I mentioned on the “Turning Cathy into a Lawyer” blog how much I enjoyed Stephen Fry’s (relatively) new TV series, Kingdom, and how PBS really needed to bring it over to America. Happily, they have, and one of my local stations, KTEH, has been showing it on Monday nights. So far they are about halfway through the first season of six shows, and it is well worth tuning in. Or, if you can’t, or if you’d like to catch up on the epidodes you’ve missed, fortunately there’s the Internet to help you out…
The show centers around Peter Kingdom, a small-town solicitor in Norfolk, England. Stephen Fry plays him as an eminently wise and patient jack-of-all-trades, exactly the kind of person you’d want your local lawyer to be. And yet, it’s believable, as along the way we see that Peter is partly the man he was born to be by nature, and partly the man long experience at the job has taught him to be. He’s contrasted by his young “articles clark,” who, while obviously a good soul, is still learning, as Peter’s apprentice, how to distill his youthful idealism into patient practice.
While I think a lay person would definitely enjoy this show, what with it being so well-crafted in every respect, e.g., with sympathetic characters, engaging story lines, inviting scenery, warmth, humor, etc., the fascination for me is in how it portrays the law. As an American lawyer I obviously don’t know to what extent the show might be over-fictionalizing the practice of English law, but the detail in the scripts suggests that at least some effort has gone into not completely glossing over it. Indeed, many aspects of the show (e.g., plots, theme, character development, etc.) are heavily dependent on Peter Kingdom actually being a practicing lawyer. It’s not just an excuse to give him something to do.
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