The Firm

Season 1 Episode 3

Chapter Three

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Jan 12, 2012 on NBC

Episode Recap

The opening sequence takes place five weeks in the future and begins with Martin Moxon giving Mitch five minutes in the hotel room where they are meeting. Mitch asks him about a dead woman named Margaret Whitaker. Mitch tells Martin that the trail leads back to him and his company at which point pounding on the door begins with the clear intent of breaking it down. At this point Martin tells Mitch that he can't help him and jumps off the balcony to his death.

The pounding continues and just as they are about to break down the door, Mitch escapes by leaping to another balcony. He then dashes through another room past a startled guest and flees down the stairwell only to find one of his armed pursuers dashing up the stairs after him. He escapes the building by jumping off a deck using a full luggage cart to break his fall. He runs away and then realizes that he left his briefcase in the hotel room.

The scene shifts back to the present. At Kinross & Clark, Andrew introduces Mitch to Russell Strickland and his 21-year-old son Brian. Brian's longtime girlfriend, Amy Sackheim, has been missing for three days. Brian says that he was with Amy the night she disappeared. They were out for dinner when he proposed to her. She rejected him and they had a loud fight at the restaurant. They were asked to leave and once outside, Amy took Brian's car to be alone and left him to walk home. Neither Amy nor the car have been seen since. The police have asked Brian to come in for questioning at 11:00 the following morning. Mitch urges him to keep the appointment. The questioning is likely routine and if he is telling the truth, it should go well.

Mitch then goes to his office to tell Ray and Tammy about the case. Ray immediately opines that Brian murdered Amy and Ray and Tammy concoct light-hearted alternative stories that would explains Amy's disappearance. Mitch tells them to make finding Amy their top priority. Just as they finish talking, a very upset Brian Strickland arrives and asks to see Mitch privately. He admits that his wasn't completely honest in his earlier story.

He tells Mitch what really happened: it was an accident. As they drove away from the restaurant on a night heavy with rain, Amy demanded Brian stop the car and let her out. He left but turned around to apologize and accidentally ran Amy down. He was going to take her to the hospital, but she was already dead. So he drove to a lake about two hours north of the city and hid her body in one of the boathouses. He then sunk the car in the lake. Mitch demands Brian go to the police immediately and tell his father and Amy's parents, who deserve to know what happened to their daughter. At this point, Brian runs out of the office.

That night, Mitch, Abby, Ray and Tammy meet in the McDeere family kitchen. Mitch tells them that everything Brian told him is protected by privilege and this privilege extends to everyone in Mitch's office. So, none of them can do anything that may incriminate Brian in any way. Mitch asks Ray to find the boathouse and verify Brian's story while he will find a way to get Brian to confess to police. They will make the right thing happen.

The next morning at school, Claire is taking a test in Abby's oom when she sees a girl cheating on the test.

Meanwhile, a worried Martin Moxon meets with Alex Clark. Alex reassures him that everything is under control, but Martin is worried about loose ends. She reminds him that not only does Mitch not know anything, but now that he works for the firm she will, as his boss, hear everything. She tells him that Mitch only got the case through a random court assignment and knows nothing. When Alex asks him if that's it, he says that they have another problem.

At the same time, Mitch meets with Sarah Holt in the prison interview room and asks her how she came to know the victim, Margaret Whitaker. Sarah tells him that they met in the waiting room of Sarah's new doctor. She saw Margaret was very sick and talked to her. She learned that Margaret was alone and unhappy. Her only son was a deputy sheriff who lived two hours away and the woman from the hospice who stayed with her at night was abusive. She asked Sarah to stay overnight, saying it was easy work for which she would be well compensated. That night, Sarah arrived at her house at 8:00. The two watched some TV and then she put Margaret to bed, waiting until she fell asleep. It was then that she saw a beautiful jeweled cross. She knew it was wrong, but she put it on. At that moment, Margaret's son Eugene arrived and wanted to know who she was. He told her to wait while he checked on his mother. Not wanting to have to explain anything, Sarah left but returned when she realized she was wearing the necklace. That's when Eugene came outside, gun drawn, saying he found his mother dead. Sarah can't imagine that the police would believe that she killed Margaret for a necklace.

Back at school, the cheating girl pulls Claire aside and warns her that is she ever wants to talk to anyone again, she will forget what she saw during the test.

After meeting with Sarah, Mitch and prosecutor Diane Ruckeyser discuss the case while walking inside the courthouse. Diane tells Mitch that the necklace was worth $50,000 and Sarah would no doubt have stolen more if not interrupted by the son. Mitch protests Sarah's innocence, saying he is a good judge of people. Diane tells him that the medical examiner's report, which just came in, showed Margaret was smothered to death. While they are talking, there is a commotion in the hall. Diane tells Mitch that that missing college student - Amy Sackheim – is dead and the murderer just walked into a precinct and confessed. Mitch excuses himself saying that that's his client.

