Episode PremiereJanuary 17, 2011
Show Period2011 - 2012
Production CompanyBonanza Productions Inc., Warner Bros. Television
Cincinnati patent lawyer Harriet "Harry" Korn's amidst a full-blown existential crisis. After 32 years of dedicated practice, she's bored to death, so she's taken to smoking joints, eating junk food and watching Bugs Bunny cartoons in her office. Neither she nor her hot, 20-something assistant Jenna are very surprised when the boss sends her packing. She's just walking through a dilapidated and unloved Cincinnati neighborhood when a 19-year-old black man named Malcolm falls from the sky - Whomp! - splat on top of her. Jenna meets Harry at the emergency room, where everyone's surprised to find both parties are fine. Malcolm claims he was practicing the urban sport of Parkour, but Harry's skeptical. Why's Malcolm trying to kill himself? Malcolm turns and runs.
Released from the hospital, Harry finds herself walking through the same neighborhood, down the same street. A shoe store with a "For Rent" sign catches her eye, so she steps off the curb, only to be - Whomp! - struck by a luxurious Mercedes. Luckily, Harry lands on a mattress, but she's unconscious, freaking out the driver of the Mercedes, lawyer Adam Branch. Before long, Harriet's back in the emergency room, and much to the disbelief of the doctor, she's fine - fine enough to remember Adam as an "arrogant little snot" from the time she ran into him during a court case. When Adam asks what she was doing, Harry claims she'll be working in the neighborhood, much to Jenna's surprise.
Jenna's beyond thrilled to discover that Harriet's new place of business is an abandoned shoe store, still packed with a fine assortment of footwear. Harry can't afford her salary, but Jenna's wheels are already turning - she's going to make this shoe store thing work! Malcolm bursts in. Harriet was right, he was trying to kill himself, because he's facing prison after being arrested for his third drug offense. Insisting he fell on Harry for a reason, Malcolm asks her to represent him. He googled her, and knows she's supposed to be really good. When Harry clarifies, saying she's really good at patent law, Jenna shushes her. Harry needs clients. Meanwhile, back at his tony law firm, Adam has his assistant research Harry, who's like a god to him. Still, Adam can't figure out why Harriet's now working in such a crappy neighborhood.
Since Malcolm was arrested buying drugs from an undercover cop and it's his third offense, Harry's relatively certain he's going to do jail time. Still, Malcolm insists there must be something she can do. After all, he's the first one in his family to make it to college; he'll be letting so many people down. Harry promises to talk to the DA, just as Adam blows into the shoe store to claim a desk. The least he can do is help Harriet land on her feet, since he knocked her off them. They can work as a team! It's his dream to pick her brain for two weeks. Of all the people he could have mowed down! It must have happened for a reason...
Harry declares Adam will not be working with her, just as funky local Damien Winslow swishes through the door to offer his private security services, priced very reasonably at $200 per month. The cops don't really respond to emergencies in this neck of the woods. Harriet politely declines, since she has a very large handgun she uses as protection. She's used to working with roughnecks, like cops and DAs. To demonstrate, she takes Damien's picture with her phone, and promises that if anything happens to her or her people, she'll find his. Still, she offers a deal: if Damien will protect her storefront, she'll defend him for free when he gets arrested, which can't be too far off.
On the way into the courtroom, Harry spars with DA Josh Peyton, who has a penchant for fast-talking and repeating himself. He thinks jail is the only consequence "these people" understand, and the best he can do is a year. Harry explains that Malcolm needs a break; if he goes to jail, he's expelled from college. Claiming that Harry's reputation as "cartoon-happy" precedes her, Peyton insists there's no way a three-time loser won't do time. Harry warns that these things frequently come down to which lawyer the jury likes more - and it's beginning to seem like Peyton's an asshole.
Back at the shop, Jenna's selling shoes, much to Harriet's dismay. Jenna answers the phone when a hysterical Damien calls - there's been a shooting at the Chinese laundromat a few blocks over. Harry sends Adam to pick up his first case, then sits Malcolm down. Malcom's got two choices: he can take a deal for one year, or try for jury nullification, acknowledging his guilt but letting him off the hook. Of course, this almost never works. Harry wants Malcolm to take the deal, but he insists on gambling for his freedom. Meanwhile, Adam runs into the laundromat, which is in the grips of sheer chaos. A white man lies on the floor, blood spurting from his leg. Damien yells for Adam to hand over his tie and stick his finger in the wound. When Adam asks Damien if he's the shooter, Damien will only say, "Allegedly, okay? Allegedly."
Cops arrive at the laundromat to bundle Damien into a squad car. Near hysterical, Damien wants to know where the "old lady" is. Adam tells him to stop talking, and promises to meet him at the precinct. Back at the shop, Harriet's cranky about all the shoes, but Jenna thinks the place looks great. There's no reason why they can't be both law firm and shoe store! When Adam rushes in, Harry's dismayed to see he's covered with blood, and advises him to get tested. Once she's sure he's okay, she takes off to start Malcolm's trial. The first witness on the stand is undercover officer Tate, who clearly explains that Malcolm bought drugs, so he arrested him. With no further questions, Peyton plops down in his chair with a smug smile.
