Garrow's Law

Garrow's Law. 2009. (DVD 791.4572 Garrows)

In 18th-century Old Bailey courtrooms, many trials lasted only minutes, death penalties were the norm, and the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” didn’t exist. That is, not until real life British barrister William Garrow (1760-1840) stepped into the courtroom. His attempts to bring justice to the outmoded and chaotic legal system are vividly portrayed in this superb BBC award-winning show. Taken from actual criminal court records of the period, the series follows Garrow (Andrew Buchan) from his earliest cases (infanticide, treason, slavery, homosexuality) as he goes against the system and passionately advocates for the accused.

He is helped in his crusade by his mentor Southouse (Alun Armstrong) and beautiful (but married) love interest Lady Sarah Hill (Lyndsey Marshall). Terrific acting, and attention to detail in costumes and sets make us feel as if we were part of the late 1700s Georgian era. Not just a dry procedural legal drama, this has enough suspense, melodrama, romance, and humor to make for a completely engrossing, thought-provoking historical series - and one that deals with some surprisingly contemporary issues.

(Laura, Reader's Services)

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