July 02, 2008

Criminal Justice, A Debate to Far?

'We've the best criminal justice system, in the world,' the immortal words spoken by the father of Ben Coulter, the protagonist of BBC's newest drama, Criminal Justice.

With the recent recession for good quality legal drama, the US produced Damages, every action and every thought were bought into question, trust no one. The BBC are back with another hard hitting drama which is playing out over a week. After last years, 'Five Days', which saw the story of a police investigation into the disappearance of a young mother and her two children, the BBC have done it again, never for one second letting common knowledge be left, this sees the justice system in it's boldest yet, constantly questioning the facts.

The story revolves around Ben Coulter (Whishaw) and one night out, spent with a mysterious girl. One minute their doing vodka shots and being lead to the bedroom and the next, Ben wakes up with blood on his hands and a dead body upstairs. What happened in between these events? Criminal Justice works though the labyrinth of law to find out.

With all the twists and turns along the ways, this show begs all the questions that the public wants the answers to. Everyday, we open our newspapers and see articles about criminals, the mistakes within our government and treatment of prisoners. Without leaving any gritty detail, CJ aims to present an argument to it's audience and oblivious to gender, race or nationality, former barrister, Peter Moffat writes a beautifully constructed, relevant piece of drama which leaves it's audience wanting more.

At the end of day two we are left with questions about the story and about our justice system. Does this represent the reality that is hidden away from us? No longer are being told to mind our own business but instead develop an emotional connection with those on the other side. The violence, the betrayal and the system at it's best and worst are all shown in this five part drama starring some amazing British talent.

Ben Whishaw, performs to the highest standards and after his performance in the box office smash, Perfume, why not? The emotional rollarcoaster we are taken on as a man unsure of his innocence tries to fill in the gaps without being bought down by the system, not only leaves the audience wanting more for the story, the drama and the construction but leaves the audience with a thought, a taste in their mouths. What can be done? Is this the truth? Can a dramatic construction of the justice system bring us closer to solving the problem that lays behind bars?

Direction by Otto Bathurst and Luke Watson, the former having credits with last years 'Five Days' and the popular 'Hustle' we are taken somewhere other law shows have not dared to tread. A bit of law, some prison drama, a man's own mental state being bought into question, Criminal Justice, certainly has gripped and with another three episodes to go, it looks like very soon we shall be having answers.

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