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on 26 April 2013
This was a real treat, 13 episodes of the first series of Justice, starring the brilliant Margaret Lockwood. This was another early drama from Yorkshire Television, first shown in 1971 and there’s some quality writing and acting on show. Lockwood plays Harriet Peterson a top barrister working in the north of England. She’s a tough, no-nonsense, articulate and intelligent professional, not easily intimidated and always prepared to fight for what’s right. Lockwood’s performance is a revelation, so measured, finely judged and very convincing; if this series does nothing else, it reminds us what a fantastic actor she was. In an era when recording drama on video tape meant that re-takes were expensive, time-consuming and positively discouraged, I didn’t notice one fluffed or stumbled line of dialogue, or poorly timed cue, from her.

For the most part each episode was tightly written and tightly performed, although a couple of the earlier ones are slightly laboured and suffer from too much going-nowhere dialogue. But that’s a relatively minor quibble; most of the stories maintain a good dramatic pace, but they are very much focused on the specifics and mechanics of each case to drive the narrative forward. There’s little focus on Harriet’s private life, few ‘soapy’ elements, which is refreshing. However, I would have liked a little bit more about her as a person and what motivates her to be the professional she is. I struggled a little bit with the lack of context and setting at times though; a barrister of her status would have worked out of a chambers and have had a clerk and juniors, I am sure. Yet for the most part, none of this is mentioned – there’s not even a secretary in sight. We assume she’s working in a major Yorkshire city, say Leeds or York, but I don’t think there was one name check, so it’s hard to be sure. Mostly, the locale was referred to as “The City” or “The Town”. Still, perhaps this was rectified in the second series.

I enjoyed this very much, if nothing else for Margaret Lockwood’s performance; what a loss to acting she was. I will certainly be buying the next set of discs issued by Network. Highly recommended.

© Koplowitz 2013
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on 9 May 2012
I second everything 'Amazon Bookworm' said in the previous review.

I loved this series when it was first aired, and I too have waited decades for the series to be released. I've often wondered WHY inferior (to me) series have long been available when 'Justice' wasn't. Oh, well - it's here finally. It IS very expensive, but worth every penny to me, and I can't wait for series 2 and 3 to be released after watching series 1 over two evenings.

Margaret Lockwood is simply superb in the role of Harriet, and there are plenty of familiar British actors supporting her here in episide after episode ; Anthony Valentine (pre James Elliot - the fellow barrister role he later played), Richard Beckinsale, and William Franklin to name a few. I particularly enjoy the scenes between Harriet and Dr. Ian Moody, but the 'whole' is simply a great show from an earlier time. It might not have the slick production values and special effects of today's dramas, but it has admirable, likable characters and good storylines that pull you in - and from memory it just gets better and better in series 2 and series 3.

Btw, anyone else think that one of the opening title 'statues' looks very like Michael Wilding? It's him to a T! :D
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I cannot give this series anything less than 5 stars. Yes, I am old enough to have watched this show each and every week back in the days when Yorkshire Television was producing series after series of top drama. Each story is well written and the acting to me is spot on. Clear speech and characters that you can follow. Yes, you do have to listen to the dialogue but that is no different to watching an actor on stage.
I also liked and still do like the fact that this is not Harriet winning every case she takes. The mix of background story and court case lifts the production above it being a standard courtroom drama. I would say that this is one of the highlights of Margaret Lockwood's career. The picture quality and sound are excellent. I have all three series and will review them as I have watched each box set. I always hoped the entire series would get released on DVD and I have waited until they were all available.
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on 9 June 2012
Watched this series when it was first aired and never missed an episode, so pleased it's out on DVD at last - and not a moment too soon. Excellently acted especially by the late, great Margaret Lockwood. A little expensive but didn't stop me from purchasing. Hoping for series 2 & 3 and happy to buy them all.
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on 13 August 2012
This DVD contains the first season (13 episodes) of "Justice", a 1971 - 74 English series which covers the professional and personal life of Harriet Peterson (played by renowned film star Margaret Lockwood), a woman barrister working principally as a circuit prosecutor in England in the early 1970s. The message of the series is that for members of the legal profession, law and justice are not always the same thing, and that for women, the demands of the job, in terms of lost friendships and loneliness, can be high.

Unlike the more superficial "The Main Chance" (1969 - 75), "Justice" shows Harriet Peterson not just winning but losing cases,at times being berated by members of the bench, and even being unable to find solutions to problems, such as the schoolfriend who consults her about the death of her son, a famous scientist. The series has an almost frightening degree of relevance to modern issues in its depiction of dishonest practices by lawyers ( the theme of "Witnesses Cost Extra") and the incompetence of lay magistrates (the theme of "By order of the Magistrates").

All successful TV series need to have URT ("unresolved sexual tension"), and "Justice" is no exception. Harriet has two suitors, Dr Ian Moody (played by John Stone, Margaret Lockwood's partner in real life) and the head of her chambers, Sir John Gallaher (played by Phillip Stone). She and Dr Moody meet when she cross-examines him, an experience he does not enjoy, but he is so smitten he drives 100 miles to ask her to dinner. Soon afterwards, he asks her to marry him, but there is a catch - he wants her to give up her profession to be a stay-at-home wife. (In 1971 this was still a problem for many women, but most modern viewers would not be too impressed! Fortunately, by series 3 he gives up this request, and they do in fact marry; at this stage she has taken over as the head of chambers, and the idea of her giving up a brilliant career would have been ridiculous). The other (and to my mind more convincing) candidate for her hand is the head of her chambers, Sir John Gallaher QC. She detests him, and asks her instructing solicitors not to brief him as her leader. He is too brilliant, too superficial and too lacking in compassion for his clients, she tells one of them. Sir John is at once fascinated and confronted by her, but never succeeds in winning her over.

Also rating a mention is Harriet's ex-husband, who appears in the first episode of the series. A former solicitor, he has been struck off and gaoled for offences of dishonesty. Harriet says he "almost destroyed" her 7 years ago, and she warns Dr Moody that she never wants to repeat the experience of betrayal that she suffered from this man. The writers of "The Good Wife" must have been watching this series, because Harriet is in many ways the "good wife" who soldiered on to raise the children while the husband was in disgrace and in gaol.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoyed "The Good Wife" or television drama where the emphasis is on ideas rather than car chases or inter-office romance.
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on 16 October 2014
Harriet Peterson, simply the best. What a woman. Margaret Lockward surpassed herself in this role. She made it hers. The best legal drama covering a traditional barristers life in the early 70's. Better than Rumpole in my opinion, covering a more realistic portrayal of how barristers would have conducted themselves in a range of different matters. There is enough inside court drama balanced with the goings on in other parts of Harriets life and relationships that is probably just right for a sensible real legal drama.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 February 2016
The first episode of this left me disappointed but the subsequent episodes were brilliant. It was great to see flashbacks of my youth, hairstyles, clothes, furnishings, cars all manner of things.

Margaret Lockwood is an excellent actress and she played a steely and determined Barrister who wants to do her best for her clients. These is an eclectic mix of cases and backgrounds and this is just so very enjoyable.
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on 1 February 2015
I like this box set very much. I'm from America, and I love the old British tv series, I think they're wonderful, with interesting stories, beautiful scenery, and sets.
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on 20 January 2016
This is a really well-written and well-acted series. Margaret Lockwood is brilliant in the lead role. Highly recommended.
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on 6 May 2012
To all the pedants out there who say these reviews are meant to be confined to the film itself I partly agree. I agree it should not be about whether it arrived in 5 days or 10 or whether the buyer bothered to work out the difference between region 1 & 2 or how it was wrapped, but it is about the sum of what's offered including value for money. This superbly scripted drama from the golden age of television drama comprised thought-provoking scripts that always assumed viewers were intelligent and had concentration spans - unlike today - of an hour at least (rather like Callan in that respect). The idea of a woman working in a non-teaching profession and not subordinate to a man was infinitely refreshing and of its time revolutionary - early 70s so women's lib so far as TV drama went was still all talk and no action although I recall The Liver Birds blazing a trail for forthright independence and yes Upstairs Downstairs which re-watched 40 years on is an amazingly powerful contrast of masculine and feminist attitudes). Anthony Valentine was, as in Callan magnificent too. I was all of 14 years old when this screened and with Crown Court inspired me to a lifetime career in the law. I have been searching Amazon and HMV for 20+ years hoping this would finally see the light of day. If you enjoy top quality drama with high quality scripts, razor sharp tension and a sense of being mentally stretched - but without (a) special effects; (b) mood music to tell you how to react; (c) fake studio audience reaction; (d) boy-band/girl-band lookalike leads; or (e) gratuitous sex or sexual innuendo then you can't go wrong here. TV for the over 40s - something you almost never see nowadays (why? is it that the young as advert targets are thought more easily separated from their money or that those over 40 with families are thought not to have any?).

Of course there were three series of "Justice" and this is the first. I can imagine Network are watching sales carefully to see whether to bother with the other two - it would be a TRAGEDY if these incredibly powerful dramas - I hesitate to exaggerate but yes "national treasures" - languished any longer in the vaults - 40 years is FAR TOO LONG - so please don't hesitate. Buy and enjoy with confidence - and try not to get irritated (as I am and justifiably so I feel) that these cost nearly £30 for 4 discs (thanks Amazon by the way - launched last week at £28 you've already increased the price. You sell things by REDUCING prices not increasing them). But that apart don't be deterred. £28 for 2-3 weeks of wonderful evenings of intelligent entertainment works out at less than a £10 a week (I don't smoke but I hear that's not much more than the cost of a packet - and you won't die painfully from these DVDs!)
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