'The Firm' Recap: 'Chapter Four' (1.04)
After a strong start, The Firm's fourth chapter wavers - but that also serves to reinforce what makes this show tick and why the series should stick to its guns.
We start forward again, with Mitch having gotten off the phone with Andrew, and meeting his family at the dock. He tells them that Martin is dead and explains what we've been seeing for the past three weeks. "I can't know what we're into until I know what this is about," he says, and heads off to find Andrew at the same time that the cops want to talk to him.
There's finally a title sequence this week, and it's pretty nifty - all angles and dramatic underscore. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm a sucker for a good title sequence.
We're down to "four weeks earlier" now, and Mitch is having another meeting with Sarah Holt (Alex Paxton-Beesley, who's got some experience with legal shows now, as her last TV credit before this was the Suits episode "Rules of the Game"). He wants to know why the coroner's report says that the woman she's accused of killing was smothered. She continues to deny everything, and so Mitch begins to look into the victim's son, while being late for the start of another trial.
He's defending Elle, a psychotherapist accused of murdering an ex-patient that had been stalking her. This trial is in the smallest, emptiest courtroom I've ever seen, reminding me of the practical closets I used to practice my opening statements in, just with nicer furniture. He spots a suspicious guy in the courtroom glaring at him, and tells his family that it might have something to do with that warning about the mafia he got a few weeks back. Understandably, they're a bit annoyed that they weren't told before. Abby requests a meeting with their U.S. Marshal friend, who does little to reassure her.
Elle is displeased with Mitch's performance, and tries to shrink him. He is displeased with her trying to shrink him, so they're even. He gets further ticked off when it comes out in open court that she wasn't being entirely truthful with him. While he glares - and Josh Lucas is really good at that angry stare; just see Glory Road - she explains that "I had to do something, so I took matters into my own hands." She thought she could persuade the crazy person to go back on his meds, which makes so much sense. She tells Mitch that she wasn't trying to kill him, but merely "immobilize him" in order to get away. She might shrink other people, but when it comes to herself, she's not that smart.
Mitch is forced to put her on the stand, where the prosecutor (that's Christina Chang, who does this all the time; she used to play a DA on L.A. Dragnet) tears into her. He makes a comeback when he places the detective who investigated Elle's stalking complaint at the scene of the crime, accusing the man of making the stalker's murder look like a suicide to protect Elle when the law couldn't. It's enough to create reasonable doubt and she's acquitted. Her way of saying 'thank you' is to offer him free therapy. If I were Mitch, I wouldn't know how to take that, and I certainly wouldn't know how to take the detective's "hypothetical" confirmation of his theory in the hallway after the verdict.
Ray starts looking into the son of the woman Sarah Holt is accused of killing, who happens to be a deputy sheriff. This is all kinds of awkward, but Ray is not bothered by any of this; in fact, he seems to enjoy it. Turns out the deputy sheriff had a domestic violence complaint lodged against him after an argument with his ex-girlfriend...over his mother.