Law & Order: UK - Discussion For Episode 1.5, "Buried" - Jamie Bamber News
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Law & Order: UK - Discussion For Episode 1.5, "Buried"

"Buried" written by Catherine Tregenna




An interesting aspect of "Buried" was seeing the different generations of detectives come together and how being a product of their time (as Ronnie mentioned) affected their approach to the case. Detective McFadden's views on homosexuality led to a presumption of Edward Connor's guilt in Tommy Keenan's death and brought the investigation to a halt. So sure was he of his beliefs, he went so far as to try and beat a confession out of Connor. Matt, upon meeting McFadden, can barely hide his disdain for the man's methods and assumptions. Ronnie, meanwhile, acts as a bridge. He may find McFadden as repugnant as Matt, but he's able to put his personal feelings aside, try to understand where McFadden is coming from, and obtain the information (what little there is due to the previous shoddy investigation) they need.

While we saw Ronnie's strengths in dealing with people, Matt's reasoning plays a large role in helping bring the case to trial. He catches Julia's statement is a nearly word for word recount of the one she gave 1983. When Ronnie suggests trauma could have cemented the events in her mind, Matt points out she wouldn't have been aware of Tommy's disappearance until the following morning. And, later, it's Matt who argues for the validity of the therapists work, which leads Julia to recover her memories.

This is an episode in which I found all the supporting characters absorbing but Barbara Marten (Phillipa Keegan), in particular, did an outstanding job of conveying a mother's grief. It was a realistic portrayal and it struck me that this what I am used to seeing from actual grieving parents on the news.

As for Julia's parents, frankly I'm not sure which of them to despise more. Vernon Mortimer is a pedophile and child murderer who ruined his daughters life and tried to assuage his guilt by supporting Julia financially, through mental health issues and relationship and career failures. But Mrs. Mortimer was also an abuser, damaging her daughter emotionally and psychologically - repeatedly calling her a liar and "dirty, precocious little whore" when Julia finally found the courage to tell her of the sexual abuse. And because appearances were more important than anything else to her, a pedophile was allowed to move on to his next victim and a young boy died because of her inaction.

While I thought Vernon would confess to his crimes because, in a very twisted way, he believed he loved his daughter (just as he claimed to have grown to love Tommy as a son), I felt the confession from the stand was too convenient. Just as James implores him to confess, he does. It's certainly in keeping with the courtroom theatrics of Law & Order, but I'd have preferred a slightly more realistic conclusion. Perhaps exiting the courtroom and breaking down or going to James's office later to confess.

The final scene is one of my favorite conclusions to an episode. Mcfadden, all smiles, tells Ronnie, "We got are man in the end." To which Ronnie pointedly responds, "We?" And as Julia walks off with Tommy's mother, Mrs. Mortimer is left alone and more isolated than had she done the right thing years before.

And this image I just had to share because the image of the two with their tea amuses me. :)




More (Good!) ratings news from TVbythenumbers.com. For the week ending October 24th, Law & Order: UK was BBC America's second highest rated show (behind Top Gear) with 199,000 viewers. Even a Midnight encore brought in 177,000 viewers. Woo!

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zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: November 2nd, 2010 02:09 am (UTC) (Link Me)
This is an episode that I really wasn't crazy about originally because it seemed very cut-and-dry, very typical of many episodes of original recipe L&O that I've managed to catch on and off over the years. On subsequent viewings, though, I really like it; I think a lot of that is down to the performances. Particularly Holly Aird, who is great as Julia; Barbara Marten who plays Tommy's mum; and Colin Salmon, who is one of my favorite defence briefs. Doug Greer is quite ruthless but never comes off as too smug or patronizing, just very good at what he does and very tough. (Plus, let's be fair, it doesn't hurt that he's damned nice to look at. Oh, don't give me that face, people. ;) )

