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The Escape Artist

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David Tennant (Doctor Who) stars as brilliant defense lawyer Will Burton, who has a storybook family and a potent nickname, “The Escape Artist,” for his ability to spring the obviously guilty. "Everybody deserves a defense," Burton boasts, but Liam Foyle (Toby Kebbell), a reclusive bird lover, is about to strain that assertion.

Foyle has been charged with a gruesome killing, leaving Will to search for a weak link in the seemingly ironclad evidence against Liam. In the ensuing legal battle, the wheels of justice turn much as Will anticipates. But then strange and disturbing things begin to happen. The tables are turned—and then turned again. Will finds himself fighting fervently for a new cause that may end his career or worse.

Written by David Wolstencroft (Spooks), this gripping legal thriller costars Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) as the hero’s rival, along with a courtroom full of ambitious attorneys and one very unnerving defendant.

Critics were electrified during the show’s UK broadcast: “David Tennant is back with another brilliant, edge-of-your-seat thriller … top-notch, high-tension telly,” raved The Sun (UK). “Terrifically well done,” agreed The Guardian (London). And Time Out (London) praised Wolstencroft’s taut script as “acute and beautifully played.”

PBS show site

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Not for me and OPB either, starri. So aggravated, and it won't be available to view online either. I guess it'll show up on the schedule eventually.

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Crap. Same here. :-(

It does appear, though, that my local station is just going to hold them back a week. If TV Guide is correct, anyway.

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Neither of the PBS stations in DC are showing it either. Ack - I just read in the Post that WETA has no plans to show it and MPT is showing Part 1 on Monday at 4 am and Part 2 on June 23 at 4 am. What the heck? Time to go yell at WETA on twitter.

Blech - does WETA think we would rather watch Suzie Orman than David Tennant? Oh well, it's Game of Thrones instead for me.

Edited by M. Darcy

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I'm so sorry you folks didn't get to see Part 1.  It was horrific!  And puzzling to me, an American.  Does the justice system in the UK really work this way?  I mean, if a public defender is assigned to a case, must he pretend that his client is innocent?  Even to himself?  Can they not even consider privately that their client is guilty of the crime?  I just don't get it.   I can't wait til Part 2.

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I didn't understand the court proceedings at the first trail. Some kind of a mistrial due to a prejudiced jury, I presume. But why would the defendant be let off entirely instead of re-tried?

 

And seriously, after the Peeping Tom incident, why would his wife blithely go back to the cottage with just their son. Security system or not, you wouldn't catch me doing that.

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I know!  And, after witnessing what happened at the cottage, would the little boy REALLY not pay enough attention to someone following him?  Especially when he most likely saw him beforehand?

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I don't think the son did see the killer.  He had no reaction to him on the bus. Maybe it will turn out to be a supressed memory.

 

The acting is great, but the plot does seem to depend on people making dumb decisions.

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Does the justice system in the UK really work this way?  I mean, if a public defender is assigned to a case, must he pretend that his client is innocent?

 

I'm not an expert on the British justice system like I am with the American (thanks to years of watching Law and Order) but I've been recently watching Rumpole of the Bailey and going by that - yes.  Rumpole always seems to treat each person he is defending like he is innocent.  Even when it is obvious that he guilty. Though, I should point out that after watching Rumpole, I am now more confused how the British justice system works.

 

Oh, update on the Washington DC "crisis".  When I asked WETA when they were going to show The Escape Artist,  I got a tweet back  saying that because of the pledge drive, they were unable to show it.  I nicely replied that it seemed that IMO its not going to help the pledge drive if they don't actually show the programs that people want to watch.

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I think it is strange that Will's son Jamie does not seem to be receiving

 

any therapy after the trauma of his mother's death.  Is this setting the stage

 

for a last-minute revelation of something he saw during the crime?

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As  a DC Metro PBS viewer I'm really tired of WETA's Pledge MONTHS. They'll probably put this on WETA UK some time in the future.

 

. Anyhow, I'm off to watch this on the PBS site.

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According to the Masterpiece Theater twitter feed, a lot of stations did not show this last night.  People are not happy.

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It looks like OPB will be showing parts 1 and 2 on Sunday the 23rd. Honestly, does anyone watch "Rock, Pop, and Doo Wop"?

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David Tennant is an amazing actor.

 

This was almost too much for this old granny to watch.  I almost turned it off a couple of times.  I agree with posters who wondered why on earth the wife would continue to bathe naked in front of an uncurtained window, why on earth she would arrive at their somewhat secluded cabin, in the dark, alone with but a child.

 

Surely, the husband will seek revenge, I only hope it's not too bloody.  Maybe it will be just legal revenge.

