In ‘The Trial’, the third episode, the Case of the Week – because this show still has Cases of the Week – involves Val’s sister-in-law Susan, and thus Val’s estranged husband Gordon, who visibly still wants Val back. And since they’re not actually divorced yet it clearly can’t be ruled out. Anyway Susan, who has MS, enrolled in a clinical trial which resulted in 16 people going to the ICU, and thinks that the Big Pharma company behind the trial knew that its drug had harmful side-effects. Alice investigates by going undercover as a new patient.
She’s also on the trail of Ben – now calling himself Michael, but I’m not going to change his name every time I review the show – whose new identity, and new credit cards, she’s monitoring. Ben meantime is ramping up the con of Princess Hottie and her body man, now revealed as having his own hand in the royal till. I’m still not quite feeling this storyline, but it undoubtedly comes to life when Alice catches up with Ben in a restaurant where Margot has just shot someone in his defence. Admittedly, having this happen at the precise moment when the bad drugs Alice was given by Big Pharma are affecting her, so that she can’t approach Ben, is stretching credulity a lot, as is her finally collapsing just as the annoying Agent Dao appears to catch her. But I’m not looking for realism, I suppose, and the whole sequence is pulled off quite beautifully.
In due course the Case is solved, Ben is still all over Princess Hottie, there’s a whisper of a workplace romance between Smooth Male Associate and Slightly Geeky But Still Attractive Female Associate, and Dao’s motivations are revealed. But the best scene happens at the end, when Ben and Alice talk by phone. He’s still in love with her, you see, and she can’t quite shake him off either, no matter how much she knows she should. What the hell; I could quite easily ship Balice. The pilot remains the best episode to date, but this show is better than people give it credit for.