It does seem very dominoes-suddenly-collapse when Julia's father confesses on the stand, but I suppose in retrospect it works for two reasons: one, because James's approach in that scene is damned good, one of his best. Two, I do think it's plausible that Dad has had enough time to think about this while they waited to go to trial that he's finally come to terms with the terrible damage that was done, and seeing everyone there in court looking at him, he couldn't defend himself in poor conscience anymore. Although I agree that it's hard to always keep the delay in between the investigation and the trial in context when we only have an hour to work with; in that sense, it can feel like a real leap. I do feel like Julia's mother is just as culpable, seemingly having done her damnedest to cover up the awfulness of what had happened in the foolish thought that somehow, some day, it might all just go away. Not realizing her husband had a serious problem, even though it led to something horrific... not considering how traumatic this was for her daughter, who was clearly damaged for the rest of her life because of it. (Kids might "forget" eventually...except they don't. Not really. Not ever.) It seems almost inconceivable that a mother would do that in her situation, but I do believe there are people out there whose personalities are such that they just cannot deal with something so appalling damaging their purportedly happy home life, and they will lie through their teeth to keep that illusion going. (Not to mention the fact that she tells Matt & Ronnie early on about how she kept tabs on Edward Connor, keeping up the impression that they could pin the murder on him some day... jeez! What an ugly farce. :( )

Also love the courtroom scenes because it's a situation that doesn't always happen depending on the case, where virtually all of the players are present. I love that Edward Connor can't contain himself and applauds when the confession comes out, and that glare he shoots at DS McFadden. Also love that Ronnie stops by and is there to hold Tommy's mum when she bursts into tears. Bless. <3

Speaking of Julia's mum, my favorite scene in this one actually isn't one that involves our coppers for a change - it's when she runs into Julia at CPS and that moment they share when Julia realizes she has to let her fear and anxiety go, because it's the right thing to do. "I would have loved to see him married some day.." - gah, that line! It's a really touching moment. And I do like that they walk off together at the end, leaving her own mother standing there alone. (Funnily enough, I read some comments on TWoP, a lot of them from people who remember the original L&O episode very fondly and they didn't like that aspect of it at all.)

Another initial reaction that I've since changed my mind about: Originally I found Julia's moment of revelation, remembering her father and Tommy's body at his feet, felt quite stagey in the reading. It still does, although I think that works for the episode at large because ultimately, before it is resolved, we are meant to question her reliability as a witness the same way James and Alesha do. The episode wouldn't work if there weren't some legitimate doubt for a while, that she might be staging it to get back at her parents.

Oh dear, gonna need another comment for all of this, ran out of characters again... ;)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: November 2nd, 2010 02:18 am (UTC) (Link Me)

Okay, so back to TEAM LAW SRS BSNS ;) - great, classic material from everyone.

- The scene where they question McFadden is terrific. As Matt & McFadden are concerned, it reminds me a lot of the Sam Tyler vs. Gene Hunt dichotomy in early Life On Mars eps, where the level-headed modern detective is constantly frustrated by the old-school pig-headed vintage copper. But here, we have Ronnie in the middle... he gets it, even if he doesn't subscribe to it at all. (Matt: "What, you mean there were no good coppers then?"...Ronnie: "Yeah, you're talking to one. Like I keep telling you, Matt...I am special." ;) )

- Matt: "West Ham. Commonly known as the Hammers 'cause they keep getting...hammered"
Ronnie: "Watch it, sunshine."
(Love, love, LOVE. We have never really established who Matt supports though, have we. Even though later in "Broken" he talks about Arsenal scouting at his school, given where he's from - and another moment in an upcoming ep that I won't spoil, yet! - my money's on Chelsea. But I could be wrong. ;) )

- Also, a great scene when Matt puts the pieces together re: Julia's perfected story (GO, LADDIE! <3), including Natalie's line about going home to cuddle her boys. ("Which they'll hate, of course." Aww.)

- My standard "OMG THEY CUT THAT SCENE, SADNESS!" moment, but this time I really am disheartened, even though I had my money on that scene being the one they'd cut. It's after Ronnie and Matt leave Tommy's mum's place, they are doing a walk-n-talk along the river and Ronnie mentions lighting a candle (i.e. in church) for Tommy. There's a pause, which he follows with "You already have, haven't you?" Another pause. Matt: "Once a Catholic..." Again, a scene that doesn't really bear on the case AT ALL, so for casual viewers, no biggie... but if you're a fan of our leads and especially Matt, it's so good. That context that he's probably got some issues with his upbringing w/ regard to faith but inevitably, when it's a very emotional issue where he needs some comfort, he might fall back on it.

