In this episode, Rumpole finds himself embroiled in a drug case, defending a young hippie (the episode is set in 1970) who’s been busted for marijuana. The show has a lot of complexity going on; the writing in this series, so far, has been really superlative. In this episode, Rumpole finds himself drawn toward the free lifestyle of the dropouts that surround the case. He can quote poetry as well as they can and being accepted by them brings up dissatisfaction with the dullness of his current life. And then there’s the genuine debate over the illegality of marijuana, which the episode engages with fully without ever telling the viewer what to think. And then there’s the issue of Rumpole’s struggle with his client, whom Rumpole comes to like a great deal, perhaps even to have something of a crush on, when she wants to turn the case into a public statement about the marijuana debate while he’s focused on making sure that she doesn’t go to prison. It’s really just a wonderfully written episode. Leo McKern is excellent as Rumpole and he has some really good support here from Jane Asher as Kathy, the accused woman and Nigel Gregory as her hot-headed boyfriend Dave. The technical faults are definitely still present, but I’m getting used to them and, again, a show this well-written can afford to be technically flawed. 3 ½ stars.
tl;dr – episode gets high marks for its writing; this episode addresses the marijuana debate and the ethics of the courtroom while still keeping character development front & center. 3 ½ stars.