Injustice starring James Purefoy and Dervla Kirwan PREVIEW

James Purefoy as William Travers. Pics: (C) ITV

Rating ★★★★

ITV1, Monday 6 June to Friday 10 June, 9pm

The writer and creator of this drama, author Anthony Horowitz, says it’s based on a simple question about barristers – ‘How do people live with themselves when they get a horrible killer off on a teachnicality.’

ITV is devoting five consecutive nights to tell the story of Horowitz’s psychological thriller, making it the TV event of the week. James Purefoy takes the lead as William Travers, a criminal barrister who is living in Ipswich and recovering from traumatic events that have shattered his belief in the legal system.

James Purefoy and Dervla Kirwan (as Jane)

Dervla Kirwan is his wife, Jane, who sacrificed her publishing career to move back to the sticks with their kids to aid his recovery.

DS Wenborn – aggressive, snarling
In tandem with their story, we meet DS Mark Wenborn – a show-stealing shift from actor Charlie Creed-Miles. Wenborn’s aggressive, snarling, constantly eye-balling his poor partner, DC Nick Taylor (Obi Abili). As one colleague tells Wenborn, he’s a bastard – but a very watchable one, not above calling an elderly witness a ‘daft old bat’ to her face. Wenborn’s idea of treating his wife is to show her postmortem murder photos…

During the opening episode, we see William’s comfy middle-class life, his kids, his boat, the nice home. But we learn that he longer takes murder cases, that he has trouble sleeping and is haunted by an incident at Ipswich train station when he spots a man on the opposite platform and, agitated, decides to follow him.

Obi Abili (Taylor) and Charlie Creed-Miles (Wenborn)

It’s a slightly confusing episode because the shifts backwards and forwards in narrative are tricky to follow. But the whole story is suddenly pulled into focus at the end of this first hour with a stunning twist involving the shooting of a farm labourer at a remote cottage. This packs the remaining episodes with plenty of tension – what just happened, and what were the devastating events that led to Travers’ breakdown?

New murder case
The intrigue quotient is upped considerably during the second episode, when Travers is reluctantly pulled into representing another murder defendant. It’s his old friend, Martin Newall, who is accused of killing a much younger office colleague in a hotel room. Though they haven’t seen each other for years, Newall plays on their old friendship to secure Travers’ services.

Nathaniel Parker as Martin Newall

Nathaniel Parker is perfect as the classic married middle-aged man falling for the charms of a young woman. Travers believes Newall, who says he was out of the room when the murder was committed and whose laptop, containing sensitive commerical information, was stolen during the crime.

With Wenborn investigating the murdered farm labourer near where Travers lives, and Travers involved in a new and very murky case, the drama is bulging with jeopardy and the characters vulnerable. Anthony Horowitz is a skilful storyteller and has come up with a potent mystery here.

The production is also well made, with terrific theme music from composer Magnus Fiennes.

Cast: William Travers James Purefoy, DS Mark Wenborn Charlie  Creed-Miles, Jane Travers Dervla Kirwan, Martin Newal Nathaniel Parker, DS Nick Taylor Obi Abili, Natalie Chandra Sasha Behar, Maggie Wenborn Kirsty Bushell, Jeremy Forbes-Watson Nick Dunning, Philip Spaull Robert Whitelock, Terry Cooper Ian Burfield, Kate Travers Lisa Diveney, Caroline Newall Camilla Power, Robin Miller Adam Grant, ACC Stephen Packard David Schofield, Lucy Wilson Jayne Wisener, Alan Stewart Joe Cole, Susanna Susannah Doyle, John Slater Peter Ferdinando, Michael Bankes Andrew Tiernan, Pamela Stewart Amelia Lowdell, Gemma Lawrence Imogen Stubbs, PMO Adam Christie Hilton McRae


Sherlock and Luther return, plus new ITV commissions

Holmes re-boot (© BBC)

Sherlock, the most assured and enjoyable new UK crime series of the year, has been re-commissioned for autumn 2011, the Beeb has confirmed.

The inspired update of the Baker Street sleuth, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, was pacy, had great music and humour, and, most importantly, won 7.5 million viewers on its launch in July.

Perhaps more surprisingly, Luther is also returning with two two-hour specials. The drama starring The Wire‘s Idris Elba promised a lot, with a good cast and intriguing premise (about a genius detective), but eventually fizzled out with stories that were as convincing as spray-on hair. Still, it clearly did well enough for a recall.

Talking of the Sherlock recommission, which is coming back in three new 90-minute episodes, co-creators, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, say, “We’ve been overwhelmed by the warmth of response to our new Sherlock Holmes and John Watson and can’t wait to take them on three new adventures next year. There’ll be baffling new puzzles, old friends and new enemies – whether on two, or four legs. And we might well be seeing the cold master of logic and reason unexpectedly falling. But in love? Or over a precipice? Who can tell?”

The BBC also announced Undisclosed (working title), written by Ronan Bennett (Public Enemies, The Hamburg Cell). It is described as “a taut and compelling mystery thriller revolving around Harry Venn, a small-time solicitor. Forced to delve into his murky past when asked to find a missing alibi witness, Venn soon finds himself caught up in a bigger and more complex conspiracy.”

Meanwhile, ITV has announced three crime dramas for 2011. There’s an Anthony Horowitz story – Injustice. It stars Jame Purefoy as William Travers, a criminal barrister recovering from traumatic events that have blasted his belief in the legal system. It follows Horowitz’s success with Collision on the channel.

Scott and Bailey will star Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp in the title roles of two homicide detectives from Greater Manchester Police’s prestigious Major Incident Team.  The series is scripted by Sally Wainwright, whose drama Unforgiven won the  RTS Award for Best Drama earlier this year.

Finally, The Jury is a series about ordinary people finding themselves at the centre of a major controversial criminal re-trial. It’s written by Bafta-winner and Oscar nominee Peter Morgan.

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