Season 4 Episode 11

Trial By Magic

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Jan 24, 2002 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
313 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

While Phoebe performs jury duty in a murder case, she is hit with a premonition about the real killer, and must convince the rest of the jury that the defendant is not guilty without exposing magic. Meanwhile, Piper, Paige and Leo try to help Phoebe find the real murderer, but they stumble upon a gang of demons involved and they must solve the crime and keep Paige's friend out of danger before Phoebe gets thrown off the jury.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Trial By Magic

    Trial By Magic was a great episode of Charmed and I really enjoyed watching because the story was entertaining, the character development was intriguing and the magical happenings were interesting. I liked how Phoebe stood up to the other members of the jury but find it hard to believe she and her sisters would resort to showing them magic is real. It was great and I did like the reactions so it was still fun. I also liked how the rats were demons and the sisters went to the leadership who retracted their member and his spell harming Paige's friend. I liked how the sisters bonded. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!moreless
  • Trial by Tedium...

    Ugh... If a list of worst Charmed episodes were to be made, then this would definitely be a consideration.

    I would perhaps put this a notch above the worst episodes of Seasons 1-3 simply because Rose McGowan is involved, even if her character, Paige, is acting completely idiotic. This is one of those episodes where one character is acting completely insane, and this time it is Paige, who gets her share of such episodes. The exposure issue isn't the obvious biggest issue with Glenn. What should be far more evident and important is the fact that Glenn can be KILLED by staying at the manor if demons attack. This very obvious and real danger seems to completely escape Paige until being directly faced with the real possibility at the end, which by the way is the one good part of this episode.

    Piper is very much the hardcase in this episode, but as she says, that is part of her charm. Except for the ending when Phoebe tells the accused to embrace his gift, the entire Phoebe, jury storyline is about as painful to watch as any in Charmed's history. STUPID. Also, there was probably just too much going on with the whole rat demons being behind it and then there being demons behind them. I guess it was necessary to get us to the cool part where Glenn's life was in the balance, finally teaching Paige apparently an important lesson.

    It was also something different that Glenn was allowed to know about the sisters. Of course, there are plenty of innocents that know the same, right?moreless
  • Demons are running around everywhere and Phoebe gets called up for Jury Duty.

    It is the moral obligation of every citizen who is able to do so to make themselves available for jury duty. When Phoebe gets called up, she finds herself one of the twelve who get to sit in judgement on a man accused of murder. Everything is fine until she has premonitions of the real killer and realises that the person on trial is innocent.

    The problems begin to arise when she realises that she must prove that the man is innocent and that it's going to be necessary to use magic in order to convince the other jurors. Not exactly an easy task!

    There were a nasty group of demons involved in this one as well, but they were a bit boring and the jury part was far more interesting than anything they did.moreless
  • Stretch Lad and The Army of Rat Demons

    Trial of Magic-While Phoebe performs jury duty in a murder case, she is hit with a premonition about the real killer, and must convince the rest of the jury that the defendant is not guilty without exposing magic. Meanwhile, Piper, Paige and Leo try to help Phoebe find the real murderer, but they stumble upon a gang of demons involved and they must solve the crime and keep Paige's friend out of danger before Phoebe gets thrown off the jury. One of the worst episodes this seasons with some of the most ridiculous storylines and scenes that drag to no end, "Trial By Magic" is one of the poorest hours from Charmed. The Phoebe's whole storyline feels forced and her scenes with her trying to force her others juries to believe in magic were never-ending and it got to the point where you even believed she was crazy. I mean of all the things the writers could have come up with? Why couldn't they just have Phoebe levitate and save half an episode of lame writing!? I actually felt bad for the guest stars playing the other juries as they got pad to do nothing. The whole "finding the real killer" plot was mediorce at first but then when the whole rat demons came into play it became really bad! Even when the writers make jokes about it in the dialogue it still doesn't take away from how awful it is.

    Then there's Paige's annoying sub-plot with Glenn, who she let's stay in the house and find out that she as well as her sisters her witches. It's very reckless of Paige and I was on Piper's side on this one, also the whole Glenn having stretch powers made me sick with it being played for cheap gags, not mention when he get involved in the whole rat demon dilemma it's not even in the less bit interesting, let alone suspenseful. Hmmmm...I'm trying to think of something good this episode did? Piper was awesome as usual...yup...pretty much it! All and All, "Trial by Magic" is guilty!...of being a complete suckfest, nothing more!moreless
  • Rubber band boy

    Doesn't seem to have been too popular with the reviewers, this one. Hardly a surprise, of course - episodes which focus on someone other than the sisters never score well - but a real shame as it contains a lot of good stuff.

    First up, it's great to see Glen back. He's such a refreshing character - totally down to earth and scarily true to life. Still loving that sexy voice. As soon as Paige said he could stay at the Manor it was obvious he would find the BoS but it was interesting to see how it panned out. What we get is a whole new take on the exposure issue. While Piper is busy lecturing Paige on not revealing their secret, Phoebe realises she must expose magic to save her innocent. It's good to see them thinking about it calmly for once, even if it is one set of rules for Glen and one for everybody else.

