As the five-part series Injustice begins, Barrister William Travers (James Purefoy, Episodes, Rome) lives in a small village. He used to be a successful lawyer who won murder trials for his clients, whom he always believed innocent. But after one particular case, William suffered a nervous breakdown and had to step away from the more intense proceedings.
Now, a friend of his is accused of murder. William steps back up into it for the case, returning to the cutthroat world he left behind, with the caveat that he will quit if he stops believing his client’s innocence. His wife, Jane (Dervla Kirwan, Ballykissangel, Blackout), is anything but pleased, having left a very successful career in London to accommodate her spouse. She is also worried about what the pressure might do to him. William ignores this, and jumps in anyway.
As with any excellent drama, there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. Viewers will learn details about William’s break through flashbacks, and the type of man he really is now, beneath the put-together exterior. Present events will collide with the past in a complex, interwoven story. I don’t want to give anything away, but trust me, this is well worth watching,
Interestingly, a second investigator, DI Mark Wenborn (Charlie Creed-Miles, The Fifth Element), is present as a study of contrast to Travers, adding another layer to the tale. Wenborn is everything that William is not, cruel instead of kind, with virtually no moral compass to guide him on his mission. It’s a wonderful study on the differing personalities of men, and how they can both survive within the same system.
The big, shocking query Injustice delivers is, can it make viewers root for the bad guy against the good guy? With the villain out to expose something that hero did, who is right? This delves into a level of ambiguity and greyness that inhabits only the best dramas, and makes all five parts incredibly compelling. And as someone who has watched the series, there is never a clear choice between which character should come out on top, which is not easy to do.
Injustice is as modern as it is timeless. The story and the characters, trying to be beacons of hope in a cruel world, holding up ideals and defending them, but limited by personal failings, could happen anywhere, anytime. Yet, the series also embraces technology and the ever-present closed circuit cameras that spy on citizens like a Big Brother. The plot is as much a comment of society and the legal system as it is on the specific circumstances portrayed. There are broad strokes, as well as the personal.
Is Injustice a police drama, or a suspense tale? Both are accurate representations. It melds the two seamlessly into a heck of a thrill ride. Both of these can deliver a good mystery, and thus a great mystery doesn’t have to choose between them.
Something neat about this show is that it changes course so spectacularly in mid-stream. Twists are present in many stories, of course, but rarely does one show, especially one with such a limited number of episodes, make such a dramatic change in the middle. It’s a very cool trick that, while it wouldn’t work if it became overused, should set it apart in this instance.
What makes Injustice so terrific is the masterful way in which this ambitious script is executed. Not only is the writing solid, but the acting and direction is also fantastic. The world of the series is well illustrated, with a very authentic feel, especially as it delves into the murkiness. It’s true that more and more productions have managed to pull this off lately, but that doesn’t take away from Injustice‘s accomplishment, a worthy entry among its peers.
The only special feature included is a photo gallery. This is disappointing, but should not be enough to keep TV lovers away from the DVD.
Injustice is available now from Acorn Media.