Justice: Behind the Orange Curtain
by Anna Johns, posted Sep 14th 2006 7:12AM
(S01E03) Good opening sequence. We see a guy strangle a girl, then learn it's on a film set, and then we see it's a reenactment for smarmy American Crime. A chick named Beth, who is about to be married, disappears after getting a ride home from a bartender, Jake Garcia.
Garcia has some good evidence against him. He lied to the police about giving Beth a ride home, her sweater is in his car, and so is her blood (which he says came from a cut to her foot). It looks like the cops are going to ambush Garcia at TNT&G offices, but Ron Trott (Victor Garber) turns the tables by parading his client in front of the media and offering a $1 million reward for the safe return of Beth, who may or may not be a runaway bride.While Ron is excited about the runaway bride angle, the other attorneys are more worried about going to trial in Orange County where the jury pool hates flashy defense attorneys. And Garcia seems less concerned about the murder charge than his rocky relationship with his girlfriend, Olivia, who can't act her way out of a paper bag. We do get a little hint of Garcia's possible temper when his girlfriend says that he gets angry when she flirts with guys at the bar where the couple works.
The lawyers start investigating Beth's background and they find some text messages to someone named 'Bennett', planning a rendezvous in LA when Beth was supposed to be on her honeymoon in Italy. The team is about to file for a dismissal when the DA surprises them with a press conference announcing that Beth's body was found in a marina (it's like Laci Peterson meets crazy-eyes Georgia runaway bride). This destroys the team's runaway bride defense.
I thoroughly enjoyed the scene in the coroner's office when Alden Tuller (Rebecca Mader) was wiping the floor with the DA. The prosecutor was being a pain in the ass, not letting the defense lawyer and her 'expert witness' see all of the body, and Alden threatened to bring a judge in and accused the coroner of "cutting coroners". She's a female version of Ron Trott. In the meantime, Luther Graves (Eamonn Walker) gets the audio tape of the tipster who gave the location of the body and subpoenas 'Bennett', who ends up being an attorney specializing in prenuptial agreements. And the 'expert' discovers that Beth was strangled from behind, not from the front like the OC coroner concluded.
The case is kind-of boring until we get to the controversial re-enactment with the torso and sensors and we see that Garcia's hands are not big enough to match the strangulation marks on Beth's body. Alden even calls up Beth's fiance to compare the size of his hands to the size of Garcia's hands and that puts reasonable doubt in their heads. Tom is so thrilled with their reaction that he defies Ron's suggestion and chooses to close by blaming Beth's fiance. It works. Garcia is found not guilty.
But, what really happened? Beth was killed by her fiance's father as her fiance watched from inside the car. That's messed up, dude! (But that's also what I guessed when they discovered the fiance revealed the location of the body)
Is the videography still making you dizzy? The courtroom scenes were especially jarring. I would like to recommend a tripod or something to the crew.
"It's like I tell my son, never get into a compromising position with an inebriated woman" - Luther Graves.
"Your son is five years old." - Tom Nicholson.