The fight for justice continues in episode 4 of Litvinenko as the police prepare to hand over the evidence – everything gathered over 20,000 man-hours – to the Crown Prosecution Service. They have agreed to go ahead with perusing evidence and possibly bringing charges against the Russians.
Boris, the Litvinenko’s benefactor, meets Marina and Anatoly at his home. He assures Marina that he will take care of them financially, and also continue supporting the bid for justice. But he says that despite the CPS possibly bringing charges and putting in an extradition request, they have got to get a lawyer and “make noise.” They cannot keep waiting and must keep the issue alive and relevant in the public’s reckoning.
Brent receives the news from Clive that the CPS has agreed to request extradition and Brent informs him that Marina wants to meet “at her lawyer’s place”. Louise Christian is a human rights lawyer and the solicitor for Marina. She believes that a public inquest will provide them a greater chance of proving Russian culpability, even though the police are not happy with this. Brent calms the situation down and suggests that they should wait and watch. The fear is that the extradition will not be granted and the case will remain in the dust for a long time.
Putin hosts an interview on tv and indirectly hints that the above will be the case. Marina thanks Brent for his dedication on the case but concedes that the policework is now finished. Louise takes Marina to Ben Emmerson the next day, a barrister of repute who will take her case. But Marina is surprised to see the narrative that Ben will be pressing on in the trial. He wants to “lay it at the doors of Vladimir Putin” and make the Russian state implicit in the crime as well, not just Kovtun and Loguvoi.
There will now be an attempt by Emmerson and Marina to make their case to the judge in order to allow a public inquest into the whole thing. This way, the journalists and media can access the case and keep the fight for justice going. One day, when Boris’ security guy comes back from shopping, he discovers that the oligarch has hanged himself. Emmerson is very positive about securing the inquest and assures Marina that it will not take much longer. Marina is disoriented and heartbroken to learn about Boris.
Besides the main point, this also means that she might not have the resources anymore to keep fighting the case. Brent and his wife are dealt a personal blow when she learns that they might not be able to have a baby. The legal suit is dealt a setback as the inquiry is rejected. Emmerson still believes it is a cover-up game by the Russian government, and now, the British government as well, pointing to a photo printed in the papers of Putin with former English PM David Cameron.
Goldfarb informs Marina that they can no longer afford Emmerson. She says they must think of another way, even though Goldfarb asks her to move on. Anatoly interjects emotionally. The next day, Emmerson says that they keep going regardless.
Marina pens a personal letter directly addressed to Putin. On 11 February 2014, Emmerson receives an invitation from a television network to air an appeal by Marina to directly approach Theresa May. Will the public pressure work? On 17 July, news breaks that a Malaysian airliner has been allegedly shot down in Ukraine by Russia. This was the kind of political event Marina wanted to happen to pile up the pressure against Russia and get the British government on her side.
She has dinner at Brent’s house and once again thanks him for everything he has done. An inquest is granted and the trial starts once again. Marina and Brent testify in front of everybody. Clive and Tubs do too, confirming their evidence in great detail. Emmerson beseeches the bench to hand over its report considering the utterly objective evidence implying Russian culpability along with Kovtun and Luguvoi. Now, all they can do is wait. The episode ends with information about the case from then until now.
Post-Credit Scenes Explained: What happens in Litvinenko’s case?
Sir Robert published his report on 21 January, 2016. Theresa May addressed the House of Commons and revealed the contents of the report. Putin is named by May in the House. Brent and his wife meet Marina and Anatoly at Litvinenko’s grave. It is revealed that Brent’s wife is pregnant with a boy!
They decide to name him Sasha, asking for Marina’s blessing. Kovtun and Luguvoi still deny any involvement. The former died in Russia in 2022. The Russian government dismissed the report and called it “biased”. In 20221, the ECHR ruled in favour of Sasha against Russia.
The Episode Review
Call it what you may, but the finale was rather a dull affair. After the plodding police work that inspired a moment or two of astonishment, this final episode seemed strictly documentarian and did not evoke the emotion that a proper dramatization should.
The primary objective here seemed to be telling Litvinenko’s story with authenticity and a damning indictment of the Russian state, as well as the British government for their hindrances. But the same was done without any flavour. The tone was completely dialed down for the finale which certainly was somewhat unexpected. More thoughts in a full-season review soon.