Look, man, I don’t know either. Yes, Big Finish has decided to make an ongoing series of mysteries starring Samuel Barnett (TV’s second Dirk Gently) as the Roman lawyer Cicero. Quite why, other than that producer Scott Handcock has got to do something with that classics degree, I don’t know.
But it works well enough. Cicero is a lawyer of only moderate success at this time, and his brother is an obnoxious mooch and boor. When Cicero gets a new client to defend, he soon suspects that there’s more to this case than meets the eye.
Cicero is a decent little slice of a mystery, pretty formulaic in a good way: Cicero talks to suspects, does his thing, puts together clues, and then nails the perps in a blistering oratory turn. Few things will surprise you if you’ve watched as many TV mysteries as I have; this is definitely toward the “cosy” end of the genre. Cicero is partly let down by the small casts Big Finish can afford: there just aren’t enough characters for there to be a lot of genuine suspects, and thus it’s a little too easy to figure out whodunnit.
Still, Samuel Barnett is good as Marcus Tullius Cicero, though to be honest, George Naylor is even better as his layabout brother Quintus Tullius Cicero. If there are more of these going forward, I hope we hear more of him, too. This was an entertaining way to spend an hour, and certainly worth $5 on download.
Cicero (by David Llewellyn; starring Samuel Barnett) was released by Big Finish Productions in February 2017.