‘The Escape Artist’ Episode 2 review

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With young Jamie yet to break his silence, the prosecution centres on the testimony of Burton himself. Unable to be involved, Richard Mayfield (Anton Lesser) takes the lead with assistance from Trevor Harris (Tony Gardner), a junior barrister with a plodding reputation. Surreptitiously though, and with the assistance of the chamber’s clerk, Burton does find a way to influence the case, leading to illicit scenes in a shopping centre café.

For the defence, and despite some obvious trepidation, Maggie Gardner (Sophie Okonedo) gets to grips with Foyle. Securing his bail, she does accept a handshake and covers her distaste for the man throughout.

Of Foyle (Toby Kebbell) himself, we learn a little more including a hint at the root of his enmity for the legal profession; he too studied law at Cambridge, albeit the polytechnic rather than the university.

We also see the lengths he is prepared go to, in scenes of heart-stopping tension, while he trails Jamie home from school seeking to ensure that the lad cannot identify him. Exerting control over his alibi in menacing fashion, he manipulates the clearly infatuated Eileen Morris (Monica Dolan) with a mix of violent menace and oily charm.

Both Tennant and Kebbel are on superb form here, with plenty of raw emotion on display for both Will Burton’s grief and Liam Foyle’s desperation and rage. Tennant shines in an incredibly touching scene where Burton speaks to grave as though his were still alive, keeping her up to date on the case. It ends with the placing of an apple core on the headstone; the leaving of fruit in his pocket being a tradition that the son has taken on from his mother.

A poignant trip back to the cottage becomes revelatory for two reasons, firstly the reveal of Kate’s pregnancy, which comes as a punch in the guts to Will, but also as Jamie reveals he scratched his attacker as well as changing his hiding location. This brings to light DNA evidence placing Foyle at the scene and triggers some seriously unhinged ranting, both terrifying and funny at the same time.

As Will takes the stand in the opening moments of the trial, and the final scenes of this episode, where we see the impressive strength of Maggie’s argument and her angle of attack. He gets a taste of being at the sharp end of the legal process as seeking to discredit his testimony; Maggie invokes the accusation of misconduct and his stressed mental state in order to shed doubt on the identification of Foyle.

In the final moments, it is clear that the chances of a conviction are pretty grim and Foyle will walk again. Surely the weak link in his defence is Eileen Morris, but does the defence have enough ammunition to take her apart?

Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 5 November 2013 on BBC One.

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