Saturday, November 21, 2009

Law & Order “Shotgun” Recap & Review

All Photos from NBC

Law & Order “Shotgun” was one of those episodes that I was on the fence about it as I watched it, but as it wound down, I found that I liked it more after I saw the outcome and had time to think about it.

In this episode, an elderly man, played by Elliott Gould, shoots three people in defense of what at first appeared to be a robbery of his tax service business. But things are never that cut and dry in the Law & Order Universe. It wasn’t a robbery, it was a shakedown at the hands of someone who wanted to buy the man’s property for his own personal gain. Elliott Gould was perfect for the role as a store owner, as he seemed to play the innocent act very well. But the proof of Gould’s acting skill is at the very end, where the look on his face changed while he was talking with Bernard, commenting how the situation just fell into his lap. It was a very brief, calculating look that spoke volumes.

This episode had a very “Criminal Intent” feel to it, which is why I think it took me a while to warm up to it a bit. I haven’t always been a fan of the way Law & Order CI tells their stories. In fact, this would have been a great case for Goren and Eames; too bad that ride is coming to an end.

Cutter (Linus Roache) seems to be a totally different man this season. For some reason I felt that last season he was a little cold, distant, and power hungry; this season he seems to be letting more of his personal beliefs creep into his case, sometime showing more emotional involvement in the case. But the old Cutter is still in there, he jumped at the chance to give Stan the citizen award, only to have Jack (Sam Waterston) toss it right back in his face when they had to prosecute Stan. (I think Jack enjoyed that a little too much.) I was a little surprised that Cutter had to be told what a “ho” phone is; I’d never heard of one either but it seemed easy to figure out.

Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) are a very comfortable pair. In this episode Anderson received a little more of the focus, as he tried to be friendly with Stan, only to feel deceived and betrayed later. After Bernard shared his own personal story from growing up, it seemed Bernard trying to help Stan may have been his way of paying back the store owner who helped his family when Bernard was a child. Anderson did a great job in conveying his disappointment with Stan just by using facial expressions. I have to admit, though, that I thought it was just plain mean when Bernard sat himself on Angel’s hospital bed, clearly with the intent to cause pain. I have always been under the opinion that type of behavior is low for anyone in law enforcement (or anyone else for that matter).

Somehow, I get the feeling that the annoying reporter Len Pewls will be someone who pops up frequently whenever they need someone to reflect the media’s political commentary. Of course, McCoy is also getting to be the designated bearer of the political comment for the show, this one being a “Joe the Plumber” reference. Personally, I agree with his assessment of these kinds of media created folk heroes, but I thought using “Joe the Plumber” was a rather dated reference.

As far as the crime itself, I think that anyone willing to commit armed robbery – even if the real intent wasn’t really armed robbery in this episode – should be aware that they are other people out there that carry guns and they have a right to protect themselves and their property. I am not saying that it is right that store owners just shoot to kill with any threat, just that criminals can sometime get more than they bargain for. Stan was very wrong to shoot to kill, but was able to get away with it, seeing that he had a perfect explanation for his actions.

Here is the recap:

Stan Harkovy (Elliott Gould) and his assistant Gregory (Armando Riesco) are closing up shop early at “Your Friendly Tax Service.” Meanwhile, three men, one of them with guns, ready themselves for am “easy score.” The next we see of them, one are being carted away by EMS at Your Friendly Tax Service, and there is a bullet hole in the front window and blood everywhere in side. An officer on the scene tells Detectives Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) and Cyrus Lupo )Jeremy Sisto) that it appeared to be an armed robbery. Two men lie dead on the floor, assumed to be the robbers. Apparently they asked for money and one of them began to beat an employee. The owner, using a scatter gun took them out. They look to Stan Harkovy, sitting in the back area, seemingly dazed. Lupo notes that the gun is a Remington pump, and says, “Don’t mess with grandpa.” Bernard asks Stan how he is doing, and he says they wouldn’t leave, and he didn’t want to do it, he didn’t want to kill anybody.

