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THE PLA'NMAN Scottish. Mon 24 & 31 Mar. 9pm .00.

L. jright as Jack

Is this the first TV drama to address the changed landscape of a devolved Scottish parliament? Perhaps not, but it's certainly got one of the most topical settings you'd expect to find in a mainstream crime drama. Robbie Coltrane stars as Jack Lennox QC. an expert defender of Glasgow hardmen and a skilled interventionist of miscarriages of justice. Meanwhile in Edinburgh, his wife (Celia Imrie) is an MSP campaigning for more police cash and throwing her weight behind Operation Strong Bars.

The relationship has its closest parallels with Blair and Booth after all, it‘s not unknown for Cherie to stand up in court against the interests of Tony's government - but it's more telling in terms of the cosier Scottish environment. Think Jack and Bridget McConnell, for example. He’s the first minister and she‘s director of cultural and leisure services at Glasgow City Council. Wouldn‘t you just love to hear what they discuss over their Ovaltine?

So, in Stuart Hepburn’s witty two-parter. Coltrane's legal blutfness rubs up against lmrie‘s tactical politicking. The strain of their public and private lives begins to show as he humiliates one of her closest political allies in court. Throw in a cause for jealous revenge and Coltrane heads right oft the rails. From good guy QC to criminal mastermind in one easy move.

The result is somewhere between Cracker and Taggart with a spot of Rumpole thrown in. It‘s a tad implausible and little too light on the actual crime, but it wins out through the engaging psychological drama behind it. (Mark Fisher)

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