Trial & Retribution: Set 4

Trial and Retribution

On DVD: 
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Lynda La Plante

Series creator is known as the queen of British crime drama. Her work includes award-winning British TV series, Prime Suspect

The format of this still ongoing British crime drama series is similar to that of Law & Order, which traces a crime from investigation to courtroom. Trial & Retribution follows the detailed investigations of Detective Chief Superintendent, Mike Walker (David Hayman) and Detective Chief Inspector, Róisín Connor (Victoria Smurfit).


The first of the three episodes “Paradise Lost” begins with the rape and murder of young school teacher Sarah. Her boyfriend, Milton, who does not remember the time of her death due to drug effects, is named as the prime suspect. The case becomes more complicated when accusations of racism against Conner and new evidence to support Milton’s innocence emerge, followed by a string of similar attacks on white women with black boyfriends.


The next episode, “Curriculum Vitae” is about the story of single mother Suzy who finds her 18-month old baby dead and her nanny missing after returning from a business trip. Further into the investigation, Walker and Conner discover the nanny’s real name and her mysterious past, and also Suzy’s mental condition deteriorates badly. In the final feature of the set “Mirror Image”, a housekeeper finds a police commander and his wife shot, and their bodies floating in a pool of their own blood. A case that appears to be a simple armed burglary-murder at first turns out be much more sinister and unimaginable, involving the family fortune. 


Even though the tensions and heated argumentative exchanges between the two inspectors, who are obviously very different, add more drama, suspects, criminals and victims are much more fascinating than officers and investigators. As for the crimes, they are very dark and not too predictable. From what I witnessed in this set, I can tell that the good guys do not always win in this show. The split-screen shots, especially during trials, are used effectively to show reactions of all participants to the viewers. Incidentally, since some scenes are quite gruesome, disturbing and bloody, and certainly more graphic than the average US crime drama series on television networks, this is definitely for mature audiences only. The episodes on this set come with a good amount of suspense and twists, therefore, this set is not a bad way to while away an evening. The only parts that I did not care much about were the officers’ private lives, which I found a bit disruptive and unnecessary to the investigative and judiciary processes.

Review by Pat Trabi