Not all cop shows are created equal, some stand head and shoulders above the others, and that is certainly the case with British TV’s series Trial & Retribution. I am sure that many people think that shows like CSI are classic cop shows, telling it the way it is. As a reporter who talks with other reporters I can assure you that real life is very different from the glitz and glam of shows like CSI. Real life is for the most part boring and mundane. It is usually sheer bloody mindedness and countless hours of drudgery that solves a case, not a million dollar mass spectrometer.

There are also many ‘wild cards’ that come into play, justice is not always served, it can be subverted, it can go astray. One only has to look at some real life cases to see that aspect. The original criminal trial of O.J. Simpson is the poster child of how the legal system can become derailed.

Trial & Retribution was created by Lynda La Plante, a lady who originally started out as an actress, and then screen writer of children’s programming. I have to admit that I was somewhat skeptical that with this background she could pull off a dramatic series, well I was completely wrong. This series is masterfully written, and an absolute joy to watch.

Lynda La Plante has created an absolute masterpiece in Trail & Retribution. Many cop shows focus only on the technology of solving the crime, that is not the case here. Yes the crime is an important aspect, but it is the character development and interaction that draws you into the plot.

The stars of the show are DCS Michael “Mike” Walker played by David Hayman and DI Pat North played by Kate Buffery. While not the traditional ‘good guy, bad guy’ match up I think it would be fair to say that DCS Walker is the jaded no nonsense detective, who has seen it all, and has little time for sentimentality. DI North is equally obsessed with her job, but also seems to reach out in a more caring way.

Trial & Retribution is available in a 4 DVD box set, there are 4 episodes and a great interview with Lynda La Plante. Each episode has a running time of almost two hours, this is not so much a TV show, it is more like 4 full length movies. The total running time is over 800 minutes.

I enjoyed this series a great deal, it certainly takes the romance out of crime. It is a nitty gritty, down to earth look at crime. In some ways it is similar to the series Law & Order, it follows the crime from cradle to grave. But Trial & Retribution does it in a much more detailed and sometimes surprising way. The good guys don’t always win.

You can order your copy by clicking the link below.

Trial & Retribution DVDs

Simon Barrett

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