Thursday, August 29, 2013

GARROW'S LAW!!!! (so good)

Garrow’s Law. You guys. Wow.

So, I started watching this a few years ago; but I am finally making my way from the beginning through the entire series.  William Garrow is a brilliant lawyer who, though from humble means, through his hard work as apprentice to the pragmatic John Southouse, has raised himself to the level of a gentleman (such as his nemesis prosecutor Silvester) in his comings and goings at court.

from the Guardian

The 18th Century, as you know, was a hugely pivotal era in terms of the shifting of morals, laws and the state of human happiness and well-being. Garrow helped propagate several changes, helping to usher reform chiefly on behalf of prisoners. In an age where branding, hanging, burning at stake and wrongful imprisonment for the slightest crimes awaited those unfortunate and defenseless prisoners shoved into the dock at the Old Bailey, Garrow coined his belief that every man be innocent until proven guilty. With him, the law and the right of the prisoner for sane and solid and solemn legal council changed.

Courtroom dramas are always riveting. For me, as a lover of detective stories and mysteries, I enjoy how the truth is let out often in the intricate and theatrical summations and evidence presented to the juries.  This courtroom drama, however, stands heads above any others because of its pure glee in excavating the strangest historical cases: ripped directly from the Old Bailey’s records.

Historically, Garrow was able to assist those standing trial for everything from infanticide, sodomy and high treason and loan a voice of compelling and compassionate leniency when the crown would rather rid London society of those even suspected of committing a crime.  Evidence was hard come by and circumstantial evidence prevailed: but Garrow’s quick mind and stern moral compass allowed him to logically infuse the circus of the courtroom with sound counsel and judgment. To add, he was extremely proficient at winning the sympathy and understanding of a jury.

The series provides a fascinating glimpse, entrenched with verisimilitude, into the cases that Garrow presided over.  Andrew Buchan plays Garrow as a lion in the courtroom but often out of water when not in the realm of the law.   He excels at blunder-headed moves that lead to the entrapment of his reputation by the cunning Sir Robert Hill, whose wife Lady Sarah, is an ardent female voice in the male-dominated society of the court systems.

I have so enjoyed the pitch-perfect dialogue, the theatrical antics, the climaxes and the denouement of each courtroom drama aside which moments from Garrow’s personal life are added in centrifugal and apt movement.   Georgian society is a fascinating one and the wigs, the costume make-up, the double standards and the bawdy double entendre of a society rid of the manners ushered in with the Victorians is on promenade here.

Check it out.

Note, I really enjoyed searching out the Old Bailey recordswhich are pristinely documented online for all to view.

As you can see from the screenshot, a search of William Garrow elicits several of his cases ---those which the series are based on:

Also, this is one article of the many that exposes some of Garrow's well-documented life: William Garrow: the Robin Hood of the courtroom 


Anne Mateer said...

My husband is an attorney and while US attorney dramas don't particularly excite him, we love watching British ones! I'll add this to our list!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks for letting me know there's more than one season. I actually saw a reference on Amazon to Season Four... But now I know about 2 and 3.
Great show.

Birdie said...

How great to read your post about Garrow's Law. I have loved every episode of this wonderfully entertaining series, but I thought it didn't get enough attention in the 'period-drama-world' at large. Andrew Buchan's acting is so great in Garrow's Law and being based on true historical events, makes the series even more special.