The Practice
Life Sentence

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Life Sentence

Whoosh, we're in Richard's office. He's telling Helen, "If I lose this trial because you cried . . ." She says the jury didn't see her cry. Richard responds, "They saw you cover your face. I doubt they thought you were trying to hide a pimple." No, but maybe she was hoping to draw attention away from her scary hairstyle. Did you ever think of that, Richard? Helen says the problem is not that she was crying, but that the jurors were. She reminds him that Ellenor was willing to take involuntary, and wonders if they should just hand that over. Richard asks, "I thought they had said 'no' to that upstairs?" Helen says, "If she walks, they'll hate that worse." She offers to speak to their boss. Richard refuses. "Helen, if we plead out on involuntary, the perception upstairs will be that I lost. I need a 'guilty' here." Helen says that it can't be about job security. Huh? You appointed yourself second chair to help him keep his job. You just advised him to offer involuntary in order to avoid losing the whole trial to a jury swayed by emotion. Now suddenly it's not about job security? Since when? Richard claims that's easy for her to say. He stands his ground. Helen looks dubious.

In the breakout room, Sally waits for the verdict with Ellenor, Eugene, and Jimmy. Sally, tired and frustrated, asks Ellenor how long they have to wait. Ellenor explains that the judge will keep them until nine p.m., since it's Friday, and if they don't return by then, she'll suspend until Monday. That's what you want, a Friday-night verdict. Sally signs something with I take to mean, "This is killing me," and Ellenor replies, "Me, too." Suddenly Helen bursts in. Apparently her ponytail is pulled so tight that she is unable to remember common courtesies such as knocking. She tells Ellenor that Richard refused involuntary. Ellenor says Helen can overrule him; Helen says it's his call. Then Helen asks to speak to Ellenor privately, and they go out into the hall. Helen says, "I just talked to Lindsay. She and Bobby are getting married tonight." Ellenor is surprised, of course. Helen explains that Lindsay's surprising Bobby with an elopement. Ellenor says, "Oh, men just love to be surprised like that! Are you serious?" Helen explains that Lindsay wants them to be there, but told the Princess that they could be stuck at the courthouse as late as nine p.m. Lindsay said she'd try to hold the service but the priest who's marrying them has to catch a plane at ten. Ellenor says, "Is she pregnant?" Bwahaha! Remember, Ellenor doesn't know about the fiasco with the invitations. Helen says that Lindsay says that this is what Bobby really wants, and she wants to surprise him. Plus, Princess is afraid that if she doesn't bag him soon, the pre-wedding hassles are going to leave her short one husband. Yeah, yeah, she didn't say that but she should have. Just then Richard walks up to them to inform them that the jury's back.

No whoosh. The jurors file in and the foreperson reads the verdict. "Commonwealth versus Sally Berg, on the count of murder in the first degree: we find the defendant not guilty." Murmurs throughout the courtroom. Sally closes her eyes and breathes heavily. Madame foreperson continues, "On the count of murder in the second degree, we find the defendant guilty." The interpreter emphasizes this point for Sally's benefit. She doesn't register much emotion. Now it's Richard's turn to exhale heavily. Ellenor looks dismayed, and Hiller orders Sally to be taken into custody and adjourns the court. Ellenor tells Sally they'll appeal. Sally asks what the sentence is; Ellenor tells her it's a life sentence. Um, hello? Maybe that's something you should have asked about before refusing offers from the DA and advice from your lawyers about pleading temporary insanity. Ellenor promises Sally that they'll do everything they can. Sally looks confused and angry as the officer drags her away. Ellenor looks extremely pained.

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The Practice

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