Eternal Law: Review: Series 1 Episode 3

Zak and Tom have to help an old man who is fighting the closure of his old people’s home.

Matthew Graham’s first script for the series takes advantage of the audience’s familiarity with the concept to achieve some short cuts – there’s a moment between Richard and an elderly resident which is sold completely by alternating close-ups of the two men’s faces, and a low rumble. You don’t need to know how the old man was threatened; you just know instinctively that he was.

Tom’s naivety is just starting to become a little wearing, but it’s necessary for the drama for him to kick against everything he’s been told by Zak and Mrs Sheringham. His tendency to blurt out whatever he’s thinking does allow for some back door exposition, and throughout the episode there’s some nice colouring of both Zak and Mrs Sheringham’s back stories.

David Bradley’s down to earth stroppy pensioner Mack makes a good contrast to the rather posh lawyers (on all sides) and Graham’s script manages to stay just the right side of overly sentimental. There are a few plotholes (how did Mack get from the lawyers’ home to the old people’s house so easily, for example), but it’s not exactly a show filled with realism!

I’m still not convinced that the tag scenes on the top of the Minster are necessary – they’re a nice touch, but they are definitely more suited to the American style of drama (which is where they’re borrowed from, of course).

Verdict: It’s still a bit too nice – hardening the edges could let this show take off.  6/10

Paul Simpson

Read the first part of our interview with Matthew Graham, about the genesis of Eternal Law, here

And click here for part two, in which he discusses episodes 2 and 3

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