ARTHUR & GEORGE (2015) British TV mini-series
Director(s): Stuart Orme
Writer(s): Julian Barnes, Ed Whitmore
Cast: Martin Clunes, Arsher Ali, Charles Edwards, Art Malik…
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): PG-13
Runtime: 240 minutes (Three 60-minute episodes)
Genres: Crime drama/Mystery
List Price: $17.45 (DVD) $25.48 (Blu-ray)
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
George Edalji (Arsher Ali), a young Parsee solicitor served a jail sentence for writing threatening notes and mutilating farm animals. Now he is seeking assistance from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Martin Clunes) to clear his name and restore his reputation so that he may once again be licensed to practice law.
Unable to settle down to writing “The Wisteria Lodge,” his next Sherlock Holmes adventure, Sir Arthur takes on the case and immediately pronounces George’s innocence to his secretary, “Woodie” Alfred Wood (Charles Edwards). He proclaims the arrest and trial were a sham, and a vaguely concealed racist attack on George. He suspects and insinuates that the cops in the district were derelict in their duty, rushed to judgment without sufficient evidence, and/or were corrupt; or at least some of them were corrupt. Sir Arthur is determined to rectify what he perceives was a miscarriage of justice, just as he imagines his famed detective would.
Woodie becomes Watson to Sir Arthur’s Sherlock.
They head to the countryside of Great Wyrley, Staffordshire.
Sir Arthur’s “butting his nose in where it’s not wanted” has unforeseen and dire consequences. Plus, the more Sir Arthur and Woodie investigate, the more it looks like George was actually guilty.
I am a fan of Jeremy Brett’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes and was pleasantly surprised that Arthur & George captured the same feel as the Holmes tales in the PBS series starring Jeremy Brett. I know little about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but I found the idea intriguing that the writer would jump into an investigation as if becoming his famous detective, accompanied in his exploits by his secretary, Mr. Wood. The three-part series held my attention and entertained me throughout.
While Arthur & George is based on the novelization of a true incident involving Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I would enjoy seeing this duo (Martin Clunes and Charles Edwards) reprise their roles in further adventures, though I realize they would have to be totally fictional cases next time around.
Arthur & George first aired on ITV in Britain then later on Masterpiece: Mystery! on PBS.
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