Law & Order: UK

VIBE – Mondays from 4 July, 9.30pm

One of the most popular television series of all time gets a British makeover this July on Vibe.

The cream of British acting talent is brought together in an ensemble cast of extraordinary breadth to star in the UK interpretation of the enormously successful US crime show. On the “Law” side? Bradley Walsh (Coronation Street) is DS Ronnie Brooks, a real East End copper’s copper, friend and partner to the charming DS Matt Devlin, Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica) whose approach to policing is part seduction part force. Both report to DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter, Atonement) a working mum who would back them to the end. The “Order” team comprises of Ben Daniels (Cutting It) as dedicated Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel, a man on a mission for justice; Freema Agyeman (Dr Who) as hard working, strong-willed young prosecutor Alesha Phillips; and Bill Paterson (Little Dorrit) as their respected boss CPS director George Castle, a man trying to balance his ideals with the bigger picture.

On adapting a US series for the UK, head writer Chris Chibnall says:

“We are vigilant about being faithful to the Law & Order format, while also making sure that it feels fresh, modern and British as well. The stories have got to stand up strong in their own right, so you’re constantly making sure that the characters are interesting and original and are rooted in this country… You had to be constantly vigilant, while honoring the source material and making sure the drama is as exciting as it can be for a British audience.”

“I’m thrilled by the roster of guest stars we have throughout the series. The US “mothership” Law & Order has a history of attracting extraordinary talent for guest parts and we’ve worked hard to carry on that tradition. Because every story is self-contained, each episode has a number of juicy guest appearances, which means a new treat for the audience week after week. Whether its opposition barristers sparring with Ben Daniels, or witnesses, suspects and relatives facing a quizzing from Bradley Walsh and Jamie Bamber, we’ve been lucky enough to have so many great British actors guesting across the series”.

Tune in to get acquainted with the coppers and barristers, and to see notable guest appearances from the likes of Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel), Lesley Manville (Cranford) and Colin Salmon (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency).

Monday 27 July, 9.30pm

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime, and the Crown Prosecutors (CPS) who prosecute the offenders – Law & Order: UK shows their stories (tonight at 9.30pm on TV ONE). Based on Emmy Award-winning producer Dick Wolf’s groundbreaking US format, TV ONE’s new drama series Law & Order: UK has a critically acclaimed cast.

Bradley Walsh (Torn and Coronation Street) is DS Ronnie Brooks, a real East End ‘copper’s copper’, friend and partner to the charming DS Matt Devlin, (Jamie Bamber, Ultimate Force) whose approach to policing is part seduction, part force. Both report to DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter, Sense And Sensibility) a working mum who would back them to the end.

The CPS team comprises Ben Daniels (The State Within) as dedicated Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel, a man on a mission for justice; Freema Agyeman (Dr Who) as hard working, strong-willed young prosecutor Alesha Phillips; and Bill Paterson (Criminal Justice) as their respected boss CPS director George Castle, a man trying to balance his ideals with the bigger picture.

Creator Dick Wolf says it has always been his dream to be able to produce a foreign version of the successful Law & Order brand. “The [UK] creative team has done a spectacular job of bringing my vision to life.”

Lead writer Chris Chibnall was charged with the task of finding the right stories for adaptation. He explains: “I was looking for stories that I connected with emotionally, that had great opportunities for characterisation, and that felt relevant to Britain today. Dick Wolf sent over a list of his favourite episodes and I watched all of seasons one to six, plus a number of episodes from seasons seven, eight and nine. It’s a very addictive show, so it’s great to be getting paid to sit and watch them.”

Talking of the difficulties in adapting a US series for a British version, Chibnall says: “We are vigilant about being faithful to the Law & Order format, while also making sure that it feels fresh, modern and British as well. The stories have got to stand up strong in their own right, so you’re constantly making sure that the characters are interesting and original and are rooted in this country. There is always a balancing act between making sure the stories are authentic from a legal perspective, but also that they are dramatic. We sometimes had the issue of legal procedure which is different between the two countries.”

He says the US series has a history of attracting extraordinary talent for guest parts, and UK version worked hard to carry on that tradition. Guests stars across the series include: Dervla Kirwan; Holly Aird; Iain Glen; Lesley Manville; Patrick Malahide; Colin Salmon; Juliet Aubrey; Sean Pertwee; Frances Barber; Derek Riddell; and Keith Barron.

Tonight’s premiere sees DS Ronnie Brooks (Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Bamber) investigating an emotionally charged death, when a body is found at a London hospital. But can they and Crown Prosecutors James Steel (Ben Daniels) and Alesha Phillips (Agyeman) bring the person responsible to justice?