1 9 9 5 – 2 0 0 1 (UK)
27 x 76 minute episodes
2 x 100 minute episodes
Designed expressly as a vehicle for John Thaw, this ITV series revolved around the domestic life and legal cases of senior barrister James Kavanagh, a Lancastrian of working-class origins who was now a rich and successful Queen’s Counsel (QC) living in London.
Kavanagh was gregarious and affable and married with children. In the first episode, however, we learned that Kavanagh’s wife Lizzie (Lisa Harrow) had a brief affair with another barrister, but the two reconciled well before her death at the end of the third series.
The series looked at entrenched attitudes and traditions in chambers and the legal profession. Sexism and racism were explored through the experiences of female junior barristers Jenny Jules (Alex Wilson) and Julia Piper (Anna Chancellor) with their pompous colleague Jeremy Aldermarten (Nicholas Jones).
Existing chiefly as a foil for Kavanagh or for comic relief, Aldermarten’s character was rarely developed, although he elicited some sympathy when betrayed by a confidence trickster played by Lesley Manville in the episode ‘True Commitment’.
In the final episode, ‘The End of Law’, the now widowed Kavanagh was offered the chance to become a judge and had a romantic liaison with his old friend and frequent sparring partner, Eleanor Harker (Geraldine James).
James Kavanagh QC
Peter Foxcott QC
Oliver Ford Davies
Jeremy Aldermarten QC
Eleanor Harker QC