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6 Degrees Entertainment

'The Brief - The Complete Collection'
(Alan Davies, Cherie Lunghi, et al / 2-Disc / Not Rated / 2012 / Acorn Media)

Overview: Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek) stars in the seriocomic misadventures of clever criminal law barrister Henry Farmer, whose every day is a juggling act between surviving his messy personal life and pleading cases only he can win.

DVD Verdict: Knowing it a) was from the creators of one of my all time favorite UK shows, ‘Inspector Morse,’ and b) starred one of my favorite lead actors, Alan Davies, I actually went into ‘The Brief’ with high hopes … and I wasn’t let down in the slightest!

In ‘The Road To Hell,’ clever (and witty) criminal law barrister Henry Farmer (Davies) is not only hiding an affair with a married woman, but once inside the court room is a wig-wearing tour de force for his clients. His first case is to find his client of innocent of intentionally killing his own two daughters by driving his car into a lake with his wife on board also.

Inside the bull pen he is one of many that, although he isn’t close to becoming a SILK (like tough colleague Cleo Steyn, played in fine form by the lovely Cherie Lunghi) any time soon, is still respected highly. In one spirited back and forth, Farmer is asked how his stamp collection is coming along, to which he replies, “Philately will get you nowhere!”

In ‘So Long, Samantha,’ a young woman is found dead in Indonesia and a year on the case comes to Farmer’s court. The show also involves a local gangster (friend) of Farmer’s father, who he runs into at his local all the time - and who seems to be getting some of his previous ‘actions’ brought up in a new book!

In ‘Children,’ a young girl is killed and another young girl is held for her murder. In another side venture, Henry also takes on the case of a Priest who flashed his manhood at some young girls in the street! And, just when Farrner’s son finally comes to stay with him, he gets himself into big trouble! In ‘A Sort of Love,’ a control freak whose wife dies during rough sex with another man goes to jail for the crime in 1974 - and is only now getting his right of appeal against the man who himself only got a few months for the ‘incident.’

In the first episode of series 2, ‘Blame,’ a train crash goes unblamed, but soon it’s the train driver who becomes the center of a brand new investigation. In this series, Farmer is now single, no Polly (the married woman from the first series), and he sees his son even less! In ‘Lack of Affect,’ an Asperger syndrome boy is up for the killing of his mother. This is easily the best acted, best written of the series so far and features some wonderful, heartfelt performances. In a case of He Said, She Said, the ending is sad but realistic.

In ‘Forever On The Mind,’ a nurse (played by the lovely Jennifer Ellison - but oh, that voice!) is left money in a Will of an old patient she tried to save - much like many before him! Is she the Angel of Death or just in the wrong place at the wrong time? In the final episode of the series, ‘The Architect’s Wife,’ a woman cried rape after a night out in town, but only some months later. The man she accuses is a family man with a child on the way, so the game of He Said, She Said spills over from the last episode. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1:33.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.