Friday, October 8, 2010

UK Television: Law & Order: UK, Episode 3.5 "Survivor"

Law & Order:  UK
Season Three, Episode Five, Survivor
Survivor, Original Air Date:  October 7, 2010
Based on Law & Order (US) "Punk", Season 9, Episode 8 (25th November, 1998)

Two children find the body of a dead man, Charlie Tyner, who was a prison officer.  The investigation takes a new lead when they find out Tyner was dealing heroin.  When they are able to tie Tyner to a drug dealer they've been trying to catch for some time, they need the help of a woman in the prison where Tyner was an officer.  But getting that help isn't going to be easy.

The kids who find the body are themselves playing with a gun they found in the rubbish bin.  Turns out, the gun was the weapon used in the murder.  No identification is found with the body but the man is later ID'd as a prison officer named Charlie Tyner.  He had worked for 18 years at the same job but suddenly was promoted six months ago.

Brooks and Devlin go to Tyner's new assignment at Cold Norton Prison to learn more about him.  Charlie is described by his boss as having been "the best" officer.  He even saved a woman who tried to hang herself last week.  He took it personally when one of the inmates he supervised tried to self harm.  While he didn't have any problems at Cold Norton, he did have a run-in with a male prisoner at Ashbridge, Ellis Bevin (Celyn Jones) who has been out of prison for two days. 

Bevin, who was in prison for abusing young boys, has apparently landed himself a job but parole hasn't heard from him since his release.  Brooks and Devlin find him working as a janitor at a local school.  He tells him his work isn't a job, he is volunteering.  They arrest him for breaking the conditions of his license.  Ellis' problem with Charlie is that he stood by and laughed as Ellis had boiling water thrown on him by another inmate, disfiguring him.  Unfortunately for Brooks and Devlin, Ellis has an alibi.  He was home in bed and is wearing an electronic ankle tracking bracelet.

The Financial Investigations Unit found a regular payment to the Star Hotel in Charlie's financial records.  They question a woman who used to work as a prostitute out of the Star Hotel that Charlie was a former client of.  She tells them Charlie was a heroin dealer. 

They go back to Cold Norton to dig deeper into Charlie to find out who knew about his dealing and speak with two guards that give them the name of a prisoner, Tamika Vincent (Wunmi Mosaku).  One of the guards, Steve Atwell (Paul Chequer), is relatively new to the job and tried to encourage Tamika to improve her life with education.  The other guard, is a veteran prison officer and feels "new boy" is too soft with the prisoners.  They speak with Tamika and she refuses to give them any information about Charlie.

Phillips fills them in on the details of Tamika's arrest.  She was a packer for a drug dealer named Jackson Marshall (Robbie Gee).  She was offered a deal for her testimony on Marshall but refused.  Devlin feels if they can get her to give them evidence on Marshall they can get him but Phillips knows it's near impossible.  Matt sweet talks Phillips into going to Cold Norton to speak with Tamika about Charlie.

Tamika doesn't want to speak with her but reluctantly does when she learns she has a chance at an early release.  Instead of listening to what Phillips has to say, Tamika becomes enraged and attacks her.  She goes back to the office and starts researching and finds that Tamika called a mobile phone belonging to Jackson Marshall two days before Charlie was murdered.  Steel orders her to forget the history with Tamika and talk with her family.

She speaks with Tamika's mother who claims her daughter's appeal could still help get her out of prison.  Phillips knows the appeal was turned down six months ago but Tamika's mother said her daughter called about it last week and had her borrow money to give the solicitor and sent someone round to collect it:  Jackson Marshall. 

Brooks and Devlin arrest Jackson Marshall on suspicion of conspiracy to murder Charlie Tyner and they find a container of 9mm bullets at his home.  Only after being faced with what possible evidence forensics might find does Marshall open up and start talking.  He claims Tamika called him wanting Tyner dead but he refused.  He is cold and cool and they know they must have solid evidence linking him to the guy that killed Tyner or Marshall will walk yet again.

