BBC Video // 2007 // 240 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 20th, 2012
The judge who is a law unto himself.
Judge John Deed. Is there a more intimidating sight for a lowly banister to see; the Judge, perched upon his bench, staring out with icy-cold eyes? The answer, of course, is no, because Judge John Deed (Martin Shaw, George Gently) will make seasoned lawyers soak their robes in terror.
Maybe that's an overstatement. I suppose I am simply blinded by Deed's adequacy. As played by Shaw, the Judge is firm in his convictions and hungry for justice, often finding himself in the middle of the most volatile cases. He's also apparently a sex machine who can't keep his mitts off of other attorneys. But that is why he's Judge John Deed and you're not.
Judge John Deed: Season Six offers up two two-part episodes, running a total of 240 minutes.
* "War Crimes: Parts 1 and 2"
Deed's kick-off adventure is a doozy, called into the Hague to work a case of a British soldier accused of murdering 11 Iraqi civilians. Was he acting as a soldier, defending himself in the heat of battle, or is there a more malevolent purpose behind this slaughter? As the case develops, Deed realizes there are big political land mines strewn about, and the solider is being used by the government for reasons that -- shockingly -- may be shady.
* "Evidence of Harm: Parts 1 and 2"
It's another military-centric case, when a depressed and mentally ill soldier kills himself and his child. A vaccine is blamed and Deed is brought in to hear the case against the vaccine manufacturer. Turns out, the vaccines have been designed to shield the country against a bio-terrorist attack -- but at what cost?
Of course, Shaw is the draw -- as he typically is in whatever show claims him -- and his John Deed is once again compelling. In between courtroom dramas, Deed has ample personal life to sort through, including a messy affair and strained relations with family, friends, and colleagues. When he's on the click and hearing the arguments, there's a lot of gray area swirling around him, but his unwavering focus on getting to the truth keeps the narrative momentum moving -- even if the endpoints tend to be relatively unsurprising (the Old White Man Cabal has apparently been quite busy across the pond).
The DVD: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 2.0 stereo, and no extras.
It's fairly brief, but Judge John Deed: Season Six still packs a courtroom wallop. The two-part approach helps, as these are essentially two feature-length mysteries instead of four separate episodes. The stories may be fewer, but the plots are deeper and richer, with Martin Shaw devoting his steely craft to a bigger canvas.
Not Guilty. But who am I to say, Your Judgeness?
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BBC Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 240 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated