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Outlaw

Episode 1.03 : In Re: Jessica Davis

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TV Info


Episode Premiere

October 01, 2010

Distributor

NBC

Genre

Drama

Show Period

2010 - 2010

Production Company

Universal Media Studios

Cast and Crew


Director

Peter O'Fallon

Screenwriter

Stephanie Sengupta

Main Cast


Additional Cast

Synopsis


It's not unusual for Garza to entertain nocturnal visitors, but they're usually not 350-pound bruisers named Tiny. After a rude awakening, Garza faces his bookie, Doc Levin, who's upset to find Garza reserving expensive hotel suites instead of paying down his debt to the tune of 300 large. He's got 24 hours to cover the vig. The next morning, Lucinda and Mereta discuss a tragic headline: a woman in Baltimore forgot her baby in the backseat of her minivan for six hours, and the DA is charging her with murder. Neither woman can believe that Garza and Al are more focused on the sports pages: footballer Ray Lewis tore his meniscus getting out of the tub, and might have to shelve the season. Garza's wheels start turning and he rushes off to a meeting.

Garza pulls Claire out of a deposition to ask for $200,000 in cash, as an advance against expenses. She pushes back, but their discussion sounds more like foreplay, and indeed, Garza has reserved the hotel suite for their "anniversary." That's when Claire breaks the news: her other man Glenn finally popped the question and she said yes. Begging Claire not to break his heart twice in the same conversation, Garza convinces her to front the cash. Back at the house, everyone's still talking about the newspaper. Al assumes they're talking about Ray Lewis, but in fact the conversation's about Jessica Davis, the woman from Baltimore. When Mereta points to a similar case in Phoenix where the DA declined to prosecute, Garza gets worked up. This kind of thing happens frequently - how can half of the cases be tragic accidents while the other half result in murder charges?

A motion to dismiss under equal protection is already in the works, but the team has to be in Baltimore in three hours to present it. When Al mentions he has an arraignment in three hours - an old client got busted for pot - Garza asks Eddie to take the case and takes off with Al. Eddie rues his bad luck. The former editor of the Yale Law Review is now defending a transsexual pothead!? With a twinkle in her eye, Lucinda stirs the pot. Doesn't this take Eddie back to his days as a wannabe teen idol? Unable to stop herself, Lucinda reveals all to Mereta: Eddie experienced eight minutes of fame, opening for Boy George with his boy band In Heat. She's even got pictures to prove it.

At the Baltimore County Courthouse, cocky DA Harry Ashford chides Garza for quitting the Supreme Court to defend a baby killer. When Garza sails his equal protection defense, Ashford scoffs; Garza is delusional if he believes the case will get kicked on a technicality. Garza gets hot: is Ashford saying the Constitution is a technicality?! Al calms Garza, who still can't believe Ashford would go after a grief-stricken mother. Again, Ashford scoffs - apparently, Garza hasn't met his client yet. Al and Garza proceed to the Davis home to meet Jessica and her husband Russell. All a stony-faced Jessica will say is "I forgot," so Russell picks up the story. On the day in question, he had a temp job, so Jessica had to drive the baby to daycare. Jessica picks up the story, but has nothing to say about her baby. It's as if she's closed off in a state of shock.

Al and Garza leave the meeting, shaken by the iceberg that is Jessica. Al's positive the jury will find her guilty. But when Russell rushes after them to plead for help, Garza promises to take the case. Garza and Mereta get to work, mapping out similar cases across the country; about half of them are prosecuted as murder. Garza excuses himself to take a call from Doc - did he see the news about Ray Lewis? Without him the Bears will cover, so instead of putting Claire's 200 towards the vig, Garza's going double or nothing on the Bears. Al bursts through the door with good news: he got a statement from a neighboring DA, swearing she wouldn't have filed charges against Jessica.