At the 2-7 in interrogation, Stan said that he and Gregory started to close up. Three kids bust in, one of them had a gun out, waving it around. He emphatically says he never saw them before. They yelled at him to give up his money and there was only $30 in his cash box and he said they were wasting his time. The one with the gun started to his Gregory, kicking him the face, and he thought this was it, they were both dead. The guy kept hitting Gregory and he was like a son to him, he had to do something. When Bernard asks who he shot first, Stan says he is not sure. Bernard asks what Stan did when they started firing, and he says he doesn’t know, it was so fast he just kept shooting until they were all on the floor. Lupo asks if he ever used that gun before, and he says no, he bought it when he first started his business. He takes it out only to clean it. Bernard asks if this is his first time in being robbed, and Stan quietly says yes, adding that in 45 years he has never had any trouble. He gets along with everyone. Lupo questions “with everyone,” adding he is one of the few white owned businesses in that neighborhood, asking that he be never had an issue. Stan says he is no racist, commenting that brown, black, purple – people have to have their takes done. But Lupo questions if he never had any trouble, why did he buy a gun in the first place? Stan clarifies that when they first opened, they stayed open late, and Evelyn, his wife, “god rest her soul” thought they needed protection. Today was the first time he ever had to use it. He adds, “All this for $30.”

At the emergency room at St. Justin’s Hospital, the detectives speak with Gregory while his injuries are being tended to. He seems to confirm Stan’s story. He says Stan did what he had to do and he thought they were going to kill them both. He never saw these people before. Stan got along fine with the people in the neighborhood. Bernard notices a tattoo on Gregory’s arm and ask if he runs with a gang. He says no, it is Japanese, and Lupo recognizes it as meaning “the fist and Zen are one” and asks if Gregory is into martial arts. He is a second degree black belt in karate, saying a lot of good it did him; when he saw that gun he froze. Stan saved his life.

Bernard tells ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) that Stan and Gregory corroborate each other on the sequence of events and it looks like the beat-down set it off. She noticed that Duane Jefferson had priors for bank robbery, Pierre Hobbs had car jacking, assault, CPW. Van Buren adds that the third accomplice Angel Colon, who survived, had no record, and is an applicant to become a corrections officer, adding it seems like a big step from there to armed robbery. Bernard wonders if he was building up his resume. Rubirosa says they will charge him as soon as he gets out of surgery, and says as for Stan Harkovy, it seems like textbook justification with no charges. But Lupo asks what about his unregistered shotgun? She says she doubts anyone in her office is going to want to pursue a misdemeanor against a 70-year-old hero who just saved his employee’s life. After Rubirosa walks out, Lupo comments that a guy kills two people and he just walks out of here like nothing happened? Bernard says he gets the feeling Stan is going to remember every day what happened. Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) adds that two doers with serious priors target a store front tax service, they’d have to know that there’d be slim pickings. Bernard wonders if they thought it was an easy mark. Van Buren goes on that this boy wanted to be a corrections officer, then tells them to send Stan home and talk to Andrew Colon’s people and find out how he got mixed up with these thugs.

Lupo opens the interrogation room door and Stan gets up, asking he can leave? Lupo says for now, and that the DA may have more questions, telling him just don’t leave town. Stan asks where else is he going to go, he had blood on him. Bernard tells him to go home and take a shower. Stan asks how is the kid that went in the ambulance; Lupo informs him he is still in surgery. When Stan asks if he is going to make it, sounding concerned, Lupo motions and says nothing, meaning that he does not know, and walks off. Stan tells Bernard he hopes he pulls through, he didn’t think they would all die. Bernard warns him there are going to be a lot of reporters outside and asks if Stan has anyone who can come pick him up. Stan’s son is in California, and he doesn’t want to talk to any reporters. Bernard says he can use the back door and put him in a cab and asks if he has fare, and Stan says yes. He thanks Bernard for sneaking him out. Bernard tells him not to be surprised when the reporters show up at his door. Stan says when his wife died, he thought that was the worst day of his life. Bernard tells him he knows it can be hard, but gives him his card to call him, night or day, if he every needs somebody to talk to. As they walk out, Lupo watches from the other side of the squad room window After he closes the door, Bernard turns back to face the squad room, likely looking back at Lupo.

