Shark: Wayne's World
Anyway, sociopathic Wayne chooses to defends himself at trial, which puts his single surviving victim in the terrible position of being cross-examined by her own tormentor. That has happened in a few notable real-world cases, and probably a dozen Law and Order episodes, but it's an intense dilemma worthy enough of a go-around here.
Like all fictional serial-killers, Wayne is super-intelligent and delights in laying multi-faceted traps to vex law enforcement. He's definitely stamped from Hollywood's cold calm psycho template. He gets his manners from Hannibal Lecter, and his moral code from the guy in Se7en. Also, Wayne certainly possesses the majority of brains in his family. Stark runs rings around Wayne's dopey brother Tommy with a story about a cash settlement from the city planning commission. Stark gets one of his gallows-humor zingers off, complimenting Tommy on his "killer patio."
Wayne soon amends his slaughtering-young-women obsession with a beat-Stark-at-his-own-game obsession. It's something about admiring Stark's mad lawyering skills on CourtTV apparently, coupled with a disapproval of Stark's parenting skills. While Stark in using "mineral rights" principles of eminent domain to dig up bodies on the dumb brother's property, Wayne smooths his way right up to Stark's daughter Julie. Prosecutors must hate when that happens. Stark and Julie soon have one of their father/daughter chats, this one about not opening the door to middle-aged men who claim to former students of her father when she's home alone, which just goes to show that parents should not assume any knowledge on the part of their offspring.
This is virtually a Stark solo episode. There's a good scene where Raina and Madeleine have to try and deal with the witness's reluctance to face her attacker in court. But for the most part, the secondary castmembers appear one-by-one in sequential scenes merely to lob questions for Stark to answer with his trademark sharp tongue, and thereby pass along the required exposition. Even Stark seems to get fed up with the constant stating of the obvious. When Raina explains in court that Wayne is trying to pin the murder on his own brother, Stark could be speaking for the audience when he sarcastically replies, "Thanks for the update."
Throughout the trial, Wayne thinks he has Stark right where he wants him. A plea conference, when he goads Stark into cat-scratching him by making not-so-veiled threats again Julie, is the pivotal scene.
I know it's just a TV show, but there is absolutely no way to convince me that Wayne could believe he would get that attack on the record in open court, without having the discussion that precipitated it heard by the jury too. For a moment it starts to look like the writers ran out of time, ideas, or something, with which to neatly tie up the episode.
Instead the writers opt to open the story up again. They stay away from the neat type of conclusion that been part of the series formula to date. After Wayne drives the sole witness to suicide (on the phone, from jail -- again, not all that believable) her testimony is excluded, and the jury gives Wayne his freedom. Well, it is a California jury after all, so that is sort-of believable. I guess.
By the way, the case keeps the investigators so busy there's nary a moment left over for any mention of just-killed-in-action colleague Martin, until right near the end. Stark, talking about the case, says "this one's for Martin." It turns out to be a pretty poor testament considering that, for "this one," as we soon learn, Stark doesn't pull out a win.
Even though this first season is slightly more than half over, the show feels to me like it's still trying to find its own way. But tonight, with Wayne at liberty and Stark perhaps doubting his ability to stop him by legal means, is a step in the right dramatic direction.