The Practice
Blowing Smoke

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Blowing Smoke

It's morning and we're back in court. Hillary "Rebuttal" Pope is on the stand. Stone Cold looks rough this morning. She's wearing a pale blue suit and black tights, breaking all kinds of fashion rules, while her hair looks like she just pulled it out of a ponytail and walked on camera without using a brush. Ms. Pope is testifying to the fact that, when she lived with the defendant, he used all kind of derogatory language toward people of his own race. Nah, we couldn't see that one coming, could we? Finally, after a couple of words like "nigger" and phrases like "the way the word was originally intended," Rebecca objects on the basis of foundation. Helen states that the foundation is that Hillary lived with the man. Rebecca states that this testimony is inflammatory and prejudicial (not to mention downright offensive and disturbing). The Judge walks out of his window dressing to state that Rebecca will have adequate time for cross and that, for now, he's allowing this testimony. Stone Cold asks Hillary to continue. She goes on to say that when Cop Armstrong would come home from work, he'd start shooting his mouth off about "shiftless niggers" and "welfare Jemimas with their litters of kids." Cop Armstrong jumps to his feet and yells, "That's a lie!" The Judge steps out again and tells him to sit down. Helen completes her questioning by having Ms. Pope admit that Cop Armstrong only spoke about the people of his own race in this way -- and not white people.

In her cross, Rebecca wonders how Hillary responded to such talk: "You never said anything? You didn't say, ‘Please don't use those ugly words when referring to black people’?" "No," the witness responds. If his comments were so offensive, Rebecca asks, why didn't you leave? "He wasn't abusive to me," she says. Piece by piece, Rebecca rebuilds their case by tearing down Hillary’s testimony; essentially, she makes it known to the jury that maybe this Ms. Pope is just another ex-girlfriend looking for revenge. Hillary responds by saying that she talked to the police in this case because she felt that "Craig might be quick to pull the trigger on a black kid he happened to find in a convenience store." Everyone looks mortified, including Rebecca.

Back in the breakout room, Ellenor is lambasting Cop Armstrong about Hillary's testimony. He gets back on the "it's hard to be a cop" blather, talking about how hard it is out there on the streets. The crime. The degradation. Isn't Rebecca disgusted to see a crime committed by a black person? Doesn't that just want to make her strike out and call them names? "I'm in pain," he says. She responds that "it hurts," but she doesn't go around calling people animals. Cop Armstrong says that some people who act like animals deserve to be treated as such. "Did you take one look at Will Bradley and think he was one of those animals?" Rebecca asks. For the hundredth time, he defends himself: "It was a clean shoot, Rebecca." I think he doth protest too much. Cop Armstrong goes on to explain how he and Rebecca have made it out of the neighbourhood. "Look at you," he says, "you're a lawyer." "Yeah, and you turned into one of those white cops we grew up with." Ouch. There's some slow music, and Ellenor steps in to say that they should probably see if Helen will agree to her original deal. Cop Armstrong says nothing; silence is his agreement.

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The Practice




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