At the apartment of Sonya Colon, she doesn’t know the other two robbers, and she first gets defensive about her son. But then tells the detectives that Angel he was waiting for that job and wanted to get a bigger apartment. She did not know if he had a girl. Lupo notices a photo of Angel and asks if he is a black belt. He is second degree. When Sonya moves to answer her phone, Lupo speculates about two guys in the name neighborhood being black belts, Bernard noting Angel was at the Way of the Warrior Dojo.

They talk to the owner of the Way of the Warrior Dojo, who said Gregory and Angel took night classes a few years back. He thought they were friends, but a sparring episode turned into a street fight and he had to pull them apart. He doesn’t know what it was about, he just told them to come back as karate is about maintaining control. As they detectives leave the Dojo, Lupo says “So Gregory lied to us. That’s not very Zen of him.”

Speaking with Gregory outside the tax service, he is shocked to find that it was Angel that was robbing them. He did not recognize him with the hood and shades. He said the fight they had was over a girl, Alicia Rodriguez, who left him to hook up with Angel. He says he got past it about it. When Bernard implies that Gregory was the inside man on the robbery, and Lupo indicates Gregory planned that Stan would take them out with the shotgun, he says that is crazy. He suggest they talk with Alicia, she is pregnant, he saw her recently and said it is all good, there are no hard feelings. Stan walks up, upset and asking when they are going to let him open up, and Lupo tells him it is still crime scene and they will let him know when he can open up. Stan says that the phone in his apartment is driving him crazy, they want to take his picture and interview him. A man yells out from a car nearby in support of Stan. Stan says he didn’t ask for this, wondering why they can’t leave him alone. Gregory walks Stan away, and Lupo wonders about Alicia’s baby and maybe Angel is the father and that is why he needed a bigger place?

The detectives speak with Alicia, who said Gregory seemed happy for her about the baby. She did not tell him that Angel was the father. Alicia seems upset with Stan, saying he could have shot them in the leg. Angel just wanted money to get a better place for her and the baby, but when Lupo mentions the $30, she says Angel said there were gold coins in the place in a cigar box. Angel heard about it from the guy who set up the robbery As they walk off, Bernard says, “Gold coins in treasure box” and Lupo answers, “Arrrg.”

At the hospital with Angel, he doesn’t want to talk to them, but Bernard raises the level of his bed to force him up. He admits that Duane told them there was $100 grand in Krugerrands there. But Angel said he knew somebody who worked there would have told him there were coins. But he didn’t know Gregory was working there and as soon as he saw him there he wanted out. He stood by the door and hoped he didn’t recognize him. Bernard sits down hard on the bed, causing Angel to groan in agony. When he told Duane there were no coins, he said to keep his mouth shut, and not to tell Pierre, saying coins or no coins he would put money in his pocket, so he went along. He screams to the nurse for painkillers. As Lupo and Bernard exit the room, Bernard saying money or not, Duane Jefferson was walking into that store, and Lupo said that the coins were a story to get his crew to go along. Bernard wonders if Duane was not in it for the money, why did he and his friend die?

At Stan’s place, the phone is ringing, and Stan says, “Krugerrands? I don’t have any gold. You can search the office.” As Lupo says they did, Stan answers the phone, and then says no comment and don’t call back. He tells them it was a reporter wanting to know if the police gave him back his shotgun. When Bernard calls him Mr. Harkovy, he tells him to call him Stan. Bernard tells him to look at the picture of Duane Jefferson again, and asks if he is sure he never saw him. He says he is sure. Lupo asks if he can think of anyone who wanted to hurt him, and Stan says yeah, the three guys he shot. His phone rings again.

