Harry's Law

Season 2 Episode 8


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Nov 16, 2011 on NBC

Episode Recap

In the opening scene, a jury is watching video of a campus shooting spree in which three students were killed and one confined to a wheelchair for life by a clam murderer who systematically shot his three intended victims. ADA Katherine Kepler stops the tape to emphasize that the defendant, Matthew Gayles, did not suffer from a mental defect but acted out of revenge and didn't care who paid the price.

Oliver, defending Gayles, follows with his opening remarks to the jury. He says the trial isn't about whether or not Matthew killed the students as he clearly did. Rather, he empha the law that states the defendant's mental state at the time of the crime must determine whether he is to be held accountable. To underscore his point, Oliver shows the jury a photo of Matthew's older brother, Brian, lying dead on a coroner's slab. Brian died during a fraternity initiation in which he was forced him to drink a lethal amount of alcohol. He tells the jury that Brian was all Matthew had left after their parents were killed by a drunk driver. The boys were split up and when Brian came of age, he adopted Matthew. After the boys were not charged criminally for his brother's death, Matthew was so devastated that he became schizophrenic and was driven to avenge the loss of his brother by killing the three boys he held responsible for his older brother's death.

Back at the office, Harry asks them how the opening statements went. When Cassie expresses muted support, Oliver is angered and eventually demands Cassie be fired or at least removed from the case as she is undermining him.

Adam handles another case for Chunhua. Her family is being evicted by the city from their laundry store via eminent domain. Adam says he will to give it his best shot telling his ex-girlfriend that the city usually wins these cases. With the poor economy, all the city has to prove is that the new development project will create jobs. He advises Chunhua and her father to get the best deal they can and start fresh somewhere else.

Meanwhile Tommy defends Norman Miller, who runs a green mortuary and a vegetable stand. He's being sued by Ms. Harrington, a woman who bought a green burial for her mother. A green burial is one with no casket, embalming or headstone. The plaintiff's mother was buried according to her wishes, but Tommy's client later used her remains as fertilizer by planting tomatoes above her body. The plaintiff believes she has been eating food fertilized with her mother's remains.

Back in court, ADA Kepler calls wheelchair bound Janice Carroll, the survivor of the campus shooting. She testifies about her experiences of the shooting, recounting how Matthew calmly walked up to her that day and apologized for shooting her, saying she wasn't one of his intended victims. When Oliver cross-examines her, he asks her to talk about her relationship with the defendant. She says she didn't know him prior to the shooting, but sought him out after at the advice of her therapist. She also says that she believed his sincerity when he apologized. On redirect, Katherine then shows a clip of the defendant saying that he's not crazy, that "they all deserved to die." Janice says she believed that he was sincere there also.

After court's adjourned, Harry asks Ollie and Cassie for a report. Ollie thinks it went well, but Cassie thinks the victim's testimony hurt their case. Ollie blows up - and tries to fire Cassie on the spot. Harry pulls them both into her office. Pulling Cassie off the case now would look bad to the jury. Harry asks Cassie to be supportive, and she lectures Ollie that if his own second chair attorney can't support his tack, he ought to ask why.

Tommy's client Norman is deposed about why he didn't disclose that human remains were being used to fertilize his organic produce. He admits he felt customers might have a problem with it, but insists he didn't hide it, he just didn't advertise it, which he was not obligated to do.

Back in court, ADA Kepler plays a tape of the defendant being defiant to the police and claiming that he simply was meting out justice. A detective testifies Matthew Gayles interrupted the reading of his rights, saying he didn't want a lawyer and was only getting justice for his brother's murder. He testifies Matthew was calm as he said this. On cross, Oliver establishes that the detective has no psychological training and cannot speak to the defendant's state of mind.

Over dinner, Cassie tells Oliver that she is an on-campus shooting survivor, having narrowly escaped death during her sophomore year in high school but losing her best friend in the process. Harry tells her off for not revealing this earlier but then much to Oliver's dismay, Harry asks Cassie to close, leaving the decision to her.

Tommy urges Norman Miller to settle, but he won't, fearing that victims will line up to sue him and he'll lose his businesses.

Ollie calls expert witness Dr. Bonner to the stand to testify to Matthew's mental condition. He states Matthew was likely suffering psychosis and depression which was exacerbated by his brother's death. He says Matthew reported that Brian would speak to him telling him what to do. The ADA follows, pointing out that Dr. Bonner only treated Matthew after the shooting and questions how a delusional man could have apologized to Janice. Dr. Bonner stands firm in his testimony that Matthew needs help, not prison.

Tommy squares off against his fellow lawyer in front of Judge Lucas Kirkland. Tommy defends Norman by saying that he's doing something to help save the planet from the environmental impact of conventional burials.

Chunhua comes by to thank Adam for his work on the cases. Despite the losses, she is grateful that he tried. She also wonders if she could work there. Adam hires her, but when he tells Harry, tells him to un-hire her but recants when Chunhua lavishes her with gratitude.

Ollie and Cassie put Matthew on the stand, where he testifies that he doesn't see it as murder since it was justified. Cassie asks him what it was like to shoot the students. He says he doesn't remember shooting them. He refuses to answer some questions screaming "I don't want to talk about my brother!" Oliver ends the examination turning the witness over to the ADA, whose cross-examination leads Matthew through the sequence of events. She asks Matthew if he attempted to the police prosecute the three boys, applied (unsuccessfully) for a gun permit, procured a gun, studied the victims' schedules and hunted them down. Matthew agrees to the entire account.

Judge Kirkland rules on the case of the human fertilizer agreeing that conventional burial is wasteful and noting the irony that a man who is trying to do something about it is getting sued. He dismisses the case outright, telling Ms. Harrington that he is sure her mother would tell her to "get over it."

ADA Kepler's closing empha that Matthew's actions were premeditated and methodical. Cassie, who has decided to close, argues that by throwing his life away, Matthew proves that he is sick. She also shares her high school story and implores the jury to look beyond the need for retribution and to put him in a place where he can get the help he needs.

Prior to the jury verdict, ADA Kepler offers 10 years per count consecutively. Against Cassie and Oliver's advice, Matthew refuses. The jury verdict is guilty on all counts. Cassie takes it very hard and when Oliver offers whatever help she might need, she shoos him away. As he is leaving, she reconsiders and suggests going for a beer.

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