on ITV1

The first series of Law & Order: UK concludes with a shocking storyline involving Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips, played by Freema Agyeman.

When Harley Street gynaecologist, Dr Alec Merrick, (Derek Riddell) is accused of sexually assaulting one of his patients during a routine examination, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh), DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) and DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) are brought in to investigate. But how can they find enough evidence when it’s just one person’s word against another, and one party is an eminent doctor?

Matt and Ronnie bring the case to Crown Prosecutor James Steel (Ben Daniels) and they find themselves grappling with the grey areas of sexual assault charges. But when they begin to feel, along with George Castle (Bill Paterson), Director of the CPS, London, that they can get no further with this case, Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) refuses to accept his orders. Determined to bring Merrick to justice, Alesha goes beyond the call of duty in a bid to collect the necessary evidence. As our team splinter, they find themselves up against unstoppable defence barrister Phyllis Gladstone (Lesley Manville), and with a thin case and a dangerous level of emotional involvement, they must battle it out in court. But who will the jury believe?


 

Monday, 30 March 2009, 9:00PM on ITV1

In all his years of acting Bill Paterson has never played a man of the law but he will soon be seen in Law & Order: UK portraying a crucial link in the British justice system.

“George Castle heads up the London Branch of the Crown Prosecution Service. He was an independent barrister in a previous life before being snapped up by the CPS. He is a man driven by a sense of justice. He wants to see bad people prosecuted and he is not prepared to be too liberal about things.”

Bill continues: “George runs his ship with an iron hand to some extent. His two younger associates, James and Alesha, are the active members of his team who carry out the bulk of the tasks but I keep their noses to the grind stone. I can often be heard stressing that we have to make the case stick or that the evidence is too flimsy. Basically George has to carry the can upstairs and needs to be sure they are taking forward prosecutions they can win. They can’t prosecute on a whim. I tie together the plot and clarify what we are going to court with.”

But in his last television role he did deride the profession he now upholds in his latest guise. “In Criminal Justice I played a detective superintendent who actually calls the CPS the Can’t Prosecute Service so I was a bit worried the legal men wouldn’t be too happy about my casting,” he laughs.

Bill admits the law is not an area that attracted him as a student. “I had to read a little law when I was a quantity surveyor and that made me realise it didn’t appeal – even if I had got the necessary qualifications. The law can be mundane, lengthy court cases with lots of time spent writing everything down. In some ways though the theatricality of the law is quite close to acting. You prepare a sort of brief of your work and you present that day in court or on stage as though it was the most important thing in your life. Then you walk away with your colleagues and go and have a drink.”

When a Turkish social club on the Edgware Road is burned to the ground in an horrific arson attack, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh), DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) and DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) are embroiled in a major investigation into seventeen deaths. Fears of a racist attack or hate crime drive the investigation, but with a trail incorporating false identities and a devious method of fire-setting, the team soon discover the truth is even more complex. Can the police and legal teams work together in the face of opposition from respected barrister St John Artemis (Charles Kay) to remove a key piece of evidence from a suspect’s leg? And will that evidence lead them any closer to the person responsible?

Even when the police find and arrest the arsonist, the case is far from over. Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel (Ben Daniels) and Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) question whether the arsonist was working alone, or on the orders of someone else. As George Castle (Bill Paterson) pressures them to deliver results, James finds himself confronting one of his oldest friends. Could Faruk Osman (Selva Raslingham) be involved in a conspiracy to burn members of his own community? As he faces down opposition barrister Michaela Herman (Frances Barber), is James willing to risk a valued friendship in order to gain justice for the dead?


Monday, 23 March 2009, 9:00PM on ITV1

Talking about his character DS Matt Devlin in ITV drama Law and Order: UK, Jamie explains: “He’s a Detective Sergeant from an Irish Catholic family, and he grew up in Kilburn. I think it was very difficult for him and his family and he has issues with them and has defined himself as his job; as a policeman, and he absolutely loves his job. I think he has a romantic idea of what it is to be a policeman – he inherits it from the great fictional detectives and that’s why he went into policing. He works with this guy Ronnie Brookes who’s from the ‘Sweeney’ era of policing but has grown and been mellowed through living through that very gung ho era and has become a very rounded empathetic understating individual. Matt is much more aggressive; people are either innocent or guilty.