Back at the 2-7, the detectives enter Van Buren’s office, and she is on the phone and is on hold. Bernard tells her that Stan has been living about his office for the past 30 years and he owns the building and has little money and that’s about it. There is no evidence there of a safe or Krugerrands. She gets back on the phone, now off hold, asking when the doctor can call her back. She then says,” What…yeah, you have a nice day too” as she hangs up the phone in frustration. She tells the detectives that Duane’s brother claimed the body from the ME and, handing them the file, tells them maybe he knows what his brother was after.

At the funeral home, they speak with Duane’s brother, who is not sorry his brother is dead. They are not close and didn’t talk. He says Duane worked the door at an after hours poker club and the last time he saw him, he wanted him to meet him at a diner down the street to pay him back the $1,000 he owed him. Duane was flashing cash and had a new leather coat – the one he is wearing in the casket. Bernard asks where his good fortune came from, and he tells them there was a white kid in the diner – Max – who was a poker regular who was going to set up Duane on a score. He told Duane whatever.

Later, waiting outside the poker club, they see someone matching Max’s description leaving the poker place, and the detectives stop him. Asking hi for his ID, as he was patronizing an illegal gambling operation, they find it is Max Purcell (Jack T. Carpenter). The ask him about Duane Jefferson but he plays dumb. When Lupo says they have a witness from the diner down the street who saw him talking with Duane, Max admits that the cards weren’t going his way in the poker game, somebody had aces and was “sitting on the nuts" burned him for 8 grand. Duane fronted him a loan, he said Duane works for a loan shark. He insists he paid Duane back a few days before he got killed. He swears he is a guy who just really sucks at poker.

The next day in the 2-7, as Van Buren is moving to answer her ringing phone, the detectives tell Van Buren about Max Purcell. He is a trust fund brat and his parents are deceased, he lives in an apartment on 5th Avenue. She asks what is his connection to Max and the accountant, and there is non they can find. She answers her phone, it is her doctor’s office and she is told her doctor is not available now. Bernard gets a message and tells Van Buren that it is about Stan and it is urgent. She tells them to go. As they leave, she gets back on the phone, saying between 4 and 6 will work and asks if they will have her test results. She says “Alright, thank you” and slamming down the phone, adds, “Have a nice day…have a nice day when I’m cured.”

At the hospital, a security guard tells them that the old guy showed up with flowers for Angel Colon and the mother freaked out. Sonya is screaming for Stan to get out of there, and he innocently says he was just trying to see how he was doing. As Bernard moves Stan out saying they should get a beer, Stan said he just wanted to say he is sorry. Sonya continues to scream as Lupo tries to calm things.

At a bar, Stan and Bernard are having a beer, and Stan said he just wanted to show them he is not a monster. Bernard tells him a story about and old Japanese guy in his neighborhood that owned a bodega who paid him $20 a week to sweep the floor every day. Bernard says he looked out for them and let his mom ran up a tab when she was low on cash. Stan says that is what makes a neighborhood – people looking out. Bernard tells him he will get that back. But Stan says it is to much, he got a call from the councilman’s office that they want to give him an award. He is not a hero and does not think he can go back into his office. Gregory walks in and asks if Stan wants to go, and Bernard asks Stan about retiring, saying the neighborhood is gentrified and he could get a good deal. Stan says he doesn’t know about that. Gregory says that Bernard is right, “you are sitting on the nuts.” Bernard pauses, and asks Gregory if he plays poker, commenting about the expression. He said he heard some guy say that when he came into the office a few weeks ago, asking Stan if he remembers, he is the one who wanted to buy the place. Stan says, “Oh yeah” and referred to him as a punk saying he was full of crap and looked like a drug addict. Bernard asks if he left a name, and Gregory said it was Max, with a crazy haircut and a silver earring. Stan motions for them to leave, and Bernard thanks them Lupo walks in and Bernard tells him it wasn’t robbery, it was a shakedown. Max Purcell sent Duane in to scare Stan into selling his place.

