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Series / Law & Order: UK

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"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police who investigate crimes, and the Crown Prosecutors who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."

Chung! Chung!

A remake of Law & Order (2009-2014), set in the UK, specifically London (it had a Working Title of Law & Order: London) by Chris Chibnall (of Torchwood and Doctor Who fame). Since October 2010 the series has aired for North American audiences on BBC America. In the UK the series aired on ITV, which is odd when you know the original series had its first UK terrestrial airings on The BBC.

Each episode was a remake of an episode of the original series, with the stories updated for the modern day and the UK legal system (a task the writers found harder than they'd thought - you can't chuck Felony Murder at people in the UK.note  The episodes were based on:

    open/close all folders 

    Season 1 
  1. "Care" ("Cradle to Grave" [Season 2])
  2. "Unloved" ("Born Bad" [Season 4])
  3. "Vice" ("Working Mom" [Season 7])
  4. "Unsafe" ("American Dream" [Season 4])
  5. "Buried" ("...In Memory of" [Season 2])
  6. "Paradise" ("Heaven" [Season 2])
  7. "Alesha" ("Helpless" [Season 3])

    Season 2 
  1. "Samaritan" ("Manhood" [Season 3])
  2. "Hidden" ("Bitter Fruit" [Season 6])
  3. "Community Service" ("Volunteers" [Season 4])
  4. "Sacrifice" ("Sonata for Solo Organ" [Season 1])
  5. "Love and Loss" ("Consultation" [Season 3])
  6. "Honour Bound" ("Corruption" [Season 7])

    Season 3 
  1. "Broken" ("Killerz" [Season 10])
  2. "Hounded" ("Mad Dog" [Season 7])
  3. "Defence" ("Pro Se" [Season 6])
  4. "Confession" ("Bad Faith" [Season 5])
  5. "Survivor" ("Punked" [Season 9])
  6. "Masquerade" ("Good Girl" [Season 7])
  7. "Anonymous" ("Stalker" [Season 8])

    Season 4 
  1. "ID" ("Promises To Keep" [Season 3])
  2. "Denial" ("DNR" [season 10])
  3. "Shaken" ("Homesick" [season 6])
  4. "Duty of Care" ("Endurance" [season 11])
  5. "Help" ("We Like Mike" [season 8])
  6. "Skeletons" ("Trophy" [season 6])

    Season 5 
  1. "The Wrong Man" ("Prescription for Death" [season 1])
  2. "Safe" ("Angel" [season 6])
  3. "Crush" ("Humiliation" [season 6])
  4. "Tick Tock" ("Hot Pursuit" [season 6])
  5. "Intent" ("Privileged" [season 5])
  6. "Deal" ("Slave" [season 6])

    Season 6 
  1. "Survivor's Guilt" ("Suicide Box" [season 13])
  2. "Immune" ("Double Down" [season 7])
  3. "Haunted" ("Ghosts" [season 16] )
  4. "Trial" ("Double Blind" [season 6])
  5. "Line Up" ("Performance" [season 5])
  6. "Dawn Till Dusk" ("Mayhem" [season 4])
  7. "Fault Lines" ("Just A Girl In The World" [season 20])

    Season 7 
  1. "Tracks" ("Locomotion" [season 15])
  2. "Tremors" ("Aftershock" [season 6])
  3. "Paternal" ("Deadbeat" [season 7])
  4. "Fatherly Love" ("Family Values" [season 5])
  5. "Mortal" ("Golden Years" [season 4])
  6. "Dependent" ("Phobia" [season 11])

    Season 8 
  1. "Flaw" (Refuge, Part 1 [season 9]
  2. "Safe From Harm" ("Betrayal" [season 18])
  3. "I Predict A Riot" ("Ramparts"[season 9])
  4. "Pride" ("Identity" [season 14]
  5. "Customs" ("Ritual" [season 8])
  6. "Bad Romance" ("Denial" [season 8])
  7. "Hard Stop" ("Criminal Law" [season 16])
  8. "Repeat To Fade" ("Marathon" [season 10])

The "Law" included Jamie Bamber (then Paul Nicholls, then Ben Bailey Smith) and Bradley Walsh as DS Ronnie Brooks (previously known for Coronation Street) Playing Against Type as a detective, and the "Order" includes Ben Daniels (then Dominic Rowan), Freema Agyeman (then Georgia Taylor), and Bill Paterson (then Peter Davison).

Reading the section on British Coppers is recommended for international viewers.

On 4 June 2014, ITV announced that the show would be 'rested' after Bradley Walsh chose to leave the show and "Repeat to Fade" would be the final episode for the "foreseeable future".