“The whole idea of Law & Order is that you don’t go home with the characters but that you get to see their working relationship. These two guys are best mates but you know they have no idea what each other’s apartments look like; they share a desk, a car, they work on all the same cases and they love each other but would never admit it.

“I know where Matt comes from, I know he wears a St Christopher around his neck and there is an absolutism to his upbringing that he’s rejected but can’t help but replicate in the way he judges people, they are either guilty or not.”

So what was it like for Jamie working so closely with Bradley Walsh as Matt’s partner DS Brooks?

“First up I will say I’ve never really watched Coronation Street nor have I been a light entertainment guy so I didn’t really know what to expect but everyone else seems to have an idea of who they think Bradley Walsh is. What I have discovered is the most interesting, charismatic, clownish, fun guy to work with who is also a natural born actor and has really got a great brain when it comes to scripts, dialogues and dramatic sense. He is completely different to me in terms of backgrounds and sensibility but there is something there in the chemistry and I adore him as an individual so it is very easy for me to play Matt Devlin who clearly adores Ronnie Brooks. I like him very much as a guy, he makes everyone laugh all day long. He’s a clown and he can’t stop doing it. It’s a real insight when you see him doing Law & Order and then going off to rehearse his panto lines.”

When the bones of eight-year-old Tommy Keegan are discovered in the communal basement of a house in Ladbroke Grove, DS Ronnie Brooks(Bradley Walsh), DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) and DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) have a twenty-five-year-old cold case on their hands. Tommy’s mother’s grief and the shoddiness of the previous investigation drives the team to bring Tommy’s killer to justice. But the only people who seem to know anything about the case are the man originally arrested for Tommy’s disappearance Ed Connor (Anthony Higgins), and Julia Mortimer (Holly Aird), Tommy’s best friend, but both are reluctant to help the new investigation. When Julia is persuaded to take part in EMDR therapy to revisit her memory of the night Tommy went missing, a terrible secret is revealed.

Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) and Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel (Ben Daniels) proceed to build a case against the better judgement of George Castle (Bill Paterson) who is sure the jury will be highly sceptical about the recovered memory and what it has uncovered. Julia’s parents, Vernon (Keith Barron) and Catherine (Margot Leicester) warn James that this an opportunistic vendetta on Julia’s part, but James is convinced about what she saw that night. James sets out to prove against all odds, and compelling barrister Doug Greer (Colin Salmon) that Julia’s telling the truth.


 

Monday, 16 March 2009, 9:00PM on ITV1

When it came to researching her role as a Crown Prosecutor in ITV’s Law & Order: UK Freema Agyeman had help close at hand; her sister has a law degree.

“My sister Leila was a great help when I needed advice so I’m hugely grateful to her,” says Freema. “I had plenty of time to research after I got the role of Alesha. I did a tour of the Old Bailey which was incredible. It is so immense and intimidating I felt as though the weight of the law was on my shoulders.

“I sat through some hearings which were very interesting. To be there watching a real case with a real victim and a real perpetrator; it almost felt like I was watching it on television.”

But despite a less than easy route to her current position, Freema doesn’t think her character has a chip on her shoulder.

“Alesha’s back story reads ‘Leaves school with 3 A’s at A Levels and goes straight to City Law School to do a three year BA Honours and during this time Alesha tries to get placements at different law firms and gets rejected four times’. So she starts to wonder that it’s not because she isn’t good enough but whether it is because she is a black woman from Hackney. She hasn’t got a chip on her shoulder but she is very much on the side of the disadvantaged, the underdog, with the people that haven’t been given a fair shot at life. Naturally, this has made her a bit more sensitive to people and gives a fairness to her.”

Freema continues: “Alesha is very strong willed and driven in her work. She is an intelligent and confident woman and absolutely believes in her job and everything it stands for, but she is not as absolute in everything as her boss and she does retain an empathy for who the people are in these cases. She is the ying to James’ yang. Job wise Alesha is a crown prosecutor but she trained as a solicitor so her title is a solicitor advocate hence she doesn’t wear a wig in court because she didn’t train as a barrister.

