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April 17, 2014

In Justice: Crossing The Line

by Richard Keller, posted Apr 1st 2006 11:15AM

Marisol Nichols and the cast of In
JusticeThis week we focus on The National Justice Project's Sonya Quintano (Marisol Nichols), as a case from her past re-surfaces. We haven't seen much of Sonya except where she is a secondary player, so this is a good chance to explore her character. We also focus on attorney David Swain (Kyle MacLachlan) and investigator Charles Conti (Jason O'Mara).

Okay, I lied; Sonya is not the focus of this episode, unlike Brianna (Constance Zimmer) was last episode. She's there for a few scenes but it's mostly Conti and Swain in this episode. I can't believe TV lies to me like that!

There are a few things going for this show. First, it's not a show about a bunch of attorneys with suits and briefcases (well, accept David Swain) who leave the investigation to others. This show is about a bunch of attorneys in jeans and sneakers who learn how to perform the investigations on their own. In other words, they use their skills. In every episode Conti, or whoever is handling the investigation, asks questions to the other attorneys as to what is amiss about the case they are looking into.

The other thing about this show is that they aren't afraid to learn more about criminal investigation. In one scene Conti learns a little bit about what the criminal scientists call "smears"; fingerprints that smear on a weapon. With the knowledge that Conti gathers you already can see that the client in this episode was actually innocent.

 

This week was a bit different because the action didn't take place only in Oakland (where the office for the National Justice Project are located), but in San Diego and Tijuana. In addition there is a secondary plot as there are forces in and outside the prison system that want to have Swain's client removed from the picture. There is a good scene between Swain, Conti and the client as they try to keep the man safe enough to overturn the conviction. They do this by getting the client to punch Swain in the face so he'll be put in solitary. Hmm, I'll have to remember this when I don't want my boss to bother me at work.

This week was also different because the focus wasn't on the client. Sure, they were trying to get him out, but the story turned into something else that became a bit more intriguing. In the end it became a story of drug trafficking and illegal immigrant prostitution. When all was said and done the conviction was overturned but both Swain and Conti thought it happened in a dirty way.

This was a good episode but, as my wife said as she was watching the show with me, it's a very dry show and you need to concentrate to follow what's going on (which is even more difficult to do when you are writing the review). Swain is the only one who really has the most fleshed out personality amongst all of the characters, with Conti and Brianna in a far second. The other characters just seem to be there for the other three to play off of. It doesn't look like there's a new episode next week, so maybe some time off from the show will give me a better perspective on what's going on and hopefully they'll be focusing on the other characters as well.

 

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Michael G

The show NEVER accuses a Police officer of doing something wrong, always the court. Wolf doesn't like to piss of the cops.

I think they could replace everyone and the show could go on. A new justice league in Atlanta GA

April 03 2006 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff

and the wonderful Constance Zimmer, who portrays Brianna, has been cast in an abc comedy pilot. thus, she, O'Mara and McLachlan have all cast in projects on the same network airing injustice..

April 01 2006 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lawless

I didn't see this episode of In Justice, but I've seen others. The show is interesting in a preachy way and has shown how sometimes bad ends are used and justified for good means, both by the police and by the Justicie Project investigators. But since in every show I've seen so far, the prisoner is exonerated, I find it simplistic.

I disagree with Brent McKee's comment about Law and Order. The ADAs are not always right, nor do they always win; the defendants (at least on the original show; not so much with SVU and CI) are not always guilty; and the defense attorneys are not always slimy - in fact, Jack McCoy is friends with some of them. (I find Fred Thompson and his character offputting, and miss the acerbity of Steven Hill and the wisdom of Dianne Wiest, but that's another story.) But you won't see the police or prosecutors deliberately convicting someone they know not to be guilty (sometimes they threaten prosecution of such people to gain a tactical advantage) because that would destroy the likability and credibility of that character and hence be at odds with maintaining a TV audience. As a lawyer, I can tell you Law & Order (the original) is the show that comes the closest to accuracy, but there's limits. This is one of them. Live with it.

April 01 2006 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

I've enjoyed the episodes of this show that I've seen if only as an antidote to the sort of thing that Dick Wolf churns out, where the cops are always thorough and right and perfect, the prosecutors relentless and perfect, the people charged always guilty, and the defense attorneys worse slime than the people they defend. The American criminal justice system isn't perfect (no criminal justice system is) but the current trend in television doesn't acknowledge that sometimes the cops are sloppy and worse and that prosecutors convict the wrong guy - often knowingly - to boost their conviction rates.

So of course this show is going to be cancelled with O'Mara signed to do a new pilot and MacLachlan set to have a recurring role on "Desperate Housewives". Sad.

April 01 2006 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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