This show contains examples of:

  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: A mild case, as some of the changes between The Mothership and UK don't quite mesh with logic. For example: Steele's Batman Gambit in "Alesha" makes far less sense that it worked without the Smug Snake smirk of the defendant from "Helpless".
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Many of the more subtle courtroom scenes and interrogation room confessions from the original American episodes are re-interpreted in a much more emotional and over-the-top manner, often bordering on melodrama. For example, in the episode "Masquerade", Matt immediately believes the young woman who claims she killed her rapist in self-defense is much more emotional than the corresponding scene in the original episode because here, Matt is actually expressing his lingering anger over Alesha's similar ordeal.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the original Mothership episode "Helpless," the Villain of the Week (a gynecologist who turns out to be a serial rapist), is portrayed as a stereotypical Dirty Old Man, but in the UK remake "Alesha" he is reimagined as a much younger, handsome man.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The child killer in "Broken," a remake of The Mothership episode "Killerz," is portrayed as a lot more scared and remorseful than the stone cold sociopath in the original.
  • A Fool for a Client:
    • Averted or semi-averted in two episodes: Convicted murderer Luke Slade wins himself a new trial in "Unsafe" based on newly discovered evidence, then an acquittal, just with the law he studied in prison, running rings around the seasoned prosecutors. The mentally ill defendant John Smith in "Defence" also chooses to represent himself, but he'd actually graduated law school before his schizophrenia took over, and even the prosecution agrees he'd have had potential as a lawyer.
    • In his final episode, James Steel does an excellent—and successful—job of defending himself against charges of "perverting the course of justice". It's a nice use of a Chekhov's Skill, as it's been mentioned several times that he used to be a defense attorney, though it's odd to hear him refer to himself in the third person as "the defendant".
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Invoked in an episode as the cops investigate the discovery of a boy murdered two decades earlier. They talk to the original cop on the case who turns out to be a major bigot who was convinced the culprit was the next door neighbor. He spent weeks trying to build a case he was abusing the boy and then killed him despite the lack of any evidence. When the detectives ask why he was so sure of this, the cop says "because he was a poof" as if that totally explains it. The detectives grouse the original cop could have solved the case long ago if he wasn't so intent on "proving" a gay man was also a pedophile.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: As cited on the "Fanfic" page. The vast majority of fanfics, typically picking up after Series 1, cash in on the sexual tension between Matt and Alesha and pair them—they begin dating at the beginning of one long-running collection of stories and are the Happily Married parents of two as of the most recent one.
    • Additionally, most of those that focus on his shooting have him recovering from his injuries.
  • Amoral Attorney:
    • "Limbo" Riley, because of how low he'll stoop.
    • Bea McArdle, who had a relationship with Steel.
    James: "I know her. She's up to something. That defense is way too simple."
    George: "Just because you two used to do the headboard shuffle doesn't mean you have any insight into how she runs her defenses these days."
    • Phyllis Gladstone, a virtual Straw Feminist who uses nearly every anti-male Double Standard trope in defending her female clients. Then she defends Alesha's rapist and still tries to spin this as an example of championing women's rights, claiming that she's doing it on behalf of the real victims whom Alesha is supposedly mocking with her False Rape Accusation.
    • Miriam Pescatore
    • Taken to the extreme by Dominic Peck in "Duty of Care." A sexist, ill-read buffoon of a lawyer, it quickly becomes clear that all he cares about is some sort of victory rather than the best interests of his client. It says a lot that the Crown Prosecutors care more about his client's well-being than he does.
  • And Starring:
  • "Back to Camera" Pose: "Survivor's Guilt" begins with one of these of Ronnie, his defeated posture telling us that Matt has died long before it's said.
  • Berserk Button: Ronnie, for Matt. He freaks out if Ronnie's threatened.
    • He has a very similar reaction (along with the rest of the team) to anything happening to Alesha. Oddly enough, in her case, his Berserk Button is just as evident in his visible struggle to NOT freak out.
    • And understandably, given both his explicit and implicit backstory, Matt's third Berserk Button is abused children. —> "I been that kid, Ronnie."
    • And as tragically seen in "Deals" and "Survivor's Guilt", Matt, for Ronnie.
    (from "Confession": "God forbid Matty here got himself shot, I'd be out there straight away trying to find out who did it and string him up myself.")
    • DI Natalie Chandler doesn't tolerate screw-ups from her detectives—or anyone else criticizing them.
    • Do not taunt Joe Hawkins about his light skin and apparently biracial heritage. The Jerkass suspect who called him a "mongrel" learned this the hard way.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: At the end of "Deal", Ronnie gushes to Matt about the birth of his grandson and the possibility of reconciling with his daughter. Minutes later, Matt is shot.
  • Bittersweet Ending: To basically every episode, considering that legal victory as come at a great cost and that the victim in question can never be brought back:
    • From the very first episode when those responsible for the death of an infant are convicted. George notes, "It's over, James", who sadly responds, "For us", as he watches the child's grief stricken mother and aunt walk away.
    • "Survivor's Guilt"— Matt's killer is caught, confesses, pleads guilty, and even sincerely apologizes for his actions. But as stated above, none of this can bring Matt back.