    The jury scenes did drag, particularly when Phoebe started wittering on about ancient magic. The reactions of the jurors were spot on; her endless stalling was highly annoying and I cringed when she mentioned Cupid. If she wanted to prove magic existed why didn't she just levitate or cast a spell? Not clever writing.

    I don't see why the murder had to be demonic. It strung out the plot unnecessarily in my view. And to answer Paige's question: yes, you do hunt killers who aren't demons. Dead Man Dating, Ms Hellfire and Enter the Demon all come to mind.

    The effects looked good this week; the best was the demon blasting through the door. And the stretch spell was brilliant - such a shame they didn't make more of it. More random spells please!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (14)

    • After Glen made the joke about how he needed to call off the media and tells Piper he was joking. She says "you didn't lose a sister!" Technically she did lose a sister even though she didn't know her, they were still sisters. Also in Charmed Again (1) Paige tells her boyfriend that she felt like she lost her too, so why didn't Paige mention that?

    • When the rat demon is about decapitate Glen, why didn't Piper just freeze them both? That would've stalled for time and saved Glen's life in the process.

    • When Glen is looking through the book it showed him on the page with the upper level demons but while talking to Paige he turned the page. When Paige sat next to him it was on the same upper level demon page and it never showed him turning it back.

    • When Piper and Paige are arguing about Glen staying at the manor, Paige's only arguement is the untrue statement that she pays rent. Why didn't she bring up the fact that it was Piper and Phoebe who begged her to move to the manor in the first place?

    • If Phoebe wanted to prove to the jury that magic existed, why did she not just levitate or cast a simple spell? The same can also be asked about Paige with Glen, why didn't she just use her magic rather than cast the spell?

    • Unless that killer was wearing gloves there would be fingerprints all over the knife. Why didn't they just use that to prove that Stan was innocent?

    • At the end of the episode, the girls are standing in the hall and the rat demon turns into a human, grabs Glen and goes out breaking the door into pieces. In this scene two errors are shown- at first when the Rat Demon turns into a human at the stairs the effect is badly done. He has no legs visible and the wall behind him is shown between the stairs. - At the end, when the demon goes out the door is broken into pieces on the floor but when the camera changes and the girls and Leo are shown, there's nothing on the floor.

    • TRIVIA: This is one of 4 episodes in season 4 that Cole does not appear in. Phoebe mentions that Cole is out trying to find himself without his demonic side, which explains Cole's absence.

    • TRIVIA: This is the second time Nancy Drew's name is mentioned in the show. The first time it was also said by Piper in the first episode Something Wicca This Way Comes.

    • When Phoebe tries to summon Angela on her own, she only uses one spell. However, when her sisters come to help her, they use two, saying the "Hear these words, hear my cry, spirit from the other side..." spell, too.

    • When Phoebe fails to summon Angela on her own, one of the jurors, Tanya, says she will get the lights. Several times Tanya went to stand up but then just adjusted herself in the seat, hesitating to turn on the lights. Why wouldn't one of the jurors who was closer to the light switch turn them on, because Tanya was actually pretty far from the switch?

    • Back in season 3 "Pre-Witched", the sisters needed six white and purple candles in order to summon the ghost of Ariel, but in this episode Phoebe used 5 white candles.

    • Why did Phoebe need the Power of Three to summon a ghost? She has been able to summon the dead plenty of times on her own.

    • TRIVIA: The spell used by the sisters to call the spirit of Angela is the same one used by them in the season 3 episode "Pre-Witched" to call the spirit of Ariel.

  • QUOTES (29)

    • Paige: I'm thinking maybe we can use that memory dust on Glenn, you know. Keep you from being so nervous.
      Piper: Do you think he's going to tell anyone?
      Paige: No.
      Piper: Do you trust him?
      Paige: Yes I do.
      Piper: (nodding) Then so do we.
      Leo: Whew...

    • (Rat Demon comes in a blur of red)
      Piper: Where's our friend mouse man?

    • Paige: Piper, are you up here? What's the emergency? (She walks in and sees Glen) Oh my god, Glen. What are you doing up here?
      Glen: It's funny. See, after you left I was still hungry so I opened the fridge and I found some bags labelled "pig's feet", "rabbit blood", "frog tongue". So I decided to take a little look around. Found more than I bargained for.
      Paige: Look, I can explain everything, okay? I really can. I'll just have to explain it later because if Piper finds us up here she's gonna freak.
      Glen: Piper's gonna freak? I just found out your new sisters have you messing with the occult in a pretty serious way, and you're worried about how they're gonna freak?
      Paige: Look. We're not messing with the occult. We're witches. My sisters and I were born good witches. We do good magic.
      Glen: This book is full of pictures of demons and warlocks.
      Paige: Well, demons and warlocks that we fight and destroy.
      Glen: These girls have you brainwashed. I mean, how do you even know that they're your sisters?
      Paige: Glen, you've gotta trust me. Please. I am not brainwashed. I am the same old Paige except now when I make a rhyme magic happens.
      Glen: Paige.
      Paige: Look. You've been to Africa. You've met those witch doctors on your travels, right?
      Glen: Yeah. But these guys are a hundred years old and they speak in tongues, and you're you.

