Justice (Red Dwarf)
|Red Dwarf episode|
Rimmer is found guilty of 1,167 counts of second-degree murder by the Justice Computer
|Episode no.||Series 4|
|Directed by||Ed Bye|
|Written by||Rob Grant & Doug Naylor|
|Original air date||28 February 1991|
"Justice" is the third episode of science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf Series IV and the twenty-first episode in the series run. It was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 28 February 1991; although it was planned to be broadcast as the second episode, it was moved back in the schedule by the BBC. Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye, the episode features the crew's visit to a high-tech prison where Rimmer is charged with the death of the Red Dwarf crew.
While Lister is down with a bout of space mumps, Red Dwarf picks up an escape pod from a prison ship that was transporting dangerous criminals to their final trial, sentence and incarceration on Justice World. But what's inside? It could either be beautiful prison guard Barbara Bellini or a psychotic mass-murdering simulant, as they were the only two to escape the prison ship after a prisoner revolt. The crew have to satisfy their curiosity after Cat turns on the defrosting unit, but can take no chances, with Kryten explaining simulants are immune to most weapons. Holly suggests that they take the pod to Justice World, the prison ships intended destination, where there are containment facilities; if the occupant of the pod is Bellini then they can simply let her out and if it's the Simulant the crew can leave it to rot.
On arriving at Justice World the Justice Computer scans the crews' minds for signs of guilt, causing Lister worry as in his youth he committed petty offences like stealing beds from hotels, but the Justice Computer decides that Lister's crimes are not serious enough to warrant punishment. Rimmer on the other hand is convicted of 1,167 counts of second-degree murder, a consequence of his faulty drive-plate repair that killed the crew of Red Dwarf, and sentenced to nearly 10,000 years' imprisonment. Kryten proves to the Justice computer Judge that Rimmer's immense guilt stems from his own inflated sense of importance. A man as incompetent and insignificant as Rimmer, he argues, would never be given tasks that might put the whole crew in danger. Rimmer, although deeply offended, and despite objecting to his own defence on many occasions (which Kryten uses as an example of his stupidity), is found not guilty, and is therefore free to go.
The crew board Starbug only to find that due to being focused on Rimmer's trial they forgot why they came there in the first place. The pod is open... and it isn't Babs but the psychopathic simulant, who then hunts them down through the Justice Zone. Lister decides to confront the simulant one-on-one as he states he is unarmed and wants to parlay. The simulant admits he lied as he reveals a knife; Lister also admits to lying as he brings out a lead pipe, but the simulant responds that he lied twice, and brings out a laser gun. He fires two shots at Lister but there are no wounds. Suddenly three bullet wounds appear in the simulant's chest. Lister remembers the unique trait of Justice World - namely that anyone who tries to perpetrate a crime has the effect put on them (after trying to hit the Simulant with the lead pipe and feeling the effects himself, and the Simulant attempting to stab Lister with the knife but ending up being stabbed himself). Lister helps the simulant to carry out his act of rampaging attacks until he is defeated when Lister allows him to try strangling him. Cat then tries to knock the simulant out with a spade, but knocks himself out instead. Upon returning to Red Dwarf, Lister starts giving a lengthy speech about how absolute justice can never work; the rest of the crew rapidly get bored with this however, and are relieved when Lister falls down an open manhole.
Taking influence from their own Red Dwarf novels, writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor altered some of the historic facts of the show. This was to improve the backstory and keep it in line with their vision of the story as seen in the novels. In "Justice" we discover one of these adjustments is that the ship crew complement before the accident was 1,169 (the 1,167 "murdered" crew plus Rimmer and Lister) instead of the 169 stated in previous series.
Initially "Justice" was to feature the Justice World as a planet, but due to time constraints and finance it was seen as a space station instead. The ending was also changed at the last minute, after an scene earlier in the episode was cut where a giant bird dropping lands on Lister after he littered in the Justice Zone gardens. Lister's speech about man's sense of justice was subsequently added to the end.
The writers' vision of the Justice Zone was with a background that appeared to disappear into infinity. This was perceived as impossible to achieve with the budget available so a compromise was reached. A huge light was placed at the back of the set masking the background limitations and giving the illusion that there was nothing behind.
For the futuristic Justice Zone set the crew used the nearby Sunbury Pumphouse, a disused water pumping plant near the Shepperton studios. The set would provide the corridor settings and steps for the Justice Zone scenes. Guest performers included Nicholas Ball who played the simulant and James Smilie who voiced the Justice Computer.
Florence Nightingale is referenced by Lister when he comments that Kryten has been "like Florence Nightingdroid" looking after him while he had space mumps. Lister thinks that he could disguise himself with a turban and say he's from India, whereas the Cat replies saying he could paint orange and black stripes on the side and tell her you play quarterback for the Bengals. He also states that he looks more like the Taj Mahal and later references The Elephant Man. In defending Rimmer's innocence Kryten references Long John Silver.
The episode was first broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 28 February 1991 in the 9:00pm evening time slot, although it originally planned to be broadcast as the second episode - as seen in the repeat runs. It was moved in the schedule because the Gulf War hostilities meant that "Dimension Jump" and "Meltdown" were postponed. The episode had received a lukewarm reception from viewers, although it has been described as a "classic episode" by others.
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- Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 70.
- Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 71.
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- "Red Dwarf Series IV Sets". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- Howarth, Chris; Steve Lyons (1993). Red Dwarf Programme Guide. Section 1: The History: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-682-1.
- "BBC - BBC - Programme Catalogue - RED DWARF IV - JUSTICE". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
- Red Dwarf Smegazine, issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
- "Justice review". www.reviewsbygavrielle.com. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
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