Friday Forum: Law & Order: UK Discussion for Episode 3.5, "Survivor" - Jamie Bamber News
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Friday Forum: Law & Order: UK Discussion for Episode 3.5, "Survivor"

"Survivor" written by Emilia di Girolamo




We've discussed how much the moments of humor are appreciated in a series that can deal with some very dark subject matter. This week's highlight in the humor department took place as the prison guard was using the metal detection wan on Matt and had it repeatedly set off in, let's just say a delicate area.

Ronnie: "In case you were worried, love, that's not a file."
Matt: Eye-roll

And perhaps in an effort to provide balance for the shipper factions, we had Matt's, "What's not to like?", followed by Alesha turning away and smiling. I still lean towards James/Alesha, but moments such as that make it harder for me to decide who to root for. ;)

For those unaware of Emilia di Girolamo's work outside of Law & Order: UK, I would direct you towards her website. For years, both personally and professionally, Emilia has worked towards bringing attention to the problems within the prison system in the U.K., particularly the plight of female prisoners (many of the same problems exist within the U.S.), and I quickly saw why Emilia was the perfect writer on staff to tackle the material.

I continue to be very impressed with the casting of guest actors on the series. I was not familiar with Wunmi Mosaku (Tamika Vincent) before, but she did a wonderful job portraying Tamika as both a frustrating character and sympathetic one. And while her actions (seeking out the murder of the prison guard) are not entirely forgivable, you are able to empathize with her inability to see any other recourse.

This is the second week in a row where as much focus has been placed on one of the main characters as the case at hand. As the series has progressed, one aspect which seperates this Law & Order from the original is the development of the main characters. We're welcomed into parts of their lives and made to care about these people. I have to admit, prior to this season, I was mostly watching for Jamie. What converted me from casual viewer to fan is the characters. It's always about the characters for me. I can overlook quite a bit if I care about them, if I want to spend time with them each week. This current series has turned me into a die-hard fan.

And the character growth has been organic. Last week, we saw Matt open up a bit and show his emotions as it was his friend who was murdered and both men shared a long buried childhood trauma. This week, Alesha not only sees what her life could have been had she not chosen a different path, but she and Tamika must deal with moving on from the same brutal crime. I've been told that we will be seeing more episodes where individual cast members are at the forefront and I look forward to it.

Is it just me or does James seem more relaxed this series? It's little things, like fewer ties and eating his lunch while discussing the case with Alesha, to manipulating Tamika's brief at the bar. I like it!

One thing didn't quite work for me. At the end, we see Matt and Ronnie sitting outside the courtroom, then getting up to follow Jackson Marshall. I'm assuming they were following him to make sure he didn't do any harm to Tamika's daughter, but it wasn't clear and we didn't see the three again.


Now, what did everyone else think?

And a few reminders and links of note:

Last night, CityTV aired "Confession", AKA: Jamie's Big Episode. last week's discussion (a pretty good one) can be found here.

Tonight, on BBC America, the series debuts in it's regular time slot with , "Unloved". A repeat of the series premiere, "Care", immediately follows. mardia, having watched "Care" on On Demand, can confirm the service is airing the unedited episodes, but watch the broadcast on BBC America first. :)

The NBC Universal Store is selling the first season of Law & Order: UK, to be widely released on October 26th, for the low, low price of $19.98 - 50% off the retail price!

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Comments
lemurling From: lemurling Date: October 8th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I only got my Megavideo link working this morning, so I've only watched it the once and only have a few comments off the top of my head.

My initial reaction was 'where are my coppers?' because they were very very minimal in this episode, since the Order part came in early and didn't end up interleaving with Law like I thought it would.

I completely agree that I felt cheated by not getting to see the coppers deal with Marshall. I'm hoping for a deleted scene on the DVDs, maybe they had to cut things for time.

Another scene I was waiting for and didn't get was something between Matt and Alesha after she gets back from the jail. I think he probably would have felt pretty bad to see her banged up, since Matt was the one who talked her into going down to see Tamika. I would have liked to see how he dealt with that, particularly as I can't see Alesha letting him baby her, but alas.

