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Law & Order: UK
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dc/Law_%26_Order-_UK_title.svg/290px-Law_%26_Order-_UK_title.svg.png
Genre Police procedural
Legal drama
Created by Dick Wolf
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 53
Production
Running time 45–48 mins
Production company(s) Kudos
Wolf Films
Universal Television
Distributor Endemol Shine UK
Release
Original network ITV
Original release 23 Feb 2009 - 11 Jun 2014

Law & Order: UK is a British police procedural and legal television programme broadcast from 2009–14 on ITV, adapted from the American series Law & Order. This is the first American drama television series to be adapted for British television, while the episodes are adapted from scripts and episodes of the parent series.

Law

Ronnie Brooks

  • Portrayed by Bradley Walsh
  • Episodes: "Care" - "Repeat to Fade" (series 1-8)

Ronald "Ronnie" Brooks is a senior Detective Sergeant assigned to London's Major Incident Unit. Ronnie is a recovering alcoholic and absent-father, who values his job more than anything. He lives to see justice served. Ronnie is the light-hearted leader and mentor of his Junior Partners, and has turned down numerous promotions in order to make a difference on the streets.

Lively and loveable, Ronnie Brooks is the man you'd want to give your daughter away if you were indisposed. Ronnie adores his job. He's a copper's copper. A reminder of another era of London policing; an era Ronnie's determined to keep going. He knows every nook and cranny of the city. When he's off duty, he can be found playing snooker or at a West Ham game (he's been a season ticket holder for 35 years).

Anglican by upbringing, Ronnie's a humanist by experience. A proper old-school East End gentleman who understands the complexities of life and death. Ronnie uses his laconic wit to cover the reality of too many dead bodies and disappointments. A recovering alcoholic, Ronnie drank his way through two marriages and the distancing of two daughters. Although he typically shrugs it off, Ronnie's feelings of guilt are transparent even though he does not always explicitly talk about it. He now lives alone and makes up for his loneliness with his friendship with his colleagues and working overtime.

Ronnie's experience often comes to the fore in difficult cases as he is able to read body language and analyse a crime from a psychological perspective. Easy-going by nature, he has a good working relationship with most of his colleagues as well as the CPS. He is a natural mentor with great patience and tolerance for the rookies and was a mentor to both Matt and Sam as well as Joe.

Ronnie Brooks would appear to be based on the character Lennie Briscoe from the original Law & Order series. Both characters have two ex-wives, are estranged from their daughters and are recovering alcoholics.

Joe Hawkins

  • Portrayed by Ben Bailey Smith
  • Episodes: "Flaw" - "Repeat to Fade" (series 8)

Joseph "Joe" Hawkins a young junior Detective Sergeant who was Ronnie's third and final partner. A newly promoted DS, Joe has come straight from child protection to the murder squad, he is far more working class than his predecessors and as such possesses greater street smarts. His child protection training has come in useful on several occasions, in particular on his very first case, convincing a child witness to testify against a known gangster. Eager to learn, he's a fresh mind for Ronnie to mold, and he's fiercely loyal.

Elisabeth Flynn

  • Portrayed by Sharon Small
  • Episodes: "Repeat to Fade" (series 8)

Elisabeth Flynn is new to her job of Detective Inspector but is determined to put her stamp on the MIU, declaring her own personal crackdown on knife crime. Ironically, the first case to come in under her command is a stabbing. She sees Ronnie as a dinosaur, and has a deep desire to modernise the police force.

Matt Devlin

  • Portrayed by Jamie Bamber
  • Episodes: "Care" - "Deal" (series 1-5)

Matthew "Matt" Devlin is a Detective Sergeant and the Junior Partner to Ronnie's senior role. Compared to Ronnie Matt younger and more impulsive partner, friend, and surrogate son, he sincerely looks up to Brooks but takes a more aggressive and black-and-white stand on their cases. Matt is from an Irish-Catholic family in Kilburn and originate from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Cheeky and charming, Matt's policing instinct is second to none. In equal parts a force to be reckoned with and a good-looking playboy, Matt brings energy and optimism to the partnership.

Devlin has a romanticized idea of policing and absolutely loves his job and believes in what he does. Despite rejecting the "absolutism" of his upbringing, he still has a black-and-white view of the law: people are either innocent or guilty.

Hardworking, efficient and thorough, Matt has a traditional view of the law: but he'll also push past the rule of procedure when he feels his cause is just. He has little sympathy for people who commit crimes, whatever their circumstances might have been.

