Based on a real case in Rome, 80 BC, ‘Cicero’ is packed to the brim and yet is never forced or rushed.
Our two protagonists are brothers, from a wealthy family who are establishing themselves in society. The elder brother, Marcus Tullius Cicero, further known simply as Cicero, is intelligent, focused and reliable. Then there is Quintus Tullius Cicero, the younger brother who is playful and carefree but still good at heart. Cicero is in the early stages of his career and is starting to gain a good reputation as a lawyer, however accepting the job to defend a man who appears to be guilty of patricide, despite the circumstances, puts his career, and life in jeopardy.
Trims the Fat
This is a very concise story that trims off any fat in order to tell the story of this important case, and moment, in Cicero’s life. This could have been fictionalised to heighten tension and create drama but they don’t take the typical murder mystery route, though the intrigue is certainly there. Instead, they use what’s known historically to tell a story that feels relevant today. They also manage to recreate a character in Cicero who is relatable and down to Earth despite being almost perfectly good.
The writing by David Llewellyn is top notch if for nothing else than the banter between brothers which feels effortless and natural. It’s modern day linguistics with flourishes of the past. This keeps it fresh and interesting, so when they reference ancient Roman gods, people or events, it doesn’t feel forced. More like colourful wording. Llewellyn does a great job of introducing us to a limited amount of characters while building and solving a case in a short amount of time. The stakes may not feel incredibly high, but the performances and especially the writing do a standout job of keeping us moving.
Great Launch Pad
If you’re unaware of who Cicero was that shouldn’t hinder your experience here. In fact, it may help, as this is a great launch pad to explore the further stories of a man that stood for goodness in a time when corruption seemed to be overwhelmingly powerful. Samuel Barnett (of Dirk Gently fame) plays Cicero earnestly and it would be wonderful to follow this character and actor, as they grow together to face Cicero’s further challenges. In fact, some of the groundwork has already been laid out and it would be a shame to let that opportunity of watching Cicero grow into the historical icon we know of him today, be missed.
This is a tightly woven story with a fantastic final speech and impressive twists that should leave listeners more than happy from start to finish.
Blogtor Rating – 8/10
Rome, 80 BC.
A wealthy landowner has been murdered in the street. His son, Sextus Roscius, is accused of the crime. When every lawyer in the city turns down his case, there’s only one man who can save Roscius from a guilty verdict and a particularly grisly execution…
Marcus Tullius Cicero: a mere twenty-six years old, but a rising star in the Forum. Together with his brother, Quintus, Cicero must investigate the murder of Roscius’s father and find the true culprit; but in their quest for justice, the brothers Cicero may be about to make some very powerful enemies indeed…
Written By: David Llewellyn
Directed By: Scott Handcock
Samuel Barnett (Marcus Tullius Cicero), George Naylor (Quintus Tullius Cicero), Simon Ludders (Sextus Roscius), Elizabeth Morton (Caecilia Metella), Stephen Critchlow (Etrucius), Youssef Kerkour (Titus Capito). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer and Script Editor: Scott Handcock
Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs