In Review: Big Finish: Cicero

I have to applaud writer David Llewellyn for masterfully adapting the record for Marcus Tullius Cicero’s first major case — Pro Roscio Amerino or For Roscius of Ameria.

Synopsis: 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…

Review: I have to applaud writer David Llewellyn for masterfully adapting the record for Marcus Tullius Cicero’s first major case — Pro Roscio Amerino or For Roscius of Ameria. It couldn’t have been an easy task. He only had Cicero’s oration to the judges to work with. This document is a combination of what modern people think of as opening and closing arguments. It’s long winded and limited to Cicero’s point of view, during which posterity gets a dry lesson in telling instead of showing. This wasn’t Cicero’s fault as the rules of evidence were different in ancient Rome, but it meant Llewellyn had to extrapolate like a mad man.

Fortunately, Cicero was a prolific writer and orator. Some 900 personal letters and a good many more documents pertaining to his academic, legal, and political careers survive. As a result, Llewellyn had what he needed to fill in the gaps. His most clever choice was using Cicero’s letter writing to life long law school friend Titus Pomponius, or “Atticus,” as a framing device. Cicero’s brother, Quintus, to whom Llewellyn gave a significant role, would go on to marry Atticus’ sister.

Samuel Barnett and George Naylor very ably gave Llewellyn’s script depth as the brothers Cicero. They translated ancient history into an episode of Law & Order: Ancient Rome. I truly felt the irony of Cicero’s life. He rose to fame speaking against Sextus Roscius’ violent death in a precarious political climate only to ultimately meet his own violent death in another precarious political climate for speaking against Marc Antony.

Despite knowing Cicero’s end, I hope Big Finish continues adapting his beginning and middle. Based on this audio, the writer and actors are up to the challenges.

You can purchase Cicero here.

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

Big Finish: Cicero
  • Script, Performances
  • Nothing bad
  • Script
  • Performances
  • Audio Production

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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