“She may not say much in court but I really enjoy playing that link between the police and the prosecutors. It means Alesha gets to do a lot of digging and sort of bridges the divide between the two sides.”

In episode four when a metal-detecting pensioner unearths a shallow grave by the side of the Thames, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) are forced to reopen a contentious murder case. Their investigations into the case of Luke Slade (Iain Glen) threaten to unravel a conviction made by James Steel eight years ago.

After Luke Slade (Iain Glen) is given leave to appeal, Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel (Ben Daniels) must revisit his past and one of his first cases for the CPS. But when Luke Slade represents himself in court, the case becomes more than a legal appeal – it soon becomes a personal vendetta between Slade and Steel. Luke Slade has been studying law during his time in prison – and he’s determined not to lose to James again.

As Slade begins to get the better of James in court, Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) and Director of CPS, London, George Castle (Bill Paterson) begin to question whether James was overzealous in his initial prosecution. And when the prosecution case comes under threat, personal and professional loyalties are tested to the limit. Is Luke Slade guilty of murder? And why is he taking so much pleasure from this legal game of cat and mouse with James Steel? James’ career is on the line – and the murders are not yet over.


 

Monday, 2 March 2009, 9:00PM on ITV1

“His quest for the truth is what will be so compelling to watch,” says Ben Daniel of his character James Steel in Law & Order: UK.

“It is justice at whatever cost for James. He is so blinkered in his quest for the truth that it even destroys his personal relationships.”

Ben explains: “James is a Senior Crown Prosecutor who has worked in the CPS for about eight years and previous to that he was a defence counsel. He was a brilliant defence counsel and got lots of people off, however one particular case coincided with the birth of his son. He had had managed to get a man off a rape charge three times in a row; that as well as his son being born made him rethink his whole life and defect to the CPS. Apparently many defence barristers end up doing that.

“It is all about guilt. You are not allowed to defend someone if you know they are guilty but I think sometimes it is quite evident they are guilty and they have to do it. It’s a cab rank principle; unless you are hired privately you don’t get to choose.”

Ben continues: “Once he changed sides, James is completely consumed by his job to the point where his wife leaves him, taking their son to live in Scotland. With his family gone there is an empty hole to fill with his work.

“James is quite absolute in the way he sees the world; it is all black and white, good and bad, right and wrong. It’s amazing for me to play such a character as the majority of people I’ve played have been very duplicitous. It’s refreshing to play a man who is a beacon of truth. I would go as far to say that James is quite a heroic figure in his quest to do the right thing.”

During his research Ben met the head of the CPS in London. He recounts: “He is a very inspirational man. I was interested to find out what sort of a person he is, what drives him, even what he was like as a child so I could start to learn how he became what he is. He explained to me that you have to have the ability to switch off emotionally but James doesn’t; he gets too involved. He never wears a watch so he can’t tell how late he’s working. He is immersed in his work.”

Episode 2: Unloved

When a 13-year-old boy is found kicked to death at Euston Station, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) have nothing to go on. Frustrated when they can’t find any leads – not even his parents – they turn to DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter). Her press conference identifies the victim as Danny Jackson.

Matt and Ronnie discover Danny’s mother, Mandy (Nicola Stephenson), is an ex junkie whose boyfriend Stevie is suspected of physically abusing Danny. As the case begins to affect Matt and Ronnie emotionally, suspicions fall on Danny’s foster home, run by Phoebe Baxter (Joanna Hole). But who is responsible for Danny’s death? The parents who abandoned him, a foster mother who gave him too much freedom or the friends who were last to see him?

Crown Prosecutors James Steel (Ben Daniels) and Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) face Beatrice McArdle (Dervla Kirwan) an old flame from James’ defence days. She believes James is prosecuting the wrong person. James’ suspicions of this simplistic defence prove to be well founded – Beatrice is stalling for time to gather evidence for an audacious defence strategy, that the accused was genetically predisposed towards murder; a defence that would change the whole nature of the British legal system.

As the legal system hangs by a thread, James must fight harder than ever to achieve justice for the victim, Danny Jackson, but at what cost for all concerned?

