Prisoners’ Wives – Series II, Episode 4


Well, it’s the season finale. If you’ve missed it, our write-up of the previous episodes are here : Episode 1 and Episode 2 and Episode 3.


At the Police Station

The episode starts with the arrest and interrogation of Francesca on suspicion of murder. Here, the scenes at the Police Station were relatively accurate. For those that were asking, it is of no surprise that she answered ‘no comment’ during the interview

The solicitor was probably pushing it saying that the questioning was ‘oppressive’ (although we don’t know what happened before) – it was pretty standard police questioning.

It all gets very complicated and messy where someone is part-suspect and part-witness as happens to her later in the episode. Here, the drama takes over, and a lawyer would be churlish to criticise.


At the Magistrates’ Court

Not wanting to be picky, but here there were a few (minor) inaccuracies. This was Gavin’s first appearance for an offence of s18 – Inflicting Grevious Bodily Harm with intent. What happened was that the magistrates heard and refused a bail application. So far, so good.

However, the magistrates said that he would be ‘committed to Crown Court’. As s18 is indictable only, he would in fact be sent rather than committed (although that is a technical ‘lawyers quibble’). One of my particular bugbears is people calling it ‘Crown Court’, when it should be ‘the Crown Court’. It’s a minor point in fairness, but jars as much as saying ‘math’ rather than ‘maths’.

Gavin would not (if he were convicted) get an extension to his sentence, but a new sentence, although it can be set to run consecutively (see here for prison sentences) so, while it was odd phrasing, it not incorrect.


At the Crown Court

It was quite refreshing to see a Crown Court scene that was relatively accurate. It would have been the Prosecutor rather than the defence solicitor-advocate that explained why the prosecution was being dropped (and most judges would have demanded a bit more by way of explanation), but a drama that was completely accurate would be very dull indeed – 4 hours of watching lawyers hang around waiting for the CPS to find a file would not make good TV.



It is refreshing to watch a legal (or legal related) drama on television that is broadly accurate. Whilst you cannot hope for complete accuracy – drama has to take over, some shows have so many howlers in them that they distract from the viewing. I won’t mention any names, but I was banned from watching any legal scenes in Hollyoaks many years ago. I’m not asking for all TV shows to be checked by lawyers first, clearly a certain amount of dramatic licence is forgivable.

However, this programme shows that you can make good dramatic television with a legal theme without making lawyers wince.


Legal Accuracy Rating – /10 – a couple of technical errors that are barely noticeable.

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About Dan Bunting

I'm a lawyer who works for myself. Legal geek, maths freak, general dullard and jack of all trades. Here’s a few views on law and occasional musings on life. Usual caveats about not relying on anything I say etc applies.

2 thoughts on “Prisoners’ Wives – Series II, Episode 4

  1. John Allman

    The viewer saw that the slaying of the kidnapper by the gangster’s son Paul wasn’t self-defence, although it might have been if he had the victim a few seconds earlier, if the victim had taken a step towards the shooter. But, was it murder, or a provocation manslaughter? I saw “a sudden, temporary loss of self-control”, after the least provocative or threatening thing said, in a series of provocative statements Provocation manslaughter, killing a kidnapper who had been sexually abusing the hostage, the killer’s sister, and killing him with his own gun, which the killer had had to take from the victim in self-defence or in defence of another less than a minute beforehand – what is a likely sentence for that?

    1. Dan Bunting Post author

      I think that that’s a good example of the problem caused by spiralling sentencing for murder (in particular). Looking at the guidelines, the sentence for murder would be life with a minimum period of 30 years and for manslaughter – 10 years.

      Here, it is such a fine line between self-defence, instantaneous provocation and murder. If I was on the jury, I would not convict of murder, probably manslaughter.


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