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Harry's Law

Episode 2.08 : Insanity

Harry's Law Poster

TV Info


Episode Premiere

November 16, 2011

Distributor

NBC

Genre

Drama

Show Period

2011 - 2012

Production Company

Bonanza Productions Inc., Warner Bros. Television

Cast and Crew


Director

Arlene Sanford

Screenwriter

Devon Greggory, Lawrence Broch

Main Cast

Synopsis


A jury watches horrific video of a campus shooting spree. As we hear the 911 call, we see a teenager walk calmly through the chaos, dispatching his victims by shooting them point blank. The D.A. stops the tape to emphasize that the defendant, Matthew Gayles, did not suffer from a mental defect; he simply wanted revenge and didn't care who paid the price. Ollie, defending Gayles, follows with his own opening remarks to the jury. The question isn't whether Matthew killed the three students and wounded another - he clearly did. Rather, he says, the law states that the defendant's mental state at the time of the crime must determine whether he is to be held accountable.

Ollie shows the jury photos of Matthew's older brother, Brian. When Brian and Matthew's parents were killed by a drunk driver, the boys were split up. But when Brian became old enough, he legally adopted his younger brother. But sadly, Brian died at the hands of some fraternity brothers who forced him to drink a lethal amount of alcohol. Ollie tells the jury: Matthew was crushed by his brother's death, became schizophrenic and was driven to avenge the loss of his brother.

Back in the office, Harry asks Cassie how the opening statements went. She replies "fine," much to Ollie's dismay. Ollie lashes out at Cassie for undermining him in front of Harry; Adam gets a dig in. Harry cools them all off and asks Cassie to be the adult in the room.

Adam handles another case: Chunhua's family is being evicted from their storefront via eminent domain. Adam vows to give it his best shot, but says that the government usually triumphs in such cases. With the rotten economy, it will be even harder, since the project that's coming in will create jobs. He advises Chunhua and her father to get the best deal they can and move on to start again.

Tommy defends a client who runs a vegetable stand and a mortuary. He's being sued by a woman who had bought a "green burial" from him - one without a casket, embalming or a headstone. The complainant's mother was buried au natural per her wishes, but Tommy's client later used the remains as fertilizer. The plaintiff fears she's been eating food fertilized with the remains of her late mother.

The D.A. calls a survivor of the campus shooting to the stand. She testifies about what happened that day and how, in an instant, she knew her life would be changed irrevocably for the worse. She recounts how the defendant walked up to her that day and apologized; she wasn't one of his intended victims. Ollie cross-examines. He asks her to talk about her relationship with the defendant. After the shooting, she sought him out in an attempt to heal. The D.A. then shows a clip of the defendant saying that he's not crazy, that "they all deserved to die."

After court's adjourned, Harry asks Ollie and Cassie for a report. Ollie thinks it went well, but Cassie thinks the victim's testimony hurt their case. Ollie blows up - and tries to fire Cassie on the spot. Harry pulls them both into her office. Pulling Cassie off the case now would look bad to the jury. Harry asks Cassie to be supportive, and she lectures Ollie that if his own second chair attorney can't support his tack, he ought to ask why.

Tommy's client is deposed about why he didn't disclose that human remains were being used to fertilize his organic produce. Tommy's client admits he felt that customers might have a conceptual conflict with it, but insists he didn't conceal it, he just didn't advertise it.

Back at the shooting trial, the D.A. shows a tape of the defendant being defiant to the police and claiming that he simply was meting out justice. A detective testifies that Gayles told him he didn't want a lawyer and that he was simply getting revenge for his brother's murder. He tells the jury the defendant was quite calm as he said all this. Ollie cross-examines and establishes that the detective has no psychological training and therefore is not qualified to talk about the defendant's state of mind.