    • The final episode. The bad guy has been caught and justice will be done for the victim. But Ronnie's either being forced to resign or take on a sinecure-type position and either way, his reputation as a detective might be forever—and unfairly—tainted.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Matt, in the episode "Deals."
  • Bolivian Army Ending: "Repeat To Fade". Will Ronnie accept the new position he's been offered, despite knowing full well—and being offended by—its Kicked Upstairs status? Or will he resign/retire outright? The episode ends with neither question answered, but with Bradley Walsh leaving the show, it would have had to be one or the other... except that the show has ended as well, meaning that we'll never know.
  • Book Ends: At the beginning of "Survivor's Guilt", Ronnie confides in his AA group that Matt was always the one to stop him drinking whenever the temptation got too strong. At the episode's end, it's his new partner Sam who takes a glass of whiskey away from him, effectively cementing his place as Matt's replacement.
  • Brick Joke: A very sad version. Halfway through the episode "Survivor's Guilt", Ronnie is seen playing with Matt's cat at the latter's now-deserted apartment. In a deleted scene from the ending, he's seen walking off with it.
  • Britain Is Only London: Despite the "UK" present in its title, the show is only set in London (and originally had the working title of Law & Order: London). That said, the filming locations clearly encompass all of the city, rather than merely the central London seen in most examples of this tropes.
  • British Brevity: Played with. The American producers were frustrated by the length they had to work with: only 13 episodes per season. The UK producers were also frustrated by the length they had to work with: a grueling 13 whole episodes per season!—which was still split into two separate series of 6 or 7 episodes long, in order to align with British viewing habits. Also averted in that the show lasted for 8 series, which included a landmark 50th episode, something very rare in British television. However, played straight again in that an amount of episodes that would be considered paltry by American standards was landmark by the UK's—the show's cast and crew held a party to celebrate the 50th episode (basically, a mere 2 seasons worth of episodes in the US) in a manner akin to what Americans would do for the 100th or 200th.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Defense counsel Jason Peters, an obsessive-compulsive germophobe who's never lost a case.
  • Call-Back:
    • Everyone's uncomfortable reaction to a killer's claims of acting in self-defense after the victim drugged and raped her indicates that they're all still processing what happened to Alesha—James outright asks her if she handle working on the case, given the eerie similarity of their stories.
    • The mention that Ronnie's grandson is named Matthew. Given that he was born the day Matt was killed, it's obvious that he was named after him. It's as close as possible to a mention of him since his death.
    • Ronnie's knowledge of French enables him to speak with a witness in the first episode... and to a witness in a Series 8 one. It even doubles as a Bilingual Backfire, as aside from the fact that Ronnie can speak French, it turns out that the man can understand English after all.
    • Ronnie's demeanor at the beginning of "Hard Stop" echoes that in "Survivor's Guilt". The scenes are even filmed similarly—shadowy, flashing police lights, etc.
    • When talking to Matt about a previous partner's death, Ronnie expresses remorse that he couldn't help him. He says virtually the same thing about Matt when confiding in his AA group.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Sam disappeared between Series 7 and 8, with no explanation as to why.
  • Contrasting Replacement Character: DS Sam Casey replaces DS Matt Devlin. Despite some obvious similarities with his predecessor (being young, good-looking, having absent and possibly abusive father), there are some equally obvious differences. Matt's temper was generally limited to certain issues, whereas Sam appears to have a short fuse about everything. Matt also clearly cherished the "surrogate father figure" he had in Ronnie. Sam seems to resent Ronnie's attempts at playing the father despite generally getting along. And the two simply do not have the rapport that Matt and Ronnie did.
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue:
    • In "Vice", a murder suspect's alibi is that she and her girlfriend spent the day shopping and having lunch. They claim to have paid for everything with cash (to explain the lack of credit card records) and to have thrown out the receipts for their purchases. Ronnie scoffs at this:
    "I've been married twice. NO woman throws out the receipts for clothes she just bought!"
    • In "Masquerade", Alesha gets leery of a defendant's claim that she acted in self-defense-—killing the victim after he raped her—-when the girl is completely blase about having to testify, citing that most rape victims are usually terrified at the prospect, as she was.
    • In "Help", a murder suspect claims to have left his job at "5 o'clock. On the button." When the detectives question his boss, Matt gets suspicious when the man uses the exact same phrase. While he's correct in suspecting that the two are lying and rehearsed their stories, the thought that either man could have simply picked up the phrase from the other after years of working together never occurs to him.
  • Crossover: Averted. Despite starring or guest appearances on nearly every other Law & Order series—one of the creators joked that it's a contractual obligation for Richard Belzer to appear in all of them—John Munch never turned up. (This also goes for the other Foreign Remake shows, although an appearance in Paris Enquêtes Criminelles was planned but never happened - he does get a namecheck in the French show, though, which doesn't happen here.)
  • Darker and Edgier: Occasionally, the show will take a Mothership script and give it a darker, less-sympathetic spin:
    • "Defence" - The defendant in "Pro Se" was portrayed far more sympathetically, less trying to duck the consequences of his actions as clinging to a chance to do what he was trained to do and angry at the mental disease that led him to those acts. The defendant in "Defence" showed little remorse, since it was his mental illness which caused this. He treated the matter fairly casually, like someone else did it.