Meanwhile, Eddie and Lucinda proceed to D.C. Superior Court to meet Al's client Desdemona, who's not happy. She was sitting in a parked car kissing her boyfriend Bobby when a cop rapped on the window and told her to get out of the car. He found the weed in her pocket, but neither of them were smoking it. Lucinda promises that if the cop didn't have probable cause for the search, they can probably get the charges dismissed. Desdemona points out that Al usually pays her bail; he knows that a woman like her won't last an hour in the men's lock-up. On the way out, Lucinda demands to know why Eddie won't pay the bail; she knows he's got the $5,000 on hand, and he does. She teases: Desdemona is just like the bass player from Eddie's band who came onto him when they taped that episode of Behind the Music. Unfortunately, this incident broke up the band.

In Baltimore, Judge Littleford isn't wowed by Garza's equal protection motion. Sarcastic, Garza explains that equal protection is the bedrock of our justice system. When Ashford points out that as prosecutor, he has discretion to decide when to file charges, the judge agrees. Al produces the Howard County DA's statement. If Alyssa had died 31 yards from her final resting place, Jessica wouldn't be charged with murder. Finally, the judge rules: the jury will decide whether Alyssa's death was murder or an accident. Later, Claire stops by Garza's place with a box of baby toys from Jessica's car that were mistakenly delivered to her office. Now that she's given Garza the cash advance, she wants him to bring revenue into the firm and drop the Harris case. Garza smiles seductively, and refreshes his invitation to their anniversary hotel suite.

The next day, Eddie's shocked when a badly beaten Desdemona is lead into the courtroom. Clearly, Desdemona blames Eddie for her plight, so he turns to ADA Tara Rhodes to make a deal. Since the arresting cop said Desdemona was smoking pot in the car, Tara offers Eddie a deal of 90 days, which is only good for another five seconds. Back in Baltimore, Garza and Al watch as psychologist Dr. Sydell evaluates Jessica, whose only emotional expression is anger at her persecutors. Sydell explains to Al and Garza: Jessica is dissociating, using anger to avoid the pain, which she'll happily explain in court. Garza knows this won't hurt, but explaining why Jessica can't feel isn't like showing she can - and that's what he needs the jury to see.

Ashford's first witness is Officer Ryan Brett, who testifies that Alyssa was already dead when he arrived on scene. Jessica was totally calm, and hadn't called 911 - her reaction seemed totally unnatural. Annoyed, Garza points out that Brett's no expert on grief and trauma. Just because Jessica was calm, doesn't mean she's unnatural. In fact, isn't it true that Brett can't give the jury one fact that proves Jessica wasn't a loving mother? Ashford promises facts, then calls Jessica's best friend Naomi to the stand. Naomi paints a picture of high stress and exhaustion, a mom who didn't want her baby in the first place. Two days before Alyssa's death, Jessica told Naomi that that the baby was driving her crazy, and she wished she were never born. The courtroom buzzes, while Jessica remains stoic.

Lucinda continues her reign of terror, teasing Eddie about his boy band days. Finally he fesses up: he was 12, and it was totally boring. He had to sit in a trailer with a tutor the whole time. Besides, the truth is the money put him through college and law school, paid off his mom's debts and bought her a house. When Lucinda teases that his dad must have pushed him into it, Eddie explains that his dad died when he was four, and if she was a good PI, she should have known that. Spying Desdemona's Bobby leaving his suburban house with his family, Eddie and Lucinda race to catch up with him. Desdemona's going to jail unless Bobby shows up to tell the truth about what happened. Upset, Bobby yells at them to go away.

Garza's stunned when Al hits him with not-so-good news: Ray Lewis' knee is just fine, which means the Bears are going down. Jessica's trial continues. Ashford calls the medical examiner, Dr. Bert Jonas to the stand. When Garza asks the judge to permit Jessica to leave during the testimony, Ashford attacks - this would prejudice the jury into thinking Jessica actually has a heart. Judge Littleford maintains that they're amidst a murder trial and not a support group; Jessica needs to man up. As expected, Jonas' testimony is both devastating and excruciating. Again, Jessica remains stoic as he explains that in her final hours, Alyssa basically roasted to death, pulled out most of her hair, and hemorrhaged her vocal cords with screaming.

