The Practice
Brothers' Keepers

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Ragdoll: C | Grade It Now!
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It's a girl!

Outside the store. Harland, trying his best not to look disheveled, stumbles along behind Eugene: "You didn't shake him?" Eugene quietly explains he didn't need to take the guard "down." In fact, he thinks they should bring a motion to dismiss on the basis that the identification was tainted. Harland finds that idea extremely pleasing.

Courthouse. Helen has a forensic scientist on the stand. Because this isn't a fake-umentary, his name doesn't appear at the bottom of my screen -- sorry, folks. The doctor informs the court that he made an identification of the body once it had been returned from Pakistan by examining the dental records. He concluded that the dental records belonged to Julie McGrath. Helen walks over to a poster-sized picture of a All-American Girl. I'm assuming this is the victim. She's got blonde hair, blue eyes, and was probably the Homecoming Queen. Next, Helen turns over a disturbing forensic photo of a charred body which is burnt beyond recognition. There is not a person in the room who isn't disgusted and/or repelled by the sight. The Symphony Of Sick Prosecution Stunts rises in the background as Helen continues her questioning: "Is this how Julie McGrath's body arrived from Pakistan?" The doctor affirms that the picture is correct. The DA asks him about his findings. "There was carbon monoxide in her blood and soot in her lungs. Most of the tests revealed gasoline all over her tissue." Helen: "Please, Doctor, in layman's terms." Because "gasoline" and "soot" are such technical terms that no one could possibly put two and two together by looking at the picture of a body burned so badly that you can't even recognize it was a person. The doctor turns to the jury and explains, "She was soaked with gasoline, set on fire, and then burned to death." Helen asks if she was burned alive. The doctor concurs, and Helen dismisses her witness. The Symphony is still wailing away in the background. Bobby "Robin Hood: Men In Fights" Donnell, upon being prompted by Judge Kittleson, states that the defense has no questions. Really, what could he have said? There really isn't any way to argue that she wasn't burned to death. But it might have been a good idea to object to the glaringly prejudicial picture of the body.

Next, Helen calls Detective Michael McGuire. Good, because we've missed Detective Mike. McGuire explains that the Boston Police Department received help from the Lahore Police Department in Pakistan, which provided the details of their own investigation. Helen asks what, if anything, the Pakistani investigation revealed. McGuire: "That it was a homicide committed by Javed Sharif, brother of the defendant." McGuire goes on to explain that Javed confessed to the killing and said that it was done to protect his brother's honour. Helen wants to know how setting Julie McGrath on fire protects the defendant's honour. Apparently, Julie McGrath, All-American Girl had engaged in an All-American Affair, and, as McGuire explains, "Adultery is considered a serious breech of a man's honour in Pakistan. In his confession, Mr. Sharif said he set Ms. McGrath on fire to avenge his brother's disgrace. It was an honour killing." Why is Bobby not objecting? Is McGuire Pakistani? Can he explain the context of the crime? Is he an expert witness on the customs of Pakistan? No. I didn't think so. After McGuire mentions "honour killing," Judge Beautiful wants the term explained. "In Pakistan, there is an ancient tribal custom, a man's honour is linked to his possessions, gold, land, women." (If you're bothered at all by political correctness, please skip these brackets. Right now I would just like to interject how overtly colonial McGuire's language is; by using the word "tribal," he sets up a distinction based upon stereotypes, wherein his use of "tribal" is in a way meant to infer Pakistani people are in fact the "other." This sets up a very clear us/them distinction toward the defendant in the eyes of the jury. I would have objected simply on the basis that McGuire's language is racist.) Helen goes on to ask if McGuire knows if Javed was ever prosecuted for the murder. Again, McGuire explains that according to the Pakistani government, the defendant invoked an Islamic doctrine, which is law in the country and which allows the heirs of the murder victim to pardon the murderer. Just to make sure everybody understands, or just in case, you know, we didn't get it, Helen repeats, "So the defendant pardoned the man who set his wife on fire." That is correct. The gallery is jam-packed with McGraths, who look very sincerely at one another. Oddly, there's a whole pack of white people defending the honour of Ms. McGrath, but Aman has no one on his side; where might we have seen this before? Hum. Finally, Bobby gets up to perhaps start to build a case. His hands are making a steeple, and then he twists them around to show us all the people: "Under Pakistani law, what would have happened to my client's brother had he not been pardoned." McGuire states that he would have faced death by hanging. Emperor Rod's hands are parting the Red Sea: "And is there any evidence of my client directing his brother to commit this crime?" Now his fingers look like he's pinching invisible mosquitoes in the air. Not to McGuire's knowledge. The Emperor continues, "Is there any evidence that my client knew this was going to happen?" Again, not to McGuire's knowledge. Some relatives twitter, Aman looks down toward his feet, and Rebecca just sort of sits there as we break for commercials.

Courthouse. Eugene and Harland are about to argue their motion to dismiss. Harland's grumpy because if they do win, he'll be denied his jury win. Poor baby. The DA for the case is Susan Alexander. Zoey Hiller enters the courtroom, sits down at her desk, sees Eugene and Harland, picks up her folders, and promptly walks right back out of the courtroom, slamming the door behind her. After a couple of seconds pass, Judge Zoey pokes her head around the door and calls out, "Mr. Young. Chambers." And then slams the door again.

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The Practice

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