The Practice
Till Death Do Us Part (1)

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Ragdoll: C | Grade It Now!
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Till Death Do Us Part (1)

Kelli Williams's most pedagogical voice utters, "Previously, on The Practice." Mrs. "Philly" Donovan enlists Ellenor's help to save her son, convicted of raping and killing his girlfriend and her mother, from death row. There was a car chase. Some action shots. An angry DA. Some good detective work and a lot of screaming. That's what happened last week.

The Firm. Bright lights, Beantown. Ellenor "Anti-Quitter" Frutt slams a file down on the table in the conference room. She's surrounded by the firm which actually includes Lucy for some reason. She's giving the lowdown on her trip to Philadelphia; the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania turned them down last night (on the decision to process a DNA test using the rape kit from Stuart's original trial). This means they now "have to go to Federal Circuit Court under what's called a 'successor' petition." Bobby "Three to Tango" Donnell's stunned: "Just to get the DNA test?" Ellenor sits down; she's wearing all black and is heavily made up: "It gets worse" (doesn't it always get worse -- I mean, this is prime-time, right?). Something about Stuart's previous lawyer filing a habeas petition, meaning that if they can't prove that the young man is innocent, they can forget about getting the test at all. Further, they have to also prove that his constitutional rights were somehow violated. Which seems like a monumental task, if you ask me. It's Bobby who points out the obvious circularity of the situation. "Wait, wait, wait," he holds up his Dramatic Hand and continues, "We're trying to get the DNA test in order to prove that he's innocent but we can't get the DNA test unless we prove that he's innocent?" Ellenor verifies that Bobby's correct, which excites Bobby, who screams, "How the hell can that be?" On top of the legal mess, Stuart Donovan is set to be put to death in seventeen days, which means these lawyers have got their work cut out for them. Jimmy "The Lump" Berluti, in muted, defeated tones, says, "This sounds worse than California."

Credits. No, ragdoll's not going to get into her own little hate-fest about the music -- no she's just going to keep quiet and silently bear the pain. The anguish. The intense need to throw the television out her third-floor window.

The Firm. Some of the lawyers are leaving the conference room as we see an elderly couple enter the offices. The elderly woman is seated in a wheelchair and a tall, gentle-looking older man is in its control. She's attached to an oxygen machine and looks quite fragile herself. Mr. Turner addresses the founder of the firm, wondering if he is, in fact, Robert Donnell. Bobby replies that he is, which in turn gives Mr. Turner the opportunity to start in with his story. "I'm afraid we're in a bit of trouble," he says after introducing himself and his wife, Gertrude. Apparently, Gertrude's daughter is looking to have their marriage annulled. In the most brazen of self-aggrandizing moves, Bobby tries to pass the case off on Lindsay, announcing she's the firm's "head of domestic relationship department." (You can draw your own conclusions about that one.) Lindsay approaches the couple with a smile on her face as Bobby introduces the couple to his fiancée. "Umm, Bobby," she starts, "on that lujack matter..." He'll handle the lujack deposition and races off to stare at his fine self in the "I'm The King of the Castle and You're the Dirty Rascal" mirror. Poor Arthur starts again in on his story, about how his stepdaughter is attempting to get their marriage annulled, when Rebecca enters and Lindsay dumps the couple onto her: "Oh, actually, we have an annulment specialist. Rebecca, could you help the Turners? Their marriage is being threatened with annulment and the hearing is today." The other lawyer tries to explain that she too has a lujack conference, but Lindsay "Queen Bitch" Doyle successfully leads Rebecca to the water and forces her to drink. Mrs. Turner, unknowingly aware of their "inside" firm lingo, says, "This Lujack must be a really big client!" You poor, unwitting soul.

The Underbelly Of An Airplane. Lots of airplane noises. We're in Philly. Mrs. Donovan is leading Ellenor, Eugene, Jimmy, and Lucy (whose job description now includes "traveling wit") through her home to the study, where all of Stuart's case information is stored. She thanks them desperately for coming. The This Is Such A Serious Matter Song starts playing as the camera pans around the room: there are boxes everywhere, files a-plenty, papers strewn every which way, and photographs tacked up on all the walls. The crime-scene photos are, of course, disturbing: pictures of a young blonde woman laying face-down with blood all over the place, bloody hands, and dead stares. "Oh my God!" Lucy exclaims as she stops to inspect the photos. Mrs. Donovan apologizes; she's become quite de-sensitized to the matter, and I suppose she would have to be -- especially if she wants to prove her son's innocence. Ellenor starts in with the strategy to lighten the mood, although the Serious Matter Song is still playing: "I've got a meeting with the informant at one. Eugene's going to see the witness." Mrs. Donovan warns them that they'd be lucky to get the "time of day out of him" and asks about the father. Which has become Jimmy's assignment -- lucky Lump. I can't imagine anything more horrifying than visiting the only surviving member of a family that was killed by the man you're trying to save from death row. Mary tries to thank them again, and Ellenor warns her that it's a long shot. To end the scene on a somewhat positive note, Eugene encourages everyone, "Let's just get to work."

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