    • "Safe" - in the original ("Angel"), the defendant was a disturbed woman who killed her infant daughter because she believed she'd be better off dead and in heaven than with her. In "Safe", the mother was a self-centered dullard who let her boyfriend abuse her son and killed him rather than let Child Services take the child (or hand him over to his biological father).
    • "Confession". The Pedophile Priest in the original episode "Bad Faith" was a pathetic loser who did nothing but make excuses for his behavior and try to blame everyone else for his actions. His counterpart in "Confession" was even worse—a menacing figure who alternated between showing absolutely no remorse for his crimes or smugly denying them outright and 25 years later was still trying to intimidate his former, now adult victims into keeping quiet.
    • Because of the UK's stricter gun control laws, most of the murders committed by firearm in the US version are now beatings or stabbings. When you consider the amount of strength and rage it takes to beat someone to death, it becomes this trope.
    • "Anonymous" - In "Stalker", the original episode, Jack is very reluctant to eviscerate Curtis regarding errors made during the investigation, and as such only briefly criticizes him when he's testifying. He sincerely apologizes afterwards and Curtis accepts, knowing that it was necessary to win the case, then quickly reconciles with Lennie, whose attempts to cover up said errors caused the whole mess. In "Anonymous", Ronnie does the same thing, but to a far greater degree, resulting in Matt looking dishonest and incompetent and thoroughly humiliated in court by James, who shows not a trace of guilt or remorse for it. As well, Matt is genuinely angry with Ronnie—his refusal to sit with him in court is a notable complete opposite of previous courtroom scenes—and rebuffs his apologies. The episode ends with them still estranged.
  • Died on Their Birthday: DI Wes Leyton celebrates his birthday in "Hard Stop"... and is shot and killed after leaving the party.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • DS McFadden in "Buried", who was so convinced that All Gays Are Pedophiles that he relentlessly interrogated—to the point of Police Brutality—the gay neighbor of a missing boy. 20-something years later, when the boy's remains are found, he is still convinced that the man was responsible and it's heavily implied that the real killer could have been caught from the beginning had it not been for his narrow-minded focus on the wrong person.
    • The victim in "Vice"—a retired cop—turns out to have been an Asshole Victim—he was blackmailing his killer for sex in exchange for not arresting her nor revealing her secret life as a prostitute. It's implied that he'd done this to other women.
    • "Samaritan": The homophobic cop who did nothing to help his dying colleague because he disapproved of his sexual orientation.
    • "Honor Bound": Jimmy Valentine, who is revealed to have been working for a local drug dealer, going so far as to steal evidence and murder a potential witness on his orders. Adding insult to injury, when he's arrested, he tries to implicate Ronnie as payback.
    • In "Tremors", the killer is a prison guard whose mother was killed on the train. He's far more sympathetic and less corrupt than the other examples listed, but his actions are still a major breach of his duty.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: An in-universe version when Brooks and Devlin interrogate a man about the murder of a boy who lived in his apartment building. The man had been the prime suspect 20-something years earlier when the boy disappeared and is clearly still bitter about the bigotry and homophobia he dealt with. As such, he sarcastically confesses to having killed the child, to which a thoroughly unamused Matt replies, "That's not funny, Mr. Connor."
  • Empathic Environment: It's broad daylight when Matt is shot at the end of "Deal", but nighttime when the following episode "Survivor's Guilt" begins, telling us that he's died.note 
  • Expy: You can clearly see the similarities between these characters and the ones from the American series.
    • Brooks is clearly Lennie Briscoe, but less snarky.
    • Also, Devlin is obviously Mike Logan.
    • Natalie is easily Anita Van Buren.
    • George (and later Henry) = Adam Schiff.
    • James Steel was not-quite-as-obviously Ben Stone (with Jack McCoy's personal life).
    • Jacob Thorne (Dominic Rowan), who is far closer to Jack McCoy, love life intact. There is only one thing to take from this: British prosecutors have fantastic love lives.
    • Kate Barker's defense attorney tactics seem very reminiscent of Serena Southerlyn.
    • Even some of the minor characters get this. Phyllis Gladstone = Danielle Melnick, and a shrink the team often consults with is clearly based on Elizabeth Olivet.
    • Sam Casey and Joe Hawkins are both quite similar to Ed Green.
  • False Rape Accusation:
    • Subverted with the killer in "Vice", who was being blackmailed for sex by the victim, but her claims that she killed him in self-defense when he tried to rape her outright prove untrue.
    • Alesha is accused of making this by her assailant's defense lawyer.
    • The killer in "Masquerade" claims the victim drugged and assaulted her (with a story that bears an eerie similarity to Alesha's) and that she killed him in self-defense. It turns out she was in a panic over his insistence on telling her parents about their relationship and concocted the story to avoid her bigoted father's wrath.
  • Finally Found the Body: In "Unsafe" and "Buried". In the latter episode, it revived a cold case. In the former, the convicted murderer uses it to finagle his release— he was sent to prison due to the testimony of an accomplice, testimony that is now suspect because the body wasn't found where he claimed it was buried.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • In "Unwanted", as in the original episode it was based on, the lawyer's 'Genetic predisposition toward violence' claim made the defendant believe he was cursed to never escape his DNA, and he asked to be permanently incarcerated.