Max walks out of The Grinnell with his grandfather Julian Hayworth (John McMartin), wanting to get out of going to the ballet but his grandfather won’t hear of it. Lupo and Bernard approach and arrest Max. His grandfather tells him to keep quiet and tells someone to call Otto Bradshaw, that he need him right away. Hayworth asks if they are arresting Max for his gambling, but Lupo says they don’t arrest gambles. Bernard adds, Shakedown artists yes, but not gamblers.”

In court, Max is being arraigned for one count of attempted robbery and two counts of second degree murder. Max says he is not guilty. The judge is surprised to hear that this relates to the accounting office robbery, and Rubirosa clarifies that he was acting in convert with the dead robbers, saying Max orchestrated this to coerce the owner to sell the building. Bradshaw contests this, and asks where the vigilante who gunned down three men. EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) who just raced in, says they are not prosecuting Harkovy. Bradshaw says Jack McCoy is telling them to arm themselves with unlicensed weapons and fire away at the least provocation. Cutter counters that Stan acted in self defense, it was Bradshaw’s client that put these events into motion. The judge says it is a tough sell, and sets bail at $100K. Cutter says to Rubirosa that Stan deserves a medal and if their strategy is to turn him into some crazed vigilante it won’t work. But Rubirosa is worried about proving motive, asking what is a trust fund kid like Max wants a building so badly that he terrorizes the owner. Cutter notes that Max’s grandfather didn’t bother showing up for the arraignment, and maybe he is ready to throw the kid to the wolves?

At the Hayworth Group offices, Cutter and Rubirosa speak with Hayworth. When Cutter says Max doesn’t understand the trouble that he is in, Hayworth says that is the pathology of gambling. Max got that bad gene from Hayworth’s late son in law. He says maybe he wanted to turn the building into a craps parlor. He adds that Max gets a modest stipend from a trust fund and couldn’t afford to put a down payment on it, much less buy it. When Rubirosa notes all the photos of buildings on the wall and asks if Hayworth owns all of them, he said he has, one time or another. He sold off most of his blue chip properties and the recession put his portfolio in the crapper. As they walk into his office, Rubirosa asks that maybe Max thought that he would get into the family business but says he and Max don’t have that kind of relationship. Cutter notices a model of the Caroline Hayworth Library at Hudson University and Hayworth said his daughter went there, she was an only child and Max’s mother. He promised everything he had after he died to Hudson to build it in her memory. Rubirosa comments that Max could not have been happy with that, but he said a deal is a deal and Max has his trust find. Hayworth asks if there is anything else, and Rubirosa says she does not think so, asking a distracted Cutter for his input. He says there are no more questions. As they exit the office, Cutter comments that it is a nice library, and not something you can just put anywhere.

At the university, they are told that Hayworth promised to donate the money at the end of the year in the form of an annuity and will receive an annual payout on the interest until the time of his death. The library will be fully funded. She tells them that Max came in a few weeks ago, claiming that his grandfather lost a lot of money since he made the donation and wants them to tear up the contract. They declined. But Cutter is looking at the maps of location for the library, and finds that the current location for the library and that Max saw the map and that he knows they are expanding in to Spanish Harlem, right through Stan’s building.

At DA Jack McCoy’s (Sam Waterston) office, he, Cutter, and Rubirosa watch a news story about Stan Harkovy day in Spanish Harlem where thousands came to celebrate. The reporter, Len Pewls (Jason Jones) says he wants to applaud Stan for defending his employee and his business against armed predators. Rubirosa comments that Pewls jumped right on this bandwagon, and McCoy replies that Stan is a perfect excuse for his thinly veiled racist commentaries. Cutter gives McCoy fair warning that he will be giving Stan his award at a ceremony tomorrow. McCoy asks why, and Cutter indicates that when the defense is calling Stan a vigilante, he thought it can’t hurt to showcase his heroism. He adds that he respects Stan as it could not have been easy persevering in that neighborhood all these years. McCoy adds that it is a free country, and says he is more interested in his case against Max. Cutter thinks they nailed his motive as Max’s grandfather is about to give away his inheritance to build a library at Hudson University and there was nothing he could do about it. Rubirosa adds that Max found out that Stan’s building is located at the new location for the library. Cutter says that if Max got control of that property he could hold it up and force Hayworth to pay him off. McCoy comments that was too bad for Max that he ran into someone more stubborn than his grandfather.

