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Trial & Retribution — The Fourth Collection

Trial & Retribution - The Fourth CollectionNot surprisingly one of televisions
  best-loved crime dramas, Lynda La
s Trial & Retribution returns to
  DVD with the Fourth Collection —
  featuring three hard-hitting double
  episodes to keep you guessing

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR SUSPENSE, great storylines, terrific acting and a plot to keep you guessing, look no further than Lynda La Plante's brilliant crime drama series Trial & Retribution, originally broadcast on ITV.

Out now on DVD is the Fourth Collection of the series, courtesy of Acorn Media, featuring three stand-alone, high-quality double episodes: Paradise Lost; Curriculum Vitae; and Mirror Image.

Series creator Lynda La Plante holds the unofficial title of 'Queen of the Television Thriller' for her consistently excellent work in British Crime Drama. And the riveting Trial & Retribution is no exception to her meticulous rule.

Ten years of solving dark and disturbing cases has taken its toll on the work-weary Trial & Retribution team that heads up the action. They are joined by two noteworthy new team members: DI Moira Lynch (Kerry Fox: Intimacy, Nostradamus, Waking The Dead) and DI Jack Mullins (David O'Hara: The Departed, Hotel Rwanda, Prime Suspect), who slip nicely into the series alongside the creditable existing main cast — DCS Michael Walker (David Hayman: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, Rob Roy, Sid And Nancy); DCI Roisin Connor (Victoria Smurfit: About A Boy, Bulletproof Monk, The Beach); and DS David Satchell (Dorian Lough: Notting Hill, Eastenders, Charles II: The Power & The Passion). Dr Jean Mullins is played by Gemma Jones.

Presented as a stunning three-disc set, Trial & Retribution: The Fourth Collection features star turns from Michael Nardone (Rome, Skins, Taggart) and rising star Kierston Wareing (It's A Free World, Wire In The Blood, Rise Of The Footsoldier). Each episode of this must-see drama pushes out the boundaries of both the team and the audience, with the race on to solve shocking and terrible crimes. And the team must keep their wits about them in order to guarantee that justice is served.

Paradise Lost, written by Julie Dixon, sees a serial rapist targeting white partners of black men. When Sarah Tennant is violently raped and murdered, her black boyfriend Milton Jones (superbly played by Clint Dyer) confesses that he was 'stoned' and becomes the number one suspect. A pair of his bloodied trainers turn up, and it is beginning to look as if he killed Sarah in a drug-fuelled frenzy.

Insisting that there was another man present in their flat but that he cannot remember what he looked like, Milton is overwrought and attempts suicide. With his life hanging in the balance, no evidence to support the presence of a third person, the victim of a similar crime missing, DCI Connor's disintegrating relationship with a barrister working on the case and the team facing accusations of racism, how will it work out?

The second feature, Curriculum Vitae, follows single mother Suzy MacDonald (Victoria Hamilton) as she sets off to Heathrow Airport to fly to Scotland for a business black-tie event, reluctantly leaving her 18-month-old baby girl, Poppy, in the supposedly capable hands of new nanny Leanne Taylor (Sinead Matthews).

Finding she cannot board a 'plane without any photographic ID, she returns home to find her car gone, the front door open and no sign of Leanne. Although Poppy is tucked up in her cot seemingly asleep, she is, in fact, dead.

In a complex story where blame shifts from Leanne to Suzy, DCI Walker and his team take on the mammoth and emotive task of unravelling the mystery and trying to find out who Leanne Taylor really is; racing against time to prevent another such incident, while the hysterical Suzy — who had suffered badly with postnatal depression and has already miscarried one child — finds herself in the middle of a living nightmare.

As each part of the puzzle is fitted together, the team are told that Poppy had soapy water in her lungs and bruising consistent with careless handling, suggesting that she was held under her bathwater until she drowned. And Suzy's car has been found burned out on a local Council housing estate.

The only clues are from a young Downs Syndrome boy, Miles Deacon (the charming Max Lewis), with an unreliable watch, and Kim-Ly Chang (Teo Wa Yuong) — a nanny who knew Leanne and who took a photograph of Suzy holding Poppy with a badly bruised forehead. But even when the team catches up with the cool, calm and calculating Leanne, nothing is certain. Curriculum Vitae is written by Phil Gladwyn, Produced by Christopher Hall and Lynda La Plante and Directed by Tristram Powell.

In the final feature, Mirror Image, housekeeper Janet Jenkins (Michelle Fairley) makes a shocking discovery when she returns to her nearby flat to find the door to her employer's home open and both Police Commander Jack Delany (Brian Gwaspari) — who used to work in Drug Squad — and his wife Honor (Gillian Gordon) shot dead and lying in a pool of their own blood.

Although at first believing it to be a burglary that had gone wrong, DCI Walker and the team soon discover that there is something more sinister going on. The couple's identical twin sons, Michael (Robert Timmins) and Rory (Jonathan Timmins) both benefit from their parents' will. But so does Honor's half-brother Paul Mandray (Greg Hicks) and his wife Nicole (the ever-fresh Kim Thomson); and also Janet Jenkins, who was having an affair with Jack.

As the investigation progresses, Roisin Connor's secret relationship with DS Sam Palmer (Vince Leigh) is about to collapse as she again mixes business with pleasure to the detriment of her private life.

The twins and their father were members of a gun club and regularly went clay pigeon shooting. And Michael apparently has a drug habit he needs to finance and a girlfriend, Charlotte Rogers (Olivia Hallinan) who mysteriously sports a very large ruby and diamond ring. Where did Jack go when the couple first got home and why didn't he hear his wife's screams? Who has the most to gain from Jack and Honor's deaths and are their twin sons as innocent as they claim or did they work together to get away with patricide?

Mirror Image includes two fabulous actresses whose portrayal of their characters is a joy to watch — Fiona Shaw as Prosecutor Jo Wilson QC and Suzanne Bertish as Vivienne Newburgh. Mirror Image is Written by Lynda La Plante, Produced by Christopher Hall and Lynda La Plante and Directed by Michael Whyte.

Lynda La Plante's Trial & Retribution The Fourth Collection is released on 27 December (2008). Gruesome scenes and occasional strong language are kept to a minimum. Catalogue No: AV9673 | Running Time: 409 minutes on three discs | RRP: 24.99 | Certificate: 18.

"If you're looking for suspense, great storylines, terrific acting and a plot to keep you guessing, look no further than Lynda La Plante's brilliant crime drama series Trial & Retribution" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar