DVD Review: Garrow’s Law (Series 3)



Garrow’s Law gives a historical perspective of how 19th century English law developed through the work of barrister William Garrow (Andrew Buchan). The show dared to mix a period drama with court house action. Imagine Perry Mason combined with the movie they show all day long at Colonial Williamsburg’s visitor center. Garrow was a real lawyer who revolutionized the legal system so this isn’t pure fiction like Burke’s Law. This is such a well mannered show with the wigs and robes. Even among the fancy dressed characters, there’s a lot of muck. Lady Sarah Hill (Lyndsey Marshal) had been Garrow’s original supporter at the Old Bailey. She had no problem using her husband, Sir Arthur Hill (Rupert Graves) to hook up the guy. Their close relationship gets them in trouble. Rumors quickly swirl in the city. At the end of Series 2, Sir Hill takes Garrow to court on adultery charges. This stigma continues on the four episodes of Garrow’s Law: Series 3.

“Episode 1” has both Garrow and Lady Sarah treated as outcasts in their respective societies. Lady Sarah’s old friends hate her and no vendors wish to advance her credit. She’s a social outcast. Even worse is nobody near the Old Bailey wants to hire Garrow to represent them. They’re being squeezed hard. Luckily there’s one case that no respectable lawyer wants to handle. James Hadfield (Mark Letheren) has been busted for an assassination attempt on King George III. Garrow sees his best defense is to prove insanity, but he needs to adjust the standards set by the courts. Can he bend the law when so many people are out to break him? “Episode 2” puts two women behind bars for industrial sabotage at a silk factory. Things get complicated when one of them turns King’s evidence against the other. Can Garrow succeed when his former client wants to take him down. “Episode 3” places Garrow in a hard position. He’s defending a former governor against charges of torture. A high official hints that he can secure Lady Sarah full custody of her child if Garrow does exactly what’s proposed. “Episode 4” has him free a man arrested for murder. The daughter of the deceased hires him to expose the real killer. Lady Sarah goes to an extreme length to keep her child.

Even though Garrow’s Law had a healthy following, the suits at the BBC axed the series to make room for more new shows. The finale suggests the producers were expecting at least a fourth series to finish up the major relationship story arc. How does it end? Unlike Deadwood, Garrow and Lady Sarah were real people so you can read a biography to resolve the cliffhanger. If you’re not a big fan of reading books, look up Garrow’s Wikipedia to spoil his life story. The show was excellent and addictive. Garrow’s Law: Series 3 keeps a fine balance between his legal work at the Old Bailey and the twisted romance in his home. Such a shame that a series that brought together historical and legal dramas couldn’t plead for one more season.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers will help you spot the wigs from the bad haircuts. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. The mix brings out the rustic charm of the time. The episodes are subtitled for ears that can’t catch the accents easily.

Garrows Law: From Dawn to Dusk (19:03) follows a day’s shooting at the BBC’s Glasgow studios. Andrew Buchan looks very 21st century before he hits the hair and wardrobe trailers. It’s fun to see the costumed cast taking their lunch break at the modern dining facility.

Photo Gallery gives more shots from the show.

Cast Filmographies lets you know where you’ve seen the actors before Garrow’s Law.

Garrow’s Law: Series 3 continues the prestigious mix of historical drama with legal thriller. William Garrow was a real figure so this series is based on fact.

Acorn Media presents Garrow’s Law: Series 3. Starring: Andrew Buchan, Alun Armstrong, Lyndsey Marshal and Rupert Graves. Boxset Contents: 4 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released: August 7, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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