DVD Review: Garrow’s Law (Series 2)

Remember the old ads about how peanut butter and chocolate merged to create one great taste? Two great tastes end up tasting great together and thus Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups are born. What happens when a legal series merges with an 18th century historical drama? Garrow’s Law is the tasty result. William Garrow (Andrew Buchan) was a real person that dared to change the way courtrooms were run in London’s Old Bailey. He came up with the concept of innocent until proven guilty. Garrow’s Law: Series 2 gives the next four installments of the legal maverick.

“Episode 1″ deals with a ship’s captain that tosses cargo into the ocean when the water supply runs low. They ship’s owner wants the insurance company to pay for the loss. The dumped cargo turns out to be 133 Africans. Garrow is hired by the insurance company to not pay for the dead slaves. The relationship between Garrow and Lady Sarah Hill (Lyndsey Marshal) gets trickier. She has been his big supporter in the Old Bailey. Sir Arthur Hill (Rupert Graves) suspects his wife is having an affair with the lawyer. His hatred of Garrow builds during this season. He thinks their child is Garrow’s baby. Hill resorts to charging Garrow with criminal conversation. That’s what they politely called adultery back then.

“Episode 2″ forces a ship’s captain to defend himself against the charge of sodomy. There’s no real proof. Garrow sees himself in his client. This starts setting the stage for Garrow’s battle with Sir Hill. “Episode 3″ turns up the heat when Garrow defends a man who exposed how bad sailors are being treated at a hospital. Turns out the official in charge of the hospital is Sir Hill. “Episode 4″ is the promised battle between Garrow and Hill in the courthouse. It’s a legal throwdown that would make Nancy Grace go silent.

Garrow’s Law: Series 2 ramps up the drama with the lawyer being forced into the role of the defendant. The four episodes roll into each other like a great mini-series. The show properly balances the human drama with the legal wordplay to keep things compelling and educational. It’s not a dry historical reenactment. Garrow gets emotional as he fears his fate’s outcome pounded by the judge’s gavel.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers look fine. The show is shot with plenty of low light, flame flickers and shadows to reflect a world before light bulbs. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. The levels are fine so you can follow the courtroom actions. The episodes are subtitled in case you can’t handle the British accents.

William Garrow: Fact and Fiction (21:57) interviews the author of a biography on Garrow. The visit locations where Garrow studied and practiced the law. The producers remind us that the series is a drama and not a documentary. The cases are real, but Garrow’s involvement is questionable. They point out how the series has helped increase Garrow’s profile in his country.

Photo Gallery (0:41) is a montage of production photos. Such fun seeing the Georgian locations covered in camera equipment.

Cast Filmographies gives the credits for the six leads.

Garrow’s Law: Series 2 successfully blends of a legal drama with a historical period piece. This is better than the first series. Garrow finds himself in as much trouble as his clients when his friendship with Lady Sarah Hill gets blown out of proportion. Garrow’s Law is legally and emotionally sound.

Acorn Media presents Garrow’s Law: Series 2. Starring: Andrew Buchan, Lyndsey Marshal and Rupert Graves. Boxset Contents: 4 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released on DVD: August 2, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.