In Momento Mori, James defends a doctor who is accused of poisoning his wife. In a chilling climax, we learn of the darker secrets that emerge about the accused's past.
James returns to the poverty-stricken background of his native Bolton in Care In The Community. As he defends a father who was jointly accused of murdering a baby, Peter is having some difficulty in representing the unresponsive mother whilst he has other things on his mind.
The subject of provocation in a domestic murder trial is explored in Briefs Trooping Gaily, though this episode lacks the intricate plots that typify the rest of the series. Jeremy does however provide copious entertainment value, as he pursues his amateur operatic interests and is in trouble after being caught red-handed absent-mindedly reading another counsel's brief.
Bearing Witness by contrast is the strongest episode in the series. Here, James puts aside his personal views when he represents the mother of a young Jehovah Witness boy who refuses a blood transfusion. After the boy dies, James becomes a witness at her trial for manslaughter. The contempt that James initially feels for the mother is transformed into real empathy. Meanwhile, Jeremy's attempt to gain a reputation as a champion for eco-warriors backfires adds mirth to the episode.
The bleak surroundings of a coastal parish in Norfolk provide the setting of Innocency of Life (sic). After James cross-examines a widowed parishioner who accuses the vicar of misconduct in a church disciplinary hearing, the plot turns and he ends up defending her when she is accused of murdering her husband.
The coastal theme continues in Dead Reckoning, where James prosecutes the owner of a drowned trawler for manslaughter. This episode is reminiscent of some of the earliest series', as James's masterful cross-examining skills show no mercy to the accused.
I would rate Briefs Trooping Gaily as 3 stars, with the other episodes meriting 4 stars each apart, apart from Bearing Witness which deserves the full 5.
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