The Practice
Day In Court

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Deborah: C+ | Grade It Now!
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Day In Court

I’d just like to say that the closed captioning I got for this episode looks like it was done by a drunken lemur with two broken paws.

Bobby "Hypocrite" Donnell and Eugene "The Bouncer" Young are in a cell with their drug-dealer client, Eddie Wicks, who’s charged with murder but is claiming self-defense. Bobby is trying to talk Eddie into taking a voluntary manslaughter deal. He feels they’re doing badly in court and that if Eddie takes the deal Helen "Ice-G" Gamble is offering, he can lobby for a lower security facility and maybe even conjugal visits. Eddie’s not going for it and claims, "Someone’s gotta get that bony-assed bitch." Eugene tells Eddie that he’s "about had it with [him]" and Eddie tells Eugene he can get his "not-so-bony-ass self outta [t]here," too. Eddie informs Bobby that for a ninety-thousand-dollar retainer, he expects Bobby to get him acquitted on self-defense. Bobby snipes that the money was "probably drug money" (you think, Bobby?) and Eddie points out that Bobby took it, just as he always has done. Eddie states that if Bobby can’t get him off, he should take some of the money, say maybe twenty thousand, and buy a juror. (I’d bet you wouldn’t need anywhere near that much to buy off a lot of jurors, but I digress.) Roll the opening credits as Bobby and Eugene look exasperated.

Richard storms into Helen’s office to find out why she’s offered "that cokehead" a manslaughter deal. Helen’s unruffled and tells Richard to calm down, because Wicks declined the deal. Richard’s incredulous: "That means he’ll have to testify." Fast cut to Eddie’s mug: "No problem. I testify." Bobby tries to explain that there is a problem, since Eddie getting on the stand means the prosecution can introduce all his past felonies in order to impeach him. Eddie dismisses that: "Drug felonies. I never killed anybody before. Right, Genie?" Eugene’s calm, but says, "Well, I’ve never killed anybody before either, but you call me ‘Genie’ one more time and that could change." Eddie ignores Eugene and tells Bobby to ask him the questions. Bobby gets suspicious and asks Eddie if he’s coked up at that moment. Eddie points out that he’s in lockup and questions, "How would I get any?" Yes, drugs are hard to come by in prison. Bobby reminds Eddie that Helen Gamble is aggressive, but the cokehead couldn’t care less. Eugene tells Bobby that they can’t let Eddie take the stand while he’s high. Eddie orders Eugene to stay out of it, and reminds him that he’s second chair. He calls him "Genie" again, which, I must say, you’d have to be out of your mind to keep doing to Eugene Young. As Eugene glares incredulously at the little cretin, Bobby asks Eugene to leave the two of them alone for a moment. Eugene miraculously leaves without feeding Eddie one of his own vital organs. Bobby snarls at Eddie that if he wants his ninety grand back, he’ll write him a cheque right now and walk away. Eddie taunts him with, "Business is good, huh, Bobby? You wouldn’t walk away from my money ten years ago." Eddie elaborates that over the past ten years he’s poured over a million bucks into Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt and Bobby kept taking it and taking it, knowing perfectly well it was drug money. Bobby curls up his lip a bit and says he’s not going to listen to this, but Eddie is undeterred and reminds him that Bobby would even launder the drug money through his firm by taking huge retainers and giving half back to Eddie when cases were over. Eddie yells at Bobby that he’s got no right to judge him now that he’s all successful and can afford to walk away from Eddie’s business. With an incredibly surly look Bobby tells Eddie not to put the two of them in the same class, and says that "I was never what you were, I’ll never be what you are." Bobby declares he was just a lawyer defending scum (and that makes you better than Eddie -- how?) and they both begin shouting over each other until Bobby bursts out with, "You stabbed a person seven times! You’re a murderer! That’s how I judge you!" Eddie declares again that it was self-defense and takes a couple of steps toward Bobby to get up in his face. Bobby stands his ground and growls, "Step back, Eddie. Step. Back." I must say, I’ve never seen Bobby bare so many teeth in one scene.