At the Citizen Commendation Awards Ceremony in the courthouse, Cutter is giving a glowing opening to Stan. Stan rises to great applause and gives a humble acceptance speech. After it is over, Rubirosa comments to McCoy that it looks like Hudson University sent someone to kiss Stan’s ring – the development officer handling the library gift. Now that Harkovy has all this public sympathy, it may cost them.. Bradshaw walks up to them and hands Rubirosa a motion to dismiss.

Back at Supreme Court, Bradshaw argues that a person can’t be charged with felony murder if his accomplice are killed in the crime. Cutter counters that presumes a comment intent among participants, while robbery was the intent of Max’s accomplices, Max’s intent was intimidation. But Bradshaw asks for the proof that Max sent those men into the store, saying it is speculation based on a coincidence that Max knew one of the robbers from a poker game. Cutter says one man’s coincidence is another man’s circumstantial evidence. But the judge isn’t buying it, and dismisses the indictment until there is proof.

At the prison interview area, Cutter and Rubirosa speak with Angel and his attorney. Angel admits he should not have been there and asks if there is anything they can do for him. Cutter wants him to do something for them first, and Rubirosa shows him Max’s photo, asking if he knows him. Angel does not know him, and Duane never mentioned them, and asks if they can’t just check his phones, He tells them Duane had to cells, his regular one and his “ho” phone. When Cutter seems perplexed as to what is a “ho” phone, Angel clarifies that it is a disposable so he can run around on his ladies. Rubirosa says they only found one cell phone, asking if Angel knows any of the ladies Duane called. He said he called Pierre’s sister a few time, and Pierre was not happy about it.

Back at the 2-7 the detectives tell Rubirosa that they traced 15 calls to Pierre Hobb’s sister, back to a cell that had calls to other women, but no calls to Max. Lupo notes calls to a Desiree’s House of Beauty, located on the same block as Stan’s store. The calls start the day Max went to visit Stan about buying the place.

With Lupo, Bernard, and Rubirosa at Desiree’s House of Beauty, a woman admits that she gave Duane her number and he called her that night. She doesn’t know why Duane was there, but another woman says Duane was waiting on a white guy. He leaned on his car across the street staring through their window, it was a blue BMW. Lupo shows her the photo of Max and she says that is him. She said Harkovy was chasing Max, and then Duane ran out there, and then Max went into his shop, implying Stan saw Duane. As they leave, Rubirosa comments that she thought Stan told them they didn’t see Duane until the day of the shooting, and Bernard unhappily confirms that.

As they walk outside in the rain, Cutter asks Rubirosa how they can be sure that Stan lied or that he even got a look at Duane. Rubirosa says the woman at the salon is pretty sure he did and he backed off when he saw Duane. Cutter reminds her Stan is 68 and in the fear and confusion of a hold up he might not remember a face he only saw for a few seconds. Rubirosa reminds him he was sharp enough to kill three men. She acknowledges Cutter is in Stan’s fan club but Stan has been looking at Duane’s mug shot for two weeks and she thinks it is incomprehensible he did not remember seeing him. Cutter says that maybe Stan did recognize him and did realize it was just intimidation. Rubirosa adds that his life and Gregory’s never were in danger.

Back at Stan’s business, Gregory recounts the crime for Lupo, Bernard, Cutter and Rubirosa. But while doing so, the detectives notice an inconsistency with the location of the blood spatter and Gregory’s story about who was shot first. Gregory admits that Duane, not Pierre (who was beating Gregory) got shot first. He lied because before the cops came, Stan said it would look better if they said the first guy they shot was the one who was beating him. A silence hangs over the group as they mull over what they just heard, and Bernard says before they jump to conclusions, let him talk to the man.

