Season 1 Episode 18

Trial By Fire

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Apr 05, 2007 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
109 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

While Stark and Raina are prosecuting a cold-blooded killer, a convicted armed robber from another case enters the courtroom and takes everyone hostage and hopes to reverse his conviction.

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  • Never put the Shark in a cage...

    SPOLIERS BELOW -------------

    One of my favourite episodes from either season. Fast-paced, full of high-stakes action and tense drama. The main dynamics of this episode include a rather dopey defendent who goes nuts in a courtroom before his trial grabs a gun and holds everyone as hostage. His aim is to get some one to look at his case again as he cries foul at his plight. He is sympathetic enough. Stark and the rest of the people in the court at the trial of a multiple murderer get stuck in the same room as their adversay and we know sooner rather than later the tables will turn and they will become the quarry. The murderer is quite scary and the threat to life v real. Lets face it you cant go wrong by placing a hostage situation in the middle of a courtroom, with a judge and lawyers present! Due to the close proximity of all the characters and the inclusion of the very believeably scary sentenced murderer the situation in itself is a great source of adhesive to keep you hooked on watching.

    The story works extremely well, with every actor managing to bounce off their deliveries against another character. This provides almost incessant momentum from the start right to the end, so you'll have little time to catch your breath. Overall the intensity scale works a dream, with something occurring every other scene to ramp up the stakes and the level of threat. Key scenes that work particularly well are the ones where the judge is shot after the hostage taker and the cop who arrested him struggle. Shark's attempts to assist the police effort outside and getting caught. The guilty nacsist murderer and the children of his victims being trapped in the same room. When the murderer persuades the hapless hostage taker to give him a gun. The murderers confrontation with Shark and Sophina adds a great edge to the final act.

    This coninues until the final act where the inevitable final confrontation takes place. While it could have a little better, it actually could have been much worse and has a very interesting twist at the end that heavy in resonance.

    A definite thumbs up from me and one you should definitely watch.moreless
  • By-the-numbers, and not what I expect from "Shark."

    It seems like every cop/legal drama has to have the "hostage standoff" episode early in its run, and "Shark" is no exception. The biggest problem with "Trial by Fire" is that it puts Stark in a defensive posture. James Woods is terrific when he's on the attack and cutting into smug defendants, not when he's practically pleading with a weasely little guy with a gun.

    Everything about this one is formulaic and predictable - a hostage gets inadvertantly wounded; pressure mounts outside for a violent incursion; it's a race against time to blah blah blah. I would have enjoyed it more if the writers had bucked the trend and actually made the hostage taker guilty of his crime. But they play it safe and make the REAL bad guy the locked-up mass murderer who is being sentenced.

    And on that note, I know it's TV but bringing in a defendant to wait by the door during a sentencing hearing would NEVER HAPPEN. Create dramatic tension in a more believable way, please.

    Woods is good, and he and Danielle Panabaker have a nice reunion at the end. Also, the unsung Carlos Gomez gets a couple nice scenes. But that's all there is to write home about this episode. Weak and unusually hammy for "Shark."moreless
  • Perfect

    This is my favorite episode of Shark. It was nice to see crazy old Dave from Lost in this episode, but besides that, it was a nice break from the formula and the sometimes boring cases and annoying supporting characters under Stark's command. It's always nice to shake things up a bit in a show.

    I hope to see more episodes like this from the show. There's nothing wrong with a predictable trial show, but it's great to have little gems like these every once in a while.

    I wish they would put more streaming episodes of Shark on CBS. I missed several episodes in the middle of the season.moreless
  • Interesting take on a cliched tv situation.

    Truth be told I almost didn't watch this episode when I read the blurb on Direct TV and watched the first few minutes. "Oh boy, here we go again, hostage situation, countdown to disaster, shooting hostages....yadda yadda yadda." Well, the episode really, really surprised me with some twists and turns. Evan Handler was excellent as Stanley, trying to do the right thing, not trusting Shark or the psycho killer either. I liked the idea of the original witness being killed and the cops having to track down other leads, and the biggest surpise of all was the fact that Stanley did we he felt he had to do at the end of the episode WITHOUT knowing that they had found the new witness. And Shark's impassioned talk to Stanley as time was running out and his rumination on good and evil, karma and God was classic, crackerjack writing. "I may not be on his Christmas card list, but he knows I am trying." Classic.moreless
  • Not much of an actuall case. Well Stark was hostage in a courtroom......

    The only real reason I say this episod was out of character was because there was no actuall case. It was all a hostage situation. For such an intense episode I was not that overly impressed. On a side note I really liked Madeline's hair straight down. *Drools* Back to the episode. I thought one very nice touch to this episdoe was how they had the serial killer and the guy who took everyone hostage. How I hated that serial killer!!! At least we got to see more of Jessica this episode. And Julie finally gets some respect for her father! About time.moreless
Evan Handler

Evan Handler

Stanley Davis

Guest Star

Patrick Kilpatrick

Patrick Kilpatrick

Paul Masters

Guest Star

Cameron Goodman

Cameron Goodman

Carol Bonner

Guest Star

Carlos Gomez

Carlos Gomez

Mayor Manuel Delgado

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Right before Masters shoots the surveillance camera, he speaks directly to the authorities, saying, "If we're not on that copter in 29 minutes, everyone dies." There is even a reaction from Jessica Devlin as if she heard it. The camera is video-only and there is no open phone line in the courtroom. There is no way those words could have been heard.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Jessica: Davis was right, there was someone else in the market that night. Sol Flores, her father owned the store.
      Stark: Just so you know, in my mind we're making out right now.

    • Judge Morton: (after being shot) Listen, my daughter Sarah's a junior in college, wants to spend a semester helping Iraqi war refugees in Kuwait.
      Raina: That's amazing.
      Judge Morton: Except I told her she couldn't go. I mean, most kids want to go to Paris, for God's sakes.
      Raina: It's pretty dangerous over there.
      Judge Morton: Turns out it's pretty dangerous everywhere. If I don't make it, I want you to tell Sarah that I was wrong; she should go. But whatever you do, don't tell my wife I said so.

  • NOTES (3)