Courthouse. Which wacky judge will be presiding over these proceedings? It’s the erratic and eccentric Jowly Judge Swackheim. This should be good. Eddie Wicks is on the stand giving his version of the drug deal gone bad; a customer (Philip Olsen) came to his house wired on heroin or something, claiming Eddie sold him stuff that wasn’t pure. The customer claimed he was going to mess Eddie up; they struggled and Eddie grabbed his switchblade. According to Eddie, the customer had him by the throat and he wasn’t getting any air and so Eddie just started stabbing him until the guy fell down. Bobby asks why he didn’t call the police, although I think even the dumbest juror must have grasped by now that Eddie is a drug dealer and can probably put the rest together. Eddie explains that he sells heroin, and didn’t figure the police would be anxious to help save his life. He reiterates that it was self-defense, and that he’s aware he’s no model citizen, but he’s not a murderer either. Then we get a shot of the rear wall of the courtroom, and suddenly Helen Gamble’s head pops up into the frame, wearing possibly the most unflattering ponytail ever scraped onto someone’s head on network television. Lara Flynn Boyle sported some pretty problematic ’dos last season and I know TPTB want her to look tough and severe, but this ponytail ain’t working either. I’m just saying. She says, "Seven times you stabbed him before he fell off you?" Eddie agrees. She asks him his weight, which is 175 pounds (that actor must be all muscle because he doesn’t look 175 to me) and whether he knows the victim’s weight, which Eddie doesn’t. Helen announces that the victim weighed 135 pounds. Eddie insists that size is irrelevant when someone’s got you by the neck. Helen asks whether the doctors found bruising on Eddie’s neck, to which he responds that they did not. Next, Helen wants to know if the victim owed Eddie any money. Eddie admits that the victim owed him around sixty thousand dollars for drugs bought from him in the past. Helen brings up Eddie’s drug felonies, and he repeats that he’s a "drug guy," but not a murderer. We see Swackheim rolling his eyes and bobbing his head slightly in disgust, a look both Bobby and Eugene catch. Eugene and Bobby both shoot each other brief incredulous looks about Swackheim but have to turn their attention back to Helen. Eddie’s admitting that he had previously threatened the victim, but repeats that this incident involved self-defense. Helen wants to know if Eddie called the victim before the guy arrived at his house, which Eddie admits to doing, stating that he did so in order to discuss the guy’s overdue account. When Helen asks whether Eddie didn’t invite the guy over so he could kill him, both Bobby and Eugene object. Swackheim sustains the objection. Helen asks if he’s ever stabbed anyone before. Eddie points out that "drug trafficking is a tough trade" (hey buddy, if you think that’s tough, you should try recapping something like Get Real) and that he’s sometimes had to use his knife. Once again, he sings the thirty-seventh verse of "It Was Self-Defense." Helen hammers home the point that he has stabbed people before, as Bobby bows his head a little and the judge lets out a big sigh.

Next scene: Swackheim’s office, and he’s sputtering, "Mistrial? Because of the expression on my face?" Bobby argues that the judge’s expression all but told the jury to convict the guy. Swackheim tells Bobby to forget it: "First of all, I was not shooting any looks. Second, I would not be conveying that kind of a look anyway, because I don’t necessarily believe that your little scum-sucking, lying, murdering client is guilty. He could have just been temporarily insane and under the delusion he was stabbing his own mother." Bobby asks if Swackheim thinks that’s funny. Swackheim’s not up for any BS today; he knows Bobby’s looking for a mistrial because everybody knows what the verdict is going to be. He also slaps Bobby with a five-hundred-dollar fine just for asking; Bobby snaps, "Appealed!" and Swackheim snaps back, "So noted!" Then he mutters disgustedly, "Mistrial . . ." Helen and Eugene are basically window dressing in this scene.

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The Practice

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