Lupo and Bernard are back at Stan’s place, and Stan is vacuuming He says the kid was by himself when he came into his building. Bernard, raising his voice over the vacuum, says but he had an argument, and he chased him outside. Stan seems to ignore the question so Bernard unplugs the vacuum, telling Stan that this is important. Stan says maybe he went outside. He didn’t see any black guy, but Bernard says there is witness who says he did. Stan gets angry, asking there is a witness knows what HE saw? He asks the detectives who is that person, but Bernard says it doesn’t matter. But Stan, in a raised voice, says it matters to him, and asks why he is doing this, he thought he was his friend. Bernard counters that he recognized one of the robbers, the guy that was with Max, and asks him to tell him the truth. Stan is silent, and Bernard states, “You did, didn’t you?” Stan says, “I am an old man. I don’t remember what I saw.” He looks back blankly at Bernard, who doesn’t look too happy with Stan. Lupo pipes up and says he sees that Stan has something from Kingsley properties, a commercial real estate broker. Stan asks how does he know, it’s junk mail. But Lupo notes that it is hand addressed junk mail. Bernard gives a questioning look back to Stan, and Stan looks back at him without responding. Lupo and Bernard walk out without saying a word, leaving Stan there standing silently.

At the office of Kingsley Properties, a woman says Harkovy came there to get an informal appraisal on his property, before the robbery. Someone had made him an offer and he wanted to know if it was a good deal. But she says it wasn’t’ she knew Hudson U was eyeballing the area and she confirmed it. She told Stan to sit tight and that Hudson would pay far more than any private developer. And now with all the attention for Stan, he can tack on another 10% just for the sympathy factor.

Back in McCoy’s office, Rubirosa tells him that Stan knew before the guys come into the store that he was sitting on a gold mine and has been milking it to drive up the price. Cutter says assuming that was true, why would Stan intentionally gun down men he knew were only sent to intimidate him. Rubirosa wonders if he just wanted to get Max off his back or send a message to Max that he could not be intimidated. Cutter comments if Stan could have made all those assumptions in a split second. McCoy wonders if he was just pissed off that the men who were trying to scare him, and Cutter, at a loss, says he does not know. McCoy says, “You don’t know, or you don’t want to think about all the crow you’ll have to eat if we charge him? Folk heroes. That’s the problem with these “Joe the Plumber” types. More often than not they come back to bite you in the ass. You now have a witness who can put Max Purcell with Duane Jefferson. Re-charge him, see if he’ll deal.” Rubirosa asks what about Stan, and McCoy glances to Cutter who is pondering. McCoy tells them to go to the grand jury and act for an indictment for murder. Cutter asks, “You sure? Even if he recognized Duane Jefferson, his office was still being robbed, his employee was still being beaten. The homicides were legally justified. “ McCoy, grinning a knowing grin, says Stan recognized Jefferson and he lied about it and that is consciousness of guilt, adding he shot those men because he had his own agenda. Cutter, silent, reluctantly nods.

In the grand jury, Max testifies about the Hudson University library plans and admits he targeted Stan’s property because that was all he could afford. He took Duane because he was nervous about the neighborhood. Duane waited outside but Stan would not listen to Max, chasing him out of the store, calling him a punk. Duane ran out of the hair salon and when Stan saw Duane coming he ran back into the store. Max is sure Stan saw Duane. He also admits he paid Duane $8,000 to send some guy to shake him up and look like a robbery and never thought Stan had a gun. He also admits he is taking a plea deal for his grand jury testimony.

Stan, on the stand, talks about opening the office 45 years ago and that he and his wife put everything into it. He talks about how supportive of he is of the neighborhood, saying the office is like a part of him. He adds when these punks came in to rob him and beat up Gregory, he couldn’t stand there and let them do it, he just couldn’t. He admits he is not happy he killed them, but they should not have come into his office and do what he did. When Rubirosa asks about Max offering to buy the place, he told Max to go to hell. He admits he followed Max to his car to tell him what he thought about his offer. He says he did not see Duane and anyone who says that is a liar. But Cutter takes over the questioning, asking why did Stan shoot Duane first? He insists he didn’t. Cutter adds that they gear forensic testimony saying that Stan shot Duane first. He says he was scared, they were beating Gregory. Cutter presses as to why he didn’t shoot the man first who was beating his employee? Stan says he could have shot Gregory. But Cutter counters that Gregory was on the ground and Stan had a clear shot at the man who was kicking him, the only man who was armed. When Stan says he was confused, Cutter brings up the fact that the realtor told Stan about the value of his building and that Stan recognized Duane and knew it was just a shakedown and he was going to send Max a message. Stan is emphatic when he says he didn’t plan this, all he wanted to do was go home at night, watch his programs and do a crossword puzzle, but they came in looking for trouble. He stood up for himself and there is nothing wrong with that, and he knows it. But Cutter looks at him with disdain, shaking his head. Rubirosa looks at the jury.

Outside the courthouse, Len Pewls is reporting as McCoy walks up, Pewls is referring to McCoy saying that since he took office, he is using it to pursue his quixotic, liberal wet dream. He ambushes McCoy and asks why is he prosecuting Stan Harkovy. McCoy says he can’t comment as grand jury proceedings are secret. Pewls asks when he is going to stop displaying such a liberal bias in his prosecutions. McCoy stands his ground, asking since when is it liberal bias to stand up for human dignity, human life, and fairness under the law? He tells Pewls he should re-examine his own values before he starts questioning his.

Outside the grand jury room. McCoy approaches Cutter and Rubirosa who are waiting for the decision. The jury has been deliberating for 4 hours and they heard some raised voices. McCoy says it is a hot potato, and Rubirosa adds that Stan is a charmer. The buzzer rings and the decision is handed to Cutter, who opens it – it’s no true bill. Rubirosa says, “Sorry Jack.” He responds, “These are the rules we play by” and he walks off.

Stan is in his office, on his phone with a reporter while packing. Bernard enters and Stan asks him if he has a 1040 he wants him to take care of. He says he just came to see how he was doing, and Stan says fine, the University made him an offer and he is going to buy a condo in Palm Beach and move down there. Bernard says he got what he wanted, but Stan says he didn’t want it like this, and his face changes a bit as he says it fell in his lap. Bernard says maybe so, but he knows he felt bad about it and had a chance to come clean and he didn’t. Stan looks a little angry, asking what does Bernard know about anything? He adds, “Talk to me in 40 years” and they glare at each other. A customer walks in, and Stan asks if he can help them. She says she does her own taxes, but wanted to bring her young son to meet a real live hero. While Stan asks the boy what is his name, Bernard walks out of the store, and Stan’s eyes follow him. Bernard turns back and Stan looks at him with a half smile, and as Bernard shuts the door, Stan’s face gets serious as we fade to black.

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Lisa R. said...

I thought it was an average episode, but any episode following "For the Defense" is bound to be a sort of letdown. (I was falling asleep towards the end, I admit.)

I was very distracted with the direction, though. Throughout the courtroom scenes, the director would slowly zoom in on the defense attorney, then slowly zoom in on Cutter, and even more slowly zoom in on the judge. It got to be very annoying! Maybe I was annoyed that there was no good Mike and Connie scenes...oh well.

Two weeks is going to be a long wait for the next ep...

John K. said...

Good recap, and you caught the major moments I wanted nicely (Pewls' scenes and the Joe the Plumber reference). You make a good observation in that Jack's becoming the political commenter on the show, which is ironic, since he was originally an apolitical character. Such are the times we live in.

I did like the episode, but Pewls and the JtP reference served as a major distraction for me. Which is part of the problem whenever a series engages into politics.

As for Mike's "warmth," his true motivation is starting to emerge after two seasons, which is rather confusing, given his past manipulative streak. (As you alluded with the "cold" remark.) In a way, it works, since he didn't have any motivation in the previous two seasons.

Once again, good recap, as always.

chocoholic said...

Thanks for the recap, it was an outstanding episode and I haven't always liked all of them, Elliott Gould was stellar.