In Justice: Side Man
According to fellow TV Squadder Bob Sassone, I could be reviewing one of the last episodes of In Justice before it goes on "hiatus". I'm surprised at this, considering that ABC has been touting the show as the highest rated new drama on Friday nights. That, and I never had a chance to warm up to the show.
Or, this could be all bogus and we could be talking about the show ten years from now and how it jumped the shark in season seven when it became a three-camera, studio audience sitcom.
Despite the speculation, I shall plow ahead. This week the focus is on Constance Zimmer's character Brianna. What I didn't realize last episode was that Brianna, as well as Jon (Daniel Cosgrove) and Sonya (Marisol Nichols) are attorneys at the National Justice Project. Charles Conti (Jason O'Mara) is the exception; he's a former cop.
Brianna wants to take the case of Billy Daniels, a man who is serving 30 years on the 'Three Strikes' program, but is apparently innocent of the second and third strikes. When Conti denies her request to bring the case up to Swain (Kyle MacLachlan), she begins to second-guess her role at the Project and takes Daniels' case herself.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to Swain's arch-nemesis, Richard Rocca of the Attorney General's office. Rocca wants to see Swain's license to practice law thrown in the trash and is looking forward to his Bar hearing (from the events that happened in the previous episode). I have the strangest feeling that, if the show lasts past this episode, Rocca will turn around and assist Swain and his team on a terrible case of injustice that must be reversed.
Back to the Billy Daniels case; Conti gives Brianna permission to handle the investigation, but under the circumstances that they can clear a bloody fingerprint that Billy left on the van. After getting some additional info on the fingerprint matching (via an overhead projector; they are definitely not on the technology level as our friends in the CSI family) Conti and Brianna talk to Billy again. Billy flirts with Brianna. I smell conjugal visit in the next half-hour.
As the investigation progresses they reach a number of dead ends, a former band mate who says Billy actually committed the crime, and an attempt at a little blackmail by Rocca, who is looking to shape up to be a right git. Hmm, maybe he won't turn over a new leaf during the two-hour fifth season finale.
It's obvious that Brianna cares for Billy, and Jon cares for Brianna. In a scene full of nuance, Brianna and Billy touch each others' fingertips in a room with the words 'No Personal Contact' etched in the concrete wall. Her affection for Billy begins to alter her investigation on the case. After a heated discussion with Conti Brianna does get back on track.
In this episode's twist (don't all procedural dramas have one?), it turns out that a security guard who was allegedly beaten by Billy and his cohorts during a robbery, and is swearing out a disposition against Conti for striking Rocca, caught his son stealing instead of Daniels. Got all that? With one of the strikes cleared, Brianna confronts the former band mate and receives an admittance of guilt. Two strikes taken off, Billy is released. When Billy is released, romance is finally kindled between him and Brianna. Meanwhile, Jon sulks away with his crush.
This episode was better than last week's. It may just have been the fact that it focused more on the supporting players and less on Swain himself. We saw some more fleshing out of personalities for both Brianna and Jon, and discovered the spark that is simmering between the two. And, although the ending was predictable, it was interesting to see how the investigation advanced to the conclusion.
I still think that the show is a bit too slow and quiet. Maybe it's because I'm used to the pacing of a show like Law & Order: SVU, which runs through the investigation at a breakneck speed. I also think some of the characters are a bit cliche. For example, Swain and Rocca. Swain is the unorthodox character trying to make a difference and Rocca is the straight-laced one who follows the letter of the law. Put both of the characters in a hospital environment, and it could be House. Let's see what happens next week. Of course, if the show is put on the back burner then you'll be seeing a review of Hope & Faith next week.