You’re selfish, Your Honour!


There isn’t much to say about The Firm this week. While an improvement over last week’s episode, the biggest thing about it was that we are now only two weeks (or episodes) away from catching up to those pesky flash-forwards. I’m really interested to see how the show will change at that point. Certainly being able to tell stories past a fixed point will free up the writers. Or will we just get another set of flash-forwards? I hope not.

The episode was pretty much stolen by Victor Garber as a politically-minded judge looking to pad his statistics for re-election. Garber just has that deep voice that commands attention even if he’s ordering at a McDonald’s drive thru. The best part of “Chapter Six” is the guest appearance from Garber, who was cool in Alias and flat-out amazing in Eli Stone. Watching him tangle with Lucas is a delight; he’s an adversary we love to hate. There have been plenty of smarmy judges, but Garber’s presence makes his all the more interesting. If this were Law & Order and he wasn’t an antagonist, I’d say he would be a perfect candidate to be a recurring judge.

When we last left The Firm, Mitch was being put in prison for throwing Martin (Sir Sniffs-a-lot) off of the hotel balcony.  We open this week with Mitch saying through the two-way glass, “I need to make a phone call.”  Mystery Man on the other side of the glass demands a swift conviction for Mitch.

This week, Mitch discovers ulterior motives when a judge offers leniency for his client; Claire tries to convince her parents she needs a cell phone; Tammy and Ray continue working on the Sarah Holt case.

As the opening credits rolled this week, I had a realization: I like this show.  I look forward to watching it each week. I am invested in these characters, and the mystery, and I want to know what happens!

In addition to what’s going on with Sarah, Mitch is also defending a man accused of burning down a nightclub that he was thrown out of. The man swears his innocence and claims that an incriminating fingerprint must have been planted. Judge Walter Dominic (Victor Garber) seems a little too sympathetic; he calls Mitch into chambers and convinces him to get his client to sign a jury waiver. Dominic unexpectedly convicts the defendant of assault and sentences him to eight years in prison. He insists to a livid Mitch that “I did you a favor.”

With help from Ray and Tammy, Mitch realizes that Dominic is trying to pad his stats for his re-election campaign, by sentencing only white defendants to prison time. How do they hold him accountable? While Mitch fakes an apology and Tammy distracts a secretary with a fake marriage idea, Ray sneaks his way into the judge’s chambers and narrowly escapes. Mitch then confronts Dominic, who realizes too late that he’s been bugged and all the incriminating stuff he’s just said has been heard by the FBI. Mitch’s client walks free and Dominic gets arrested.

We open with Claire giving arguments to her mom about why she should have a cell phone.  This feels very familiar to this former teacher, who often had arguments with her students about how cell phones weren’t really necessary at age 10.  Cute moment as Mitch smiles to himself at Claire’s use of note cards to lay out her argument—already a lawyer!  Later in the episode, when Claire gets lost at a museum, Abby realizes the importance of a cell phone, and decides to give one to Claire.  Bonus points: Claire didn’t bug me this episode!  She’s growing on me!

We are led to believe that Claire might have been taken by the Moralto crime family thug, who follows Abby, Claire, and the class to the museum, and proceeds to strike up a conversation with Claire. Turns out he is just continuing his spy mission, as he reports back to Moralto Jr. that the McDeeres are easy-to-reach. Junior says to leave them alone…for now.Tammy and Ray spend the episode working on the Sarah Holt more-than-it-seems case.  They find another piece of evidence that leads Mitch to a meeting with an insurance company.  In the meeting, Mitch meets Sir Sniffs-a-lot, and the Mystery Man from the beginning of the episode (who we learn is named Kevin). During the meeting, they brush Mitch off, but Sir Sniffs-a-lot passes on some secret numbers afterwards.

It’s also nice to see some of the pieces of the big picture come out this week. We’re down to two more episodes before the show catches up to the flash-forwards, so it was definitely time for us to meet Martin. And there really wasn’t much move on the mob angle until now, although I’m still trying to get a bead on how we’re supposed to feel about Joey. One moment it seems like he wants to be relatively normal, the next he’s making not-so-veiled threats. It goes back to what I’ve said before about still trying to get a read on the show’s villains. It’d certainly be interesting if Joey turned out to be a more sympathetic villain, much like Andrew, but I can’t quite figure out where the show is going with either of them.
Addict Verdict: Overall, Chapter Six is a fair entry in the season so far. It seems to really be setting up the next part of the story, as nothing really mind-blowing occurs in any of the cases. We usually see more background for the Case of the Week story, to give us a little more emotional resonance into the defendant, but even that was light so that they could focus on Mitch’s investigation of the judge.
Fix-Your-Eyes-On-Me Scene: I definitely enjoyed the Mitch/Ray/Tammy tag-team of the judge’s office, and the satisfying way that it was concluded. The information that we were given this week in the Sarah Holt case seemed to be building blocks for what is to come, but it wasn’t very interesting information. At least we finally got to meet Sir Sniffs-a-lot and learn how he plays into the story.

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