- On a lighter note, earlier in that cut scene while Ronnie's talking, two lady joggers pass them and Matt's head full...on...turrrrns... HEE. I also just now realized that bit, whether intentional or not, plays nicely w/ the dialogue later in the psych's office:

Matt: "What can we do?"
Dr. Rawls: "Well we could try EMDR."
Ronnie: "Come again?"
Dr. Rawls: "It involves a patient following an object that's moving with their eyes."
Ronnie: "Oh, HE'S good at that." *points*

- Also, an Alesha moment I just want to call out because it's AWESOME: Adore when she is questioning Mortimer's ex-boss who goes on about how great Thatcher was and she tells him the story about having her first alcoholic drink when Thatcher resigned, and there was a block party in her neighborhood. And then he makes that thorougly condescending remark "How very urban" and she just plain doesn't acknowledge it. Water off a duck's back. Right on, girl. XD
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zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: November 2nd, 2010 04:58 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I'm probably dating myself, but I remember watching Holly Aird as a little girl in something on Masterpiece Theater!!

It was probably "The Flame Trees of Thika" with Hayley Mills. She played Elspeth. Which I remember watching, too, so we've both dated ourselves. Ha! ;)

(She also plays Andrew Lincoln's wife in "Scenes of a Sexual Nature," which is still on my list of need-to-see items. Oh, TV boyfriends, you do keep me busy. XD)
lemurling From: lemurling Date: November 9th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Finally got around to rewatching this again (was up visiting a friend with my disks, and got her hooked, another non-Law&Order type person unable to withstand the exotic London vibe and a certain gorgeous copper).

I like the episode, but it's in the middle tier for me, not a favorite, not one I would be tempted to skip on a rewatch of the series either. I think my ambivalence is mostly in things already mentioned, the confession seemed a bit unrealistic, the key witness made me uncomfortable. I was also a little uncertain how common it was for pedophiles to switch gender targets. It's probably something that happens, but it jarred me for some reason, almost like it wasn't necessary, that the witness would remember yet another horrible thing her dad did, killing Tommy was bad enough.

Partly I think I'm biased because my first real job was file clerk at a law office, and one of the cases I managed, and ended up reading the file on, was a false memory syndrome thing (the classic type, claimed to suddenly remember her parents involving her in satanic ritual abuse as a small child, I think we were defending the dad, but it might have been defending the psychiatrist, who was being sued by the parents for causing the whole mess, it was a long time ago, my own memory is fuzzy).

So even though in the context of the show, the recovered memories are real, and even though the technique demonstrated is not the same as the one that has been responsible for false memories (like the defense brief made mention of) I still felt uncomfortable with the way the case was broken.

Some things I was intrigued by, or otherwise liked, in addition to those already brought up:

Mattie's knowing so much about EMDR. Interesting, huh? Not that he's a dumb guy, at all, but being into psychotherapy just doesn't quite click for me, unless maybe this is something he's undergone himself? He has a lot of faith in the psychiatrist, has he worked with her before? Personally? There is a general impression that Mattie represses like a mo-fo, that he just moves on, and isn't really hampered by his past, but maybe that's just the well-adjusted calm of years of therapy?

I liked how the kid that Vernon tried to hit on was not totally innocent. He was experimenting, he said yes, then chickened out. People don't like to admit it, but children are sexually curious, and while not morally responsible for their actions because of their lack of maturity, they can be willing victims, though they are still victims.

Tommy's mom was fabulous, great actress, very very sympathetic. (Very attractive too.) They do a great job with mom's on this show in general, I can't think of one that hasn't been spot on, whether a good mum or a bad one.

James, being very James this episode. Lots of sneers for me to swoon over, he was very frustrated, more than normal, and he's always sexiest when he's angry. The courtroom grilling isn't really one of his better ones in my opinion, I really liked him better in this episode outside Old Bailey.

Plus Fumier! I love that actor who plays McFadden. He does squirrely better than anyone.
asta77 From: asta77 Date: November 11th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I was also a little uncertain how common it was for pedophiles to switch gender targets. It's probably something that happens, but it jarred me for some reason, almost like it wasn't necessary, that the witness would remember yet another horrible thing her dad did, killing Tommy was bad enough.

I'm sure there are pedophile that don't care about the gender of their victims, though it seems that it's more common that they are interested in either girls or boys. It would appear the father was interested in young boys, given we also learned he was targeting boys in bathrooms, so I, too, wondered about the daughter's abuse being 'logical'.
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