Previously, on The Practice: Lucy counsels an eleven-year-old girl after a man who lives in the girl's building raped her. (The girl, not Lucy.) The DA's office sends in Helen "Skinny Plissken" Gamble to ask if the victim is strong enough to take part in a police line-up. Amanda McGowan, the young girl, resists. She doesn't want to see her attacker, and I don't blame her. Lucy posits that the girl simply is not strong enough to see him, because she's a Rape Counselor and She Knows. Helen and Lucy discuss the case sans Amanda's father because They Both Know. The eyewitness is presented as a drunk from the wrong side of the tracks. This fact concerns Helen outright. Not only that, but Ms. Tritter had had two beers by the time she watched the attack! All of the worrisome details are presented to Mr. McGowan, Amanda's father, who is in a wheelchair. Apparently, "it" doesn't look good. Could they tug any harder on our heartstrings -- oh wait, that's the weight of an eighty-pound anvil tugging on my chest, my mistake.
Helen's Office, Where They Encase People In Pain. Mr. McGowan wheels over to Helen "Bring It On!" Gamble and burst out, "What do you mean, plea?" Helen responds, "He backed out of the deal. He wants to go to trial." How can he do that? Well, until the plea is entered with the judge, the defendant can revoke the agreement at any time. Helen is wearing a red sweater. It makes her shoulder blades look mountainous. In fact, her head is so skinny that you'd think it might slice her in two, right down the line between these bony, harrowing shoulder blades that are threatening to go their separate ways after spending the last thirty years on a hunger strike. Mr. McGowan is horrified: "Does this mean she has to testify?" Helen bobs her head, slowly, carefully, so as to ensure it doesn't snap right off: "It means she might." The father insists that Helen has to use the other witness. The DA replies that she can't make the case with Michelle Tritter, a.k.a. "Drunken Whore From The Wrong Side Of The Tracks," alone. Helen believes that Amanda will probably have to take the stand, but she assures the father that she "will do everything [she] can to protect her." The Cries of Desperation Sonata in D Minor strike a chord as Howard McGowan drops his head into his hands. Helen continues, "Maybe if Michelle Tritter's testimony is compelling enough, we could reintroduce the idea of a plea, to spare Amanda." Pause. Swelling violin. Un-pause: "Look, Howard. I don't want to be a killer DA here. Do you want to call this off?" Mr. McGowan quivers, "We can't." He takes a deep breath: "He lives in our building." Another, even deeper, breath: "If he goes free, she's gonna see him every day!" His voice cracks: "He could rape her again!" He waits for the music to catch up with him, blathers something about Helen needing to do what she needs to do to "get him," and asks her to spare "his little girl."