Harry's Law

Episode 2.18 : Breaking Points

  • Harry's Law
    • Episode Premiere : April 22, 2012
    • Distributor : NBC
    • Genre : Drama
    • Seasons : 2
    • Show Period : 2011 - 2012
    • Production Company: Bonanza Productions Inc., Warner Bros. Television
    • Official Site : http://www.nbc.com/harrys-law/

Cast and Crew

  • Director Jim Hayman
  • Screenwriter Lawrence Broch, Susan Dickes
  • Main Cast
    • Kathy Bates as Audition Singer: 'Even the Horses Had Wings',
    • Brittany Snow as Shizuku (voice: English version),
    • Aml Ameen,
    • Nate Corddry,
    • Christopher McDonald,
    • Karen Olivo,
    • Mark Valley as Tunnel Technician

The Story

Harry walks into her law firm when a nervous woman named Brianna rushes up. She desperately needs Harry's help, the police are after her because she's a runaway juror. Tommy quickly walks up to Harry and begs to join the case as he recognizes Brianna's face from the news. Brianna was a jury member on a hot murder trial that was sequestered for two months, and during tense deliberations, she got so stressed that she ran away before they could reach a verdict. Brianna thought she had no other way out because she pleaded with the judge to let her off the jury, but he refused. Harry agrees to help but warns Brianna, "My gut tells me that you're in a lot of trouble."

Adam cautiously enters Phoebe's law firm after she called him for help. She flirtatiously asks if he finally came to his senses and decided to jump ship, but he once again tells her he's not leaving Harry. Phoebe then tells him about a case that she desperately needs his help with. As if on cue, a woman that looks like she went straight from the trailer park to Beverly Hills walks in. Her name is Tina Stanhope, and she's the reality star of "It Takes Two." Her husband Eliot, the other star of the show, recently committed suicide, and Tina is being sued by Eliot's family for the cause of his death.

Oliver and Cassie are in bed passionately making out when Harry interrupts them with a Skype call. Harry needs their help right away in the office to help research precedent in runaway jurors. Later, Harry and Tommy represent Brianna in front of a fiery Judge Babcock. The judge screams that great expense, time and sacrifice went into the murder trial, and before a jury could reach its verdict, Brianna ruined it all by running away. "This trial was a wrenching ordeal!" Babcock yells at Brianna. "Your client belongs in jail; she's a criminal." Harry quickly interrupts Babcock and motions to have Brianna get her day in court to be heard on the contempt charges filed against her.

Adam and Phoebe meet with Tina and her old attorney to discuss the wrongful death case. She fired her old attorney because he wanted her to accept a settlement offer with her husband's family who is suing her. He felt that she has a reputation of being "that spoiled bitch from TV" and no jury will sympathize with her. Tina refuses to settle; she does not believe she is culpable in her husband's suicide. "Tina makes that girl Snooki seem like a choir girl," Adam tells Phoebe as they talk about the challenge before them. They have an uphill battle in getting the jury to perceive her as sympathetic.

The trial begins and Eliot's sister Patricia is on the stand testifying how Tina made her brother go on the reality show to serve her own needs. "He was the subject of public ridicule, often at her hand. She belittled him on national TV," she sadly tells the jury. The prosecuting attorney shows the jury a video clip of the show where Tina calls out Eliot for being a lousy lover and then burst into laughter thinking about his masculinity. "Do you think he loved her?" Phoebe asks Patricia. "Yes, I think he did," she replies, "which makes his pain so much more. To hear the things she would say about him..." Her brother had a fragile personality and Tina knew that and purposely manipulated it for better ratings.

Adam and Phoebe watch footage of Tina yelling and belittling Eliot on her reality TV show; it definitely paints Tina is a horrific manner. "You have to understand, they kept all the low lights; there were highlights too," Tina explains. The show only wanted conflict, and whenever they were nice to each other, the cameras would stop rolling. Later, Tina is on the stand explaining how Eliot never expressed not wanting to do the reality show. "We needed the money," Tina says. She then explains how Eliot and she purposely embellished and exaggerated their fights because if they didn't make an impression, they'd be cut from the cast.