I do think it's a good sign for the episode that I am most distressed about there not being enough of it. I thought it was quite riveting, and very well acted. The focus on Alesha in the courtroom when the rape was being explained was quite affecting. I was a bit mad at her though, for not telling Tamika that she had been raped. I understand Alesha not quite being able to say it, though, to own it, and that indirectness spoke to me more than her distress in the courtroom that Alesha is -not- over it, and -not- as empowered as she wants to believe herself. She is a survivor, she has moved on, she is not defining herself by what happened, but the last step of healing is still waiting for Alesha to stop hiding and denying (but this show is full of people stuffing their emotions, so this might be as close as she can come).

I loved James in this one. He's so damned stubborn, and it amused me that he basically ignored what George said, and did what he wanted to. James has been similarly pig-headed in other episodes, but it was even more so here. And I thought his courtroom interrogation of Tamika was one of his strongest performances, really probing at all the weak points until he got exactly what he wanted.

Well done all around, and I'll probably comment more when I've had a chance at a rewatch.
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 8th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I understand Alesha not quite being able to say it, though, to own it, and that indirectness spoke to me more than her distress in the courtroom that Alesha is -not- over it, and -not- as empowered as she wants to believe herself.

There is definitely that possibility, which might go hand in hand with Alesha's desire to really enter the final stage of that recovery; perhaps in seeing what the experience did to Tamika, a case that she obviously had strong emotions about for her similar background, this felt to her like the time to do it. It's also possible that Alesha was attempting to maintain the level of trust that Tamika now seems to have with her by slightly fudging the truth; there was such intense distrust on Tamika's part for so long that if she told her the truth, there's a possibility she wouldn't have been believed. *shrug*

I have to say, kudos to Emilia for this aspect of the script going a long way toward absolving some of the issues I had with the way "Alesha" was written. (Nothing against Cath Tregenna, but I still have some big quibbles with that script.)
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 9th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Well my affection tends to be more with the law side of things, I understand there will be times we'll see less of them. However, I suspect a scene or two of Ronnie and Matt ended up on the editing room floor. It was just odd there was a lengthy period of time we then we didn't see them, then we saw them, very briefly. before walking off to do.....we should know what they were doing.

I really thought Alesha was going to open up to Tamika and tell her she knew exactly how she was feeling since she, too, had been raped. While I agree with you that Alesha has not fully confronted what happened to her and in order to truly empower herself she has to be open with people who aren't coworkers/part of the investigation, I also wonder if her job plays a role in her hesitation? I can understand if, everytime a case such as this comes up, she doesn't wish to use her personal experience as a bargaining chip. It's not only a lot to put herself through emotionally, but she worked long and hard to become a lawyer and prover herself as a prosecutor and has a desire to win cases based on the law and her skills.
lemurling From: lemurling Date: October 8th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Oh, and just to go smutty for a moment, why -was- Mattie's groin setting off the metal detector? Is our lad pierced?
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 9th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I don't think I have the balls to ask Emilia on Twitter. ;p I guess we can just assume a difficult zipper?
dramaturgca From: dramaturgca Date: October 9th, 2010 10:03 am (UTC) (Link Me)
D'you want me to ask? I have neither shame nor modesty. (Theatre beats that out of you fairly quickly)
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 9th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
If YOU want to. Otherwise, I can live with it being the zipper. ;)
lemurling From: lemurling Date: October 9th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Oh please do! Even if the writers never intended it to be anything naughty, just asking the question can put an idea in their head. Not that it's the sort of detail that would ever come up in dialog, but they might just keep it in mind that Mattie is not -quite- so vanilla as he might appear.

I went and checked the scene (the agonies I suffer in the cause of accuracy) and while I could buy perhaps coins in his pocket, the zipper defense simply won't work. If he was wearing jeans, that could mean a metal zipper, but he was wearing dress slacks, and those are generally nylon/plastic because metal zippers are heavier, and would pull on the lighter fabric. So keys, coins, Prince Albert, whatever you prefer to imagine, but it wasn't a metal zipper setting that wand off.
telscha From: telscha Date: October 8th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Two sentences ....

