Law & Order: UK Discussion Thread - Episode 4x03, "Shaken" - Jamie Bamber News
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Law & Order: UK Discussion Thread - Episode 4x03, "Shaken"


"Shaken," written by Emilia di Girolamo

Discussion time for the third episode in Series 4!  Now, then...

Liked this episode, but didn't love it. I think perhaps being a big fan of the series who is really watching the course of events from episode to episode (as you're, well, not supposed to do with procedurals really ;) ) might be to one's detriment this time; there are aspects of this case (specifically, the death of a suspect in prison, as well as the final act revelation of a jealous supporting player who turns out to be the killer) that reminded me a LOT of "ID." I don't think it's fair to criticize Emilia too harshly for those similarities, as the case definitely took on a different tone here ; just as sad, but rooted much more in uncovering/scrutinizing the responsibilities of care for this poor baby, which is of course not the same as a crime of passion. (Well, except that it kind of is in the end, albeit an apparently accidental one.) But that did stand out to me and it felt a little bit familiar, which I wasn't crazy about.

Also, this was a new director who hasn't worked on the series before - Paul Wilmhurst - and I took a look at his CV, looks like he's done a lot of documentaries. Call me crazy, but I could kind of see that in the way the material was treated; overall, I've enjoyed the grittier tone of the show in the past 10 episodes, but this almost seemed to back off of the dramatic resonance a little too much. A lot of the opportunities for strong moments of character seemed... lacking? Does that make any sense? Or am I reading too much into it?

One thing I really, really liked was the fact that Jemma Redgrave's defense brief - though she is thorough about exploiting every unpleasant implication about the parents she can, including the mother's hectic work schedule - still seemed very much like a solid defender and not one who is manipulating the case for media attention, as we've seen some do in the past. There's even a bit of social interaction with her and both Alesha and James, seperately, which was interesting to see.

While we're on the subject of career mothers, definitely felt like this was an episode that had the potential for some great Natalie material - if anyone could speak about juggling work and parenting, it's her surely - but we didn't get it. :(

As far as COPPERS! goes - again a pretty strict Law/Order division as far as scenes go (Matt turns up in the second half *very* briefly conferring with Alesha), but it was generally solid. Loved the moments where Ronnie is giving it his past experience as a dad reasoning and yet, childless and unmarried Matt seems like the most protective parent of all!  (Did make me think of a scene in "Love and Loss" where Natalie's telling him "The love outweighs the worry" and Matt responds with "Yeah, if you say so..." - which I always took to mean he's not unfit for parenting, just probably so big-hearted that the thought of it terrifies him a little. Aww, Matty. <3)  

Probably the highlight was the scene where poor, uncomfortable Ange has to read out the emails between Leyla and Lloyd (well, at least until Ronnie relieved her of the anguish ;) ) and then they all watched the video clip. Seriously, Matty, try not to look so terribly amused. Oh, go on then... XD

Thoughts? Defenses? Criticism? GO!

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asta77 From: asta77 Date: November 22nd, 2010 04:39 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I jotted down very few notes while watching this and most you hit upon. The one big thing that stood out was how similar this episode was to "I.D." And the episodes only aired two weeks apart so I had a strong feeling of Deja Vu. I didn't pay attention to the dates on screen, but it felt like James should have had a stronger reaction to finding out two innocent men he had in jail were killed.

One thing I loved was during the parenting conversation when Ronnie states he wouldn't leave Matt crying in another room and Matt responds with, "If you ever see me crying, please make sure you do." I burst out laughing! I think I've mentioned before, Jamie REALLY needs to do more comedy.

And there was a little something for the James/Alesha camp when the defense brief warned James to watch out. ;)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: November 22nd, 2010 05:15 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I think I've mentioned before, Jamie REALLY needs to do more comedy.

His deadpanning skills have been exercised quite a bit, haven't they? ;) Loved that moment, too.
lemurling From: lemurling Date: November 22nd, 2010 05:40 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I didn't pay attention to the dates on screen, but it felt like James should have had a stronger reaction to finding out two innocent men he had in jail were killed.
The original planned order from the intro scene cards, is 4.2, 4.3, 4.1. So ID happened right after this one, not before. Though I admit, I haven't run the entire scene card set for 4.3 yet, so I'm not 100% sure on the timing of the deaths of the people in custody in relation to each other. I'll run the scene cards tomorrow and double-check.
lemurling From: lemurling Date: November 22nd, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Yeah, the suspect in ID died on March 7th, the suspect in Shaken died on February 18th.
asta77 From: asta77 Date: November 24th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Yikes. James had a really bad few weeks! I wouldn't be surprised to see him drinking a lot more!
lemurling From: lemurling Date: November 23rd, 2010 01:54 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I put a lot of my initial thoughts in the other L&O community here, but on a second viewing, some other things that popped up.

The scene changes really bugged me. It seemed like the editors just couldn't figure out how to shave an extra minute out, so instead there were a bunch of scenes that just sort of faded into the cha-chink noise, or cut out in some other strange way that really bugged me. They've done this a couple times in other episodes, but it was really intrusive here.

The episode is definitely hurt for me by it's abundance of unlikeable characters. I didn't like or feel deeply for anyone, the mom, the dad, the nanny, the boyfriend, the ex, none of them. They were all very human and real, no doubt about that, and fine performances, but I just didn't connect with any of them. My emotions never really got engaged.

I did LOVE the parenting technique debate, but I didn't -quite- believe Ronnie as Mr. Attachment Parenting. I'd be interested in that scene played if Mattie had taken the AP line against the older experienced mum and dad's arguing for controlled crying. It was a fun scene as is, just curious what that dynamic would have felt like; maybe it was too obvious.

The Ang-naughty messages scene was fun, I sort of took it a different way, not that she was totally uncomfortable, but that she was sort of uncomfortable, but also sort of titillated at 'having' to read out these naughty emails with Mattie --right there--. Matt's no prude, he would have been happy to let her go on. (Did anyone else have an "Archie Kennedy with the telescope" flashback when Mattie laughed at the home video?)

One thing I do like about L&O|UK that showed up in this episode is all the interracial couples that generally don't get commented on. Maybe I haven't seen a lot of recent US media, but it seems like US shows still tend to have a self-consciousness about racial mixing that I don't get watching this show and a few other UK-made shows I've been checking out. The nanny and her boyfriend were a bit skeevy, but the casting felt very racially blind. I'm not sure if there's some subtlety that I'm not picking up because of lack of cultural context though. The nanny had an accent, but I didn't know what that accent meant.

OK, Now having watched it all over again, I'm still pretty upset by the whole playing to prejudice over what women have to do to be good mothers, without one word of mention about the father (who I found really unappealing) and where he was when nappy's needed changing or nanny's needed to be picked out.

Geh. I think this might be destined to be my 'would sort of like to skip' episode of series 4.
asta77 From: asta77 Date: November 24th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I agree there seemed to be a lot of bashing of the mother and we saw very little of the father. If he worked from home, why did he rely so much on the nanny? Why didn't he take a more active role in finding good child care? Why didn't it ever occur to him that his ex-wife, he was devestated by not being able to have a baby, might be upset every time she was forced to go to his home for business?

There are many woman who have to work to help support the family. And there are woman who enjoy their work and don't feel they have to give it up once they have children. It's because of those reasons I really hated how the mother was treated on the witness stand. However, my sympathy for her was undercut by her taking a phone call from work while the police were trying to find out why her son died. That left me feeling her child wasn't as important to her as he should have been. :(

While I feel US TV is much better then it used to be at dealing with interracial couples, I agree that it's a non-issue in the UK. It stands out for me in that it doesn't stand out.
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