Harry interviews Brianna about her ordeal of being a sequestered jury member. She talks about how difficult it was being away from her family and how the rest of the jurors started to pester her because she was going against the majority on the verdict. "So, you ran?" Harry asks. Brianna says yes, her anxiety was so intense with all the pressure she was facing that she even thought about suicide. When Brianna pleaded with the judge about her problems, he brushed her aside and said she needed to stick it out. "They cared more about the trial than they did about my life!" Brianna cries out.

The prosecutor rips into Tina as he shows the jury clips from the show. "You're just the bitch everyone loved to hate," he says. Tina agrees that her perception on the show wasn't the greatest, and she did things she regrets; but Eliot knew how much she really cared for him. "His life became exciting because of me and he was the best thing to ever happen to me... I loved him," Tina emotionally says, "and I will not be blamed for him committing suicide. I started with nothing and I will go back to that, but I will not be labeled as a person who caused their husband to commit suicide."

Harry questions another jury member from Brianna's trial. She bitterly mentions how everyone on the jury was sick of being sequestered and greatly missed their family, but they stuck it out. "I will not feel sorry for that woman," she says, "Brianna caused a lot of people a lot of stress." Later, Tommy interviews the doctor who testifies that Brianna was suffering from "sequestered jury syndrome." The doctor explains how the sense of isolation can cause a person to suffer severe anxiety and go into a severe state of panic. The judge laughs at such a thought, but the doctor doesn't relent as he talks about how jurors are just plucked off the street without any prescreening on how they might react to having extreme stress in deciding another person's fate. "What a load of crap," Judge Babcock fires back.

Adam interviews a producer of the reality show and asks how they were able to capture all the great moments on camera. He tells them that most of the show is found in the editing room through a process called "Frankenbiting." It's an editing technique where they take unrelated pieces of audio and visual and combine them to create the scene they want to build, kind of like Frankenstein's monster. Adam then shows the jury the previous segment of Tina laughing about Eliot's masculinity, and they see how Tina was really complimenting him on how funny and caring he really was. The show just used Frankenbiting to create a scene of conflict when there really was none.

Harry gives her closing argument to the judge on why Brianna had proper cause to runaway from the jury. "These people are shut away from their families and friends. They're pressured and bullied by each other in an extremely confined environment." A jury of our peers has become more of a jury of our whacked-out peers as there is no real test to see if someone can take the stress of being a jury member. "So when the going gets tough, we should just let the jury get going?" The prosecuting attorney rebuts. He reiterates that so many people sacrificed themselves to find justice in a murder trial, and Brianna hijacked their hard work by running away.

Judge Babcock reaches his verdict and agrees with Harry that our jury system needs to be questioned. "Jurors should probably be prescreened to see if they are even up to the wear and tear of prolonged sequestration," he admits. However, that is not the system they have today. What Brianna did was wrong and caused many people emotional pain and the state government time and money. "She had a civic duty to stick it out," he rules; Brianna will be held in contempt and charged with obstruction of justice.

Tina's trial reaches closing arguments, and the prosecutor tells the jury that Tina's taunts to Eliot were unrelenting and broadcast for everyone to see. "Of course she had to contribute to Eliot's suicide. Who could stand up to that degree of humiliation?" he asks. "Tina used Eliot. She willfully manipulated him into the situation rife with risk to his emotional state... she might not have slit his wrists with that razor blade, but she incited the tragedy just the same."

Adam stands for his closing and tells the jury that Tina was cast perfectly as the bitch America loved to hate. But just like Tina, Eliot freely signed up to be on television, and everyone knows reality TV exploits the contestants for our viewing pleasure. "The greater the humiliation, the happier we are as viewers." Eliot had a tragic ending, but like the numerous other reality show contestants that have committed suicide over the years, the only fault of their demise was their own.

The jury reads its verdict on Eliot's wrongful death case and finds Tina not guilty on two counts of wrongful death but find her guilty on negligent infliction of emotional distress. Tina walks outside to find a swarming press as they turn their cameras and spotlights on her. Tina puts on her sunglasses and struts down the hallway like a pro, half smiling for the coverage she's getting and half crying for knowing that she's partially to blame for her husband's suicide.

Harry and Tommy share a drink at a bar while discussing the merits of the current legal system. "Isn't it time our firms just merge?" Harry throws at a shocked Tommy. He begins to shed sincere tears as Harry rolls her eyes at his sudden emotional outburst. "All I really ever wanted, really, was to be part of a family," Tommy earnestly tells her as he happily accepts the offer.






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