Discussion: Law & Order: UK Ep 1.1: Care - Jamie Bamber News
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Discussion: Law & Order: UK Ep 1.1: Care

"Care" written by Chris Chibnall


At long last, Law & Order: UK debuted on BBC America last night. I must admit, I was very excited to have Jamie back on my TV. I also realized it was the first time I ever had seen an episode of the series with commercials. ;) Unfortunately, American dramas run about 44 minutes long compared to Law & Order: UK's 46 minute run time, which means some trims were made. I couldn't spot any missing scenes, which means, instead, lines were trimmed here and there. For instance, there was an exchange between Matt and Ronnie involving a goldfish that died in Matt's possession and Matt's insistence he didn't kill it, but it was ailing when he received it. Funny, but not integral to the plot.

For those with cable on demand service, check to see if the full version is available. I noticed my cable provider, Comcast, has the episode available with a 50 minute run time. Some of that time is for commercials/promos, but I suspect it's the full 46 minute episode.

I looked back at what I posted in my own LJ in February of 2009 and find, after several viewings and many more episodes watched since, I now have a very different perspective on the series. I'm curious what people watching for the first time think or, for those who have seen all the episodes, if and why your opinion has changed. So the floor is open! :)

Oh, and Seth Meyer gave the series a shout out on this past weekend's Saturday Night Live.

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Comments
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 5th, 2010 05:27 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I know it's incidental dialogue and it doesn't really drive the story much, but I'm partial to that story about the goldfish. ;) There was another bit of dialogue missing but I can't remember what it is now!

Also, I totally LOLed at the SNL clip... not because it was especially funny (it was amusing, granted), but because it reminded me of this SCTV sketch from 30(!) years ago - Benny Hill is apparently timeless material for riffing on cop shows. Who knew. ;)

lemurling From: lemurling Date: October 6th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC) (Link Me)
So I always rather liked this episode, and I definitely like it even more now that I've seen the series and fallen in love with all the characters, instead of just watching Jamie Bamber's scenes.

I think the acting of the guest roles is quite good, I especially liked the mother Dionne. I thought she was a nice balance of sympathetic, but also sort of a mess. Not a gorgeous woman, not a super smart one either. Just someone trying to get by, who made some bad choices and had worse luck. Her expression seemed very natural to me, she held my attention.

The show was trying to establish a lot of things here, tone, culture, six main characters, pace, the overall style of the show, and still tell a story. It did reasonably well, I think, but probably could have done better to back off a bit on the "IT"S SO BRITISH!!!!1111!" and maybe (I hate to say this) even pared back just a tiny bit on the character-establishing dialog, because it was a lot to take in, and the script could have used a bit of room to breathe.

It doesn't actually take that much in the script to reveal these characters. The acting/expressions/body language/delivery and general non-script bits are so good (though I think Alesha's actor has room to grow here), that the dialog is just a small part of defining the characters. James Steel, for example, comes across as a vicious bastard, but also a deeply devoted person, just from the way Ben Daniels quirks his lips and sneers and lays on the sarcasm where necessary.

Not that the script isn't helpful. There's one line in particular that to me utterly defines Matt and Ron's relationship: It's when Ronnie is griping about the lack of community caring about the dead baby and Mattie is all, "Your blood sugar's dipping, I'll get you a sandwich." It just makes me smile, knowing these guys so well now, because it's so --them--.

Mattie is sort of making fun of Ron, doing his repress-all-emotions thing and trivializing Ronnie's real feelings of unhappiness at how modern society has fragmented by implying that Ron's just being cranky, not that he has a legitimate concern. But at the same time, Mattie is being really nurturing, wanting to take care of Ron, making the link between a bad mood and a health condition. It's very sweet and caring of him. At the same time, Ronnie is being rather curmudgeonly (those darn kids!), and yet also displaying his trademark empathy with the victims and longing for a better world. He's mad at the world for disappointing him, for not living up to its 'duty of care'. So both men are showing emotion and connection at the same time that they're both being cynical in their own ways.

I did my hunt for Mattie hate-smiles and only found one:

"Lot of jaimais round here mate." Pretty sure this is the first angry Matt smile of the show. Such a nice wide grin, because he's so mad about the living conditions in the flats. Matt seems rather affected by the whole depressing environment, perhaps he lived in similar places as a kid?

Also, Mattie fixing Ronnie's tie before the landlord sting, how cute was that? They're just so tender with each other. All of the crew had really good energy, very believable relationships with each other, right from the start. While those relationships have deepened and even complicated slightly over the series, they very much felt like people who had known each other for multiple years by the time the show starts.

The only exception is Alesha, who I think we can tell knows the boys already (and James of course) but does not have the same sense of ease. I could see that she's been around for maybe a year or so, enough time to know the DS's, but not long enough to fully trust them, hence her worrying about Ronnie blowing the sting, and her uncomfortable smile when Mattie is flirting with her. I could easily believe this is only her second or third real case with the coppers, where they spent much more time together than just presenting the prosecutors the evidence and showing up in court to testify.

I'd love to know if other people had favorite scenes/lines, and if these scenes were favorites because of the show as it stands on its own, or because of what they say about the characters in the context of the whole series.
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 7th, 2010 04:53 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I'd love to know if other people had favorite scenes/lines, and if these scenes were favorites because of the show as it stands on its own, or because of what they say about the characters in the context of the whole series.

I like this episode but it's not one of my favorites. Some good character moments that you've mentioned and a great performance from Dionne, but over time I think it still works primarily as an introductory episode to the characters and the dynamics of the show. It does have that good scene in the middle between CID and CPS where they are throwing ideas around, which for the rest of the first 13 we don't see a lot of on the whole. (We see loads of it in the current series, which is GREAT!)
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 9th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC) (Link Me)
There's one line in particular that to me utterly defines Matt and Ron's relationship: It's when Ronnie is griping about the lack of community caring about the dead baby and Mattie is all, "Your blood sugar's dipping, I'll get you a sandwich." It just makes me smile, knowing these guys so well now, because it's so --them--.

I love that line as well, for very much the same reasons as you. It spoke volumes about their relationship - that they've known each other for, I'd say, at least several years, and knew how to deal with one another. Moments like that work much better, are much more natural, than inserting a lot of exposition to explain the characters pasts with each other.

"Survivor" showed me how much Freema has grown as an actress. When the series began, I didn't think she was bad, but I did feel she was the weakest member of the cast. I wouldn't say that any longer. I think she's been forced to elevate her performance thanks to the strong actors around her.
mardia From: mardia Date: October 8th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I rewatched the episode on Comcast's On Demand, and yeah, the On Demand version of the episode does have the goldfish lines in there. So yeah, I think it's a safe bet to say the on demand episodes are the full-length versions.
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 9th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC) (Link Me)
BBC America ran the full versions of Being Human on On Demand, so I was hopeful they would do the same with L&O:UK. Thanks for the confirmation!
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