Top positive review
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A real treat
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