So, we bid a very fond farewell to Season 1 on BBC America with the strongest episode of the season, "Honour Bound". Tight writing, excellent performances and while a showcase for the copper side of things, I never felt as if Team Order was neglected in terms of screen time or story development. It was a nice parting gift from the man who oversaw the first thirteen episodes, Chris Chibnall. As for the the plot itself, all I can say is...
"Honour Bound" opens a bit differently than previous episodes in that Ronnie and Matt are not walking into the scene of the crime after the crime has taken place, but are part of it. Or at least Matt (Go Matt!) is quick to suspect the situation is not as Jimmy Valentine would like it to seem. Four cameras in the garage are mysteriously aren't working. The sound from the mic is cutting in and out. Ronnie's put into a position where he can't see anything. And all we have is the word of one detective claiming the man lying dead on the garage floor pulled his gun first.
It's interesting to note that even though Ronnie spent time defending (or attempting to defend) his former partner, from the very beginning, at the scene of the crime, Ronnie has a look of not quite believing what Jimmy is claiming. So why not back Matt's suspicions sooner? I attribute Ronnie's hesitancy to loyalty to a former partner, and friend, and a desire to not want to believe the worst of the man. There was a period when Ronnie relied on Jimmy to have his back and support him. It would have to be extremely difficult to come to accept that same man was no better than the villains they were out to get and could have conceivably done to you what he did to Shahid if it meant protecting himself.
It soon becomes clear Ronnie was set up by Jimmy. Jimmy had done his fair share of covering up for Ronnie back when he was drinking ("All the stuff I've done for you.") and thus seems to believe Ronnie owes him and will go along with whatever he said happened. But to most people, there is a big difference between covering up dereliction of duty and covering up a murder.
It's hard to see Ronnie have to deal with his past coming back to haunt him and the potential for it to cost him dearly in the present. He's worked hard to regain control of his life, personally and professionally, and all his efforts could be undone by a lie. And it's a subtle distinction, but I liked how Bradley chose to convey Ronnie's guilt and remorse at the consequences of his drinking, how it affected his work and interfered with him being the exceptional cop he knows he is capable of being, rather than the drinking itself.
As wonderful as Bradley was in dealing with Ronnie's professional and emotional turmoil, Jamie had an equally challenging task as Matt reacted to his partner's distress and his role in it. There were plenty of moments where Jamie had little or nothing to say, yet had to convey Matt's pain as his partner was raked over the coals. My favorite reaction occurred as Ron was asked (and forced to confess) there was a time he was drunk on the job. Matt is obviously trying to hold back tears, yet you can hear a "sniff". =(
While I'm not one to have sympathy for adulterers, I was able to muster up some for Liz. She put Ronnie's needs before her own and was only able do so by making her transgressions public record. It was humiliating and detrimental to her marriage and quite possibly her career. Her sacrifice made even worse by the fact I'm not sure her statements helped either Ronnie or James' case. In the end, it was the wire Ronnie wore and Jimmy's confession that sealed Jimmy's fate.
I have to say, as vile as I found Jimmy, he did provide my favorite line in the episode when he said to Ronnie, "You let your boy band partner come after me." Hee!
My second favorite line belongs to Matt when he finds Ronnie, alone, at the end of the episode. "I can't make it better, but chips?" On me." The way to Ronnie's heart is always through his cast iron stomach. ;) It's also a nice moment that will be echoed, in a way, in a future episode, but I shall say no more for those who haven't seen the next thirteen yet!
And one more shot of Matt since, bless him, Andy Goddard likes his close-ups. :)
This has absolutely nothing to do with Jamie, but since it popped up on my Google alert just as we had a Ronnie-centric episode, I thought you might get a kick out of seeing Bradley at his day job as host of the game show, "The Chase".
BBC America kicks off Season 2 (or Series 3/4) of Law & Order: UK Friday and because zegeekgirl and I are somewhat lazy and also don't wish to be redundant, we'll be linking to the previous discussions of the 'new' episodes and encouraging people to add to those discussions. Because we'll have to do so little work, we'll post links shortly after the episodes air Friday night.