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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Alan Davies plays the barrister - effective in court, less so out of it.

8 episodes, each 70 minutes. Interesting cases make this worth a watch. They include alleged rape, death after a wild party, a possible killer nurse, rail safety (a careless train driver or negligent management?). Especially moving is the plight of Asperger's Syndrome Dan, accused of killing his mother. (Tom Burke as Dan is excellent.)

Anxious that this be not just another court drama, the makers try too hard to create a central character out of the ordinary. The first glimpse of Henry shows him using his mobile as he cycles erratically through London traffic. Much time is spent trying to stave off bankruptcy because of a gambling addiction. His marriage has collapsed, the little son greatly missed. (The lad has asthma, sleepwalks and, on a visit, tries to steal make-up from a chemist.) Henry's current girlfriend is married - her husband not just an MP but Catholic and gay and dying from cancer. Forever hovering is Henry's estranged father - he a judge and heavy drinker, (Edward Petherbridge entertainingly wispy and waspish). A bit of a clutter really.

Season 2 mercifully simplifies things a bit. Despite reservations, there is much overall to like: Alan Davies, Linda Bassett as the Chambers' secretary, several of the guest stars, the scenes in court. The series has potential but needs greater focus for it to be realized. Recommended nonetheless.
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on 22 July 2009
Alan Davies is terrific as Henry Farmer, an English criminal barrister. As Henry Farmer, he fought the good fight for justice, but constantly struggled with his own addictive gambling habit. I have long been a fan of the very versatile Mr. Davies and always look forward to his new projects. I have read accounts that he was not happy with scripts for this series, but I would have to disagree because I thought the acting and stories were great. I only wish he had continued with The Brief for more than two seasons.
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on 5 February 2014
Alan Davies cannot act - truth. He has one facial expression: a resigned and weary sadness. What he was doing in this show is beyond me. Barristers in TV shows need to have an edgy dynamism and Alan Davies simply cannot muster this from his mopey persona.

The story lines are pretty ok but the dialogue is weak and a bit ordinary. Also the romance is perfunctory and tired.

I love legal dramas - but this was a palid version and just went through the motions.

I have just been watching the North Square series which is probably the master of the legal genre and so in comparison this weedy series The Brief is best forgotten.

Only two series?

Thank Goodness for that.
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VINE VOICEon 6 July 2012
The cast list seemed like a good bet but the plotting and characterisation bordered on the absurd.

For the Court action, we were bordering on if not overtaking Perry Mason, his blank piece of paper and "hold it Judge I've just received this".

The use of his father as a plot device, popping up with "don't marry this girl, marry that one" "I've reconsidered my original report" and so forth just enabled Hollywood B film happy ever after endings only with the bad guys forgetting to wear their black hats to make it a bit more difficult for us to spot them.

The characters were made out of so much cardboard they probably cornered the wood fibre market.

Pleasant lightweight entertainment but which failed miserabably in defining what it was trying to do, comedy, drama, something. If the price is right for you, it's not awful, it's just not very good.
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on 27 March 2010
Sad that there will not be a series three .Good intersting plots with development of the characters in series .Good time viewing not mentally challenging if that is what you are looking for.
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on 20 January 2011
Whilst the criminal storylines are inventive and well scripted the same cannot be said about the backstory. At no point was I convinced that the brief cared two hoots about gambling let alone was addicted. The relationship with his father was equally lacklustre. Even if these back stories were well acted I still can't see how the audience is expected to find them interesting.

Outside of the courtroom, Alan Davies natural cheekyness kept surfacing at inappropriate moments destroying the dramatic impact of many scenes. Even when he was off screen there were problems as Cherie Lunghi was frequently in soft focus at inappropriate times. In my opinion the best acting invariably came from the supporting cast, rather than from the leads.

These two series are worth watching and at under a tenner are a bargain, but it would be dishonest to suggest that they are up to the standard of Rumpole, Crown Court and Judge Deed.
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on 26 January 2012
I first discovered Alan Davies when I bought the Jonathan Creek series. I enjoyed that so much that I bought this series as soon as I saw it. There is something very likeable and endearing about him.
Since I watch very many different kinds of shows from comedy to action to drama and hard-hitting drama (The Shield), the viewing of each kind is determined by what I'm in the mood to see at the time.
I consider The Brief to be a bit of a mild-mannered drama. The episodes have kept my interest and been entertaining and enjoyable. When sitting down for an evening with my dvd's, all I require of them is to entertain me and The Brief does this very, very well ! I wish the series would have gone on longer.
My next purchase..."Whites" !!!
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on 16 February 2014
When you have seen LONDON's Rumpole-of-the-Bailey criticising the Old Baily is great
or She, the Silk risking her integrity to dig up truth, is fantastic...
Here is an almost alike called THE BRIEF, full of action and genuine stories without excess of violence or finding the judiciary ridiculously at fault. Heading shown at the Courthouse --Protect the children and punish the culprits--.
Respectful, captivating entertainment I enjoy watching.
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on 16 February 2012
I thought this was better than I remembered it from when it was on TV. But while it is easy to watch, there isn't anything compelling about it. There is neither anything specific in its favour, nor an indescribable certain something. Nonetheless, compared to most series on TV these days - at least in New Zealand where I currently reside - it stands up pretty well as something very watchable that isn't too 'heavy'. And it is on this basis that I award it four stars rather than three.
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on 26 June 2012
I was unsure when I brought this DVD as I wondered on Alan Davies acting. However, having enjoyed him in Jonathan Creek Jonathan Creek Complete Series 1 - 4 & The Christmas Specials Box Set [DVD]I decided to give it a try. I'm really glad I did - Alan Davies does a great job at heading the cast; the overall story line continues throughout the 2 series but with different cases on each episode. The cases are believable as are the actors. This drama gets the viewer hooked into the personal lives as well as the professional lives of the characters. The only pity is that there were only 2 series.
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