Steel finds another woman who had muled for Marshall at Cold Norton, Jardine Evaristo (Simone James) who had issues with Tyner.  She knew about the connection between Tyner/Marshall/Tamika.  She overheard Tamika on the phone with Marshall.  She gives Steel and Phillips information that Tamika was a decoy so someone with more drugs could pass by unnoticed while the authorities were dealing with her.  She will not testify against Marshall because he had made it clear to her that if she said anything about him he would kill her children.  With Tamika's mother giving Marshall money, if they can tie him to the gun, they will have both of them on a murder charge.

They find gunpowder residue on Marshall's steering wheel and when they find someone who claims to have sold a gun to someone matching Marshall's description they pull both Marshall and Tamika into court together. Marshall is granted bail with conditions (he must live and sleep at his home, surrender his passport, report daily to Hackney Police Station, curfew between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and be electronically monitored) while Tamika is remanded.  In the men's room after he is released on bail, Marshall confesses to Steel that Tamika hired him to kill Tyner and that Tyner was taxing his profits and owed him money and that he had planned to kill him anyway.  Marshall threatens Steel if he sees the police around his home ever again.

How they look at the case changes when it is learned that Tamika was 10 weeks pregnant and had a miscarriage and the child belonged to Tyner.  Tamika tells Steel and Phillips that Tyner blackmailed her into having sex with him.  She wanted him dead because a week before he was murdered, Tyner had given her daughter a photo album containing pictures that let Tamika know he was following her daughter.  She tells them everything except who she got to kill Tyner.

They learn that Tyner was at work the day Tamika's daughter was given the album.  Steve Atwell delivered the package and was identified by Mrs. Vincent and Tamika's daughter.  He tells Steel and Phillips about how the veteran prison officers run things their way.  Tamika was going to tell the governor about she and Charlie.

Matters are further complicated when Marshall's barristers make a motion to exclude the gun.  Because the evidence linking Marshall to the gun is weak, Lady Justice Blythe (Prue Clarke) excludes it from trial.  Knowing they must have Tamika's testimony, Steel and Phillips go to George Castle wanting to make a deal.  They want to get Tamika out of prison and into witness protection in exchange for her testimony.  Castle refuses to go along with the deal and orders Steel to get her found guilty.  Defying Castle, Steel orders Phillips to get Tamika to talk.

Steel convinces Tamika's lawyer that there is more to be had from this case than he believes and that he may benefit himself from it.  Phillips makes an appeal to Tamika to not let her daughter turn out the same way she did.  She goes into court and tells the jury about the abuse she suffered at Tyner's hands and that she found someone to take care of him.  When Steel is questioning Tamika about hiring someone to kill Charlie, Marshall enters the courtroom.  He presents her with information about the fourteen women in prison who worked for Jackson and that there was an anonymous tip about her drug smuggling that got her caught.  She makes a mistake in court when she answers that "only me and him knew about it".  She didn't mention the abuse to Jackson because she was raped by Tyner and was ashamed.  She admits in court that she paid Jackson Marshall to kill Charlie Tyner.  Jackson gets up and leaves and is arrested by Brooks and Devlin as he is leaving.

The jury is hung and Phillips tells Tamika whether there is another trial depends on her.  They can drop the charges and get her moved to another prison until she is eligible for release.  When questioned why Phillips is doing what she is to help, Alesha explains that she works with women who have been raped and has seen firsthand what the effects of it are but she doesn't go so far as to confess her own rape to Tamika.  Tamika vows to tell Alesha everything and she will stand up in court against Marshall.

This case became intensely personal to Alesha Phillips because of Tamika having been raped by Tyner.  She sees Tamika in a different light and the two women have something in common even though Tamika doesn't know it.  This was a great episode and one of those that you really would like to kind of know what happens after it's over.  Were they able to finally put Jackson Marshall behind bars?  Did everything work out for Tamika and her family?  I love a show that leaves me thinking about the characters after it is finished and this one did just that.

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