Inseparable for five years, Matt and Ronnie are mischievous when they are together: each recognises the twinkle in the other's eye and they're known at the station as Morecambe and Wise.

Matt was also flirtatious, tech-savvy and people-smart. He formed strong bonds with both Alesha and Natalie, with hints at romantic feelings with the former and motherly emotions to the latter.

Matt was gunned down in a drive-by shooting outside a court-house at the end of "Deal"; he dies a hero, pushing Alesha Phillips and 12-year-old witness Kaden Blake out of harm's way. The following episode, "Survivor's Guilt," deals with bringing his killer to justice.

Sam Casey

  • Portrayed by Paul Nicholls
  • Episodes: "Survivor’s Guilt" - "Dependent" (series 6-7)

Samuel "Sam" Casey is a headstrong young detective sergeant with a strong sense of justice. Sam was brought in from another station to investigate the shooting of DS Matt Devlin and chooses to stay on as DS Ronnie Brooks's new partner. Like Matt he has the tendency to be over-zealous and hot-blooded at times but is usually reined in by Ronnie. He is quick-thinking and has the ability to connect with people, which greatly aids his interrogations. In the episode "Dawn Till Dusk," it is revealed that he has a son.

Natalie Chandler

  • Portrayed by Harriet Walter
  • Episodes: "Care" - "Fault Lines" (series 1-6; guest star series 8)

Natalie "Nat" Chandler is Brooks, Devlin and later Casey's, boss she is the mother-figure to Ronnie's father-figure and the Senior Investigating Officer at the M.I.U. Her job is to push her detectives, making sure they stay within the lines of propriety and to play devil's advocate to their investigations. Chandler is a great boss and a good people person. She leaves no uncertainty about who is in charge but she's fiercely loyal to Ronnie, Matt and later Sam. Natalie knows how to motivate and how to discipline them and is always fair and focused.

Chandler also brings a sympathy and softer side to her detectives, considering their families even when they don't. Despite maintaining her emotionality, Chandler will be the one bastion of objectivity when all others cannot. She's able to be dispassionate when all around her are losing their heads.

Natalie has a huge heart and is extraordinarily empathetic - but she knows how and when to switch that off, for the good of the job and for the benefit of good, impartial police work.

In the season 7 premiere "Tracks" it is mentioned that she is on temporary leave looking after her sick mother, who was in the late stages of a terminal disease and that DI Wes Layton is looking after her desk till she gets back. However by Season 8 it's revealed that DI Layton had permanently taken on her job and that in the episode "Pride" delves into the fact that her mum had died and Natalie had decided to retire to look after her own family.

Wes Leyton

  • Portrayed by Paterson Joseph
  • Episodes: "Tracks" - "Hard Stop" (series 7-8)

Wesley "Wes" Leyton, is a MIU commanding officer; DI Leyton has been with the Metropolitan Police Service since the age of 18. Newly appointed as DI, Wes is frustrated by the amount of time spent dealing with budget issues and filling in forms but he is determined to make a good job of it and get results. Leyton and Brooks go way back and although they weren't close friends they share a similar outlook.

Wes is murdered after celebrating his birthday, when he is shot in his car in the presence of his wife, by a man whose father Wes had arrested and was about to testify against in a retrial.

Order

Jacob Thorne

  • Portrayed by Dominic Rowan
  • Episodes: "The Wrong Man" - "Repeat to Fade" (series 5-8)

Jacob Thorne grew up an only child on a farm and was sent to boarding school at a young age. His working class background plays a major role in his competitiveness and moralistic "black and white" views of right and wrong which often puts him in direct conflict with Alesha's more sentimental nature and ambiguous perspective of morality. This, coupled by his straight-talking bluntness, causes some unspoken tension between them but he trusts and respects her abilities. Highly intelligent and competent, he was once part of a barrister's chambers before joining the CPS to "do the right thing". He is also something of a player, which quickly becomes apparent as a number of female barristers have greeted him cordially during pre-hearing meetings, much to Alesha's amusement and his embarrassment. At times can be as charming around the ladies as he is aggressive in the courtroom. Jake can be unpredictable and dislikes discussing his family or life outside his job. Despite this he has a good working relationship with Alesha and the other detectives.

In the Series 6 episode "Trial" it is revealed that his mother is suffering from a brain tumour. In the series 7 episode "Tremors" it is revealed that his mother had died and that Jake did not want to go to her funeral. In the same episode Jake admitted that his mother had mentally abused him as a child. In the episode "Mortal", we learn that Jake is a Roman Catholic.

