The Practice
Fire Proof

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Fire's burning, fire's burning

D'Ambrosio's Factory Where They Try to Rebuild the Pain. Mark Margolis plays Ronald D'Ambrosio. He played Antonia Nappa on Oz. The factory is being rebuilt. There are workers all over the place. The only natural light is coming in from windows close to the roof. D'Ambrosio walks down a set of rather shaky-looking stairs. "Forty-two years. The biggest manufacturer in the north end." He throws a piece of debris into the garbage can. "And it all went in less than five minutes. You remember it, don't you, Jimmy?" He walks over toward Jimmy and Rod. "You worked here as a kid during summer vacation." Ah, Jimmy remembers. Blah the furniture was heavy, blah memory lane, yawn, blah. The three men start to walk around the factory. D'Ambrosio blathers on about the quality of his furniture. How beautiful and "solid" it all was. Mr. D'Ambrosio says, "This place was my life." He turns to Jimmy, points, and says, "Your father Lenny worked here twenty years. He knew the man who died. The night watchman." They walk around the site a while longer. D'Ambrosio explains how he would "die" before he'd burn down his business. Jimmy says, "Mr. D'Ambrosio, we need to talk about Tucker." Oh, D'Ambrosio knows about Tucker: "How can he say I paid him to do it? Before, he said we were innocent!" Rod shakes his head. Wiggles his shoulders. He doesn't like it any more than D'Ambrosio does. Blah agreed to testify, blah reduced sentence blah. D'Ambrosio shakes his head and moans, "This is a nightmare." No. A nightmare is the fact that all of the men in Hollywood over a certain age have become afflicted with the Regis Philbin's Shining Teeth Syndrome. D'Ambrosio continues, "I'm innocent but I could be convicted of murder anyways? Sent away for life?" Jimmy explains how they're going to do everything to prevent a guilty conviction. D'Ambrosio starts to walk away, dropping credentials behind him, blah businessman of the year twice, blah Sons of Italy blah, upstanding citizen blah. Jimmy follows behind, patiently picking them up, and says, "I know." D'Ambrosio turns around: "Stop saying you know. It wasn't always so nice for us here." Pause. "Sure, now we've got a mayor, a governor. But nothing changes, not for us, Jimmy." Huh? Are all three of them not while males standing there? According to D'Ambrosio, "To your face, it's always respect, but behind your back, they talk, they proceed." Uh-huh. He continues, "You could be Justice Scalia, if your name ends in a vowel they think you're La Cosa Nostra." Wah. Man running a multi-million-dollar furniture business. Wah. The Symphony Of Sicilian Saturation strums as D'Ambrosio walks away. Jimmy turns to his fearless leader: "I've known him my whole life. He's not mobbed up." The Symphony continues. Rod throws his hands in the air; he's waiting for the FBI to bust in, I think. Because every man with an Italian name on television needs to be associated with the mob, even if he's not associated with the mob. Bobby says, "I know. But his business was hurting, and he did take the insurance money." Blah nostalgia blah, in Jimmy's house, blah growing up, blah the Holy Trinity, blah Pope John XXIII, blah JFK, blah D'Ambrosio. Bobby, always prone to the obvious, says, "Why would Tucker plead to a crime he didn't commit?" Well, because he probably set the fire. And then watched the building burn with one of his, ahem, appendages firmly in his hand. Jimmy continues, "Whatever the reason, he's wrong about D'Ambrosio." Pause. "Bobby. We can't lose." Of course not, because then how could The Practice battle debilitating stereotypes in modern culture? Yawn.

Suffering County Courthouse. Rod, Jimmy, and D'Ambrosio sit for the D-Fence. Helen and Walsh sit for the prosecution. Helen and Bobby are up at bat. Judge Kimball presides. Bobby is arguing. His hands are flying from one side of his body to the other. Like he's doing the conga-line dance from the end of Stanley Tucci's The Imposters. What a funny film. Right. So, Rod argues that D-Fence had planned all along to give a joint defense. Except now they can't, because Tucker The Firestarter decided to plead guilty. Helen: "Which is his right." Rod snaps, "The D.A. engineered it so the plea would come on the eve of the trial!" He points his finger, just to be sure everyone knows he's the one making the argument. Helen rebuts, "Mr. Tucker initiated that deal, not us." Bobby says smugly, "Come on." Helen insists that it's true; Tucker called Walsh first. Rod blathers on about his client needing time to prepare a new defense. Only we've got just an hour, so you know the judge is going to go ahead with the trial. Judge Kimball: "Mr. Donnell, your complaint is with Mr. Tucker, not the D.A. If he broke his word to you -- sue him. I can't keep the D.A. from making deals, they can make them whenever with whomever they'd like. I can't help you."

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