Back in D.C. Superior Court, Eddie slips Bobby's contact information to Rhodes. If he verifies Desdemona's story, Eddie wants probation; if not, he'll put him on the stand and blow his cover in front of his wife. It's up to Rhodes - destroy two lives or none? Garza calls memory expert Dr. Seitz to the stand to explain that it's all a matter of basal ganglia, the part of the brain that controls routine behavior. When the routine is broken, coupled with the presence of extreme stress, the basal ganglia will override the logical brain. It's not an excuse for murder, but a medical explanation for what happened. In cross, Ashford establishes, that someone in Jessica's position could use such "science" to explain away murder in court.

That night, Garza clears the dining room table to lay out Chinese food, dropping the forgotten box of toys from Jessica's car on the floor. Suddenly, a screaming voice is heard, which Mereta instantly recognizes as Jessica's. They spill the box of toys to find a plush toy cell phone, which makes audio recordings. Somehow, Jessica must have set it off when she found Alyssa dead in the car, since it's obvious from the recording that not only was she devastated, but she did in fact perform CPR. The next morning, Al and Garza present the heartbreaking recording to the judge. Ashford scoffs. The recording can't go to the jury; for all they know, it was recorded yesterday. Garza insists it's his only chance to show Jessica's true emotion to the jury, but since he can't establish a timeline, the judge refuses to allow it. With no recourse, Garza prepares to put Jessica on the stand.

On the stand, Jessica testifies that she thinks it was the combination of exhaustion from being up all night with a teething baby and the change in routine that caused "it" to happen. Garza pounces: they all know what happened, but no one knows how Jessica feels. How can she just sit there? Angry, Jessica tells Garza to go to hell. He stokes the fury, working Jessica up to the point that Ashford objects. Finally, Jessica breaks down crying. She tried so hard to save Alyssa. She knows Garza wants her to cry, but she can't (even though she is). Alyssa was everything to her and she forgot her, and killed her.

That night, Garza shoots baskets, preparing for his closing argument and trying to keep his mind off the all-important Bears game. The next morning, Ashford makes quick work of his closing argument. He's a parent too, and it's not okay to forget your child for six minutes, let alone six hours. If you forget your child, and your child dies, you should be held accountable. Garza plays off Ashford. What's so terrifying about this case? It could happen to anyone. Good people do forget. Brett's use of the word unnatural to describe Jessica is unconscionable. How dare anyone judge Jessica for the way she deals with grief, presume to understand her pain? Does the jury truly believe she chose to kill her child so brutally? One thing's clear: they should pray that they never find themselves in the same situation.

While waiting for Desdemona to be released, Lucinda gives Eddie a peace offering: a teen fan magazine featuring him on the cover. Desdemona thanks Eddie with a big, strong hug, grateful the charges were dropped. Eddie's not so bad after all. Meanwhile, Garza paces outside the courtroom, unsure what he's more nervous about, Jessica's trial or the Bears game, which he hasn't watched yet. Al teases Garza for wearing his lucky tie - he should know that kind of mojo doesn't work after the game. Mereta calls them back to the courtroom, where the jury brings in a verdict of not guilty. Jessica collapses in her chair, a little less impassive with this somber victory.

Garza is delighted to find the Bears covered - his lucky tie is still bulletproof! Al's unimpressed, and a little afraid of what he doesn't really know about Garza's gambling. That night, Garza enters the anniversary suite; it's pretty obvious Claire's not coming. When his phone rings, Garza answers, hoping it's her, but it's Doc, who now owes Garza money, which is a refreshing change. Garza turns down an added game and asks Doc to close him out; he's done. He hangs up, pops a bottle of champagne, and collapses on the bed. Then he calls Doc back...

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