Never had a show won me over and then frustrated me as much as the 3 seasoned (or series for you Brits) television show Kingdom headlining actor Stephen Fry. The show focuses on the man Peter Kingdom, a Cambridge graduated lawyer and one half of Kingdom & Kingdom, a practice he ran with his brother Simon, who disappeared six months before the series began. Peter is respected and regarded as compassionate by the local community, and despite his penchant for running away from some clients (due to just feeling plain awful about being rude to them or forgetting their name), Peter is one hell of a lawyer. Rarely any of his cases really go to trial, at least that we see, he’s that good.
Kingdom is a quaint little show, very British in it’s sensibilities, and I mean that in a very good way, the show is, well, charming. It charms your pants off, and despite becoming frustrating at the end, Kingdom series one through three is a solid watch.
Consisting of 6 episodes per season/series, the show focuses on Peter dealing with the eccentric populace of Market Shipborough. Along for the ride in Kingdom and Kingdom besides Peter Kingdom as head solicitor of the firm, is Lyle Anderson, a trainee solicitor (aka a lawyer or in particular, lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts) who is very pro-environment and seems generally unlucky. Peter’s half-sister Beatrice arrives leaving rehab, and on top of Simon missing, adds tons of more stress to Peter’s life running Kingdom and Kingdom. Even worse is that Simon’s body was never found, so Peter keeps believing that Simon maybe ran off somewhere.
And thus is the real drive of series one and series two which is the Mystery Behind Simon Kingdom. While Beatrice and Lyle add their own little peccadillo’s to the series subplots and week to week ‘case of the week’ storylines, Simon is the heart and soul of the show, so by Series Three when it is revealed what has become truly of Simon, it well, puts a few scratches on your head as you watch on.
I won’t lie in saying that Kingdom wins through and through with it’s British charm and sensibilities which a lot of shows don’t always have, and the performances help secure that in viewing, but Series 2 of Kingdom was one of the best television seasons I’ve seen produced; it stayed true to it’s initial format and pushed the stories along where they needed to go, and ended on such a wonderfully tense and drama filled note, it was only fitting that series three, while maintaining the charm and sensibilities that made me love the show, the story seemed to just stop all together, mostly focusing on Lyle, than Peter. Beatrice’s arc seemed to digress or backtrack a bit, and well, Peter seems to be just ‘there’, the circus ringleader of the three ring circus that is the Norfolk town of Market Shipborough, that is until the last episode where a bomb is dropped on Fry’s Kingdom. It really lessens the greatness of the show, which is sad, but at the end of the day, Kingdom is a fun quick romp through Market Shipborough through the very kind and always charming local solicitor Peter Kingdom and friends.