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'The Escape Artist' Part 3 Review - David Tennant, Sophie Okonedo, Toby Kebbell In Criminal Drama

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Everyone deserves a defence...

The words by which Will Burton (David Tennant) has led his adult life had most definitely come back to haunt him, with the death of his wife at the hands of client Liam Foyle (Toby Kebbell) he helped get off a previous case.

the escape artist
David Tennant is a man haunted by his own professional skills coming back to bite him

So, what now for Burton, in tireless pursuit of the man who wrecked his world, rival lawyer Maggie (Sophie Okonedo) who helped him, and the bigger questions - what does justice actually mean? Is it the the system of highly-paid, highly-learned lawyers honouring their profession by the book, or is it something more unpoliced, an actual eye for an eye?

Just as Burton decided to take the law into his own hands, so the plot similarly swayed way off course, away from the neat chambers, courtrooms and million-pound apartments we'd seen in previous episodes, and into the wilder, more gothic surrounds of the Borders countryside. The metaphor couldn't have been wielded more bluntly than the great bit of wood Foyle used to outwit Burton. Ok, our hero's gone rogue, we get it.

the escape artist
Would Maggie (Sophie Okonedo) have really sussed out what Burton was up to?

Every twist was tied off neatly with a gigantic bow, safe in the hands of David Tennant - after all, as we've seen in countless TV dramas now, no one does the silent, despairing hug of a child quite like Tennant. Don't leave us for Hollywood, will you?

But the bigger themes of this gripping drama remained unexplored - the fact that Burton and his colleagues were left so indignant when a man they knew to be guilty got off. This was only because for once they were the victims themselves. What about all the other people they represent in court on a daily basis? Lots more shaking heads and wry handshakes then, I'm sure.

the escape artist
Dilemmas are what criminal barristers are paid to wade their way through

And yet we know our justice system forms part of our social contract we must honour and protect, lest we fall into the wild world of philosopher Thomas Hobbes' vision - "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". One where people take matters into their own hands. It's a tough one. No wonder writer David Wolstencroft eschewed it in favour of burning houses and strangely-timed medical devices.

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The Escape Artist (TV Mini-Series 2013) - IMDb