Review: Law and Order UK: “Confession” (2010, UK)

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Note: This is a current series episode and the entire plot is discussed below.

Confession, series 2 Episode 4: Confession By Terry Cafolla is an updating of Bad Faith written by Réné Balcer for the original American series.

A cop is found shot dead in Battersea Park and so the story opens with the notification to the widow. The childhood best friend who went through the academy with the victim refuses to see any fault in the victim’s background but his elder partner (the regulars in the show) last saw him drinking heavily and shadowing a now-ex Parish priest. The younger copper tips off the audience that this priest is a paedophile and that’s when the Crown Prosectution Service (the equivalent of the DA’s office) is brought it to see how to bring him to justice, in addition to trying to find other witnesses following the initial death ruled as suicide.

The problem is that not only was this storyline reheated from the American series, but the now-concluded police series The Bill covered similar territory without the Catholic Church angle and proved to be much more powerful as a result. Law and Order UK throws away too much time on the frankly wishy-washy idea of educating the audience through the dense younger cop who isn’t sure whether he was a victim himself when everyone else knew they were including the remaining witnesses discovered off-screen. The writer conveniently, though realistically, gives the replacement witness a flaw that can lead to discreditation on the stand. In short, this episode was rubbish; the Catholic Church situation is still unfolding so hardly needs fictionalising for entertainment purposes just yet or if it is, starting with a suicide as a means of editing for time was lazy. Until Law and Order UK has its own screenwriting team the situation isn’t likely to get better, this wasn’t a patch on The Bill’s handling of both child and adult sexual abuse over the years.

Ironically, if the decision is ever taken to Anglicise Law and Order Special Victims Unit which is half the age of the parent show, that might be a better way to approach the subject if all the production companies concerned insist on continuing to remake old work in new countries.

– CBG

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