The Practice

Season 7 Episode 2


Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Oct 06, 2002 on ABC

Episode Recap

Bernice White is in custody charged with kidnapping a baby 16 years ago. She's been grilled by police for hours but they can't get a confession out of her. Helen Gamble takes over and tells Bernice they have the woman she gave the baby to and her conviction is all but certain. All she has to do is give a confession and Helen will let her go home. She's sleep-deprived, having been kept up half the night and agrees to sign the confession.

When Jimmy finds out he asks permission from Bobby and Eugene to represent Bernice since he feels responsible for the situation she's in. Bobby and Eugene see this as a conflict since Jimmy's other client, Melissa Halpern, actually committed the crime, and having Bernice accused of the kidnapping is in Melissa's best interest. Jimmy assures them he can represent Bernice without breaking privilege to Melissa. Bobby insists Jimmy get Melissa's permission before doing so, and to take Jamie with him.

When they go to her house, Melissa is against the idea. She sympathizes with Bernice but doesn't want to end up in jail herself. Jimmy assures her that her name will not be brought up in any way during his defense of Bernice. Just then Melissa's "daughter" Joey walks in, who is in fact the baby that was kidnapped all those years ago. When she asks why the lawyers are there, Melissa tells her she's drafting a will. Joey is suspicious that it's more than that.

The reality of life in prison is starting to hit Lindsay; she won't be eligible for visitation with her son for a month, she's assigned janitorial duties, and she's advised to request a dental dam in case she "gets involved" with anyone.

Bobby goes to Helen Gamble to try to expedite the visitation request for Lindsay and their son. Helen says she has no influence over prison rules, but Bobby persists. Helen says she'll try, but it would be much easier to pull some strings if Bernice White would confess to what she did with the baby she kidnapped. Bobby is offended that Helen would try to play one case off another, but Helen maintains that it's not going to be easy to do him a favor after all the bad blood between the D.A.'s office and his firm, and this gesture would help generate a little good will. Bobby still refuses.

Jimmy and Jamie visit Bernice in jail where she tells them that during the interrogation the police said she could go home if she would just sign the confession, and she was so tired that she believed them. On the way out of jail Jimmy sees Helen and confronts her on her methods, telling her he's making a motion to suppress the confession. Helen doesn't seem too concerned.

Jimmy and Helen appear before Judge Kittleson on the motion. Helen claims that as a D.A. she's allowed to lie, trickery is constitutional. But Jimmy says this goes way beyond that...Bernice was questioned for 6 hours, convinced that she committed the crime but mentally blocked it out, and then told that signing a confession would help her. The judge demands to view the videotape of the interrogation and then will make a ruling.

Rebecca is starting to doubt she's the right person to present the appeal to the Boston Supreme Court. Eugene suggests they set up a mock appeals board for her to practice, but it doesn't go well and Rebecca starts to show signs of stress.

Melissa Halpern visits the office to see how Bernice's case is going. Jamie reminds her that she's been advised not to come to the office to avoid any suspicion. Melissa said she wasn't able to get a hold of Jimmy on the phone and was just wondering if they're going to be able to free Bernice. Jamie said they hope to.

Bobby is prepping Rebecca before she goes before the appeals board. He reminds her to hammer prosecutorial misconduct because they need to have the verdict reversed with prejudice; if they only get a re-trial they're stuck with what Lindsay said on the stand and they won't win with that. This sets the bar even higher for Rebecca who is already shaken, but Bobby tells her that everyone believes in her, especially Lindsay.

Meanwhile, Judge Kittleson comes back with her ruling. She asks Helen to stand and gives her a verbal lashing for her actions. Finding what she did reprehensible, she tells Helen to stand in the corner. Helen is flabbergasted and refuses. The judge orders her to march herself to the corner or she's going to a jail cell. Helen begrudgingly obeys. Judge Kittleson tells Jimmy that although she finds Helen's actions putrid, at no time did Bernice ask for a lawyer and her confession was voluntary. Therefore, Bernice will stay in custody and the confession stands. As the courtroom is adjourned Melissa can be seen sitting in the back.

Jimmy bursts into Judge Kittleson's office and says he represents the real kidnapper and Bernice should be freed. The judge cuts him off and threatens to send him to jail if he says any more since coming to her is ex parte. As he turns to leave she stops him and in a gentler manner asks how he's been. He says he's been ok.

Rebecca goes before the Boston Supreme Court and gets off to a shaky start. But once she lets go and starts speaking from the heart she does a great job. Kenneth Walsh gets his turn and says if he went too far during the trial it was a harmless error. He comes off as arrogant and tries to defend his conduct by saying it matched Bobby's firm's tactics, which doesn't go over well with the judges. Kenneth says simply that murder trials often get ugly and personal, and Lindsay had a better defense than most criminals; the court can't overturn the verdict just because they don't agree with it.

Jimmy and Jamie are updating Bernice on her situation. When she asks why he's being so kind, Jimmy says because he knows she's innocent. Bernice suggests it might be because he feels guilty...she knows that Jimmy is representing the real kidnapper and wants to know why he doesn't just tell the police who it is. Jimmy says he can't. Bernice says she's about to be convicted and he won't tell the truth; she asks him if that's hard for him to live with.

Jamie goes to visit Melissa at her home, telling her Jimmy doesn't know she's there. Jamie feels that subconsciously, Melissa is trying to confess. She shows up at Bernice's court hearings, she goes to the office even though they told her it wasn't safe to do so, and once Bernice is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, Melissa won't be able to live with the guilt. Just then Joey comes home. Jamie explains that she's just there to get some signatures, but Melissa admits that they were actually talking about a crime that she committed 16 years ago.

Back at the office while planning on how to proceed with the supreme court judges, Bobby gets a call; Lindsay's conviction has been reversed...she'll get a new trial. At the D.A.'s office Kenneth is ranting, but he boasts to Helen that this will give him the chance to beat their firm again, calling them "the pricks in my side". During this conversation Jimmy, Jamie and Melissa interrupt. Jimmy introduces Melissa as the woman that kidnapped Sally Burns' baby 16 years ago. Bernice is not only set free but told the truth will be in the papers the next day so her name will be cleared.

The firm discusses how to proceed with Lindsay's new trial. Self defense is out because of Lindsay's testimony, so they have no other choice but go with insanity. Eugene knows Bobby doesn't want to hear it, but he brings up the possibility of a plea. Bobby won't hear of it; it has to be a straight not guilty. From the looks on everyone's face it's a long shot.

Sally Burns is waiting in Helen's office when Joey is brought in. After 16 years she's introduced to her real mother.

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