"Pizza, ice cream, 9mm bullets."

"Bet you didn't get those from Iceland."

Brilliant.
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 8th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Don't forget the fish fingers. Crucial piece of evidence. XD
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 8th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link Me)

Some more replies to other comments coming, but for now…

Though it was unnerving at first, on second thought I appreciated that uncomfortable scene at the top of the episode with the 2 girls waving the gun around before they discover Tyner’s body. In a sense, it almost symbolizes the atmosphere of danger and despair in their corner of the city that Alesha is trying to get Tamika to confront later in the episode; that they could easily be those two girls, in their youth, stumbling onto weapons and god knows what else down the road.

Unexpected twist to have the young prison officer who was accused by his boss of being a “softie” end up being the one stalking Tamika’s daughter to take her photos.

Wunmi Mosaku was outstanding – as was Robbie Gee, and the actress whose name I didn’t catch but she played Jardine, the other mule who speaks to James and Alesha but who also won’t grass on Marshall. (That was a perfectly pitched scene, IMO… she keeps giving them more and more and more to build their case and then all of the sudden when they ask her for just that much more… she’s done. Conversation over.)

I need to watch again to determine my George line of the episode, but I confess I was surprised it took him this long to ask the others if they’d been at the sherry. Heh.

Absolutely agree re: the strong sense of the characgters, even when they aren’t as prevalent in an episode. Though somewhat light on the cops this week, still all good stuff. Including quite possibly my favorite. Double take. EVER. XD



James manipulating Tamika’s brief might have been my favorite moment of his in the show to date. Very sneaky, but a good play.

Extreme girlie shallow comment (Shut your eyes now, lily-livers ;) ): Because I have a wrist kink and my eyes always go there (What?!) – noticed Matt’s leather bracelet was back. Great, like I need something else to distract me from the dialogue. THANKS, Irish. ;)


asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 9th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC) (Link Me)
In a sense, it almost symbolizes the atmosphere of danger and despair in their corner of the city that Alesha is trying to get Tamika to confront later in the episode; that they could easily be those two girls, in their youth, stumbling onto weapons and god knows what else down the road.

I flashed back to The Wire in that scene. I know guns aren't as prevalent in the UK as they are here, but it is a growing problem and those girls seemed very comfortable playing with the gun and playing dead. Even at such a young age, they have been exposed to a lot. I think it was meant to show what kind of environment Alesha and Tamika grew up in and what kind of life Tamika's daughter could be facing.

Agree that was a nice twist with the young guard. I did not see it coming. He had excuses for what he was doing, but what if he had been asked to harm the girl? How far would he have gone to protect himself?

Glad to see Jamie continues to get an opportunity to work on his comic timing. You know, for future projects. ;)
scifishipper From: scifishipper Date: October 9th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
There are already so many wonderful comments about the episode, but I was in my fangirlish way completely struck by Matty's gorgeousness. And was he smiling more? I could swear I saw more teeth in this episode than the last few combined. And the joking was wonderful. Ronnie got some good digs in and I loved that JB played Matty irritated about the "file" comment. I do wonder what is going on there. (Oh and how I like to wonder about it *blush*).

This was a good story overall and I love the focus on Tamika and the backstory on Alesha. I'm much happier with LOUK than the American variety - the acting is wonderful, especially the non-leads. Tamika was beautiful and I just kept staring at her, wanting so much for her to get back to her daughter. What an ugly picture this episode painted, with the brutalizing of female prisoners. (I have to say that I'd guessed what was coming with the "Tyner's girls" line.) James' playing of the defendant's Brief was wonderful - well played, sir. In the end, I still worried that the drug dealer would hurt Tamika's famiy. I'll have to imagine not. It's the price for one-off episodes - no follow up. *sigh*

I did miss Matty coming to see Alesha after she was attacked. In the end, though, I think it made sense that Alesha herself didn't make a big deal about it. The comments from James about her backstory were mixed for me. I like that he admired her brains and her balls, but didn't care for the line about her putting on her best "estate" (don't remember the name) act. That seemed dismissive to me and I thought her expression seemed quite irritated by it. I didn't like that he was so eager to get the bad guy that he used Alesha to do it. I understand why, but he seemed a bit cold about it. (No offense intended to James' fans.)