Mitch hurries to the precinct and introduces himself as the man's attorney. Detective Mike Doyle tells him that he's too late, the man has already confessed. Mitch invokes his client's right to counsel and the detective takes him to an interrogation room. Mitch is surprised to find not Brian, but an older man. He is 43-year old Calvin Parker. Mitch asks him why he would lie since they both know he didn't kill Amy. Calvin proceeds to tell him how he picked up Amy, who was hitchhiking in the rain outside a French restaurant, drove onto a side street and strangled her. When Mitch presses him for the location of the body, he says he put it into the "red room." Mitch wants to know why he is confessing. Does he want to go to jail? Calvin says yes, it's finally time for him to be stopped as he has done this many times before.

After school, Claire stops by her mom's oom and finds she scored 92% on the test, the second best mark right behind Heather Gamble. When Claire behaves oddly, her mom wants to know why. Is she jealous? Claire blurts out that Heather cheated. She then tells her mom that Heather must never know how Abby found out about the cheating. But her mom says she has to do something.

Meanwhile, Mitch calls Ray to tell him about the bizarre meeting with Calvin Parker. Ray is at Echo Lake, where he found everything as Brian said it would be. That makes Calvin innocent. Mitch goes directly to Russell Strickland and explains the situation. He refuses to divulge anything about Brian, but in a way that makes it clear to him what his son did. Russell then admits Brian is missing and not answering his cell phone. Mitch promises that he will not incriminate Brian, but he does have to do something to prevent an innocent man from going to jail.

Back at the firm, Andrew meets with Alex, who wants an update on Mitch's meeting with Sarah Holt. Andrew says Mitch put him off because of the Strickland case. Alex says they have an emergency. When Sarah was arrested, she had a company laptop containing sensitive information their client wants secured. Despite the laptop being in evidence lockup, Alex demands Andrew do whatever is necessary to secure it, reminding him that he too would be incriminated if the information were found by authorities.

Meanwhile, Mitch and Ray arrive at Calvin's apartment. Ray's background check shows that Calvin works for the IRS as a tax evaluator, he grew up locally, has no credit flags, did nothing outstanding on the day of Amy's murder and is generally clean. They find a bedroom wall full of articles on a number of girls. Detective Doyle explains that some of the girls went missing and turned up later, but six of them were murdered and he is convinced Calvin is guilty.

On the way out, Mitch and Ray get into a heated argument about the case. Ray wants to turn Brian in, but Mitch is bound by the law and cannot.

That night, Abby talks to Mitch about Heather's cheating. She feels partly responsible and since she pushed her hard. Mitch says given the life Claire's had, she is only trying to fit in and perhaps Abby ought to let this one slide for her sake. The comment leads to a discussion about rules and how committed Mitch is to them in his practice but has a very different standard for her. Mitch shares the story of his father's last day on earth and the impact it has had on him. During the conversation, Abby mentions mileage, a subject Mitch suddenly realizes might be the key to proving Calvin's innocence.

In court the next morning, Mitch is up against prosecutor Bob Hoberman. To prove Calvin's innocence, Mitch offers up his car's mileage. Since Calvin had the car in for servicing the day of the murder, a record of the car's mileage exists. Police also wrote down the car's mileage when they seized it. By comparing the two readings, Mitch proves that there is no way Calvin could have murdered Amy. The judge agrees and dismisses the charges, an action that infuriates Calvin. He angrily proclaims his guilt the need for him to be imprisoned so that he is stopped.

That night Tammy and Abby discuss the dilemma of the cheating student. Abby doesn't want to make things worse for Claire. Tammy shares a story from when she was 19 and had a crush on a 21-year old 'bad boy.' The moral of the story was that when you pretend to be you're someone you are not, you have it keep up the act, even when you don't want to any more.

After dinner, the two couples discuss Brian. Mitch wonders if his dad could have hired Calvin to confess. When Ray mentions some of Calvin's background, Abby realizes that his mother taught at the exclusive, now shuttered Wardell Fieldhouse. She finds an online photo of Mrs. Parker, the music teacher. Mitch realizes that the music room is red.

Mitch and Ray head to the Fieldhouse, where they pay a security guard $100 to show them the music room. Mitch uncover hole in the floor and what he sees makes him gag and run out of the room. Ray looks and sees several female bodies and their personal effects sheathed in plastic. Mitch is horrified with the realization that he just helped set a serial killer free.

Later that night, the two couples talk about the situation. Ray tells Mitch he can no longer worry about disbarment. Abby says that lawyers are allowed to breach privilege in order to save a life. Tammy then calls 911 and the bodies are found and Calvin is arrested.

Back at school, Abby asks Heather to stay behind after She wants Heather to know how proud she of her. Since she did so well in the last test, Abby has decided to let her assist with helping out needy students twice a week. When Heather protests, Abby explains that she already cleared it with her mom.

That night, an associate of Ray's finds Brian at a downtown youth hostel. At the office, Brian tells Mitch that he does not want to run and that Amy's death genuinely was an accident. Mitch promises to be with him every step of the way. The next morning, Mitch, Brian and his father are seen entering a police precinct.

The next scene is of an unseen someone entering the police evidence lockup to steal Sarah Holt's computer.

The closing scene, set five weeks later, is a continuation of the episode's introduction and has Mitch calling Andrew to tell him someone tried to kill him. Putting him on hold, Andrew goes to Alex's office demanding to know what happened as they had promised nothing would happen to the McDeeres. Furious, Alex demands Andrew immediately find out where Mitch's location.