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Bull - Never Saw the Sign - Review:"The Big Picture"

This week’s episode of Bull provides another solid plot for the procedural without doing anything too off-the-wall. We have the sympathetic client, the secrets he’s hiding (for the right reasons), the defense attorney in over his head, and a new type of jury and mirror jury to watch.

One of the most interesting parts of Bull is just exactly how the team gets their cases. It’s not always just a rich client walking into their swanky offices and demanding their services. In this case, a judge subtly suggests Bull take on the client. We later find out that Judge Lamkin has ulterior motives. She sees the upcoming trial as a chance to expose her political opponent’s corruption. For Bull, who has been passing time with Marissa observing the judge and pointing out helpful hints to hapless public defenders, the opportunity sounds too intriguing to pass up.

In many cases in the past, like with the chef with the murdered fiancĂ©e, it’s easy to see how police jumped to a certain conclusion about the client’s guilt. For Bull, the interesting aspect of this case is the exact opposite. A man, who had had a drink but was not over the legal limit, got in a car accident (as Bull says later, it’s best to call them accidents and not crashes), and indirectly led to his wife’s death. To most, it would be a tragic accident, but the DA of Nassau County has decided to prosecute it as vehicular homicide.

John and his wife were driving home from their son’s little league game when the crash occurred. There was supposedly a sign warning about congestion ahead that John either didn’t see or ignored. This detail becomes so important that Marissa and Bull want to steer the jury as far away from the little details as possible. Instead, they look for big picture thinkers. They manage to mostly get cooks instead of bakers (favoring intuitive reasoning to preciseness), but are stuck with a stubborn birdwatcher who can’t believe John wouldn’t see such a sign.

John is a good guy. He is a close father to his son and seems more upset about leaving his son than about spending time in jail. His story seems so innocent that Bull suspects that there’s another angle to the case. That turns out to be correct. A troll Cable meets on the internet directs them to one assemblyman, Dormit. Dormit was at the scene of the accident and was influential in getting the case to trial. Bull correctly assumes that this has less to do with Dormit’s outrage at the crash and more to do with an upcoming road improvement project that could net him and his cronies quite a bit of money. Bull purposely antagonizes the aggressive assemblyman to appear in court and lets the defense attorney of the week, the very green Gil, to demolish him with charges of favoritism and kickbacks.

That’s not the only reason the DA thought it wise to prosecute, however. They have a smoking gun, or, rather a video. It shows what went down at the baseball game.

Suddenly, the circumstances behind John’s accident become more important. He had had an altercation with his son’s coach after the game. The coach refused to play John's son, Carter, until the end of games because he wasn’t a good player. John argued that little kids shouldn’t be worrying about playing competitively and the argument got out of hand. When Danny tracks down the coach (who, in a refreshing surprise, didn’t turn out to be a total jerk), he implies that John was also fighting with his wife right before the crash.

While most people may chalk it up to just a bad moment, Bull is looking at the big picture and thinks there’s more to John’s story. After spending some time with Carter and pulling up his medical records, his suspicions are confirmed and John confesses. Carter has a motor planning disorder and spends a lot of time in physical therapy. It affects his baseball playing, but John refused to tell the coach about it. He didn’t want Carter to be treated any differently because of his disability. His wife disagreed and they argued before the crash.

Bull knows that John will come off incredibly sympathetic with this story, but John refuses to testify about Carter’s challenges. He isn’t looking at the big picture. He would rather his son’s disability remain hidden than making sure he will actually be there to help Carter navigate the world with his disorder. Bull calls him out on this and convinces Gil to spring it on John on the stand.

This is enough to convince most of the jury, but not our birdwatching friend. To turn this one juror, Cable tracks down the troll and learns that he changed the traffic sign as a prank. John didn’t see the sign warning him to slow down because there was no sign warning him to slow down.

The prosecutor argues that it doesn’t matter (if I have one problem with the logic of this show, it’s that the prosecution keeps a trial going every single time after Bull’s team unearths this damning evidence of innocence) because John was too agitated to see any sign, much less the hacked one. If he had remembered the hacked sign, he would have mentioned it initially.

It’s good that Bull has a jury comprised mostly of big picture thinkers. Gil demonstrates to the jury how easy it is to miss the little things by stealing a sign in the courtroom and asking them what it was. The birdwatcher can’t remember it. Even the judge mistakes the sign for another. If someone sees something that isn’t relevant to their lives, they completely ignore it.

This is enough to finally earn John his freedom and Bull urges him to enjoy it with Carter and learn to support his son’s challenges without keeping them some big secret. Judge Lamkin gets a win over Dormit right before the big election. Even Marissa gets a little win. Her colleagues suss out the fact that there’s a man in her life and Bull correctly guesses it’s her ex-husband. Looks like last week’s meeting with her ex-boyfriend was enough to get Marissa to try something new (or, rather, old) in her life. Maybe she’ll start wearing more green.

Juror of the Week: Arthur Jolene. Birdwatcher. Stickler for Details. Shockingly Single.

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments!