Acorn Media // 2011 // 223 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // August 1st, 2012
Are you lying to me?
With all of the fast paced, CG filled police procedurals that air in the US, it's nice to watch a slow-burning British drama. For both, solving the case is the expected finale, but a series like Injustice shows why telling a story over a few episodes is always preferable to the one case-one episode format that I'm used to. That's not to say that Injustice is the best program I've ever seen, but its deliberate pace lets the characters develop to reveal a lot more depth than stateside television offers.
William Travers (James Purefoy, Resident Evil) was once a big time London barrister, but a fateful murder case made him leave his practice and move to a small town with his wife, Jane (Dervla Kirwan, Ondine), to get away from it all. When he gets word that Martin Newell (Nathaniel Parker, Beverly Hills Ninja), an old college friend, is accused of the murder of his secretary, he returns to London to help in his defense. He thinks he can handle a murder case again, but all he finds is corruption and, soon, his old demons start to surface.
Over its five episode arc, writer and creator Anthony Horowitz (Foyle's War) puts his characters together really well, building Injustice into a story of difficult decisions and ambiguous morals. No character here is perfectly clean, but few are perfectly evil, either. With only a couple of exceptions, everyone falls somewhere in the middle, which is best for this kind of story.
More than a lot of procedurals, Injustice follows the law case much more closely than the ongoing police investigation. That makes puts most of the heavy weight onto James Purefoy and Nathanial Parker, both of whom are basically perfect in their roles. Purefoy plays the conflicted Travers with just the right amount of crazy to take advantage of the demons in his closet and Parker, tasked with trying to keep himself believable and likeable while adding just a shred of doubt about his innocence. Together, they make a solid pair that is at once friendly and adversarial, balanced in just the right way to keep viewers on their toes.
The other performers are equally good in less vital roles. Charlie Creed-Miles (Harry Brown) is fantastic as lead investigator Mark Wenborn. On the surface, he seems like an actual good cop and, though his investigation tactics rub people the wrong way, he is considered completely effective in his job. Like Purefoy and Parker, though, Creed-Miles has to leave enough room for his dark side which, when it emerges, is one of the more effective and difficult elements of the series. Likewise, Dervla Kirwan is perfect, but underused, as Travers's wife, a woman who teaches literature to imprisoned youths. She carries most of the emotional weight of the program, where most of the characters are as stoic as can be. I would have likely felt better about the series as a whole had she a larger role, but her presence is enough to make it work.
Through the first four episodes, between the performances and effectively slow storytelling, I was completely on board with Injustice. The last half of the fifth episode, though, made the whole experience much less valuable. Up to that point, the series is even keeled and pleasantly not sensational. They make up for whatever craziness they thought was lacking with an over the top finale that doesn't quite betray what they'd spent four hours building, but it comes dangerously close. Some things, like the dark side and conflicted motivations of Travers, are long known by that time, but there are enough thrown in to make it seem like there was a bunch of stuff they simply forgot to deal with and decided to get it all out in the end. None of it is particularly bad, though it does verge on exploitive, but none of it is necessary and only serves to muck up what was once a tightly-woven, plot driven series. Most of Injustice is excellent, but it's impossible to ignore a finish that has little regard for what had already been built.
Acorn's two-disc set for Injustice is fine, but nothing special. The anamorphic image is fairly crisp, with a normal level of detail for a British television program. Black and white levels are average and, while it's no hi-def transfer, it's perfectly acceptable. The sound mix performs similarly. It's a mere stereo track, but the dialog and music are clear and differentiated. The only extra is a photo gallery.
I don't care much for the ham-fisted way the series finishes, but the first four hours is a solid procedural. The performances are excellent and the story compelling, even while the subpar finale goes down. The two-disc set isn't anything to write home about, but the series itself, while imperfect, is definitely worth watching and is recommended as a rental.
Review content copyright © 2012 Daryl Loomis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 223 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Gallery