The Practice
Germ Warfare

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Germ Warfare

Courthouse. Mrs. Jamison is on the stand. Her testimony is heartbreaking. One son suffers from seizures resulting from a toxin getting to the brain. Ellenor asks what the doctors suggest they do, and Mrs. Jamison explains that there was nothing they could do except medicate him. Then, her daughter, Sarah, started falling down. "What do you mean she started falling down?" her lawyer asks. "She would trip. If she tried to play hopscotch she would fall flat on her face. They thought she had cerebral palsy." With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Jamison is encouraged to explain the health problems of her third child, Everett: "He can't read. He'll never be in a normal class. He'll never go to college." She turns to the Anti-Bobby and Anthony Hopkins: "And you knew!" Objection! "I have a boy whose body convulses with foam coming out of his mouth, a daughter who can't help but fall down and a son who can't read and you people have known for thirty years!" The Anti-Bobby implores the judge to make Mrs. Jamison stop. The judge instructs her to answer just the questions she is asked. She turns and looks to who we think is Ellenor and asks, "What was the question?" Instead, out pops Anthony Hopkins repeating his question. Gosh, those quick edits are confusing. Anthony Hopkins goes through a barrage of other reasons for the sickness of her kids. He then asks about the play-gym, and finds out it's still in their backyard. Ellenor objects, explains that question is work product, and Hopkins snidely remarks they're keeping the equipment as evidence for their law suit. Ellie rightfully objects. Hopkins again turns to Mrs. Jamison and asks if any of the doctors concluded that these medical troubles came from the CCA. She can't say that they did. He smiles and thanks her. We hear his shoes clumping against the floor as he returns to his seat. The music signals a much-needed break.

Dr. White's Office. Bobby drives his hands through the door, burrowing his way in, and Eugene follows. The doctor explains that he's not comfortable about giving out information on his clients. Bobby says, and I quote, "I understand." And then starts to question him about -- you got it -- his client, Mrs. Wallace. Again, the doctor insists that while the identity of his patients may not be protected by privilege, he is reluctant to hand them over to the two lawyers standing in front of him. Wardrobe has, quite simply, got to go: Dr. White's wearing a button down Mr. Dress-Up sweater, because he's a psychiatrist, and all psychiatrists are dumpy middle-aged men who moonlight as children's television hosts. Bobby persists, asking Dr. White what he was treating Mrs. Wallace for and blatantly ignoring the doctor's appeals to privilege. He reluctantly responds that he was treating her for anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. The Emperor is shocked to hear that she was being treated for depression and demands to know why White didn't come forward. White responds that eighty percent of his patients are depressed, but that "they don't typically kill themselves." Eugene interjects, "But sometimes they do!" Which causes Bobby to explode, throw his arms to the side, and scream, "How could you sit on this?" Here, and pay close attention: Dr. White explains he didn't come forward because he didn't think Karen was suicidal. Further, he didn't want to come forward because many patients would be less forthcoming in treatment if they knew their records would be open for public consumption after their death. The Emperor is aghast: "We had a man charged with murder here!" He screams, "The jury convicted him because they didn't believe the idea that she was depressed!" He turns his head in disgust and dismisses the doctor with his hand. Then Dr. White makes the most unfortunate of all unfortunate mistakes and implores the Emperor not to yell at him. "I will yell at you!" he responds, and Eugene tries to get him to calm down; not dissuaded, Bobby continues, "What the hell were you thinking?" Serenely, Dr. White explains that he was thinking she was probably murdered. "Well, you were wrong!" Eugene grabs a hold of Bobby's attention and reminds him that they "need this guy." The Emperor purses his lips together in a vain attempt to hold his tongue as Eugene quietly asks the doctor for Karen Wallace's medical records.

Courthouse. Lindsay, not Ellenor, closes. Apparently, learning disorders are up fifty-five percent in New York: "The likely culprit -- chemicals." Lindsay explains that the market is too competitive for the independent companies to monitor themselves; hence, we rely upon agencies like the EPA to warn the public of potential problems. She explains that the EPA are simply not doing their duty. Blah de blah dangers, blah de blah thirty years, blah de blah done nothing. Still doing nothing. I wish I were doing nothing right now. Blah de blah lobbying, blah de blah, hurt children, blah de blah, no data. Apparently, they've restricted the use of CCA around farm animals, but not around children. Staggering. Lindsay "Erin Bitch-covitch" continues to harp on about the arsenic in the wood. She makes a solid point, though -- if the Jamisons had been warned about the possibility of neurological damage to their children, they never would have put the play-gym in their back yard. Why, oh why, DEK, do you make these closing arguments so damn long? By the number of times Lindsay repeats the words "EPA" and "protect" and "CCA," you'd think I was stuck in Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. Hey, but there's a glimpse of Adam Rich sitting in the jury box again. Thank goodness for small mercies. Let's now beat the episode to death by showing all, and I do mean all, of Anthony Hopkins' closing. He throws around some big words like "contaminants" and "botulism" to scare us. Hey, did you know that almost every consumer product poses some unproven health risk? Shocking. Should the EPA study them all? He means this to be a rhetorical question, but I'm inclined to say "yes, they should." Blah de blah rapidly changing scientific landscape, blah de blah, trying to keep up, blah de frickin' blah, making decisions upon what is known: "And today, like yesterday, it has not been scientifically established that CCA causes the neurological effects that the plaintiff speaks of. And even if it did, they've offered no medical evidence whatsoever that it did in the case of the Jamison kids." He pulls out his last trump card by stating that the plaintiffs' case is built on pure speculation, and nothing more. The director can't resist playing the Coda of Cancerous Death Traps as we once again hear Anthony Hopkins clomp back to his chair.

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The Practice




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