Ollie and Cassie go out to dinner to try to get back in synch. Cassie reveals that she was the victim of an on-campus shooting. She narrowly escaped death during high school when a gunman went on a rampage, killing her best friend and nearly killing her. She still shudders when she walks on a campus. Harry scolds her for not revealing the personal connection; Cassie says she felt she could handle it. To Ollie's dismay, Harry wonders if Cassie can close the case. Cassie's shaken by the prospect. It's you call, Harry tells her.

Tommy sits his client down and tells him how emotionally charged this case is and urges him to settle. But his client won't: he fears that victims will start lining up to get cash and he'll be out of business.

Ollie calls Dr. Edwin Bonner to the stand to testify as to Matthew's mental condition. The doctor states that Matthew was most likely suffering psychosis and depression, exacerbated by the death of his brother. He says that Matthew reported that his dead older brother would speak to him and tell him what to do. The D.A. comes out swinging, pointing out that Dr. Bonner only treated Matthew after the shooting. She goes on to question how delusional Matthew could have been if he apologized to one of the victims immediately after wounding her. The doctor stands firm in his testimony that Matthew needs help, not prison.

Tommy squares off against his fellow lawyer in front of Judge Kirkland. The plaintiff's attorney argues that the defendant has an obligation to disclose and consciously avoided doing so. Tommy defends his client saying that at least he's doing something to help save the planet: avoiding the waste and pollution that modern burial engenders.

Chunhua comes by to thank Adam for the hard work he's put into the last couple of cases on her behalf. She also wonders if she might be able to work at the law office as an administrative assistant. Adam thinks it's a good idea - and hires her. He announces her hiring to Harry, who's dubious. Working with someone you slept with can create problems, she tells him. But Adam insists there will be no complications. Harry tells Adam to un-hire her but then recants when Chunhua lavishes her with thanks for the job.

Ollie and Cassie decide to put Matthew on the stand. He explains that he doesn't believe what he did was murder because it was justified. Cassie takes the lead in questioning, getting Matthew to probe uncomfortable parts of his memory, including facts about his brother. She asks him what it was like to shoot the students. He doesn't remember shooting them. Then he screams, "I don't want to talk about my brother!" Matthew appears to be having an internal conversation with his dead brother. Ollie wisely concludes the examination. But now it's the D.A.'s turn.

Assistant District Attorney Kepler cross-examines Matthew, leading him through the sequence of events: Matthew's attempt to have the police prosecute the frat brothers who killed his brother, his applying for a gun permit (and failing because of his age), his procuring a gun, studying the victims' class schedules and hunting the victims down in front of their frat house. Matthew agrees to the entire account - including killing the victims.

Judge Kirkland pronounces on the case of the human fertilizer. He notes how incredibly wasteful conventional burial is, the thousands of board feet of timber, tons of metals and chemicals placed into the ground, and forest destruction to make room for cemeteries. He tells the plaintiff that if the case were to go to a jury, they'd probably come down hard on the defendant - so he's not going to let it go to a jury. He dismisses the case outright, telling Ms. Harrington, "Get over it."

The D.A. sums up: Matthew's actions were premeditated, collected and methodical. She acknowledges his suffering but makes it clear that that does not make it okay to take the law into one's own hands. The state rests. Cassie steps up and explains that Matthew is a killer but not a murderer. She explains how Matthew lost his mind after his parents and brother died. He threw his life away - providing proof of his craziness. She tells the jury that she understands the desire to see him jailed. She goes on to tell the story of her high school trauma when she was terrorized by a madman. She wants the jury to look beyond the need for retribution. Put him in a place where he can get help, she implores them.

That D.A. summons Cassie and Ollie. She wants to talk deal. The best she'll offer is 10 years per count, for 30 years. They take the offer to Matthew, who refuses. The jury returns; they find the defendant guilty. Cassie takes it hard; she wishes she'd never left the prosecutor's office. Ollie offers whatever help she might need, but Cassie wants to be alone with her sorrow. As Ollie leaves, Cassie interrupts him. "Maybe a beer," she says.

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