HARRY’S LAW “A Day In The Life” Review

HARRY'S LAW A Day In The Life Episode 5

HARRY’S LAW “A Day In The Life” Episode 5 – My ability to suspend disbelief is admittedly pretty weak, I know, but I tend to give leeway to certain genre shows that are either labeled as “spectacle” (Spartacus: Gods of the Arena), “camp” (True Blood), or “quirky” (the defunct Pushing Daisies or anything created and/or written by David E. Kelley). Sometimes the art is seen only after the things that don’t make initial sense finally make sense when viewed through a particular lens. So to speak.

I’m still trying to find that lens for Harry’s Law.

As I have stated on more than one occasion, it’s not the acting, which is generally robust and (at least) committed, nor is it the dialogue, which is sharp and often chuckle-inducing. But certain realities tend nip at my logic center, one tiny bite at a time, until I can no longer ignore the metaphorical blood pooling onto the metaphorical floor.

In “A Day In The Life,” Harry (Kathy Bates, wearied but artfully coiffed) commits the ultimate lawyer’s sin by purposefully sabotaging her own defense of a wife-murdering slimeball once she discovers he lied to her. I’ll paraphrase the slimeball: “Let me get this straight. You will defend a murderer but not a liar?” The legal phrase “Diminished Capacity” was thrown into the conversation somewhere (incorrectly, I’m pretty sure) and I have to say I agree with the slimeball: what seems important to Harry is the fact that said slimeball lied to her.

Let’s not get into the fact that we’re never given an exact reason why Harry thinks this dude is innocent, only that she’s damn-fire-and-tarnation certain he didn’t kill his wife, and goes out on a limb before the entire jury to state that, today, she is defending a truly innocent man.

Her bluster lasts long enough to let the babbling prosecutor Josh Peyton (Paul McCrane, the odd amalgamation of Frank Gorshin and Ron Howard) reveal that the murdered wife’s pinkie finger was found in the defendant’s safe-deposit box.

Harry of course loses it, threatens to purposefully “tank” the trial if she’s not allowed off it, and then (when she’s not) does just that. (“My client told me his wife didn’t have time to scream, that he first got her from behind!”)

Now I want to preface the rest of what I have to say by stating first: I am no lawyer. I have no idea if any of the following is actually par for course as far as lawyer-ing goes, or even what statutes or … limitations or preambles … or … something … something …

You get my drift. David E. Kelley could tell me flaying and strangling the judge in open court is permissible in the state of Ohio, and I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on to tell him otherwise. He’s done these wacky law shows before! That said, a number of things seem real-ly off to me:

1. Can the prosecution simply introduce a piece of evidence as important as a severed finger found in the defendant’s safety-deposit box right in the middle of the trial? Doesn’t that at least require a recess or some shit?

2. Can’t a lawyer drop a client due to client / lawyer communication issues? I’m pretty sure no lawyer is forced to sell her soul to Satan if she discovers the client withheld information from her.

3. Does a disbarment hearing really need a prosecutor? You’d think public record of the mistrial would be prosecution enough.

4. How weak are these freaking tribunals if (for the second time in as many episodes) they just sit there with moist eyes as Harry berates them and the system? I get that we’re looking for a moral push at the end here, but really, it’s like these judges suddenly woke up after Harry’s vicious taunting and realized the Ohio justice system was as crappy as she said it was. I nearly expected them to file out, one by one, and dutifully hang themselves.

Anyway. If I seem annoyed, it’s because I’m still looking for some solid ground to stand on with this show. Maybe the flaw is David E. Kelley himself. Or I can artfully place blame on today’s co-writer, Christopher Ambrose, or the director, Jonathan Pontell. The creator / show runner holds the ultimate responsibility, however, so I’m looking to Kelley to right this ship before it sinks beneath a sea of implausibility.

This isn’t to say the entire episode was a waste; I’m really starting to like Johnny Ray Gill (playing the defensive Damien Winslow), who seems to be able to emote a helluva lot more with one backward glance than Aml Ameen (playing Malcolm Davies) is able to muster in an extended scene. Even Brittany Snow is starting to show some nuance. I’m liking the idea that Jenna isn’t quite the ingenue she pretends to be.

So look. I understand the telling of a moral tale. But you can’t expect to solve these tricky little legality questions at the end of every episode. Then it just becomes preachy, pie-in-the-sky bullcrap. And no one wants to see that. I’m still rooting for a Harry’s Law turnaround.

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