The UK adaptation of the longest running prime-time American TV show is refreshingly different yet still familiar.
The two cop leads are formulaically paired: Matt (Jamie Bamber), the handsome young cop, idealistic and impulsive, partnered with the older even-keeled Ronnie (Bradley Walsh). As they interview witnesses, question suspects and collect information to solve crimes, their camaraderie develops their friendship in far-from-trite ways. They are delightful and deliver entertaining quips at well timed moments. I’m disappointed when the case is ready to be handed off to the prosecution, but it’s not bad. The mood changes. You are privy to the chemistry between James (Ben Steele), the veteran prosecutor who puts in serious hours to put away the guilty, and junior prosecutor Aleysha (Freema Agyeman) the talented, not yet jaded protégée. Steele’s demeanor is uncannily close to that of original Law & Order attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Waterson).The courtroom scenes are compelling but lack the excitement of the investigative portion of each show.
The series is faithful to the original, but the differences keep you coming back.The stories are compelling with a touch of Prime Suspect to make them more intellectually stimulating that the American versions of Law & Order and Law & Order Special Victims Unit (or it is just the accents?) The scenes of the streets of London are frenzied and bustling. There’s rich character development so that when they choose to delve into a hinted-at storyline, they already have a ripe environment upon which to play. In its fourth season, check out Law & Order: UK on BBC America.