The Brief (ITV 2004-2005)

Brief4 Kernels

Streaming on my Acorn television subscription on Amazon is The Brief, an ITV television series, consisting of two seasons.  Frankly, it’s too bad that The Brief was so brief being only eight episodes because I found it rather engaging.  The ratings apparently weren’t up to par on the second season, and the lead role of Henry Farmer, played by Alan Davies, left the show so it didn’t continue.

It’s based on a group of defense barristers, who sometimes end up prosecuting cases against their own co-workers.  Linda Bassett plays Maureen Tyler, the head of the legal group.  As stated in the Radio Times review, it is an “engaging blend of courtroom drama, suspense, intrigue, and humour” (or humor as us U.S. folks spell it).

Of course, like all other main characters who are either solicitors, barristers, or DCI’s, they are riddled with personal problems or destructive habits.  Henry Farmer’s downfall is gambling,  and the man has a definite problem.  He ends up homeless and bankrupt but manages to keep on his feet by living with others and taking tough cases that pay well.  Since I’m not privy how all this works in the barrister world, I’m in the dark on the wheeling and dealing of case loads.  He is not, by the way, a Silk, but he is good barrister nevertheless.  I rather like Henry Farmer’s character because he is a decent human being in spite of his habitual gambling.

I especially enjoyed each case, and the courtroom antics were actually intriguing rather than yawningly boring.  Of course, court process in the United Kingdom is a bit different than in the United States, particularly when it comes to wearing robes, special collars, and the wigs of horsehair that make them look like 18th-century blokes.  You must admit the long-time practice makes it look a bit more posh and formal than our United States courtrooms with our attorneys in three-piece suits.  If you want to know more about the practice, here is a good link to read.  CLICK HERE Then there is the matter of where they sit the accused in a box that looks like a perch from on high to see everyone involved. All the tables in front of the judges are taken up by the barristers.

If you are looking for a short eight 90-minute episode binge watch, this makes a good choice.  Oh, and by the way, you can actually understand what everyone is saying since the setting is the posh side of London rather than the back roads of Britain, Ireland, or Scotland.


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