by Kathleen Costa
AcornTV was my introduction to streaming entertainment, and it’s been money well spent! For $5.99 monthly or a special $59.99 annual membership (my choice), you have easy access to hundreds of vintage and contemporary shows and movies in every genre and style. I have been enjoying binging long-time favorites like Midsomer Murders and Lovejoy as well as new favorites like The Brokenwood Mysteries, and George Gently. But, it’s not just detective dramas for me. My eclectic tastes fancy quirky shows like Detectorists, endearing comedies like Nothing Trivial, and if I can’t make it to England myself, it’s Penelope Keith’s Hidden Coastal Villages or Vintage Roads—Great and Small. Is Network TV just not cutting it when it’s a British accent you crave? AcornTV is perfect for satiating any Anglophile passion, especially when an American favorite goes British.
YouTube: Law & Order UK Intro
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 who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.
(Opening narration spoken by Robert Glenister)
Law & Order is an iconic American television drama spinning off other iconic and long-running shows, so why not send it over the pond to the UK? Law & Order | UK aired originally in 2009, and currently, AcornTV is showing the first five seasons with a cast that in my opinion rivals, if not surpasses, its American cousin. The “police who investigate crime” is led by Detective Sergeant Ronnie Brooks (brilliantly cast with Bradley Walsh), partnered with Detective Sergeant Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber), and under the supervision of Senior Inspecting Officer Natalie Chandler (all-time favorite Harriet Walter). The “Crown Prosecutors who prosecute the offenders,” Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel (Ben Daniels; seasons 1-4) and Jake Thorne (Dominic Rowan; season 5) and Jr. CPS Prosecutor Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman), don their wigs and head to court, but not without a level of approval and support from First Director of CPS London George Castle (Bill Paterson; season 1-4) and Henry Sharpe (Peter Davison: season 5). Mirroring the US version, each case may not be result in a “guilty” verdict, but the journey from the crime thru the investigation to the arrest and the courtroom procedures focuses on the cast and the impact their jobs have on their camaraderie, their engagement, and their manner of dealing with such horrendous themes, but there’s always room for some British humor.
“These are their stories.” I was a fan of the original production created by Dick Wolf back in 90s, and when the UK version made its way to BBC America in 2010, I was still an eager fan despite regularity challenges, but…several episodes had an air of déjà vu. Of course, why reinvent the wheel? Despite the fact that the format organization and many episodes were “based on” the American drama, the crime, the victim, the witnesses, and the defendant were ultimately revised to fit the British culture, social issues, and the legal system. But regardless of the familiarity, it was different enough with the setting in and around London, tea instead of coffee, fish ‘n chips instead of burgers and tacos, and wigs and robes in the courtroom to be totally engaging and entertaining to this Anglophile. Earns 5+/5 Warrant Cards and Wigs with realistic dramas and a compelling twist to “law and order.”
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A Pair of Must See Detective Dramas!
The Deep — Two principled detectives are the best at undercover work befriending than betraying extremely dangerous criminals: killers, drug dealers, deviants, and even a few unprincipled cops. Liam Ketman (Nick Berry) is married with two kids, in therapy with a psychologist, and although the job complicates marital bliss, he is driven to make a difference. Garth O’Hanlon (favorite actor Stephen Tompkinson) is a chameleon in his undercover persona with relationships outside his work a mystery, and despite seemingly able to handle the darkest of situations, he is deeply effected, tortured, and also driven to make a difference…even if with questionable methods.
The Deep originally aired in 2001 with three seasons. Season one is currently airing on AcornTV with three stories (Blue on Blue; Romeo Trap; Ghost Squad); each is split into two episodes of 50+ mins. Season two and three, each with four stories, will air soon to finish the series. Earns 5+/5 Secret Identities with excellent stories, intense themes, and complex characters.
Line of Duty — DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compton) takes a “moral stand against his colleagues” finding himself on the outs, but in the opinion of the Senior Investigating Officer, Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), he’s the perfect candidate for the Anti-Corruption Unit 12 (AC-12). An integral part of the team is skilled undercover officer DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure). Together their mission is to investigate police corruption—no matter the rank, the reputation, or the personal motives. Often, however, they are met by regulations, stonewalling, and closed ranks requiring diligence, a thick skin, and sometimes a need to watch their backs.
Line of Duty began in 2012 with season seven in 2021 production. The first five seasons are currently available with each season of six episodes focusing on a particular line of inquiry with clever storylines and more than a few twists. Earns 5+/5 Deleted Files with superb and complex storylines with an excellent cast that includes many familiar faces: Lennie James, Keeley Hawes, Daniel Mays, Thandie Newton, Stephen Graham, Anna Maxwell Martin, and Kelly Macdonald.
There are many streaming options available, and many have a themed element to what they offer from an eclectic catalogue like Netflix or all a studio can provide like Disney, but my passion, maybe my addiction, is for all things British with a bit of Scotland, Ireland, Canada, or Australia thrown in. AcornTV is my favorite!
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