Applying for silk is one Martha Costello (
"The most important words in law are 'innocent until proven guilty,' " she tells Nick (
Before she can make silk, she has to impress the powers that be and negotiate the power politics of Shoelane Chambers. In the U.K., barristers who argue matters in court are hired by solicitors, who oversee criminal cases; instead of a law firm, they work in groups called chambers. (If nothing else, "Silk" provides a primer to the British law system in a way "Law and Order: UK" never does. At Shoelane, case assignments are overseen by senior clerk Billy Lam (
None of which is as predictable as it sounds. Creator Peter Moffat ("Criminal Justice") is a playwright and a former barrister, and it shows. Narratively and thematically ambitious, each episode of "Silk" follows at least two hot-button cases -- drug mules, young prostitutes, non-stranger rape -- while exploring the dilemmas of a defense barrister and the perils of being true to one's self and professionally successful. More important, Moffat and his deep bench of talented performers create characters who defy expectation and grow in complexity with each episode. PBS, Sundays, 9 p.m.
Available on most but not all carriers, it is focused, rather zealously on national news -- it has opened 12 bureaus around the country -- the nascent news network promises "old-fashioned" television news coverage, i.e. in-depth and unbiased.
It isn't often one can watch the birth of a network, much less one with so much political baggage. With a host of respected journalists anchoring diversely focused shows -- money matters, investigative pieces, social media -- Al Jazeera seems well-equipped to transcend obstacles both external and self-inflicted while offering news junkies an alternative to CNN,
Early episodes flashed forward to the aftermath of the ultimate news show disaster -- the folks behind "News Night " ran a false story that accused the United States government of using sarin gas. Anchoring the continuing personal (which is to say romantic) story lines of Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), MacKenzie McHale (
Last week's episode may have, a bit unfortunately, relied on an intentional flouting of basic journalistic rules, but this week promises to reveal the moment all is revealed and it all hits the fan. Intentionally or not, "The Newsroom" has never been a cliff-hanging kind of show, but it's hard not to feel anxious about what will happen next. HBO, Sunday nights, 9 p.m.