Garrow’s Law – Episode 1




Changing the established social boundaries of Georgian England and introducing the adversarial trial system.


The last time we saw Young Master Garrow (Andrew Buchan), he had firmly established himself as London’s hottest thing on the barrister scene; saved some people from hanging who really didn’t deserve it; fought racism, injustice (and a pistol duel) and got off with a woman who was married to a Tory MP.

Except it wasn’t called ‘getting off’ back then, it was called “Criminal Conversation”  (a term now used exclusively for Piers Morgan’s chat show), but luckily for everyone YMG fought that case and was able to leave court arm in arm with Lady Sarah (Lyndsey Marshal) leaving her former husband, the conniving Sir Arthur Hill (Rupert Graves) standing looking like an X-Factor contestant passed over by Simon Cowell.

Series 3  follows on from that point: Lady Sarah, still separated from her young son, struggles to make ends meet in her new life as a ruined woman, thanks to the continued machinations of the nasty Sir Arthur.

She’s happy in her life with YMG – we know that because there’s some soft focus canoodling and some “Carry-On Home Economics-ing” business with a butternut squash-  and she has a plan of her own, which I’m sure will be played out over the rest of the series.

Because the episode started with a recap it seemed to take a while to get going. It was only when we moved into the Old Bailey that things really started to feel like Garrow again.

This week focused on the real-life case of James Hadfield, who attempted to assassinate the King. It was unsuccessful, mainly as he took around 15 minutes to load his pistol and gave a little speech beforehand – John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire he is not.

Hadfield suffers from delusions, so YMG argues for his sentence to be reduced due to insanity. This causes a certain amount of wig-pulling amongst the establishment who see this as:

a) Garrow getting all above his station again, and

b) A real problem, considering that George III is entering the wandering-around-talking-to-rosebushes phase of his Kinging career, and any legal standing of insanity could lead to revolution, murder, blood and heads on spikes.

As always, the best bits are in court. The interplay between the judge, the barristers, the gentlemen of the jury and the shouty onlookers is as much fun as ever, and this week has the added bonus of YMG cheekily cross-examining the Prince of Wales (played disappointingly straight and not at all like the definitively factual and accurate depiction of the future Regent we all know from Hugh Laurie).

Hopefully this week was scene setting and the rest of the series will settle down into the entertaining histodrama we’ve enjoyed over the last couple of years.

One of the best things about Garrow’s Law is that it’s based on the life and cases of a real person, so there’s no shortage of stories to adapt – long may it continue.


Garrow’s Law is on BBC1, Sundays, 9pm

You can follow Graeme on Twitter here and Tellysquawks here


5 Responses to Garrow’s Law – Episode 1

  1. Steph says:

    I love Garrow’s Law so much. Excited as I am to see YMG and Mr Southouse again, I reserved the bulk of my excitement for the return of Mr Silvester, who is just such a delightful weasel that I giggle excitedly every time I see him onscreen.

  2. I’m going to use the phrase “Delightful Weasel” in this weeks review.

    Silvester was under-used in Ep 1. They levered in the bit about making him a Kings’ Council and then ignored him. Hopefully he’ll be a larger part of this week.

  3. Dee says:

    Garrow’s Law is actually very good, and Andrew Buchan is actually very handsome.

  4. Anna says:

    If you want to know about the real cases which inspired this series, visit the programme pages:

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