It cannot be that difficult to write a courtroom drama.
The formula of a trial seems to make it easy.
There is the conflict between the parties and between their lawyers, the tension of unpredictable outcomes, the unfolding of events through the introduction of evidence and the testimony of witnesses, and - crucially - a finite process, which one can pad out for 25 or 50 minutes as required.
This ease perhaps explains why many notable legal shows do not stand out with for their plotting (I can hardly remember the plots from any of the hundreds of such dramas I have watched) but with individual or group characterization, from Kavanagh QC and Judge John Deed to Ally McBeal and This Life.
It follows that it must be difficult to write a good courtroom drama: one where the actual trial itself provokes the interest, not the agonies or the antics of the lawyers involved.
And here is where I think Garrow's Law succeeds.
Garrow's Law takes us away form the comfortable clichés of modern courtroom drama to the Old Bailey trials of the late eighteenth century.
As elements of such trials were so different from those with which we are familiar - the prisoner was not able to give evidence on oath, defence representation was rare and limited, the juries conferred in the noisy courtroom and not in a discrete room, and so on - it forces the viewer to pay full attention to the trial itself.
I have never been so engrossed in a legal drama: I watched all four episodes in one sitting last weekend.
However, it does have its faults.
Many of the characters are stock-pieces: the callow and ambitious apprentice and his wise and grumpy mentor is the central relationship.
The production in no way conveys the bustling and noisy London poised between the ages of Hogarth and Dickens.
Indeed, it seems like London was just a park with a courtroom and a prison cell attached, with a small tavern to the side.
Within the Old Bailey there appears to be one busy corridor, where somewhat inevitably the characters keep encountering each other.
And the introduction of modern themes - such as the earnest moral majority (the dour-faced "reformation of manners" brigade), the worthy radicals (the nice sorts in the "corresponding society"), the war on terror, corruption by law-enforcers, political cover-ups - is a little clumsy and superficial.
But the trials themselves are genuinely fascinating.
There is also some extremely good acting, especially Aidan McArdle as Silvester, who can convey with a slight glance what a scriptwriter could waste a page on. Lyndsey Marshall also makes a good fist of playing a near-bluestocking somehow hanging around with the squares.
All this, and you get to see a lawyer being shot at dawn.
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