    • As well as Alesha's attempt to catch her perverted doctor in the act by returning to him for a follow-up visit—only for him to go so far as to rape her. As awful as this is, it still sets in motion a chain of events that gets him locked up.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Ronnie and Matt would often alternate these roles, sometimes in the very course of an interrogation, with varying versions of each, depending on what kind of person they were dealing with. Sam took the latter role firmly, but Ronnie and Joe alternated much like Ronnie and Matt did. Some episodes even have them playing both roles—they're both very gentle and supportive of a young suspect in "Vice", and in "Samaritan", Ronnie grills a police officer suspected of leaving his colleague to die while Matt, who believes the man to be innocent, sits silently, leading the suspect (and the audience) to believe he'll be playing "Good Cop". Until Matt opens his mouth and surprises him (and the audience) by proceeding to interrogate him much in the same manner that Ronnie had. It turns out that thanks to some offscreen investigating that shows discrepancies in the man's story, Matt is now just as suspicious as Ronnie.
  • Hello, Attorney!:
    • Junior Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips, played by Freema Agyeman.
    • Her replacement, Kate Barker, played by Georgia Taylor.
    • James Steel, Jacob Thorne, and a handful of the defense attorneys easily count as well.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Matt and Alesha, separately, in "Alesha".
    • Matt again in "Confession"
    • Poor Ronnie is clearly in the throes of this throughout "Survivor's Guilt", especially in the beginning, as evidenced by his stunned, shell-shocked expression and demeanor and his feeble, futile attempts to react like a police officer—"I was first on the scene"—rather than someone who just watched his partner/friend/surrogate son get shot and in all likelihood, die right in front of him and is just utterly bewildered as to how one of the best days of his life (only minutes earlier he was gushing about the birth of his grandson) has turned into one of the worst, not to mention how he ended up having such a hellish experience AGAIN (he already lost a partner to violence).
    • He has another one when DI Wes Leyton is similarly gunned down
    • Sam deals with this throughout "Tracks" and "Tremors", started when he's unable to save a young victim of the train crash.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Matt protecting Alesha and the young witness in their case from a hail of gunfire, taking two bullets that would otherwise have struck them. In the following episode, Ronnie expresses remorse that he himself was not able to do this for Matt.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • When Ronnie confronts his corrupt ex-partner, the man searches him and destroys the wire that he finds. After taking the pack of cigarettes Ronnie offers him, he confesses, at which point Ronnie reveals that there's another microphone in the pack.
    • The Pedophile Priest in "Confession" shows up at the station to intimidate Matt... ends up making him even angrier and more determined to testify and send him to jail.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • In "Samaritan". Ronnie insists on investigating the report that a police officer did nothing to aide his dying colleague, despite Matt's angry, steadfast refusal to believe it. The feelings are reversed in the aptly titled "Honor Bound", where it's Matt who insists on investigating an officer's murky account of a shooting, while Ronnie refuses to believe that his friend could be corrupt. In each case, with the evidence mounting, each man reluctantly concedes that the other is right and follows protocol.
    • In "Tremors", Ronnie questioning Sam as if he's a suspect. The latter is infuriated, but Ronnie presses on, knowing that he has to rule him out.
  • Hope Spot: There are occasions where the CPS look almost certain to gain a conviction but fall short (for example, "Alesha"). Some episodes zig-zag the trope to get Justice by Other Legal Means (e.g. "Alesha", "Love and Loss"). "Broken" inverts it when the CPS are trying to get a ten-year-old girl for manslaughter by diminished responsibility, but the press latch onto the case and demand a murder conviction, which happens instead, and "Deal" subverts it when the bad guy is convicted. All that's left to do is for Matt and Alesha to escort the young witness responsible into juvenile hall. But just then, a car pulls up...
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: Matt and James do this separately while watching the tape of Alesha's rape—Matt stands as far away from the TV as possible and turns his back, while James repeatedly averts his eyes. During the trial, when the tape is played again, this time they both turn their heads away.
  • Immediate Sequel: "Survivor's Guilt" and "Tremors" begin very soon after the events of their preceding episodes.
  • Incriminating Indifference: Alesha gets leery of a defendant's claim that she acted in self-defense—killing the victim after he raped her—when the girl is completely blase about having to testify, citing that most rape victims are usually terrified at the prospect, as she was.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • After raping Alesha, her assailant Dr. Merrick tauntingly asks her, "Didn't that feel good?" The rest of the team hears this while reviewing the tape of her attack. Later, as Matt and Ronnie arrest Merrick, he complains, "You're hurting me!" as Matt handcuffs him. To which Matt snarls, "Yes, I know. Didn't that feel good?"
    • In the same episode, Merrick's attorney goes on a tear about how women who lie about rape (as she incorrectly thinks Alesha is doing) make things harder for the real victims. In the episode "Masquerade", Alesha herself says this when she realizes that the young woman they're prosecuting is lying about having acted in self-defense after being assaulted.
    • Also from "Masquerade", Alesha blasts a reporter for printing a police report that makes their victim look like a sexual predator (thus lending credence to the defense's claims of self-defense), insinuating the journalist should be more sensitive to the victim since they're both minorities. He in turn blasts her for trying to play the race card to suggest that he have sympathy for a rapist. Yet in the episodes "Survivor" and "Survivor's Guilt", she's infuriated when the others suggest that she be more sympathetic to the respective defendants because of their similar backgrounds.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: In the episode "Vice", a car thief has the misfortune of being arrested for breaking into car that just happens to have a dead body in it.
