Saturday, September 18, 2010

UK Television: Law & Order: UK, Episode 3.2 "Hounded"

Law & Order:  UK
Season Three, Episode Two, Hounded
Hounded, Original Air Date:  September 16, 2010
Based on Law & Order (US) "Mad Dog", Season 7, Episode 18 (2nd April, 1997)

Paul Darnell (Kevin Doyle), a convicted sex offender is before the board for parole.  Steel testifies that the man hasn't changed and will offend again.  Ashanti Walker, a sixteen year-old girl is found  dead in her bed and the death appears to be consistent with a stroke and the medical examiner can't say for certain if she was sexually assaulted or not.  The case ends up leading to Paul Darnell.

The police have virtually no evidence to prove the girl was raped.  All they know is that she had sex before she died.  It isn't until they investigate the laundry she had done prior to her death that they find evidence she was possibly suffocated with the laundry bag. 

The modus operandi of the case leads to Paul Darnell.  Steel orders Darnell to be investigated quickly before he can rape again.  In the three months he'd been released, he has been a model citizen.  Further investigation shows an hour and a half of time unaccounted for on the day Ashanti died.

Brooks and Devlin look deeper into Darnell's past and find he lived in London as a child not too far from where Ashanti lived.  Steel orders the arrest of Darnell based on the information knowing the case is thin but hoping a search of his home will turn up further proof of his guilt.

They find no evidence of bite marks or scratches on his body from a struggle with Ashanti but they do find that he has no body hair.  Steel fears that the fact Darnell is still shaving two weeks after the young girls death means he is planning another rape.  Thanks to the technology of CCTV, Darnell is proved to be in the area where Ashanti lived despite his insistence he hadn't been back since his childhood.

The Judge releases Darnell on bail against Steel's objections.  While on bail, he tries to break into the home of a young girl, Kim Baker, and is recalled immediately to jail.

Darnell tells the jury a story of how his uncle used to beat him as a child while his drunken mother watched, egging the uncle on.  He wanted to return to his childhood home to prove the area still held no fear for him.  He tells the jury he has rehabilitated.  Under intense questioning by Steel Darnell reveals information about Kim Baker that he wouldn't have known had he not seen her before as he'd claimed.  Kim later testifies, after being recalled by the defense, that she cannot be sure it was Darnell at her door.

Darnell is found not guilty by the jury. Steel is convinced that Darnell is going to rape again.  Castle brings Steel and Phillips the news that Darnell was murdered by Judy Johnson, his fiance.  She had come home and found him assaulting her daughter. 

Steel is die-hard in his assertions that Darnell will violate again.  He refuses to give up even though he is advised to by everyone around him including George Castle.  This case certainly didn't end well for anyone which is something I've always liked about Law & Order.  Some crime/legal dramas always end neat and tidy.  Everything works out fine, the bad guys always get locked away and the good guys always win.  It's not like that in real life.  There isn't always a happy ending and Law & Order doesn't always give you one.  That adds to the realism, in my opinion.

Law & Order:  UK airs on Thursday nights at 9:00 p.m. on ITV1 in the UK.
For more information:
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