Case Number 22705: Small Claims Court


BFS Video // 2011 // 225 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 10th, 2011

The Charge

There is a new sheriff in town.

The Case

Robert Pugh (Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World) stars as Patrick Coburn, a sensitive, strong-willed judge who, after 40 years away from his home town, returns to run point on a pricey new crime fighting venture. The town is Dovefield, Liverpool (which Google tells me is somewhere in Northern England) and it's, frankly, going straight down the tubes. Drugs have taken hold in the neighborhoods and unmarried teens are having sexual intercourse willy-nilly. Also, a local ganglord has everyone living in fear and he feels so invincible he's willing to openly threaten Judge Coburn in his own chambers.

And as if that weren't enough, the local press is breathing down his neck, eager to short circuit his controversial -- and expensive -- law enforcement program. That door might just open thanks to dark secret in Coburn's past as well as an office full of potential turncoats. That can't all be worth wearing that sweet powdered wig, can it?

Actually, it's the lack of the wig that sets apart Coburn's program. See, he's crafted a gentler, more accessible, way to seek resolutions to crime, which includes disposing of the usual affectations of the courtroom like robes and wigs and taking on a proactive, problem-solving approach to defusing issues.

That's the hook, but Justice is primarily about Coburn the character. The peripheral plotlines are hit and miss in their standalone engagement, but when they're used to service the greater arc of Judge Coburn, the gears click better. Over the course of five episodes, the side stories intersect nicely; headlined by the plight of a young girl, her relationship to the gangster and the omnipresent newspaper reporter. Coburn must balance all of this while handling the one-off cases.

Overall, Justice didn't quite do it for me, but I can easily see the value of the series if you're a viewer who enjoys a modest pace to his or her show. There's not a whole lot of edge or darkness to the series, with the shiftiest stuff involving the head criminal acting rudely to the authorities. Cases typically involve softer, more domestic matters, transgressions inspired by social ills more than straight-up evildoers. As such, the flow feels more Hallmark Hall of Fame than Luther or other such hard edge BBC crime fighting fare.

The two-disc DVD set: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo mix, no extras, giant plastic packaging.

The Verdict

Not my cup of tea so to speak, but it has merit for someone out here looking for a softer brand of curbing poor behavior. Not Guilty.

Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: BFS Video
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 225 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb