The Practice
Res Ipsa Loquitor

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Deborah: C+ | Grade It Now!
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Res Ipsa Loquitor
["NB: ABC spelled the Latin phrase used in the title, res ipsa loquitur, incorrectly. Deborah got it right." -- Sars, Latin snob]

Previously on The Practice: Dentist Henry Olson (Henry "Arthur Fonzarelli" Winkler) denies having murdered one of his patients; Bobby yells at the Fonz; Fonzie confesses to Jimmy that he knows his son Steven committed the murder but that he wants to take the fall for him; Jimmy wants to go to the DA, but Fonzie forbids him; Fonzie’s found guilty; Jimmy tells Steven that his dad knows he’s the murderer; Jimmy finds out that Steven committed suicide; Richard and Jimmy scream at each other about the case.

Jimmy and Bobby are entering a cell where their client, Henry "Fonzie" Olson is resting on a bed, hooked up to an IV. He’s facing the wall and when he slowly rolls over to look at Bobby and Jimmy, we see that his face is pretty badly bashed, bruised and swollen; his hand is covered with bandages. Bobby winces and looks away; Jimmy looks right at him and asks what happened. "They tried to rape me," he says. Bobby asks, "Inmates?" Henry nods gently and continues, "Two of them. I covered my ass, but my face didn’t fare so well." Jimmy reassures him that the doctors say that he’s going to be okay, but Henry asks Jimmy to arrange for him to be in solitary. Jimmy points out that a life sentence is a long time to be in solitary; Henry’s weak with pain but repeats his request a couple of times.

After the credits and commercials, Richard and Helen are talking in the corridor at the courthouse. Helen’s hair looks better than it probably has all season. Jimmy the Grunt approaches Richard the Runt about re-opening the Olson case. Richard says that if Jimmy brings new evidence, he’d be willing to entertain the idea; Jimmy says there is no new evidence, just the simple truth that Henry Olson didn’t commit the murder. Helen’s got other things to do and she takes off; that’s the last we see of her this episode. Richard seems annoyed that Jimmy’s interrupted his quality time with his girlfriend and walks off to his court room. Jimmy follows to continue haranguing him, but Richard doesn’t believe Fonzie’s innocent so he’s not going to ask a judge to put aside the verdict. Jimmy says he needs a favour, but Richard refuses. Jimmy then tells him that he’s filed a petition to re-open. Before Richard can respond, he hears the bailiff announcing his case and asks Jimmy to wait while he runs up to make his appearance. He rushes up and tells the judge that the DA’s office opposes bail, because the subject is "obviously a flight risk." Judge "Do Not Fold" Spindle "Or Mutilate" asks if the accused is represented; a bailiff says he’s indigent and that they’re waiting for somebody from the PD’s office. Judge Spindle’s gaze lands on Jimmy, who’s sitting in the peanut gallery waiting for Richard. "Mr. Berluti, come meet your new client." He tells her he’s not taking appointments today but the judge thinks otherwise, and says they’ll enter a "not guilty" plea for the moment; then he can meet with Mr. Miller (the accused) and then they’ll conference. Jimmy objects, but the judge couldn’t care less and orders him to meet with Miller, and she calls the next case. Jimmy doesn’t appear to know what hit him. During this segment, we see credits for not only Henry Winkler but also Ken "White Shadow" Howard and Ted "Gary Ewing" Shackelford, obviously part of David E. Kelley’s campaign to eventually employ everyone who ever had a leading role on a television show in the late 1970s or early 1980s. I know I watch too much TV, but I’m beginning to think Sars is right about there being only one casting agent in all of Hollywood.

In a large, intimidating, well-appointed meeting room, Eugene and Rebecca are waiting to meet with somebody. An assistant offers them coffee, but Rebecca points out she’s had three cups and wonders if Mr. Bradford is unavailable. The assistant makes excuses for him, but Eugene points out that he and Rebecca have other business appointments that day. At that moment Mr. Bradford comes in, apologizing to Eugene and Rebecca. It’s Ken Howard, who also recently played an unsympathetic part as a judge on The West Wing. I didn’t recognize him then, and if someone hadn’t pointed it out to me I would never have realized it was him on the show; again, here, he looks very different from how I remember him. He’s the very picture of the rich white middle-aged guy headed for a myocardial infarction. Bradford says he was on a conference call with "the insurance company and Dr. Stiles" and that he "pushed them up to thirty-two, but that’s as far as they’ll go, and Dr. Stiles is angry to be settling at all." Bully for Dr. Stiles. Rebecca’s incredulous. "Thirty-two . . . thousand?" Eugene is similarly unimpressed. Bradford says it’s not about the value of the life of the deceased, but rather liability. Then Bradford lays it on the line: thirty-two thousand dollars as a settlement, or let a jury decide. Eugene tells him they’ll be taking it to trial. Bradford seems a little surprised that they didn’t jump at his lousy offer, but says nothing as Eugene and Rebecca leave. Nobody exchanges any niceties.

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The Practice

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