Outside the Conference Room, Bobby shakes Mr. Baldwin's hand after saying he'll meet them at the courthouse the next morning. Toward the front of the shot, Jimmy, with his glasses perched precariously on his nose, is puttering away at his desk. Bobby eyes him, then wanders over after the Baldwins have left. "Hey Jimmy," he says, "are things squared away with your bookie?" Last the Lump heard, the cops hadn't arrested him yet, only Bobby was talking about the cash he owed, not the court case. "Oh." Pause. "That." Jimmy stumbles, and then says, "We're in the past tense on that, definitely." The Tango Of Forbidden Fibs rises as the Emperor says, "Good." Jimmy is really on his way out now; the only definite in that statement is how surely Spanky's going to beat down on him for only having a third of what he owes.
The Practice has turned into the soft-rock station of primetime. They could pipe in this melodrama at my dentist's office and call it *NSYNC -- it's that bad.
Suffering County Courthouse. Joanna Gleason as Henrietta Lightstone -- and with that name she could be a heroine of a Brontë sisters' epic -- is the hotshot lawyer Pearce obtained for this case. She argues that death would have been presumed after seven years, meaning the statute of limitations has long since run out. Ellenor counters, "Unless there's fraud that prevented the Baldwins from finding out that Pearce caused the wrongful death." Argument: No fraud. Counter: Pearce disappeared days after Chad's disappearance and assumed a new identity. Argument: He wanted a fresh start after being wrongly accused of the crime. Counter: Pearce was convicted of sex crimes under that alias in another state. Judge Spindle wants to know why the Baldwins didn't file their lawsuit within the proper timeframe to preserve their claim. Argument by Ellenor: Would have been pointless, seeing that Pearce pulled a magical rabbit and vanished. Henrietta: You don't need to know where a defendant is to file suit. Ellenor: You need to know where he is to serve him. Hen: They found him three years later; they could have served him in prison. The judge lets the claim survive the limitations challenge. But Ellenor is going to have to work doubly hard to prove her case, regardless of the fact that there is a different standard of proof here in civil court. Hen cackles, "Oh who's kidding who, if the police thought --" Ellenor interrupts to state that the police do think Pearce committed the crime. They're just having a little trouble proving he committed the crime. The judge grants a short evidentiary hearing. If The Firm can make a showing that they have anything worth submitting to a jury, she'll bring it to a jury. "We'll see you back here at 10 a.m." Ellenor, meekly, "Tomorrow?" Well, if they're not prepared after eighteen years, that would pretty much negate their entire position. The Hyper-Melodramatic Moment approaches as Mrs. Baldwin approaches Pearce before they take him back into custody. She screws her face up and whines, "We just want to give him a funeral." Blah she'll forgive him, blah just tell them where he is, blah drag her away, blah get a hold of yourself, blah please, blah please, blah please.
Once outside the Suffering County Courthouse, Jenny Baldwin apologizes. Bobby says, "It's okay." Apparently, in the thirty seconds between this scene and the last, Mrs. Baldwin has gotten a pretty good hold on herself and her emotions. Good to see the continuity. Again, Rod's all business; he echoes Ellenor's sentiments when she barks, "It's time to put up or shut up." Because platitudes are always best when dealing with missing children -- yawn. Orders come flying. Blah they have to go through the transcripts from the previous trials, and considering that Pearce was never charged with the kidnapping of their son, I assume he's talking about the molestation case. Jenny's going to testify first. Bobby says, "You might be attacked on memory and the fact that it happened eighteen years ago." Hey, in case anyone didn't notice -- just to make it absolutely clear, just so no one misses the truly dramatic and intense nature of this episode -- the events of the crime happened eighteen years ago. Yeah, that's right. Eighteen. That's a long time, eh? Blah Mrs. Baldwin's been playing it back for eighteen years. Like Groundhog Day gone horribly wrong. She remembers as if it were yesterday. Good thing she remembers, because I've been trying to forget it for days.