    Perp: I didn't do it! I didn't do it!
    (cut to next morning)
    CSU: He didn't do it. Must've been there ten, twelve hours.
  • It's Personal:
    • "Vice": The victim turns out to have been a former police officer.
    • "Alesha": Infuriated at what's happened to her, the group basically pulls out all the stops to bring her rapist to justice.
    Ronnie:" I ain't having some ponced-up Harley Street doctor thinking he can get away with this."
    • "Samaritan": Not only is the victim a cop, so is the person indirectly responsible for his death (he didn't shoot him, but refused to help him).
    • "Confession"
    • "Survivor's Guilt"
    • Technically, in "Tremors", as Sam is seriously considered a suspect throughout most of the episode, and the actual killer turns out to be one of the prison guards
    • In "Hard Stop". DI Wes Leyton is killed in the episode's opening and Henry Sharpe is a target of the same killer
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: Lampshaded, and carried out, in Season 2. Subverted in Season 1, when Alesha's rapist is acquitted of the charges regarding her, but they are able to nail him for assaulting other women.
  • Kicked Upstairs: The job Ronnie's offered during "Repeat To Fade". It's an attempt to quell the public and professional furor over a possible error he made in the investigation. Though the position sounds cushy—more senior, better salary and hours—he realizes that he'd be doing nothing more than sitting behind a desk and is hurt and offended that this is the thanks he gets after decades of dedicated service, as well as by the strong implication that his skills as a detective are no longer trusted.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die:
    • It's implied that Ronnie feels somewhat responsible for his previous partner's death, telling Matt, "There was nothing I could do". Later, after Matt himself is killed, he expresses a similar sentiment while confiding in his AA group—"I couldn't get to him in time"—and giving his statement to the other detectives—"I should have been with him".
    • Matt feels somewhat responsible for his friend's suicide because he didn't protect him from the priest who was molesting him, nor realize that he was contemplating killing himself.
  • Lighter and Softer: Many of the UK scripts have been altered to be less cynical or have more sympathetic defendants.
    • The bored housewife prostitute from "Working Mom" became a housewife who turned to prostitution to save her business and marriage in "Vice".
    • The gang of cops who set up a gay officer in "Manhood" became a single homophobic cop who was intentionally slow to help in "Samaritan".
    • The unrepentant serial rapist of 12 women from "Mad Dog" became the victim of dreadful childhood abuse who essentially inevitably became a rapist himself and seemed horrified by his actions in "Hounded".
    • There is also the boy in "Born Bad" is given a ray of hope in "Unloved" when he agrees to Steel's suggestion to see a psychologist while in prison despite believing that he is genetically disposed to violent crime.
    • The killers in "Good Girl" and "Masquerade" were both lying about acting in self-defense following a rape. But whereas the killer in "Good Girl" was upset because her boyfriend was breaking up with her (he was fed up with her concealing their interracial relationship), the killer in "Masquerade" was panicked because her similarly-fed up lover insisted that she tell her parents about them and was threatening to do so himself.
    • In "Bad Faith", it's established that Mike Logan was molested at least once by his local priest. In "Confession", it is left ambiguous as to whether Matt suffered the same fate—he spends the entire episode denying it outright, before finally admitting to Ronnie that his memories are unclear and that in truth, he genuinely doesn't know if anything happened. (For some, that might make it an example of the other trope—is the mostly happy-go-lucky Matt actually a Stepford Smiler in complete denial of the horrible things that happened to him?)
    • The Asshole Victims tend to be watered down as well:
      • The victim in "Humiliation" was a drug-addicted streetwalker who was blackmailing a customer eventually arrested for her murder. In "Crush", she's an immigrant who resorted to working for an escort service in order to make ends meet and was hoping that her life would turn out like the plot of Pretty Woman.
    • Some episodes even combine these tropes:
      • "Survivor": In the original "Punked", a woman was given an unduly harsh sentence for a minor drug crime that she may even have been innocent of and Abby is completely unsympathetic to her situation. In "Survivor", the woman was undeniably guilty of drug trafficking and received the standard sentence, yet refuses to take any responsibility for her actions and insists on blaming Alesha—who is portrayed as merely doing her job—for what happened to her and rebuffs her attempts to help.
      • "Survivor's Guilt": In the original ("Suicide Box") the perp was a young boy lashing out at the police for botching, then burying, his brother's murder. There, not only did circumstances pile up to increase the sympathy factor, the cop he shot was an unknown character who survived with just an injured arm. The perp in "Guilt" was an adult actively gunning for cops and his victim was a beloved character who perished. But many of the same mitigating factors were ported over from "Suicide Box" (The missing body, the botched investigation) along with the alleged killer being strongly implied to be lying about the murder for street cred.
  • London Gangster: Don Marsh, several drug lords, etc.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: Series 5 began with 1/3rd of the original cast gone, Series 6 with 1/2, and as of Series 7 (by British standards, the show has been on a very long time), Bradley Walsh was the only original cast member remaining—and he left at the end of Series 8, which turned out to be the last.
