TV Review: The Court – Series Two (Réttur II)

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Exemplary courtroom drama.

Shaking up Icelandic TV schedules, The Court‘s début season was an instant hit. Nominated for several awards, the nation’s first legal series suggested filmmakers were seeking new ways to produce crime drama. This successful experiment used genre as a prism to refract the anxieties and fears of Icelandic society as it came to terms with the economic crash.

The Court‘s première season was a supremely assured introduction to the staff at Law and Court Inc. Six solidly crafted episodes highlighted the diversity of cases that routinely flow through a legal practice. The lawyers personal lives were given equal prominence, ensuring the series stood apart from procedural based dramas.

Hitting the ground running at breakneck speed the series swiftly established its credentials as a solidly plotted study of the law’s strengths and failings. Could a return visit to the legal practice deliver another victory in the courtroom?

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Defying expectations of a carbon copy of the first season, the filmmakers have boldly tweaked the format. Although more searing in its criticism of the crash and its consequences, The Court counterbalances politically charged cases with emotionally potent investigations that may result in the viewer reevaluating their preconceptions.

A sensitively handled dramatisation of a pregnant woman with learning disability attempting to fight a legal challenge that if successful would compel her to forcibly have a termination raises profound questions about the universality of human rights.

With a noticeably increased budget the second season is significantly wider in scope. While The Court is fundamentally a character based drama, this batch of episodes features impressive stuntwork and a greater proportion of location filming.

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The return visit to Law and Court Inc’s offices continues to focus on maverick lawyer Logi (Magnús Jónsson), his partners Brynhildur (Jóhanna Vigdís Arnardóttir) and Hördur (Víkingur Kristjánsson).

Now a fully fledged partner in the firm, Logi has forsaken alcohol and has mellowed. In the past Logi boasted of never losing a case, he’s since become a highly skilled negotiator adept at plea bargaining. His new found sobriety and regular sessions with a therapist are part of an attempt to come to terms with the crime he was convicted of at eighteen. Having spent the past two decades haunted by guilt the revelation that evidence may have been falsified by the investigating officers has life changing consequences.

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Scripts for The Court‘s second season have greater depth, and tighter focus. Outclassing the impressive opening run, it matures into a confident programme filled with engaging characters and compelling storylines, A high quality series that may represent a new direction for Nordic Noir.  

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