Alan Davies is a successful and very visible comedic presence on British television (QI, Bob & Rose), but unless you were lucky enough to catch his mystery series Jonathan Creek when it aired in the U.S., you may have missed out on seeing him. In The Brief: Complete Collection, Davies is as winning as ever, in a more straight-forward legal series. He plays Henry Farmer, a criminal practice barrister who does his best to champion the innocent. As convoluted as some of his cases become, they are no competition for the entanglements of his personal life.
Henry is divorced and is trying to work on repairing his relationship with his young son. He is involved in an affair with a woman, Polly (Zara Turner), who is married to a closeted politician. He has a disapproving father, who also happens to be a judge. He is trying to climb out from under a mountain of debt, most of it incurred while gambling. He's got a lot on his plate, but Davies' manner, no matter how hard things get inside and out of the courtroom, keeps the series light in tone.
The Brief is from the creators of the popular Inspector Morse series. We follow Henry from court to home to the office, where he works with the tough-as-nails Cleo (Cherie Lunghi), the eccentric Ray (Christopher Fulford), and faithful assistant and ballroom dancer extraordinaire, Maureen (Linda Bassett).
The series ran only two years. The collection includes eight episodes on four discs for a total running time of approximately 9 ½ hrs. The format is widescreen, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. SDH subtitles and scene selection are available. The Brief is unrated, but some of the cases concern subject matter not appropriate for children. Many faces well-known from other British series, like Kirsty Mitchell (Case Histories, Monarch of the Glen), Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey, The Tudors) and Selina Cadell (Doc Martin) appear throughout the series as guest stars.