TV Review: Defending The Guilty, BBC2

TV: Defending The Guilty

I had a bit of deja vu watching the first episode of this new legal comedy. It is actually the episode that went out as a pilot last year but I'm not suprised a series was commissioned off the back of it. It's a refreshing take on the world of dusty wigs and funny outfits.

Will Sharpe (the boy genius behind C4's Flowers) plays Will Packham, an innocent, headphone-sporting pupil barrister making his way in a cuthroat world where rivals don't stab you in the back, they stab you in the front. Along with other pupils he is trying to land a proper job in chambers which means being on call 24/7 and endless travel to far-flung municipal buildings. His pupil master Caroline is played by Katherine Parkinson. She has seen it all, done it all and knows where all the plugs are in the courtroom corridors when she needs to charge her laptop. 

In this fast-moving scene-setter Will finds out how court cases really work and nearly puts his foot in it over some unrevealed evidence. There's a nice twist to expectations when he defends a teenage gang-member who has a penchant for literary name-dropping. Elsewhere there's also a bit of a romance brewing, or maybe not, as Will already has a girlfriend.

For older viewers there is more than an echo of This Life about Defending The Guilty. This is the real life of the criminal barrister. Better money than working in Poundland I presume, but not particularly well-paid, at least compared to some areas of the law, and not particularly glamorous. It's based on a book of the same name by actual proper barrister Alex McBride and is written by Kieron Quirke who co-wrote BBC hit Cuckoo and has a nice way with snappy dialogue. The indie soundtrack (Metronomy, Belle And Sebastian) is enjoyable too. Verdict? Definitely worth six half-hours of your time.

Defending The Guilty, BBC2, Tuesdays from September 17 at 10pm. 


Hello! Thanks for reading all the way down. I wish I could give you a prize. But BTJ needs your support to continue - if you would like to help to keep the site going, please consider donating.

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.