Kate Barker

  • Portrayed by Georgia Taylor
  • Episodes: "Tracks" - "Repeat to Fade" (series 7-8)

A former defence barrister turned crown prosecutor. Kate may not look like the average prosecutor but she is straight-talking, charming and likeable and very used to getting her own way. The first in her family to go to university, she is head strong, experienced and not a fan of hierarchies; the perfect combination to infuriate her new associate Chief Prosecutor Jacob Thorne. In the season 7 finale it was revealed she has a sister she hasn't been in contact with for few years, and Ronnie helps her to track her down.

Henry Sharpe

  • Portrayed by Peter Davison
  • Episodes: "The Wrong Man" - "Repeat to Fade" (series 5-8)

Henry Sharpe is the Director of London Crown Prosecution Service. He rules his team with a fair and firm hand. Mild-mannered and generally down-to-earth, Henry will show his aggressive side when pursuing justice for the victim but also acts as the voice of reason for his more junior counterparts. He is something of a father figure and mentor to Jake and Alesha and shows great faith in their abilities. He tends to take a more psychological approach when analysing a crime and what triggered someone to commit it. Whenever Jake and Kate are at odds over their views on a case he will act as the neutral "third person" and give a different perspective. He becomes a target in the penultimate episode of Series 8 after a case that he prosecuted back in the past comes back to haunt him.

James Steel

  • Portrayed by Ben Daniels
  • Episodes: "Care" - "Skeletons" (series 1-4)

James Steel is the senior crown prosecutor and partner of Alesha Phillips. He is a born barrister: clear, precise and focused. James's mission is to discover the truth of each case by sifting through the conflicting realities of witnesses, victims and suspects to make sure justice is done.

Prior to his eight years with the CPS, Steel was a defence barrister; but the coincidence of a three-time rapist's case, who James successfully defended even though he felt sure his client was lying, and the birth of his first child changed his outlook on life, and after that day, he promised himself he'd never help a guilty man go free again. He then defected to the Crown Prosecution Service. He has wizened with age and his ability as a CPS Officer has grown with experience.

James is principled and decent and refuses to compromise. He takes the law personally and lives his cases 24 hours a day - a reason his marriage was short-lived as his new passion for the other side of the law consumed his life, alienating him from his family until his wife left for Edinburgh with his son, so his work now fills the hole that his family left.

James resigns from the Crown Prosecution Service at the end of "Skeletons".

Alesha Phillips

  • Portrayed by Freema Agyeman
  • Episodes: "Care" - "Fault Lines" (series 1-6)

The young and compassionate Alesha works as a Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service in London, alongside James Steel and later Jake Thorne, bridging the gap between the police and the CPS.

Phillips grew up on a council estate in Hackney, with her single mother and attended university on scholarships and hard work. After being rejected from four different law firms, Phillips became worried about whether it was because of her credentials, or because she was a black woman from a poor neighbourhood. Definitively on the side of the disadvantaged and the underdog, her background gives her an insight into how legal issues play out at street level. Unlike James, Alesha understands that desperate circumstances can shape people's lives and that the truth is murky, complex and sometimes unhelpful. Phillips brings the empathy and shades of grey to her working relationships with Steel and Thorne. Alesha's mission is to give a voice to the disenfranchised, the people who are rarely heard. She's not afraid to speak her mind, even when it gets her in trouble. She has a ferocious intellect, allied with enormous passion.

While Phillips works as a crown prosecutor, because she trained as a solicitor, her title is "solicitor advocate"; as such, she doesn't wear the wig, because she didn't train as a barrister.

It is revealed in the season 7 premiere episode that Alesha has left her role as a Crown Prosecutor in London to become a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the Northwest.

George Castle

  • Portrayed by Bill Paterson
  • Episodes: "Care" - "Skeletons" (series 1-4)

The former Director of London Crown Prosecution Service Castle runs his office with an iron hand, keeping the pressure on Steel and Phillips, of whom he was fiercely protective. His office is respite for James and Alesha from the front lines of the legal wars with the defence.

Castle is a shrewd political operator with a brilliant understanding of how the legal ramifications of a case go beyond the innocence or guilt of a particular defendant. George plied his trade as an independent barrister - working both prosecution and defence cases - before being snapped up by the CPS in 1990 when he was at the top of his profession. He is driven by a sense of justice and it was considered a coup for the CPS to get him. He has at least one child.

George Castle resigned as Director of London Crown Prosecution Service at the end of Series 4, with Henry Sharpe taking over his former job.


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