Blimey, there was a lot going on in this week‘s instalment of Olden Days Lawyer Person.
The episode opened with a gang of disaffected weavers (or Cutters, as they were known) storming a silk factory, beating up the owner, wrecking the looms and destroying the finished cloth.
It’s just like modern That London – except nobody painted #OccupySpitalfields on the wall.
Two are arrested and are hauled up before the beak on charges of breaking looms and cutting cloth – a capital offence.
Lady Sarah and Young Master Garrow are in financial difficulties, we can tell this because of a montage showing YMG working all hours in the Bailey to defend and prosecute, while being told off by his Lordship for eating cake.
Their plight isn’t helped by the nasty Sir Arthur sending a writ round to reclaim Sarah’s jewellery, which he technically owns. She raids her savings to return the jewels from the pawnbroker. When she asks him why, he says: “It’s the law” with a the kind of smug look not seen since Oliver Hardy rubbed his hands together in recognition of a job well done.
When he hears about the plight of the Cutters, YMG says he will take the case on for nothing.
Why? Because he’s Will Garrow, Champion of the People of course! Hurrah for Young Master Garrow.
As part of the case, he sends Mr Southouse undercover to the mill. Southouse is also in trouble: his wastrel nephew has turned up looking for work and he has one of those subtle coughs that never bode well in period dramas. You know: the sort that Jane Austen heroines die from tragically around page 346 (or episode 5 of the ITV adaptation).
Maybe this growing awareness of his own mortality is the reason he suddenly finds a possible precedent for Lady Sarah to reclaim her son, then offers to pay all the costs for the courts.
There’s a growing modern political subtext in the series: mechanisation of the weaving trade is causing mass unemployment; the owners are responding to said unemployment by lowering wages; unions are outlawed; there’s unrest on the streets and the Tories are being manipulated by a Machiavellian red-haired lady.
The only thing we’re missing is the Specials’ Ghost Town playing in the background.
In court, the usual judge is in session (is he ever not at the Bailey?) and it’s Garrow vs Silvester.
The Cutters, now identified as Foley (a clever one) and Quinn (a not so clever one) are charged with writing and distributing seditious pamphlets, cutting cloth, and being members of an illegal union – all capital offences.
By now, Mr Silvester is so sick of losing to YMG he turns his twisted mind to trickery, which is rather appropriate for someone described perfectly by Tellysquawks reader Steph as a “Delightful Weasel”.
Aiden McArdle must love this role: the barely restrained glee on his face as he describes the fate awaiting Foley if he doesn’t go along with Silvester’s plan to turn King’s Evidence against Quinn is wonderful.
“Someone must hang. The voice of the hangman, the rope around your neck, the movement of the cart…” he intones gleefully to a look of pale horror on Foley’s face.
With Foley no longer on his side, YMG morphs into a cross between Columbo and Perry Mason in both his tenacity and use of facts. Not to mention the “Just one more thing, may I remind you that you’re under oath” gambit he uses with the victim of the initial attack: pointing out that as Quinn can’t read or write he couldn’t have committed the crime.
The judge, having insisted that the jury reconsider their not guilty verdict (they didn’t) and clearly annoyed at not getting to use his black cap when he’s just had it freshly laundered, immediately demands the re-arrest of Foley for pamphleteering, while Quinn goes free…but not before revealing in an overheard conversation with his wife that he probably dunnit after all, leaving YMG to ponder whether he just defended a guilty man.
Questions raised this week:
i) Will the King of the Weasels be so tenacious in his defence of Lady Sarah at the Family court?
ii) Will Mr Southouse’s nephew prove to have the heart of gold, sharp legal mind and snifter of warm brandy that we all suspect he will?
iii) Will the nasty case of Gaol Fever* break and bring Alun Armstrong back to fighting fitness?
Answers (because I really like the “Who’s done the murder” bit in fellow Tellysquawker Jim Morton’s The Killing blog and want to copy it):
ii) Of course
iii) I doubt it.
See you next week.
*Typhus – he’s knackered
Garrow’s Law is on BBC 1, Sunday, 9pm
You can follow Graeme on Twitter: he goes by the name of Magicdarts.