"Sacrifice", written by Terry Cafolla & Nathan Cockerill
Discussion time again for the BBC America broadcasts! Ah, Sacrifice. An interesting episode, as it's co-written by Terry Cafolla and Nathan Cockerill (the latter of whom hasnt' written for the show since); yet another thing I should tweet Terry about since I'm not sure if he did a re-write on Cockerill's script or what. There are a few lines in there that seem unmistakeably Terry. ;) And at large it's not one of my favorite cases, but I do adore it for showcasing George the way it does. Aww, Castle (the one what isn't Nathan Fillion)... we are going to miss you too, terribly!
The scene at the beginning w/ the little girl and that red balloon always draws inappropriate giggles from me. I can't help thinking of the little boy in An American Werewolf in London. "A naked American man stole my balloons!" XD Yeah... sorry... anyhow...
Early on in the investigation is where many of the bits that feel like Cafolla classics are nestled. To wit: Jason "Non-Stick" Taylor (LOVE Jamie's reaction shot when Ronnie tells Matt why he got that nickname. Deadpan brilliance); the bit with Matt having to explain that just because he read a bit about religious cults doesn't mean he's in one (Heee!); and Ronnie's line about why he doesn't carry a donor card. ("There's no point. My ex has already got everything." *chortle*) Also adored the doctor who flirts with Ronnie while he's either oblivious or playing it ice cool (though it's not lost on Matty); the snarky woman at the medical supply shop who names her anesthetic machine and accuses Matt of being a Kylie fan (double heeeee); and oh, the good old "boiler suits digging through the rubbish tip" scene. I think we can all agree that "You said that was from IKEA!" is an all-time L&O:UK classic. (For those with the DVD, be sure to watch the extended version of that scene, there's a hilarious sight gag with a dead rat that didn't make the cut.)
Took an instant distrust and dislike to John Reberty, the surgeon, primarily because he's played with such smarmy superiority by the great Michael Maloney. (Watch Jamie's "Well, excuuuse me" face when Reberty corrects Matt on calling surgeons Mr. instead of Dr. - more subtle Bamber brilliance. ;) ) I guess one teeny complaint might be at how grossly my-hands-are-as-good-as-God's-hands Reberty ends up coming off when he explains why he felt there was no reason why taking a kidney out of a ne'er-do-well like Darren McKenzie was in any way a bad thing. It still works, though, 'cause Maloney sells it.
Admittedly, I did a GIANT nerd-squee when I realized Joanna's father (and George's old mate) is played by Denis Lawson. FRAK YEAH, PILOTS!! XD (Lawson, for anyone who didn't realize or know, played Wedge Antilles - one of Luke Skywalker's Rebel pilot buddies - in the original Star Wars trilogy. Only Rebel pilot who survived both Death Star assaults, FACT! He's also Ewan McGregor's uncle IRL; anyway, having him in scenes with Jamie, I geeked out at having Star Wars and BSG clash before my very eyes. ;) )
The episode takes a really nice, poignant turn once James brings the case to George; from the very first moment, Bill Paterson is just fantastic, looking at Joanna's case file and pondering "I remember her when she was this high..." Awww. And don't get me started on George explaining to James how he pretty much owes his entire career to Phillip Woodleigh because of how he bailed him out in college. Gaaaah, George! *wibbles* And of course, he's still George when things get awkward and uncomfortable as he takes on the defense, giving James the keys to the house ("And I've marked the whiskey bottle" - Bwah!) and delivering the second, IMO, all time classic L&O:UK line in this ep when Phillip first asks him to defend him. ("That's the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard, and I go to meetings with the home secretary!" OK, he's had a few jabs at the home secretary over time, but that's the BEST one. ;) )
The more I think about it, the more I realize this is a good early case of the Law and Order halves of an episode merging pretty satisfactorily; CID are still on the scene, questioning Phillip Woodleigh, at the 30 minute mark, and the trial doesn't kick in until a good six or seven minutes later. And I guess another niggling complaint would be that emotionally, the facts and back-and-forth of the trial almost take a back-seat to the entertainment of watching George and James go at it, meeting each and every blow at full force. (Alesha: "He's good"; James: "Did you ever think he wouldn't be?" Hee.) I love that in this particular case, though James still gives it his all and wins, he never loses his human perspective on the situation; he has so much respect and affection for George as a boss and a friend, he realizes what this case means to him and they continue to be supportive of each other even as they are forced to battle it out. That writing, while a marked contrast to other cases, feels honest and true here.
Poooor George, though. Having seen "Denial" now in Series 4, the man's had some awfully tough knocks with regard to his mates, hasn't he? :(
Sooo... other thoughts? Conflicting opinions? Go!