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Bull - 3.02 - Jury Duty - Review





Directed by Aaron Lipstadt
Written by Pamela Wechsler



What would you do if the man who raped and killed your daughter was found innocent in a trial because the jury was not allowed to hear all of the evidence? What if the same man was still driving around your neighborhood, still in the vicinity of your other daughter? In the second episode of the season, Bull takes on a pro bono case to get some free publicity. Since his absence, the phones haven’t been ringing as much and he needs to make a splash to announce that he’s back and more ready than ever. What better way to do that than to defend the woman who killed her child’s murderer? Just one little hitch - Bull has a summons for jury duty at the same time. What starts out as a typical episode changes quickly as two cases are presented at the same time.

In the first case, Heather Spiro is a typical teacher and single mother to 2 girls, a 15-year-old and an 11-year-old, until her nightmare begins. Her eldest daughter’s piano teacher kidnaps her youngest and rapes and murders her. The police find her body in the piano teacher’s trunk but since they did not have probable cause to search the trunk, the jury never gets to hear about it and the child molestor/murderer goes free. With her eldest daughter spiralling into a pit of guilt and fear, Heather buys a gun, waits outside a neighborhood kiosk, and shoots the criminal in the back in front of the whole street. She clearly kills the man, but does she deserve to go to jail because of it? Even the TAC team can’t agree about it. Marissa and Chunk are clearly on the side of the mother. Danny is on the side of the law. Benny is pretty much just there for exposition. The conversation comes to a halt when Bull bellows for Marissa - so rude - and she patiently explains that Bull cannot postpone jury duty again.

What comes next is a brilliant way to showcase the law from both sides. As Benny takes Heather in for the bail hearing, Bull experiences the other side of voir dire. Try as he might, he cannot convince the judge to let him off the jury so now he’s doing double duty, something Heather Spiro is not happy about at all. Bull’s trial is also pretty straightforward but has just as many implications. The defendant, Kendrick Gorman, is accused of practicing law without a license and he fully admits to doing so. In fact, he’s a very effective litigator, who has never lost a case. When he successfully defends someone falsely accused of drug trafficking, the state investigates him and finds that he only has 1 year of community college, which embarrasses the prosecution ever further. Bull makes the case that the whole thing is an abuse of power and should never have gone to trial. It also implies that the law has been hijacked by the rich, who can afford expensive lawyers, instead of being impartial and open to everyone.

The two cases continue to overlap. While Benny is working an opening statement he’s uncomfortable with, Bull illegally convinces Gorman to give his own closing argument. It’s compelling and heartwarming. He speaks about how much he loves the law and how Google is a lawyer’s best friend too. It is clear that he has already won over the jury and Bull confirms it when he talks to Benny. Bull is now free to concentrate specifically on Heather’s case, but he hits a wall since Heather will not let her remaining daughter, Penny, testify. Danny is not sure it’s a good idea either since Penny has been self-cutting and blames herself for what happened to both her little sister and her mom. She also has bad memories of the previous trial, since the ADA would not let her testify about hearing her piano teacher’s voice when her sister was abducted. In the end, Bull convinces Penny to testify that she told her mother that she would kill herself if she could not have a normal life, absent of constant fear. The day before her mom started stalking him, Penny ran into her ex-piano teacher at the bodega, making it clear why Heather shot him when she did. Then, Penny asks the prosecutor why she let the murderer out. It is absolutely heartbreaking. The jury becomes deadlocked and the ADA refuses to ask for a new trial. Heather Spiro is a free woman.

While things have gone well on the case front, back at the office, the team is mourning the loss of Cable. Benny finds her coffee cup. Bull hears her voice. Marissa packs up her things at the office, while Danny comes by her apartment to get her mail, only to find that her place needs to be packed up too. In the final scene, Cable’s mom comes by TAC to pick up Cable’s things. As dramatic music plays in the background, Bull makes small talk until he just can’t anymore. I’m glad the show is not just forgetting about Cable, but showing the team piecing life back together without her. It was great seeing Jill Hennessey back on the screen as well. I’m not really sure where this character is going to go but it is intriguing that they brought her on. Is Cable’s storyline done or will her mom continue to be a presence with the team?



Grade: B

Episode Awards:

Best Reason to Watch - the two cases in one episode
Best Scene - Benny and Bull talk
Best One-Shot Character - Judge Hudson, who I hope comes back
Best Introduction - Cable’s mom, who is well-cast
Worst Selection - quinoa porridge
Worst Manners - Bull, who bellows at people, makes everything about him, keeps interrupting, and never listens to his team’s opinions
Most Passionate - Kendrick Gorman’s closing argument on why he should be found innocent
Most Compelling - Penny explains what life has been like since the abduction and murder
Biggest Huh? - Why would they let the same woman prosecute this trial who prosecuted the original trial that ended with the murderer going free? Isn’t that a conflict or at least in bad taste?
Weirdest Moment - Bull hears Cable’s voice in a quiet moment at the office
The “Poor Baby” Award - Penny, who thinks everything is her fault
The “Welcome Back” Award - Jill Hennessy from Crossing Jordan



Quotes:

1. Benny: “When you were a kid you believed in Santa, didn’t you?” Bull: “Until I was about 35.”
2. Chunk: “Quinoa porridge. Look I’m all for healthy but this stuff will kill you. You got any food around here for real people?”
3. Benny: “You win hundred million dollar verdicts against multinational corporations, but you can’t argue your way out of jury duty.”
4. Gorman: “But of course, I knew it was wrong, although I’m not sure it should be. I mean, doesn’t the law belong to everyone, not just people with money who can take 7 years off of their lives and go to school, or clients who can bankroll a defense. But, um, that’s a conversation for another day.”
5. Bull: “You think what she did was wrong?” Benny: “Yes.” Bull: “You think punishing her for it is right?” Benny: “No.” Bull: “Me either. Benny, we could win this thing.” Benny: “You have a Plan B.” Bull: “I have a Plan B-.”



Screencaps by CBS, Suebooh's Corner, GlobalTV, and Seat 42F.




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