Think of Robson Green, and words like “versatile”, “powerful” and “audible” don’t necessarily come to mind, although “Unchained”, “Melody” and “travesty” might. Best in roles such as a reticent hospital porter in Casualty and taciturn squaddie in Soldier Soldier, he just about made it as a tongue-tied psychotherapist in Wire In The Blood. But Robson as an “ambitious and charismatic lawyer”? That might be pushing things too far.
In the event it wasn’t – just. In Trust he plays Stephen Bradley, a partner in a City-based corporate law firm. Luckily (or necessarily) Bradley’s an unconventional sort of legal thruster, preferring to take the inaudible – sorry, quiet – approach. On that basis, Green is quite good, in a sort of Roger Moore meets Byker Grove way (the eyebrows say it all, and have to, because you can’t always understand the sotto voce Geordie accent). He’s also got some good support, from the likes of Sarah Parish (Cutting It) as – surprise, surprise – a hard-edged career woman, Eva Birthistle as Bradley’s innocent-but-ambitious trainee, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as a Paul Boateng-lookalike attorney. Ian McShane appears, too, tragically shorn of his Lovejoy mullet but still evidently enjoying himself as the firm’s eccentric senior partner.
The show isn’t exactly plot heavy; this week’s main story featured a man dithering about whether to sell the family firm, with secondaries about a conference call and deliberately trying to avoid winning some unwanted business. Instead the focus is on People Issues, of which there are enough to fill two thousand acres of sky. If the series has a theme, it seems to be overwork; 7am was a late start, 10pm a typical finish, and between times the pressure never dropped – cue those People Issues, as Green’s marriage crumbled (he hadn’t been home for three days), and Parish hoodwinked her slightly droopy husband into messing up the purchase of a larger, baby-friendly house. The action covered a single day of this, and by the end you were exhausted from just watching it.
For the second time this week, the BBC showed that it really knows how to do hard and glossy. If Tuesday’s Redcap had a shine, Trust had been rubbed down and given two extra coats of lacquer, with interiors lit like the boardroom scenes of a Mercedes S-Class ad. The idea, apparently, was to draw on the models of slick American legal dramas LA Law and Ally McBeal. The result is mostly LA Law, with just enough Ally to avoid accusations of taking itself too seriously. Worth a look though.