    • Phoebe: Wow, we actually have a door, imagine that.

    • (A rat runs across the floor. Piper screams and freezes it)
      Leo: Demons you can handle but not rats?

    • Piper: Since when do demons give a rat's ass - no pun intended - about laundering money?

    • Phoebe: Okay, do we have to call him the rat demon? Because it's very hard to be appropriately frightened.

    • Piper (to the Rat Demon): What do you mean how do you know? You've just gotta trust us. We're the good guys for crying out loud.

    • Piper: You! You cast a spell on him? Are you crazy?
      Paige: No, but somebody is.
      Glen: I'm just trying to have some fun. Sorry.
      Piper: Okay, but this is not supposed to be fun for you. It's not supposed to be for you at all.
      Glen: Well, I guess I'd better call off the tabloids.

    • Paige: So you guys have told people about being witches lots of times.
      Piper: Yes, innocents, but only when we didn't have any other choice.
      Phoebe: Our secret is never more important than saving somebody's life.
      Leo: Can't you guys just enjoy saving this innocent for a minute and a half before getting back to the great debate.

    • (The curtain opens and Glen is standing there with the ring around his neck)
      Rat Demon: Just so you know, if anything happens to me, anything at all, the ring will decapitate him.
      Piper: That's new.
      Phoebe: So much for a quick getaway.

    • Paige: Okay, do you want it now or should I email it to you?
      Piper: What?
      Paige: My apology. You were right. Keeping our secret is the most important thing, I should've listened to you. Do you want more? Should I keep grovelling?
      Piper: As fun as that would be. I'm sorry too, I can be a little harsh, but it's part of my charm, you'll learn to love me for it.

    • Piper (to Paige): Okay, just remember, you play good witch, I play bad witch.

    • Leo: So you didn't lock the attic?
      Paige: It didn't occur to me.
      Piper: What do you mean? I told you to lock all the doors before you go.
      Paige: Well, I thought you meant the front door. Maybe you should've been more specific.
      Piper: Well, I was speaking in code.

    • Paige: When nothing happens you can drag me off to the funny farm, tell them I've been brainwashed. Believe me, I could use the vacation.

    • Paige: Glen, you've gotta trust me, please. I am not brainwashed, I am the same old Paige except now when I make a rhyme magic happens.

    • Piper: It'd be so much easier if we could just vanquish him.
      Leo: You can't do that but you might be able to use your magic.
      Phoebe: Well, there's one guy I would love to turn into a warthog.
      Leo: Not on the jury, on the killer.

    • Piper (referring to Glen): Paige, you're leaving him here alone?
      Paige: Well, he can't fit in my cubicle with me at work.

    • Glen: Hey.
      Phoebe: Hi.
      Glen: Is Paige home?
      Phoebe: Yeah, she is, but I'm not. Bye!

    • Phoebe: Well, let's just say it would be my supreme pleasure to send that murdering bastard straight to hell. By legal means, not magical.

    • Phoebe: Paige, you know I can't talk about the case. Besides, that's not why I can't sleep. I can't sleep because I miss Cole too much. If he doesn't come home soon, I'm gonna turn into a vampire.
      Paige: Jokes like that in this house, not so funny.

    • Phoebe: Yeah, well, I'm late and I need caffeine, so sue me.
      Piper: Two weeks of jury duty and suddenly she's lawyer-y.

    • Phoebe (referring to Paige): I think you need to talk to her.
      Piper: I already did and apparently I was the only one paying attention!

    • Phoebe: I'm gonna need a few things. A sage stick, five white candles and...
      Man: A magic wand.
      Phoebe: No, incense. I'm gonna summon the dead.
      Man: Ooooh.

    • Juror: Hey, I got a premonition. We'll be leaving in five minutes for lunch.

    • Phoebe: Okay, um, haven't any of you ever known who was calling before you answered the phone?
      Woman: That's not magic.
      Phoebe: Then what is it?

    • Paige: Hey I pay rent!
      Piper: There is no rent.
      Paige: It's just a phrase.
      Piper: No it's not!
      Paige: Well it should be!

    • One of the jurors swings his arm over ghosty Angela.
      Phoebe: What are you doing?
      Juror: Looking for wires.
      Phoebe: Have you found any?

    • Piper (walking out after interviewing a suspect): Look out Nancy Drew coming through!

  • NOTES (2)


    • The episode bears asimilarity to the movie classic 12 Angry Men. In the film, the 8th juror is the one of twelve jurors maintaining the innocence of the defendant. In the episode, Phoebe sits in the same chair as Juror #8 did in the film. Additionally, the irritable juror is the episode's counterpart to the irritable juror in 12 Angry Men.

    • The jury deliberation scenes are very close to the ones in the film Twelve Angry Men starring Henry Fonda. In which Henry Fonda's character is the only one (like Phoebe) who believes the defendant is not guilty and tries and succeeds to get the rest of the jury to agree with him.

    • Title: Trial By Magic

      A reference to the saying "trial by fire" which means attempting something without practice, usually in an emergency situation.