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Proven Innocent - Cross to Bear - Review

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Well if you thought last week's case was a tough one, this one takes things even further. Maddie and Easy are determined to take down a corrupt cop, Detective Falcone, who is responsible for a number of wrongful convictions. The problem is, in order to get Falcone indicted, they need to get a white supremacist out of jail. Why? Because his case was investigated by Falcone and he paid off a witness to testify Ronnie Petersen was guilty of a synagogue bombing.

In truth, Petersen was innocent, of the bombing at least. At the time of his conviction he was a known white supremacist and his alibi for the case was that he was preparing for a Klan meeting and cross burning. Not exactly the perfect victim, nor is it someone you want to see back on the streets.

Easy has to deal with his values being challenged, both by Violet, who calls him out for being against a case where a woman was thrown in prison for a possible abortion, and by his own son, who gets into a fight at school because of his father's involvment with the case. Easy's position is similar to Madeline's, they're trying to do this for the greater good. No one wants to help Petersen, who claims to be a reformed racist - but it's highly debatable on whether or not that is actually true. It's just that, by helping him, they have a chance of getting Falcone imprisoned and help many other innocent people in the process.

Madeline has a harder time understanding Violet's attitude towards the case. She's extremely against it because, as a black woman herself, she has experienced the type of hatred people like Ronnie have perpetuated against her and people like her for years. Despite Madeline's best intentions, she can't quite understand what Violet's perspective is because Madeline has never been on the receiving end of racism, and given the fact she is a white woman, she never will be.

Violet decides to make a private podcast to help Madeline understand her side of things. It's poignant and extremely important, and while it is never the responsibility of people of color to educate white people, in this case it's an act of Violet's own volition to aide in a stronger foundation of her and Madeline's friendship.

Ultimately, the witness they were trying to use to testify against Falcone gets arrested as he catches on to the fact Madeline's team is coming for them.

They need a back-up plan, which is where Bodi and his relationship with Nicky comes into play. He manipulates her into giving him information they can use against Falcone, namely, that he has a partner who retired on a fraudulent disability and has been living tax-free for years off the money. This doesn't end well for Bodi's relationship, however, as Nicky is pissed he used her. I can't say I feel that much sympathy for her though since she's been using Bodi for her own needs for a while now. Honestly, their relationship is a pretty toxic one.

And speaking of relationships, Madeline still doesn't see this sketchy reporter Dylan for who he really is. She has far more chemistry with her ex-girlfriend in one stare than she does in any scene with Dylan. While she claims she wants to give Dylan a real chance, she's still been making secret prison visits to her ex.

Nicky's intel does pay off, but not without a big sacrifice on Madeline's part. She's forced to turn to Bellows to aide in Falcone's arrest. Falcone's ex-partner, David Moss, won't testify for Petersen's case without being guaranteed immunity. Even though Bellows is a pretty awful guy, I commend Proven Innocent for keeping his character complex. He doesn't want to compromise his principles and put a white supremacist back on the streets. His wife eventually persuades him to do it, but I appreciate the moral ambiguities and seriously complex issues this show has been tackling with a surprising amount of nuance.

Petersen does get out of jail and it's a bittersweet victory. No one believes Petersen has actually "changed his spots", he acts like a con man and I doubted him from the first scene. But they do get Falcone put in jail and Bellows even gets a victory against his opponent for General Attorney.

We also get an update on the Rosemary case, though honestly, I think it would have better served the show to push this subplot to a different episode as it ends up barely registering with everything else going on. Levi goes into overdrive trying to prove one of Rosemary's friends, Toby, was her killer.

Toby lied on the stand during he and Madeline's trial years ago and is part of the reason they were imprisoned. The guilt eats at him and he commits suicide by the episode's end, so I'm assuming he probably isn't the guilty party.

New episodes of Proven Innocent air Friday nights on FOX.

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