Sunday, November 11, 2007

THE BRIEF: BLAME

ABC's Friday Night Mystery night is still going strong, this week sees the return of the second series of The Brief (Friday, 16 November 2007 @ 8.30pm) which sees Alan Davies return as criminal barrister Henry Farmer, in pursuit of justice and a win on the horses.

In the first episode Blame, Henry's finances are still suffering as a result of his gambling addiction and alimony payments to his ex-wife and son in Australia. Newly single, temporarily homeless and juggling a heavy workload and a complicated personal life, Henry turns to his trusted friend Maureen 'Mo' Tyler (Linda Bassett) for support when he finds himself sleeping on the office floor and answering to a bankruptcy trustee.

Despite his shambolic life, Henry is a formidable courtroom operator with a tremendous gift for cross-examination and a silver tongue for the vital closing speech. A gambling man, Henry's not afraid to take on the hard cases including; defending a man accused of murdering his own mother; a nurse accused of killing an elderly man who days before his death changed his Will naming her prime beneficiary; as well as a tricky civil action against a man recently acquitted of rape.

Also returning to the second series are Henry's Chamber colleagues, tough-talking Cleo Steyn QC (Cherie Lunghi) and the Chamber's clerk Ray Scanlon (Chris Fulford). Joining Chambers is Henry's friend, junior barrister Millie Marsh (Camilla Power).

The first episode finds Henry defending train driver Mick Westlake (Dean Lennox Kelly) who is standing trial for manslaughter. Mick is accused of answering his mobile phone while driving and running a red signal. As a result, the train he was driving collided with an oncoming goods train, killing nine people.
There is a clear conflict as to whether the phone was indeed answered and if the driver was in a fit state to work. Was he tired because of overwork or because of his lifestyle? Henry is convinced that the owners, Traxco, the rail company with a questionable health and safety record, are looking to deflect responsibility and Mick Westlake is the perfect scapegoat. Tension at Chambers mounts, with Cleo Steyn representing Traxco and Henry defending the driver.

The episode was written by Dusty Hughes and Amanda Coe.