Search - Trial and Retribution: Set 1 on DVD

Trial and Retribution: Set 1
Trial and Retribution Set 1
Actors: David Hayman, Dorian Lough, Victoria Smurfit, Kate Buffery, Martin Heathcote
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2008     13hr 24min

"Powerful, inventive" -- The Ottawa Citizen (Canada) — "Terrific" -- The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) Crime-to-court suspense from Lynda La Plante No one explores the human cost of crime and punishment with more depth ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: David Hayman, Dorian Lough, Victoria Smurfit, Kate Buffery, Martin Heathcote
Creator: Lynda La Plante
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 13hr 24min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

One of the VERY BEST crime-dramas ever produced!
Tiggah | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 11/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Those familiar with the British crime-drama series Prime Suspect will already be familiar with the top-notch writing skills of Lynda La Plante, and those who've enjoyed Prime Suspect will certainly enjoy Trial & Retribution. This is a highly engrossing, intellectually satisfying, consummately acted series with strong, richly woven, impeccably written storylines that draw one in and keep one enrapt throughout.

Unlike Prime Suspect, this series centres around the lives of two senior police officers and the ensuing relationship (both personal and professional) between them. Detective Superintendent Mike Walker (David Hayman) is a feisty, intense, no-nonsense little Jack Russell who rips the filters off his cigarettes. A Scotsman with a nose for the business and a loathing for criminal scum, he's a cop who gets results. He's not, however, a very nice man; more to the point, from a human standpoint he's actually very flawed--a fact which becomes increasingly (indeed disturbingly) more evident as the series progresses.

Personality-wise, Detective Inspector Pat North (Kate Buffery) is Mike's polar opposite--well, she'd have to be in order to get along with Mike. A bit rumpled, even haggard in appearance, she's serious, concientious, and ambitious, but she takes things at a calmer more methodical pace, thinking things out first rather than shooting from the hip (as Mike tends to do).

Another feature which distinguishes this series from Prime Suspect (or most other crime-dramas for that matter) is that each episode follows the crime not only through the amassing of evidence and eventual arrest of a suspect but through the trial as well. Of course, once the trial commences, time is of the essence should any new evidence come to light! This is a series which is superbly acted by the strongest of casts, and the actors portraying the barristers are no exceptions. I was particularly captivated by their consummately orated soliloquies and examinations of witnesses--one really is on the edge of one's seat throughout.

No review of this exceptional series would be complete without mention of the highly sophisticated and innovative directing. The show will often break into a split screen (for example when a witness is describing what he or she saw) which has proven to be a highly effective technique. It was La Plante's innovation (and one which she had to fight for), and lest one thinks it sounds weird and intrusive, it is done so professionally and smoothly that the transitions are barely noticeable.

British or otherwise, of all the crime dramas ever produced, Trial & Retribution is one of the very best ever made (and is my own personal favourite), and I highly, HIGHLY recommend it. It is unpredictable, intelligent, rivetting, and very sophisticatedly directed, not to mention flawlessly acted. It is also highly realistic (La Plante, who also produced the series, had her scripts edited by various police and forensic specialists for accuracy). This boxed set includes the first four series made between 1997 and 2000, each of which consists of one 200-minute story split into two 100-minute episodes. Nineteen series have been made to date (of which I've seen about half) with more in the works. I can only hope that Acorn will release this series in its entirety--if any series deserves a complete release, this one does! Finally, if you enjoy this series and are looking for other top-notch crime-dramas, I also recommend The Commander (also by La Plante) and The Vice (starring Ken Stott).
Just a bit too dark for me
Song & story lover | Midwest, USA | 01/27/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I really appreciate the review here given by Donegal Dan, as he mentions the grim and grisly nature of crimes investigated in this series. With La Plante's writing, this series has been compared to Prime Suspect. And there definitely are many commonalities between the two series. Yet, where they differ is the reason for my dropping a couple of stars from my rating (certainly not due to the direction or casting, both of which are excellent). No, what Prime Suspect has that Trial and Retribution does not is Helen Mirren, who manages to bring such humanity to her character. And, by this I mean, not only the human impact of dealing with the sordid and disturbing elements of crime, but Helen Mirren's capacity to bring to whatever she does a fully 3-dimensional character. That is missing in T&R -- La Plante offers us no real depth in the lead characters we're spending all this time with in T&R -- and the series is poorer for it.

It would help this series enormously were there some brighter lighting on the sets. Spending an entire episode in the dimly or starkly lit rooms where most of the interpersonal 'action' takes place simply underscores that we're visiting a very dark layer of human society. I realize that this is the point, but for a viewer, it can leave you feeling, "Why did I subject myself to that for the past two hours when I could be uplifted by watching something with Helen Mirren Judi Dench instead?" My point about the lighting is that there is no relief anywhere -- and, since most of us are not studying to become criminalists but are looking for a captivating viewing experience, the dark feel and look of these episodes can feel overbearing.

Yes, this series is a solid production with many strong elements. But it does leave a foul taste when the story is done (or as Donegal Dan put it), it can 'turn your stomach.' Indeed, yes. I won't be continuing with Season 2 -- I've had quite enough, thank you."
Roy Clark | Edge of Toiyabe Nat'l Forest, NV | 12/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This police procedural BBC production is neither about a trial or retribution. It's about how London police go about their business. With a heavy proportion given to the personal lives of both the police and the citizens and suspects they encounter. The stories are about pretty mundane, everyday crimes, just those in the USA.

Occasionally stories get melodramatic, getting intense about the pressures of police work. But overall, the episodes are gritty and realistic. But not so heavy on action. More time is spent on thinking and talking than suspense and capture. T&R seems a version of Prime Suspect, with not-quite as good writing.Prime Suspect 1

(This tag takes you to the first of six or seven PS episodes,blessed with the acting excellence of Helen Mirren. All, worthy of multiple viewings thanks to great characterizations and direction. If you're curious about UK TV, Prime Suspect is the place to start and maybe finish... )"
Engrossing but Grim Series
Donegal Dan | Southwest United States | 01/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is another in the gritty and grim school of British police dramatic series. The actors are all excellent and the relationship between the two leading officers is compelling if somewhat wearying, since they seem to have a hell of a time dealing with each other. The depiction of police work is excellent although it brings nothing really new to the genre. There is not a great deal of humor to be found in this series, and it could use some because its stories are quite grisly, especially the first two episodes. Overall, this is a series that will certainly hold your attention and keep you on the edge of your seat if you have the stomach for it."