Reel-life Law

October 7, 2011

What does Philip Glenister’s new drama, Hidden, tell us about the legal life?

Photo: BBC

Apologies to everyone who’s spent the best years of their lives hacking away in the maelstrom of corporate law. Really, we’re very sorry. As it turns out, you’d have had a far better time working as a high street solicitor.

Harry Venn is the hero of the new four-part thriller Hidden (BBC1, Thursdays, 9pm). Played by Philip Glenister (think Ashes To Ashes’ Gene Hunt, only without the northern vowels and with some questionable facial hair), his life is one to which even the most celebrated magic circle partner might aspire.

Talent for soliciting

The first time we see Venn, he’s shut in the office with a very obliging, topless brunette. Next he’s spending his afternoon in bed with a blonde. That evening, he’s flirting with a redhead in a flash hotel in the West End. Whatever sexual Venn diagram Harry’s in the middle of, there won’t be a single red-blooded male litigator who wouldn’t happily swap places.

Then there’s the drugs. Harry’s puffing on what looks like a spliff when post-coitus with the blonde, then inhaling lines from a table with his junior back in the office. He’s certainly putting the high back into High Street.

Oily journos

A fast-moving mix of sex and drugs, then. And it looks like he’ll also be rocking the higher echelons of the political establishment, given the prominence of a sub-plot in which a Tory Prime Minister is desperately trying to hold a coalition together in the face of urban rioting and oily journos ferreting their way through his personal finances.

My guess is Harry will bring down the government. Thought that your way to ever-lasting fame was closing a big M&A deal or lobbying at polite Westminster parties? Clearly not. On this evidence, you’d be better off hanging out in greasy spoons and talking to blokes called Frank with a career history more manslaughter than Slaughters.

Of course, it’s not all shiny. Venn’s office is wood-panelled, but it’s the kind you might expect to see in a porno film or a local authority sauna. He is incapable of walking down any street that isn’t daubed with graffiti. At the end of it all, his office explodes.

But don’t worry. Harry will be fine. Next time you’re pulling an all-nighter, looking at the business end of a newsagent sandwich, think of him in a suite at the Savoy, fielding phone calls from broadsheet journalists whilst snorting charlie off a Home Secretary’s naked thigh. AB

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  • Karen

    ….I watched the first episode on the 6th October and, as Harry emerged from the boxing gym having been punched out by some lowlife blast from his shady past, I thought to myself….I bet he’s not worrying about changing his letterhead, appointing a COLP, or licences for ABS’s…. Still better that than have my office blown up…..Mmmm (risk management)…I guess I’d better review the contingency plan again….