  • Manly Tears: Matt struggles to hold these back while talking to Alesha after she's raped, but lets loose with them at the end of "Confession". Ronnie also struggles to hold them back throughout "Survivor's Guilt". The closest he comes to losing it is when his voice breaks while describing Matt as "like... my son". And Sam sheds plenty during "Tracks" and "Tremors".
  • Misplaced Retribution: Matt is gunned down by a young man seeking revenge against the police for bungling the investigation into his brother's murder, a screw-up he believes was racially motivated. But rather than one of the cops who did botch the investigation, or the actual killer himself, he shoots someone who wasn't a racist, had nothing to do with the investigation in question, and if anything would have done everything possible to solve the case, claiming "all cops are the same", essentially displaying the same prejudice he accused the police of. It also doesn't help that whatever satisfaction he may have gotten is fleeting—he can't bring his brother back, his mother now has to contend with losing both of her sons, and he gets to spend the rest of his life knowing the pain and misery he caused Matt's loved ones.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: The killer in "Masquerade" claims to have acted in self-defense after the victim raped her. George shrewdly notes that public sympathy will be skewed in her favor, given that she's a pretty blonde girl while the murder victim is a Pakistani boy.
  • Murder by Inaction: In the episode "Samaritan", based on the original Law & Order episode "Manhood"note , a homophobic policeman is discovered to have essentially killed his (gay) colleague by not getting him any help when he was shot (the courtroom section of the episode is mostly based around proving he was there and deliberately didn't do anything).
  • Not His Sled: A nearly Recycled Script (even admitted so in the credits) had a major shift from the original story in the second half, when something that was a civil matter in New York was a criminal matter in London.
  • Not Proven: "Samaritan" ends this way.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Alesha and the defendant in "Survivor". Interestingly they already have similar backgrounds, having grown up poor in a council estate in Hackney. When James points out that their paths in life could have easily been reversed, with the defendant being the CP and Alesha being the one in jail for drug-dealing, Alesha vehemently denies this, pointing out that she worked hard in school and at three jobs and that the defendant could have easily done the same. Ultimately, however, both women became victims of rape and blame themselves for actions that put them into dangerous situations.
  • Old-Fashioned Copper: Several show up, most notably in "Buried."
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Ronnie and Matt (then Sam, now Joe). What's more, the first two really do develop a father/son bond, to the point where Ronnie outright says "he was like my son" when pleading with the mother of Matt's killer to convince her son to confess, no doubt because of their mutually troubled pasts—Ronnie was an alcoholic who neglected his daughters while it's heavily implied that Matt was physically abused by his father/stepfather.
  • One of Our Own: "Vice", "Alesha", "Samaritan", "Confession", "Survivor's Guilt", "Tremors", "Hard Stop".
  • Pedophile Priest: Father Nugent in "Confession". Zig-zags between a screed against the Catholic Church as a whole and a portrayal of the Church as well-intentioned-but-legally-wrong. Not coincidentally aired less than a fortnight after the Pope's state visit to Britain.
  • Present Absence: Matt haunts the episode "Survivor's Guilt".
  • Red Herring: The team spends most of the episode "Deal" grappling with a sleazy drug dealer, finally getting him convicted thanks to the testimony of a courageous witness. When Matt is shot at the episode's conclusion, it's naturally assumed that this is in retaliation. Only for it to turn out that as monstrous as this particular criminal was, he had nothing to do with this.
  • The Remake: Of Law & Order obviously. Notable for being one of the few, if not only British remakes of an American series, when it's customarily the other way around.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: As with all Law & Order series, but the third season opener, "Broken" (much like the original Law & Order episode that it was based on) is a particularly blatant replica of both the Jamie Bulger case, right down to the infamous CCTV footage of the killers leading the little boy away, and the Mary Bell case from the 60’s, right down to the way the girl mutilated her victim (including carving her initial into him), the heavy implication that she was psychologically damaged from years of witnessing her mother's work as a prostitute and may very well have been molested by her mother's clients, and the 13 year old sidekick that ended up not going to prison. However, there was one major difference. In Real Life, the victim's families were unhappy with the little sociopath's light sentence for cold-blooded murder and her accomplice got off completely. On the show though the victim’s mother argued that her son’s murderess should not be punished and just needed rehabilitation and acted like her sentence (the same as the real Mary Bell) was too harsh. Needless to say the victims' families were not happy with the change.
  • Sarcastic Confession: The husband of the victim in "Denial" is outraged when he realizes that he's a suspect and proceeds to suggest that maybe their doorman did it because he wasn't given a tip. Sure enough, it's soon revealed that he arranged the hit on his wife.
  • Saying Too Much: During the prosecution of an accused rapist/murderer, the key witness is a young woman who had noticed him lurking around the apartment building where the crime took place (it's heavily implied that she would have been the victim had she not evaded him). During his own testimony, the man angrily denies having been at the building or ever seeing the girl before, calling her a liar and referring to her many tattoos before covering his mouth in horror as he realizes his mistake—although the young woman's arms were indeed covered with tattoos, she was wearing a jacket while in the courtroom. The only way he could have known about her tattoos was if he had seen her previously.