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I thought this was heavy handed.  Every time the killer made his soliloquies, I found him not so much creepy as tiresome pretentious.  I don't think I'm tuning in for part II. 

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I liked it and will keep watching, but I hope Peter (?) brings the killer to justice using the legal system rather than something more personal. 

 

I don't understand why he's not allowed to help with the prosecution.  I also don't understand why the killer got off the first time -- just get a new jury!  And I don't understand why he was allowed bail.  There was an eyewitness to Kate's murder -- that's more evidence than they had for the first murder, and he wasn't allowed bail for that one. 

 

 

 

 

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Although the NYC station is airing TEA beginning next weekend, the Long Island station aired an ep last night. I get both, plus the NJ one. (Yay cable!)

 

Point the first: It's downright odd to see David Tennant with his hair combed so neatly. Like Calvin (of ...and Hobbes fame) on class picture day odd.

 

Point the second: thank goodness I watched all of Silk last year, or else none of the office stuff would've made the least bit of sense to me.

 

Point the third: Nice to see Ashley Jensen get to sex it up a bit. I've only ever seen her play de-sexed characters.

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thank goodness I watched all of Silk last year, or else none of the office stuff would've made the least bit of sense to me.

 

 

Because of Silk, I can't help but notice those lovely ribbons that wrap up the case files.

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Aside from the violence, what I found most jarring were the admittedly lovely, photogenic home sets.  Huge, modern, multi-level apartment (which is showcased when Tennant goes running through the place on his way to his son who is having a nightmare), yet the son himself appears to be sleeping in a windowless closet!  I've seen enough British design shows to have seen bedrooms like the boy's, but not in a place that is otherwise apparently a modern high rise.  Perhaps I missed something about the source of their apparent wealth...  It just seemed non-sensical to me, especially for a lawyer who hasn't yet earned his "silk".  And the woman attorney, too, seemed to have a much posher place than her job would have seemed to afford her at this point in her career (compare it to the place the lead in Silk had).

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PBS wasn't running the show on their website.So I was able to watch this in a super secret way just now. I got to the murder and turned it off. I don't mind suspense, but I was expecting a lawyer-courtroom show, not this. Too bad. I love David Tennant (Broadchurch was more than excellent).

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I pretty much liked the ending, quite clever, that. Don't want to be too spoiler-y since so few in my area have yet to see it.

 

Although, if you're on Comcast in the DC area, even though it hasn't aired, WETA put it up On Demand. Guess they got enough complaints! Go to TV Shows> By Network> PBS - WETA> Specials>  and both episodes are up in SD and HD. Enjoy!

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I didn't like it.  Will seemed almost as much of a sociopath as Foyle.  I would have liked a scene where Will and his son talk about Will's relationship with Foyle, about whether Will still believes everyone deserves a good defense, about whether getting a guilty man off is justice, etc.  I wish Will had expressed some sympathy for the family of Foyle's first victim.  Just one or two lines would have been enough.  Instead Will seems not care about anyone or anything but himself. 

Edited by Calicocat

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I was interested about the exclusion of the second storage unit. Although the warrant didn't cite it, Eileen clearly gave permission for the police to look at it. In the US, that would trump its absence on the warrant. Is that a difference in UK law, or did the show get it wrong?

 

I took a trip to Edinburgh last year (and only just finished putting the photos into a scrap book: I am both old school and procrastinaty), so I was thrilled to see the old town locations.

 

I continue to love Sophie Okonedo. It's amazing how she just doesn't age.

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I'm underwhelmed.  Too many holes in the plot -- how convenient that the female attorney just happens to show up 1) right when Will has a rendezvous with a former client and 2) she happens to recognize said persona as an ex-con.  Interesting characters in search of a more fully fleshed out plot, I think.  The clever bits weren't earned, and the motivations of the bad guy were what -- he's a psycho, no explanation needed?  Not worth tracking down, no matter how big a Tennant fan.

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Well that was two weeks of terror.  NOt used to being so frightened when watching PBS.  LOL.   Loved the ending, but honestly that rival lawyer was just evil.  Didn't she realized Tennant character saved her life.  I agreed with the disgusted boyfriend who said don't call me.   Or perhaps she was safe because she did shake hands with the  evil client.

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whatsatool, I KNOW!  That lady lawyer was just terrible, using her lover like that!  Yeesh!  Such a devious person, too.  I must be a sicko, though; I was cheering and laughing at the villain as he died, remembering all the torture/pain he put his victims through.