Nervous, Harry gets off to a slow start, thanking Officer Tate for being a cop, and recalling a time when a cop helped her. After some joshing from Peyton and Judge Winston, Harry establishes that the cops aren't looking for non-violent drug offenders, but dealers. Typically they arrest users hoping they'll flip the dealers. When she asks Tate if he's ashamed for using Malcolm like a pawn, Judge Winston calls her to the bench. Her adorable-old-lady-bumbling-around-the-courtroom routine won't fly with him. He's not going to permit the tricks she pulled as a patent lawyer in his courtroom. Later back at the shop, Jenna tells Harry she did great, but Harry's worried that her only play is to put Malcolm on the stand. Malcolm's mom Cassie stops by, offering to testify, and begs Harry to win the case, lest Malcolm go to prison.
Adam visits Damien in his holding cell. Despite the fact that he's running an illegal business, carrying an unregistered concealed weapon, and shot a guy, Damien won't plead. He can't go to jail for protecting innocent people! Adam's problem is that he sees Damien as a criminal. Damien helps the people in his neighborhood, and right now he needs Adam to help him. Touched by Damien's passion, Adam agrees to fight the good fight, then retreats to the shoe store to try to put a case together. Damien acted out of necessity, right? Harry points out that most DAs have one thing in common: unmanageable caseloads. Adam should just go off like a cannon in the courtroom - Boom! If the DA realizes what a pain in the ass he is at arraignment, they'll want to get rid of him and his case as soon as they can.
Harry walks Malcolm to court, warning him to brace for Peyton's storm when he's on the stand. Malcolm asks Harry if she's carrying her big gun. She's not, so he tackles a guy to the ground, showing Harry that the guy was about to pull a knife. On the stand, Peyton asks whether Malcolm had no choice but to buy cocaine. Malcolm insists he's no victim. Peyton goes off, claiming the courtroom is filled with Malcolm's victims. It costs junkies thousands of dollars per week to get their drugs, most of which is stolen from innocent people. Every time Malcolm buys cocaine, he's helping fund a billion-dollar illegal drug trade.
Harriet pipes up. Maybe drugs should be decriminalized! Every study has said if we legalize, we can treat the disease of addiction instead of punishing it. Peyton and Harry jump into the ring, their high-speed argument ranging from Rush Limbaugh to the race card. Having had enough, the judge dismisses Malcolm from the stand and commences closing arguments. Peyton promises to make his quick. As of today, the law states that it's illegal to buy and use cocaine. Malcolm admitted to doing so and offered no defense, nor did anyone dispute what happened. The only question is, will the jury abide by their oath to uphold the law?
Harriet sits, looking somewhat defeated. She admits to the jury that decriminalizing drugs sounds kinda radical. But she does know all the studies say drug abuse treatment is seven times more cost effective than incarceration. Malcolm did break the law, and he should be held accountable. But he's never harmed anyone; he was going to a clinic for treatment, but the clinic closed; and he's trying to better himself through college. The dirty little secret of the justice business is that judges are really in the re-election business, and lawyers are in the winning business. Which means the only people in it purely for the justice are sitting in the jury box. Malcolm's a bright young man with a future. All Harry needs is one not guilty vote - that means a hung jury, which she can turn into a suspended sentence. Just one vote to save Malcolm's life.
While the jury deliberates, Harry stops by the arraignment court where Adam nervously awaits the judge. Taking Harry's advice to go Boom!, Adam's mouth explodes with verbiage as soon as the judge enters, waiving the reading of the charges, and asking they be dismissed. When the judge tries to steer him back to a statement of guilty or not guilty, Adam introduces all of Damien's clients, who are packing the gallery, then starts aping Al Pacino from "And Justice for All": "You're out of order!" Afterwards, Adam tells Damien of their relative success: the DA is at least open to discuss a plea. Damien leaves coolly, then returns to offer a congratulatory fist bump. He's had his share of lawyers, but none of them ever fought for him like Adam.
Back in Judge Winston's courtroom, the jury forewoman reads Malcolm's verdict: guilty. Harry tries to interject, but Judge Winston overrides her, sentencing Malcolm to two years in prison... a sentence that will be suspended pending successful completion of rehab. Malcolm can hardly believe he's free to go, and Harry warns him not to screw up his one chance. It's hugs all around, which makes Harry very, very uncomfortable - she's not a hugger.
Back at the store, Harriet finally allows herself to try on a new pair of shoes, while telling her new paralegal Malcolm to box up Adam's stuff. But Adam refuses to leave. He's having more fun than he's ever had in his whole life. From the moment he walked into the stupid, rundown shoe store, he knew this was the place for him. Jenna confirms - things happen for a reason, and they've all been brought together for a reason. Just then three gangster types walk in. They invented a car opener doohickey for criminal purposes, but Damien recommended they get a patent so they wouldn't need to rob cars anymore. Looks like Harry's Law and Fine Shoes is open for business...