I think our most recent period drama procedural (Cadfael) may not helped the case of period dramas for my husband. For me, a historical drama with an interesting premise is always a welcome diversion – so I was pretty pleased to see Garrow’s Law come out of the random choice bucket.
In a nutshell, Garrow’s Law is a legal drama set in Georgian England with a central character based on lawyer William Garrow. It is worth noting that there is quite a bit of creative license taken when bringing the cases to life (a lot of them based on real trials) as Garrow was not the defender on all of them. In fact, there is one where he was actually the prosecutor – but I get why they did this. In the end, Garrow is a worthy avatar for the pioneering works of English law being depicted in the show.
Through the three series of Garrow’s Law we follow two main story threads. Firstly there is the education and rise of William Garrow from young upstart to a respected and influential lawyer. Alongside that is the turbulent (and initially chaste) romance between Garrow and Lady Sarah Hill (which is, again, done with some creative freedom although they did marry in real life).
Being only 12 episodes long, there is no opportunity for the legal stories to become repetitive or stale. This is thanks in part to the real life cases (such as the failed assassination on the king) being mixed in with fictional cases that were inspired by cases of the period. Whilst the story of Garrow and Sarah is compelling, especially in the third series, it is these legal cases that really make this show brilliant.
It also helps that there is pitch-perfect casting for all six of the main roles. Andrew Buchan is brilliant as Garrow and has to do quite a bit to keep us supporting his headstrong hero even as he veers a bit too close to being sanctimonious. Aidan McArdle works brilliantly as the opposing lawyer Silvester and really helps to bring that extra bit to the court proceedings. I also cannot understate how good Lyndsay Marshall is as Sarah. Her journey through the show is pretty staggering and boy does she bring it.
The cancellation of Garrow’s Law after series three was sad as they were setting up some interesting new dynamics should the show have returned for another year. In some ways though, it was good to end on a bit of a high and have a lot of the main story threads sown up.
Now, it might be a while before I cross off the next TV show as, thanks to this list, I have a lot of shows that are partially watched. It’s time to clear out some of this backlog before venturing forth – shouldn’t complain though as this list really has given me the impetus to watch shows that I have been putting off for years.