The Practice
Hammerhead Sharks (2)

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C | 3 USERS: A
Hammerhead Sharks (2)

Previously on The Practice: Lindsay flies to Los Angeles to defend Dennis Mills, accused of murdering Stacy Kingman, a woman with whom he was having an online affair but who he claims never to have met; the victim’s husband trashes Lindsay; Mills’s wife is not sure what to believe; a Los Angeles judge suffering from the heartbreak of over-enunciation denies Bobby a continuance; the D.A. tells DYD&F (well, D, D & F anyway) that he knows all about their "Plan B" garbage; the victim’s sister (a Sister) tells Ellenor to go to hell; a scuzbucket explains his violent-threat-based strategy for picking up women on the Internet; Jimmy tries to dig up dirt on the investigating cop; Ellenor finds a photograph of their client and the victim at the same party; Lindsay confronts Dennis with the photographic evidence.

Lindsay and Bobby are in a cell with Dennis, trying to come up with a plausible explanation for how Dennis’ fingerprints could have gotten on Stacy Kingman’s eyeglasses. Lindsay suggests that maybe a woman spilled her purse and Dennis helped her pick up her things, or perhaps someone left glasses on his desk. Dennis points out that the murder happened a year ago and even if there were some such trivial detail that would explain the fingerprints, he simply can’t remember.

Whoosh, back to the hotel room. Everyone’s sitting around in their casual clothes having a strategy meeting about Dennis’ case. Ellenor says, "Well, at least he’s honest." Bobby points out that he’s also a dead man; even if they can explain away the body in the trunk of the car, Stacy’s eyeglasses were found in a locked desk. Jimmy advances the tired old "Plan B" tactic (create reasonable doubt by accusing someone else) and suggests they accuse Stacy Kingman’s husband. Bobby objects, saying they’ll look like monsters for accusing the widower. (Not that looking like monsters really stopped them from using Plan B in the Vogelman case.) There’s general discussion of the fact that there are some old rumours about Mr. Kingman having an affair, but these are dismissed (rather too readily if you ask me) due to Mr. Kingman’s alibi. Jimmy points out that they’re desperate, the trial starts in ten hours, and if their guy is innocent the most likely candidate is the husband. He suggests Plan B again; Ellenor accuses him of loving Plan B. Lindsay knows the judge, who already hates them, will read them the riot act if they accuse the husband. Jimmy asks Lucy, who’s wearing braids that look way goofy on her, how their client looks, between all the physical and circumstantial evidence, and of course Lucy says, "Guilty." Jimmy states that that’s how their client looks to the world, maybe because he is, but if he’s not, the next best choice is the husband. He insists, "Plan B. No question." No one says anything but Lindsay, Bobby, and Ellenor all look pretty doubtful and dejected.

After the credits and commercials, it’s the morning of the trial and everyone’s rushing around pulling things together. Ellenor is on the phone to Rebecca, asking her to dig up some information from the Edelstein file. She wants Rebecca to find a list of cases under "Prior Bad Acts" and run it through Westlaw, and fax whatever she finds. Rebecca asks if Ellenor wants her to draft the motion, but Ellenor just wants the research. It didn’t sound like Rebecca on the phone to me, but whatever. As Ellenor’s hanging up, General Dole, wearing a gorgeous black sleeveless dress with a V-neck, tells the troops to "listen up." I must say, Lindsay has looked pretty damn fabulous in these two Los Angeles episodes, and I think she’s never looked better since she cut her hair. Then again, I’m highly partial to chin-length bobs on almost anyone. Anyway, Lindsay’s going over who’s going to do what: she will do the opening, keeping it short to avoid tipping their strategy (because, you know, no one expects Plan B from this bunch); Ellenor will be next, questioning the photographer; Jimmy will be questioning the cop. Lindsay instructs him to play up the cop’s reputation for laziness but not to overdo it or seem like he has a grudge. Jimmy replies, "I’m gonna be all sweet right up until I kill him." Lindsay says that Bobby has Scumbag -- I mean, Brickman, "the schoolteacher if [they] need him," and Dennis, and he’ll also do the closing. Ellenor will take the victim’s sister on cross-examination (if they call her) and the pathologist. Lindsay says she’s got Dennis’ wife, and wonders if she’s left anything out. Bobby says, "The judge." Lindsay warns everyone not to antagonize the judge and not to interrupt him. She reminds them all: "Okay, again, soft Plan B. Everything we do in that room is to set up reasonable doubt, period. We’re not going in to convict Kingman. We just need to preserve the question. It’s all about setting up Bobby’s closing. Nobody pushes. We stay contained. If there’s a disagreement in the room, I make the call, I’m first chair. Scream at me in the corridor if you want, but in the room, don’t argue. Any questions?" Lucy: "Can I go to the beach?" Everybody: "No!" Lindsay tells her, "You’re the thirteenth juror; I want you keeping score." Bobby suggests they pack up and go, but Lindsay’s got one more brief speech to make. She says that she knows everybody flew out there to support her, and she’s grateful, but that Dennis is innocent. She’s aware that they may not all necessarily believe that, but that she knows it, and needs them to trust that she knows it. Nobody says anything, but Ellenor and Jimmy kind of quietly assent with their eyes.

In the courtroom, District Attorney Fox, who is Kerry Weaver’s ex-boyfriend from ER, is giving his opening argument. The camera’s on an extremely large photograph of Stacy Kingman’s bloody corpse in what looks like the trunk of a car. Her eyes are wide open and staring in a way I just don’t think they would be in real life. The right side of her head is soaked in blood; there’s a fair bit of blood trailing from her left nostril into her mouth and down her chin. Her shoulders are bare and there’s something white over her body starting just below her clavicle, but it looks too stiff to be a sheet. Why the body would be nude or partially so seems odd; there’s been no indication of any kind of sexual assault. There are two other large photographs, also on easels -- one of Stacy alive and happy, and another forensic photo. I know it makes the scene more compelling, but would forensic photos really be displayed this way? Isn’t it the sort of thing the legal types try to keep out of the hands of the media, members of whom would likely be attending the trial? Anyway, Kerry’s ex is swinging the hammer used to kill Stacy, describing how the hammer was used to bludgeon her to death, after which the body was stuffed into Dennis’s car trunk and the hammer hidden in the garage. The prosecutor tells the jurors that he will show them e-mail correspondence between Dennis and Stacy that is sexual, even violent, and that he will provide evidence that establishes Dennis’s presence in the victim’s home. Lindsay’s up (and I like the black pinstriped jacket she’s wearing over the dress, too; man, she’s really stylin’ since she got to LA). She tells the jury that the DA is displaying the death photos and waving the murder weapon around in order to horrify them, in order to elicit their emotions, because he can’t get a conviction based on the facts alone. She acknowledges that Dennis Mills was carrying on a "Walter Mitty-esque" e-mail affair with Stacy Kingman, but that he never met her. Lindsay asserts that someone seized upon the e-mail as an opportunity to frame Dennis, and says that she won’t ask the jurors to look away from horrifying pictures of what was done to Stacy Kingman. She picks up the hammer and promises that she won’t pretend that it wasn’t used to bash in Stacy’s skull. Setting the hammer on the edge of the jury box, she reiterates that Dennis Mills is being framed and ends her opening.

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The Practice




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