Monday, 2 March 2009, 9:00PM on ITV1

“His quest for the truth is what will be so compelling to watch,” says Ben Daniel of his character James Steel in Law & Order: UK.

“It is justice at whatever cost for James. He is so blinkered in his quest for the truth that it even destroys his personal relationships.”

Ben explains: “James is a Senior Crown Prosecutor who has worked in the CPS for about eight years and previous to that he was a defence counsel. He was a brilliant defence counsel and got lots of people off, however one particular case coincided with the birth of his son. He had had managed to get a man off a rape charge three times in a row; that as well as his son being born made him rethink his whole life and defect to the CPS. Apparently many defence barristers end up doing that.

“It is all about guilt. You are not allowed to defend someone if you know they are guilty but I think sometimes it is quite evident they are guilty and they have to do it. It’s a cab rank principle; unless you are hired privately you don’t get to choose.”

Ben continues: “Once he changed sides, James is completely consumed by his job to the point where his wife leaves him, taking their son to live in Scotland. With his family gone there is an empty hole to fill with his work.

“James is quite absolute in the way he sees the world; it is all black and white, good and bad, right and wrong. It’s amazing for me to play such a character as the majority of people I’ve played have been very duplicitous. It’s refreshing to play a man who is a beacon of truth. I would go as far to say that James is quite a heroic figure in his quest to do the right thing.”

During his research Ben met the head of the CPS in London. He recounts: “He is a very inspirational man. I was interested to find out what sort of a person he is, what drives him, even what he was like as a child so I could start to learn how he became what he is. He explained to me that you have to have the ability to switch off emotionally but James doesn’t; he gets too involved. He never wears a watch so he can’t tell how late he’s working. He is immersed in his work.”

Episode 2: Unloved

When a 13-year-old boy is found kicked to death at Euston Station, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) have nothing to go on. Frustrated when they can’t find any leads – not even his parents – they turn to DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter). Her press conference identifies the victim as Danny Jackson.

Matt and Ronnie discover Danny’s mother, Mandy (Nicola Stephenson), is an ex junkie whose boyfriend Stevie is suspected of physically abusing Danny. As the case begins to affect Matt and Ronnie emotionally, suspicions fall on Danny’s foster home, run by Phoebe Baxter (Joanna Hole). But who is responsible for Danny’s death? The parents who abandoned him, a foster mother who gave him too much freedom or the friends who were last to see him?

Crown Prosecutors James Steel (Ben Daniels) and Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) face Beatrice McArdle (Dervla Kirwan) an old flame from James’ defence days. She believes James is prosecuting the wrong person. James’ suspicions of this simplistic defence prove to be well founded – Beatrice is stalling for time to gather evidence for an audacious defence strategy, that the accused was genetically predisposed towards murder; a defence that would change the whole nature of the British legal system.

As the legal system hangs by a thread, James must fight harder than ever to achieve justice for the victim, Danny Jackson, but at what cost for all concerned?

Monday, 23 February 2009, 9:00PM on ITV1

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime, and the Crown Prosecution Service who prosecute the offenders.

The cream of British acting talent is brought together in an ensemble cast of extraordinary breadth to star in Law and Order: UK.

The new series for ITV1 is based on the enormously successful U.S. format created by two time Emmy award-winning producer Dick Wolf. It will be co-produced by Kudos Film and Television, Wolf Films and NBC Universal.

Bradley Walsh (Torn, Coronation Street) is DS Ronnie Brooks, a real East End, copper’s copper, friend and partner to the charming DS Matt Devlin, Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica, The Last Detective, Ultimate Force) whose approach to policing is part seduction part force. Both report to DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter The Young Victoria, Atonement, Sense and Sensibility) a working mum who would back them to the end.

While the CPS team comprises Ben Daniels (The Passion, The State Within, Cutting It) as dedicated Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel, a man on a mission for justice; Freema Agyeman (Dr Who, Torchwood, Little Dorrit) as hard working, strong-willed young prosecutor Alesha Phillips; and Bill Paterson (Little Dorrit, Criminal Justice, Sea of Souls) as their respected boss CPS director George Castle, a man trying to balance his ideals with the bigger picture.

The brainchild of creator Dick Wolf, Law & Order is the most successful brand in primetime U.S. television. It was the 1997 Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Drama Series and the record holder for the most consecutive (11) nominations for a drama series. It has also turned into one of TV entertainment’s most pre-eminent brands, with its successful spin-offs Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Dick Wolf says: “The ‘Law & Order’ brand continues to be very successful in France and Russia, and it has always been my dream to be able to produce a foreign version of the series in the UK. The creative team at Kudos and ITV has done a spectacular job of bringing my vision to life and I have every hope that Law & Order: UK will be a critical and commercial success.”

Lead writer Chris Chibnall was charged with the task of finding the right stories to adapt for a British audience. He explains: “I was looking for stories that I connected with emotionally, that had great opportunities for characterisation, and that felt relevant to Britain today. I watched about 150 episodes of the US Law & Order. Dick Wolf sent over a list of his favourite episodes and I watched all of seasons one to six, plus a number of episodes from seasons seven, eight and nine. It’s a very addictive show so it’s great to be getting paid to sit and watch them.”

Talking of the difficulties in adapting a US series for the UK, Chris says: “We are vigilant about being faithful to the Law & Order format, while also making sure that it feels fresh, modern and British as well. The stories have got to stand up strong in their own right, so you’re constantly making sure that the characters are interesting and original and are rooted in this country. There is always a balancing act between making sure the stories are authentic from a legal perspective but also that they are dramatic. We sometimes had the issue of legal procedure which is different between the two countries. You had to be constantly vigilant, while honoring the source material and making sure the drama is as exciting as it can be for a British audience.”

“I’m thrilled by the roster of guest stars we have throughout the series. The US “mothership” Law & Order has a history of attracting extraordinary talent for guest parts and we’ve worked hard to carry on that tradition. Because every story is self-contained, each episode has a number of juicy guest appearances, which means a new treat for the audience week after week. Whether it’s opposition barristers sparring with Ben Daniels, or witnesses, suspects and relatives facing a quizzing from Bradley Walsh and Jamie Bamber, we’ve been lucky enough to have so many great British actors guesting across the series”.

Guests stars across the series include Dervla Kirwan, Holly Aird, Iain Glen, Lesley Manville, Patrick Malahide, Colin Salmon, Juliet Aubrey, Sean Pertwee, Frances Barber, Cyril Nri, Derek Riddell and Keith Barron.

Law and Order: UK will be produced by Richard Stokes (Torchwood, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries), the executive producers are Jane Featherstone (Spooks, Ashes to Ashes), Andrew Woodhead (The Fixer, Spooks) and Stephen Garrett (Burn Up) for Kudos, Dick Wolf for Wolf Films and Angela Bromstad for NBCU. The lead writer is Chris Chibnall, who counts highly successful series such as Life On Mars and Torchwood amongst his prestigious credits, and who is also executive producer.

Episode One : Care

When the evacuation of a central London hospital leads to the discovery of a tragic death, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) investigate. The trail leads them to Kings Cross, where the redevelopment and gentrification of the area is affecting a number of local residents. But has this led someone to commit murder? Could the seemingly vulnerable single mother Dionne Farrah (Venetia Campbell) or her sister Leona be involved? Are caretaker Daniel Matoukou (Babou Ceesay) or local resident Mike Turner (Tony Maudsley) connected to events surrounding the death? And how has the case affected landlady Maureen Walters (Lorraine Ashbourne)? As DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) pressurises Matt and Ronnie to untangle the case, a disturbing pattern emerges…

When a suspect is arrested, Crown Prosecutors James Steel (Ben Daniels) and Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) face an uphill struggle convincing the head of the Crown Prosecution Service, London, George Castle (Bill Paterson) that their case is strong enough. Complicating matters further is their sharp-suited, mercury-minded opponent Robert Ridley QC (Patrick Malahide). Devious and without the burden of principles, Ridley uses every trick in the book to get his client off. With an Old Bailey trial on the verge of collapse, and pressure increasing from their boss, James and Alesha must team up with Matt and Ronnie to gain enough evidence, get the better of Robert Ridley QC and convict the person responsible for this emotionally-charged death.

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