The Practice
Officers Of The Court

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Officers Of The Court

Ellenor steps off the set of The Practice and hops on over to ER to meet with Anspaugh. Oops. It's just Donald Anspaugh stretching his wings and playing the Chief Judge. All that training as the Chief of Staff over at County really prepared him for this role. Ellenor follows him into his expansive office and says, "I want to thank you, Your Honour, for being gracious enough to see me." Anspaugh grumps: "There was nothing gracious about it. You somehow got my home number and woke me from a deep sleep. I had no idea what I was saying yes to." What Chief Judges don't have secretaries who make their appointments for them? Sometimes I think DEK writes his scripts while he's still sleeping. Ellenor and the judge face one another: "We were basically blackmailed, Your Honour." They stare at one another for a second until Ellenor continues, "Judge Aldrich told us to accept the knock-down number or else." She recaps the whole sordid mess with her trial. Her explanation is met by a mean stare, and then rebutted: "You're talking about one of my most respected colleagues." Who committed a gross abuse of discretion. Not to mention what the clenching of said pickle up his ass would do to his colon. More on the blackmail; Ellenor emphasizes, just so that we are all clear, that she is "not overstating" her facts. Through clenched teeth, Anspaugh wants to know if Ellie can substantiate her claim. She affirms that Lindsay and co-counsel were present during the meeting in chambers. Anspaugh's response is a huff as he walks around his desk. He looks even more neckless than he did over at NBC here at ABC. He turns his head down, so that his eyes are looking up at Ellenor -- how he's doing that with his neck is beyond me -- and tells Ellenor she needs a court-reported record in order for him to act: "At minimum you should have appealed the reduction. Instead, you agreed to the knock-down and took the money." Exasperated, Ellenor throws her arms up and exclaims that her clients' took the money under duress. Anspaugh dismisses Ellenor, stating that she had then made a mistake by taking the money, and maybe that's what's "eating" her. This incites our fair maiden, and she bursts out with a little "it's the corrupt judge" that's eating her. I would have liked them to have used a different analogy for their feelings. The Court Jester, oops, I mean Chief Judge, after much prompting from Ellenor, explains that she could move for a new trial, or she could file a motion with the circuit court of appeals to have him removed for bias. The Call of Formal Complaints heightens the moment as Ellenor has finally found a partner in this dance: "That's what I want to do." The Court Jester attempts to talk her out of this decision by explaining that not only will her complaint be heard by a jury of his fools, oops, peers, but by his friends. Anspaugh advises Ellenor to think long and hard about her decision. Her resolve is made of steel; she wants to file a formal complaint. Me too -- I want to complain about the music, and the writing, and the serial amnesia. In which court should I make my complaint? Oh, yeah, that's MBTV Court. Do you think they'll give me my own cable show? Hell, they gave one to Tom Green, why not me?

Courthouse. Helen clomps down the hallway, her stick-like legs barely able to lift her shoes, and is met by a very disgruntled Runt. When she leans her head in to talk to Richard, she looks like a brontosaurus approaching a tree to eat for dinner. Oh, wait, a brontosaurus actually has flesh -- Helen's long neck and huge head look like an anorexic dinosaur trying hard to deny itself the food its body craves. Anyway, she asks the Runt if "this is it," they're never talking again. She asks for twenty seconds; he turns right around to face her. They ping-pong the whole "I think he's innocent" / "but I don't think he's innocent" for half the time, and the "we're officers of the court" / "he lied" discussion from last episode for the other ten seconds. Then Richard lays it on the line: "I also understood you to be my friend. And you cut my legs out [sic]. You basically accused me in open court of being dishonest." Helen thinks he's taking it a little too personally. I agree; in order to take something personally, you'd have to be a person, or at least have a personality. Richard does his best impression of a wounded heart, oh, my reputation, oh so many people abuse me, oh, I can get through it because I'm good at what I do, oh, I'm an honest person: "And when a colleague, a friend, stands up and obliterates that reputation. It's personal." Yeah, well, didn't that just put Helen between a rock and a hard slap in the face. Richard jumps into the elevator just as Jimmy jumps off, leaving Helen standing there holding up her pride.

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