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I loved the recent show Escape Artist very much.  It was nice to see Doctor Who once again.  Loved that he won out in the end and I was never more pleased to see someone pass away as I was seeing Liam Foyle.

 

Can anyone tell me what was the little gift that Maggie Gardner got?? -   I couldn't tell.

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I think the gift Maggie Gardner got was that special tea -- she had that long description of how it was grown on some special slope and harvested at dawn or something.  I was expecting something gruesome but she was horrified that the defendant knew about her tea brand.

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Thanks. Daisychain, for that info about the box. What was the larger sense--that the bad guy Foyle had somehow left it for her?

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Yes, that he had been in her apartment, her personal space, and knew something so specific about her.   I thought some parts were great, some not so great. I didn't even watch all of part 1 because I was finished when she sees a man at the window and calls her husband before calling the police. Seriously, if you thought someone was outside (maybe more than one person) trying to harm you, you don't know how much time you have, and you don't try to call the police?

 

Apparently she went back to the isolated cabin with the boy after the incident...too much.  The best part for me was the end.  I honestly didn't think Sophie Okenedo did a great job.  I guess the "back story" was her trying to be respected as a woman and a minority in that profession that she was willing to do anything to win. I don't remember seeing too many women when she was doing her walk of pride through the office.  Her behavior, however, just didn't make sense.

 

Ok, I'll admit that I DVRd and skipped around...how did he know that the man would be cremated?  Also, was Foyle actually having a relationship with the neighbor, or just stringing her along?

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Seriously, if you thought someone was outside (maybe more than one person) trying to harm you, you don't know how much time you have, and you don't try to call the police?

 

Happened to me. Didn't call po-po. Don't know why I didn't. A panicking brain can make stupid decisions. I wasn't killed, obvs. and wasn't hurt beyond being scared pissless, but that's beside the point. Should've called.

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I was puzzled by all of the things others have mentioned (the wife didn't call the police first, she went back to the cottage with just the kid, defense lawyers can't continue representation if they suggest to the client that s/he might be guilty or apparently even entertain the thought privately, posh dwelling possibly beyond the means of the non-Silked, oh, and also that Tennant wasn't told immediately that his wife was pregnant when she died.)  But the things that bugged me the most were the granting of the bail, the dismissal of the case even though there was an eyewitness, albeit the victim's husband and, most of all, the apparent absolute ban on Tennant's character helping with the prosecution of the case.  How could it possibly be unethical for him to talk to the prosecuting attorney about the case? I understand that there would be attorney client privilege considerations and that he couldn't reveal things he found out in the course of his representation, but the show seemed to set out that any communication between Tennant and the lawyer was prohibited.  Why couldn't the prosecution draw on his legal expertise while still steering clear of privileged information?  Why did the lawyer and clerk and Tennant have to skulk around the mall?

I really found this hard to watch and thought it was poorly done and overrated in most of the press I read.

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What I found most puzzling was that the prosecution in the trial against Foyle for the wife's murder was Will's firm!  So the prosecutors are random and work both prosecution and defense?  I did not get that.

 

Also what was the significance of Will's mother's necklace that she tucked inside her shirt in the last scenes?  It looked like a medical alert necklace but I did not get the significance.

 

Yes there were a lot of plot holes but it was okay for a summer viewing--meaning there's not that much on to watch in the first place.

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I believe that was to indicate that she was the person with the severe allergy and that was the way he had gotten access to an Epi pen to put the poison in. The other lawyer mentions something to him about how he would have to have knowledge of those type of allergies, and also have access to get one (which could not be traced back to him).  I took it to indicate that he'd gotten the Epi pen from her, and she was trying to keep her medical alert tag hidden at all times in case anyone notice and asked.

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Good catch re the mother's necklace!  I totally missed that.  Maybe it was a little too subtle?

 

But then what was the role of the Kadim guy (ex-con)?  I guess he was instrumental in hacking into Foyle's accounts and he gave Will the name of the location where Foyle was staying  (sp?  Beirne Allein?) in Scotland (fancy that).  But I thought there was a scene of him walking near a hospital or an ambulance after lawyer Maggie started stalking him.  I inferred that that guy was the one who enabled Will's getting the info and the pen, etc.  

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I thought Kadim was a computer hacker who obtained Foyle's personal information which included his medical records.

 

I did like the series but agree it had a couple of plot holes mainly the one with the wife and son going back alone to their country house. I enjoyed it though and thought David Tennant was excellent.

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Yes. My understanding was that the computer hacker got the medical information and that is how he found out about the allergy, and conveniently the mother, mother in law, nanny ( was fast forwarding so I never knew what she was) also had something where she needed an EPI pen and that is how he got access to one. I'm sure the records included his financials, so he was able to trace him to that location, etc.

