The Practice
The Candidate, Part II

Episode Report Card
Ragdoll: C | 1 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Twist, shout, then twist again

The jury is looking at a crime-scene photo from the night of the murder. The Dead Man is posed atop a bloody white sheet with his left arm and leg extended, looking fatally wounded. Detective Mike is on the stand. He explains to Hunky DA that this is what the victim looked like when the police arrived on the scene. Alan asks who was present when they arrived at the residence. Mike replies that Senator Ellison, Marsha, Allison, and Ellenor were there when he got to the scene. Lowe points to the fact that Ellenor was there before the police. Mike agrees with him. Then he asks who called the police: Ellenor. Did anyone call 911? No. Odd -- Ron Livingston does the whole cross-examination thing in the same tone of voice he used in Office Space when he told the consultants he was pretty much not doing any work at all during the day. But it works just as well here, and I was concerned that it might not. Anyway -- blah why did you arrest Senator Ellison? Because there was a gunshot wound to the head, at close range, resembling an execution. Ellenor objects. Mike rephrases. Blah they found the gun on the scene, dee it belonged to the defendant, blah it had been wiped clean of fingerprints, dee how many times can we go over the same freaking evidence, blah. The results of the trace metal test were negative. But didn't the defendant fire the gun? Yes. But the police think that Ellison either wore gloves or wiped the residue clean. Alan starts postulating about the crime, making stuff up, and the Emperor Rod objects, only to have Finkle allow the line of questioning. Now, Mike thinks Ellison was going to hide his identity as the shooter, but changed his mind and decided to go with self-defense. Alan inquires after Ellison's wardrobe on the night of the murder. Mike notes that he was wearing freshly laundered clothes. Lowe: "So, after the shooting." Pause. "The defendant." Pause. "Did a load of." Pause. "Laundry." Mike nods.

Bobby's cross-examination, as per usual, makes him Defender of the Possibilities. Isn't possible that after a gruesome shooting, a person might not want to stand around in bloody clothes? Okay, because Ellison washed his clothes, he became a suspect. Isn't it possible that a person splattered with blood after said shooting might want to take a shower? Yes, Mike agrees that this is possible. Then Bobby gets all condescending on Detective Mike's ass. Bobby's hands do their impression of Dracula coming in for the kill. Detective Mike thinks that because the Senator had taken a shower and washed his clothes, he was a viable suspect. Because the dead guy in his bed hadn't tipped them off or anything. Yawn. Even reasonable doubt is trying on this show, and it is the fundamental cornerstone of the American justice system. Salt pinching. Finger flipping. A half-hearted objection from Helen about Bobby being argumentative, and finally Bobby gets to his point: in some cases, despite being the shooter, the trace metal test has turned up negative, meaning that the Senator might not have been wearing gloves after all. It's rare, but it happens.

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The Practice

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