  • Setting Update: Aside from the transfer to the UK, the dialogue from the much older episodes of the original series often needed to be upgraded to reflect modern times—technology, cultural references, etc. For example, in "Helpless", the rape victim recorded her assault on a tape recorder, while in "Alesha", she used a camera.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sound Effects Bleep: There are numerous instances of this on US transmission.
    • "Tit" (not even referring to breasts, just "Don't make me look like a tit") gets bleeped while "bullshit" gets a pass?
    • Not to mention DI Chandler saying she'd like to "cut (the suspect's) dick off and ram it down his throat!" in "Alesha" went through.
  • Sting: Yep, all present and correct. So are the title cards, which change the date to the British format and also chuck in the first part of the postcode for good measure.
  • Survivor Guilt:
    • Matt is clearly struggling with this in "Confession", blasting himself for failing to protect his friend from from the priest who abused him when they were children and for failing to realize that his friend was suicidal.
    • The very title and theme of the episode dealing with Matt's death. In the opening sequence, Ronnie is seen talking with his AA group, lamenting the fact that he was not able to get to Matt in time to push him out of the way and possibly even take the bullet for him. Then, in a conversation with Alesha, he bemoans the fact that unlike him, Matt never had a chance to experience marriage and fatherhood. Later, when talking with his killer, he goes even further. When he correctly deduces that the young man is so grief-stricken over his brother's death and loved him so much that he would take his place in order to bring him back, it's painfully obvious that he's voicing his own feelings about Matt. This is sadly evidenced by Matt's killer himself, as his actions stemmed from his desperation to alleviate his grief and anger over his brother's own murder.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death:
    • The uber-grim episode "Deal" appears to be ending on a high note—Ronnie's daughter just had a baby boy, the murderous drug dealer has been convicted and Matt and Alesha are escorting the chief witness to juvenile detention, praising him for his courageous testimony. But out of nowhere, shots ring out, and Matt is fatally injured protecting Alesha and the kid. Even knowing that this would be Jamie Bamber's last episode doesn't make those final minutes any less shocking.
    • Similarly, in "Hard Stop", DI Wes Leyton celebrates his birthday with his fellow officers and is leaving to enjoy a celebratory dinner with his wife when he is abruptly gunned down, all within the first few minutes of the episode.
  • Taking the Bullet: Matt for Alesha and the young witness in their case. In the next episode, Ronnie expresses remorse that he wasn't able to get to Matt in time to do this for him.
  • That One Case: A few of the characters have had this (James, Ronnie, Wes). Unlike most examples, the case in question has been solved and put to rest, only for new evidence to surface years later indicating that the person convicted may be innocent.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!:
    • The gangster Don Marsh expresses his contempt for the law in many ways, including addressing DS Brooks by his first name. Brooks will have none of it, insisting:
    Brooks: That's "Detective Sergeant Brooks" to you.
    • Ronnie gets a similar moment on Matt's behalf when Dirty Cop Jimmy Valentine indicates similar contempt for him:
    Valentine: "This boy of yours, Devlin—"
    Brooks: DS Devlin, you mean? And he ain't my "boy".
    • In yet another scene, he and Matt interrogate another cop whom they suspect of being on the take. When she expresses reluctance about testifying against Valentine, he very pointedly refers to her by her "Detective Sergeant" title to remind her of her duty.
    • Phyllis Gladstone refers to Alesha as Jacob's assistant and insinuates that it's only a matter of time before she's sleeping with him. Alesha doesn't appreciate either implication:
    Gladstone: You'll fall for him eventually. All his assistants do.
    Alesha: When I see his "assistant", I'll be sure to warn her.
  • Too Happy to Live: Subverted. Ronnie gushes to Matt about the birth of his grandson and the possibility of reconciling with his estranged daughter. Minutes later. . .Matt is shot.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In a Deleted Scene at the conclusion of the episode "Survivor's Guilt", Ronnie is seen walking off with the cat that once belonged to Matt, effectively telling the audience that even though he'll go on with his life, he'll never forget him.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent
  • Vigilante Man: The defendant in "Community Service." He might not have started out like this but he's definitely one by the end thanks to a successful Wounded Gazelle Gambit on a bipolar homeless man who harassed his neighbors.
  • We Are Everywhere: A Neo-Nazi suspected of killing a Jewish man with a letter bomb makes a speech like this, filling the air with tension, which DS Ronnie Brooks promptly bursts with:
    "Let us know when you're coming and we'll bung on a cup of tea for you".
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The stories are all based on US scripts.
  • Will Not Be a Victim: Said almost verbatim by Alesha to Matt after her rape, indicating that she's determined to prosecute her assailant no matter what humiliation she might face.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Matt's killer. So angry and tormented over his brother's murder and the police's racially motivated bungling of the case that he takes it out on someone completely undeserving of it, devastating Matt's loved ones, as well as his own mother, who now has to contend with losing BOTH of her sons. Not to mention that he's ruined his own life—he'd heretofore been a solid university student with a bright future ahead of him, but is now facing life in prison. That he ends the episode genuinely horrified and remorseful over what he's done—telling Matt's sister "I'm sorry I took your brother away from you"—cinches it.
  • You Do Not Have to Say Anything
  • Yuri Fan: A suspect in the first episode.
  • Zipping Up the Bodybag: At the end of the cold open of "Skeletons" and after the cold opening and credits of "Hard Stop", just to establish that Wes Leyton is indeed dead.