This is an episode I would watch again, even with the limited Matty. That said, despite the short airtime, he was unbelievably gorgeous. I made several caps to capture his adorable:

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lemurling From: lemurling Date: October 11th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC) (Link Me)
That's our lovely lad, yes, he was rather incandescent. I'm not sure he was really smiling more, but it's possible. I wouldn't expect him to be particularly happy after the last episode, but it does depend on timing.

I've started on a little project to timeline all the scene cards, just because I'm curious what investigations are overlapping with what (paying really close attention to the dates does unfortunately reveal some minor continuity errors, mostly because people here have me staring at Mattie's shirts!).

One of the things I'm most curious about is whether the writers/continuity people were paying really close attention to character mood/development. I wouldn't expect them to, especially since character development -isn't- what L&O is supposed to be about, and the UK version has way more of this than classic L&O was ever meant for. But if they were keeping their eye on these things, then key events affecting the characters will not have necessarily happened, for example, at the beginning of the next episodes, since the Order half tends to happen weeks or months after the Law half.

About James, on the rewatch, I was rather in awe of his brutality. He was so cruel to Tamika on the stand, to force her down so low that she would break and give up the testimony they needed to get Marshall. He definitely was pretty casual about sending Alesha back to dig at a woman who had already assaulted her! He needed someone who could 'speak Hackney' to pry loose his case, and Alesha was the tool at hand.

But as much as he can be a bit of a bastard, I rather like how he doesn't coddle or protect Alesha, or consider her too important to use in his pursuit of justice. If he believes so strongly in winning their cases, so much so that he puts wives, children, and long-time friends second, there's no reason why Alesha, who he is mentoring to someday be just like him (not that she necessarily will be, but he would probably like it if she were), should be immune to being sacrificed on the altar of justice. I still maintain that James is not a bad guy, just a driven one, but for people who like their heroes to be kind and gentle, this was not a good episode for watching James.
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 12th, 2010 01:07 am (UTC) (Link Me)
In the end, I still worried that the drug dealer would hurt Tamika's famiy. I'll have to imagine not.

I think the brief glimpse of Matt and Ronnie walking out of the courthouse at the end was to show us Tamika's family would be looked out for until Jackson could be put away, but I wish it had been made clear. I suspect there are deleted scenes from this episode (and that point would be clarified), but we'll need to wait awhile to find out. :/
jill1228 From: jill1228 Date: February 12th, 2011 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I loved Ronnie with the "In case you're worried love, that ain't a file". hell, I woulda frisked him for free
The 2 girls playing with the gun was extremely chilling, IMO

Loved the banter with Alesha and Matt, "make yourself useful". Throwing the bag on top of the box was classic

Of course he had to get his flirt on with the, "What's not to like?"
It would have torn Matt up to see Alesha after Tamika jacked her up. It damn near killed him after Alesha was raped

And why didn't her attorney help pull her off of Alesha instead of backing off in the corner like a scared little bitch? I am just sayin'

I did like James's light banter, "You can take the girl out of Hackney"
Alesha later on showed that she could get "hoodrat" with the best of them

Of course Alesha did have her "don't f*ck with me, James" moment"
James: You really don't like losing
Alesha: The girl attacked me James, I am not exactly feeling the love right now"

lemuring, I know you mentioned James and his brutality, he is rubbing off on Alesha a little.

He did have somewhat of a heart because he did talk to her attorney to help him out

I like George's "Have you two been at the sherry?" Um George, maybe you should check your whiskey bottle, not the sherry :)
When James told Alesha to put on her best "Hackney girl charm", she gave the look like, "I got your Hackney charm right here, wanker!"


Alesha rocked my socks this episode. Her main theme: just because you grew up in the hood, doesn't mean you are doomed to shit existence. Get off your ass and work for it!

It also does bring light to corruption in the prison system
ayajedi From: ayajedi Date: February 13th, 2011 10:12 am (UTC) (Link Me)
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