 

I found the guy that played Foyle convincingly creepy, and I could not understand if he actually liked the lawyer or just wanted to scare her to show her that he could.

 

The ending where she explained his plot was the best part.  Was this meant to have another series where he works on another case?

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I took it to indicate that he'd gotten the Epi pen from her, and she was trying to keep her medical alert tag hidden at all times in case anyone notice and asked.

Thanks, Catrice!  That makes sense.  They were trying to tie up all the loose ends, weren't they?  I wasn't even wondering where he got the extra epi pen.  Like everyone else the biggest hole was the wife and son going back to the isolated cottage.

 

I would watch any subsequent episodes.

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David Tennant is always a pleasure to watch, but I think his talents were wasted here.  Didn't hate it, but I doubt if I'd ever bother with a second viewing.

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What I found most puzzling was that the prosecution in the trial against Foyle for the wife's murder was Will's firm!  So the prosecutors are random and work both prosecution and defense?  I did not get that.

From what I have gathered of the British system, there are no DAs like in the US.  The private attorneys get assigned to cases, and can switch back and forth between prosecution and defense (like the female lawyer), although they can also specialize and do one or the other.  Also, the barristers (the ones who argue in court) before they are made silks, apparently cannot refuse a case, which is odd to me.

 

I thought the woman attorney using information she had learned from her lover in the case was a huge no-no.  In fact, in the US, there would have been some wrangling about her being on the case with someone she was so well acquainted with being a witness.  She could face some consequences for not revealing the relationship.  I'm not sure about Britain though.

 

Overall, while the first half was interesting, the second half really lost me.  Are we supposed to like the character who found a sneaky way to murder his wife's killer and get away with it?  I just thought the show fell apart in the second half, and was a bit mystified but all the positive reviews I had read, for what seemed a fairly standard/predictable legal drama.

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I'm behind - just watched part 1. Jeez, I'm not used to masterpiece mystery actually being scary to watch alone. There was enough foreshadowing I knew the wife was gonna get killed - but it still bothered me. I don't know if I'm going to watch the second part.

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It almost seemed to me that Tennant's character tanked the trail of his wife's killer. He was frustrated and didn't play the jury as he could have as a clever lawyer as a witness. It was like he was resigned to losing and planning his own justice in case he was right.

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Interesting; i just finished watching the discs (courtesy of netflix); that scene in the restaurant where maggie is rhapsodizing about the tea is not on the discs. (I saw bits of it on broadcast on one of the local DC PBS stations and saw the scene there.) so should i assume the discs are edited? These have the Masterpiece wraps and ads for... for.... some designer, but not the intros. There are three episodes, each about an hour, so one would think they'd be complete...

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This was mildly diverting, but really, Will's plan to get the killer was just so damned convoluted!  All he had to do was let the guy die of anaphylactic shock, set fire to the house and walk away.  No one would've known.  Was the point to make sure people knew how smart he thought he was?  I just didn't get it.

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The point of the somewhat convoluted plan was to have plausible deniability while absolutely ensuring Liam dies. There's too much of a risk of just hoping the anaphylactic shock kills him and the fire consumes evidence before emergency services arrive. The trial and Maggie's explanation of how William did the crime and got away with it covers the whole shebang. Basically, it's hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that William went after Liam with the full intent of murdering him when he 1.) calls 999 to get aid to ostensibly give Liam his epinephrine drug to counteract the anaphylaxis that was currently killing him, and 2.) carried him out of a burning home AFTER sustaining a head injury from Liam that was enough to knock him unconscious and the fact that Liam is heftier than William and it would have taken considerable effort to carry him out with said head injury and Liam being essentially dead weight.

 

Granted, Maggie's third point in her explanation to Will at the end does bring up a very good point that the localized swelling at the source of the knife wound and the injection site would be cause for a full postmortem blood test to be done to see if epi was even given. Though they would still need a smoking gun because all that would be circumstantial and if Will is the super-barrister he's supposed to be, he'd spin a likely tale. However, all that wasn't needed because Will somehow knew that Liam would be almost immediately cremated.

 

Personally, I'm not too bothered that Will killed Liam with intent. While he was mostly motivated by revenge, he probably did it out of penance, too. If it wasn't for his expert defense, Liam would be in prison for the first murder we see him on trial for and Kate would not have been murdered. He's always going to carry that guilt with him, not to mention the guilt that the first family didn't get justice for their child. Society is much better off without Liam Foyle roaming free, especially with a justice system that let him walk for two different murders, especially with how sloppy he was with Kate's murder.

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