The Practice
Free Dental

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Last season on The Practice: George Vogelman, a former date of Ellenor's, shows up at the DYD&F offices with a woman's head in his doctor's bag; Vogelman is charged with the murder of Susan Robbin, a woman he'd met at a bar the night before; Vogelman tells Ellenor he didn't kill Susan; Vogelman's found not guilty; alone at the office one night, Lindsay is stabbed and seriously wounded; in the hospital, Lindsay tells Bobby a man in a nun suit stabbed her; we see George Vogelman cruising the streets of Boston in a nun's habit.

In the season opener, we see a nervous Fonzie (Henry Winkler) in the DYD&F offices asking Jimmy if it's "so terrible if they see the videotape." Jimmy tells him it's likely to inflame the jury. Lindsay, who doesn't seem much the worse for wear after being stabbed almost to death, comes charging out of Bobby's office with Bobby behind her. She tells them they better get going, and Bobby asks Fonzie where his wife is. Apparently, Jimmy told Fonzie that since this was just a hearing, she didn't need to be there. Bobby instructs Fonzie to have his wife and kids there for the trial. Lindsay nags them out the door. As they disappear, we see George Vogelman standing there. He enters the office hesitantly: "Ellenor?" She looks up, surprised, and without any further pleasantries on his part, he tells her his co-op association just evicted him on the grounds of moral turpitude. Apparently, despite his acquittal, in their minds it's not at all clear that he's innocent, so they're kicking him to the curb. George is obviously distraught. "How many times do I have to keep paying for something I didn't do?" They gave him thirty days' notice; he asks if what they're doing is legal. Lucy predictably snipes, "I wouldn't want a killer living on my floor." Ellenor predictably admonishes her. Lucy quickly turns to George and starts backpedaling, "Well, not that you are one..." Ellenor banishes Lucy to her desk by pointing her finger commandingly. George says he knows it's not a big case but asks Ellenor to represent him anyway. Ellenor looks weary, but she's such a soft-hearted person that of course she says she will. They go off to the conference room to discuss the case. Off to the side, Eugene and Rebecca are watching this exchange. Eugene says flatly, "He's back." Rebecca gets to gesture doubtfully with her head. Could such a talented actor be more underused? I'm sure DEK will give us the chance to find out this season. Credits, commercials.

The first thing we see is black-and-white video footage of an attractive woman, lying dead in a dentist's chair, with some sort of dark-coloured schmutz all over her mouth and neck, which would look somewhat like blood if it wasn't so lumpy. Assistant District Attorney Richard "The Runt" Bay is indicating to the court that this is how she was found by the police, and points out the "slight bruising" on her neck. As the camera continues to roam over her chin and throat area, he explains that the schmutz isn't blood, it's grape jelly. The judge: "Grape jelly?" Richard affirms this, and adds that there only about thirty seconds of footage that he's apparently trying to introduce at trial. Bobby argues that the footage is highly inflammatory; Richard counters that it doesn't go to guilt or innocence, but rather what the scene looked like. (Inflammatory or not, isn't it physical evidence? Shouldn't it be included?) Bobby insists that the jury will look at that and be horrified and "decide that someone's got to pay." (Well, probably; but don't juries get shown death photos and so forth all the time? What's with the flak over this?) Richard starts saying that the defense attorneys started the idea that juries have to be sheltered from the truth. Bobby accuses him of speech-making before the trial's even begun, Richard snipes back, and the judge breaks it up. Richard claims he has no intention of "getting on a soapbox" but wonders how they became afraid of letting juries see things for themselves, and asserts that the footage describes things more accurately than any testimony could, and it's supposed to be about arriving at the truth, and the straightest-line approach should prevail, blah blah blah, jury system is the best in the world, but we don't trust them, it's an insult to Mom and apple pie, et cetera. Holy windbag, Batman. The judge, dry as ever: "Yes, and I'm so glad you left your soapbox at home." Richard's temporarily at a loss for words. Bobby argues again that the footage doesn't speak to his client's guilt or innocence, and reminds the court that Richard agreed with that. As Bobby continues talking, Richard interrupts him. Bobby asks testily if he can finish and Richard snaps, "You don't need to finish! We already know what you're going to say. You got a sick, depraved, murdering client like always, and like always, the more truth you can keep under wraps, the better. It is a disgrace regularly visited upon this room by you and every other defense attorney." Bobby calmly remarks to the judge, "Napoleon complex, Your Honour: res ipsa pipsqueak!" The judge has had enough as Richard looks at Bobby, speechless again. The judge allows the videotape and instructs Bobby and Richard to keep their pettifogging out of the courtroom. They glare at each other.

Bobby and Lindsay burst out of the courtroom into the hallway. Lindsay asks Bobby if he "really thinks that was necessary." Bobby does indeed. He asks if there's been any word from Rebecca. Jimmy indicates that "the sister" agreed to talk to Rebecca. Bobby asks Fonzie where his family is; Fonzie says his wife and son are on the way, but his daughter is only eleven and he doesn't want her there. Just then Richard storms up and gripes in Bobby's face (or as close as he can get to it, being about ten or twelve inches shorter), "Call me a pipsqueak?" Bobby growls back, "Get away from me Richard before I trip over you." Lindsay says "All right," and the DYD&F cluster starts to hustle away. As they do, Richard announces, "I'll get you, Donnell." He follows them a little way down the hallway to yell, "I'll get your client...I'll get you!" Naturally he runs into Helen, who's just coming off the elevator and wants to know what the hell he's doing. Richard whines about being called a pipsqueak in open court. She reminds him that he can't be yelling "I'll get you" to defense lawyers in the hallway. She asks how the case is; he replies that it's "circumstantial, but tight." He gripes that he never knows what her "little friends" are going to pull. Helen reminds him not to be screaming at them in court. She takes off, leaving Richard mumbling in the hallway about being called a pipsqueak. What a wiener.

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The Practice

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