Part I deals with an ugly divorce and a threatening father. Attempts to get a restraining order prove futile. Bobby is attempting to defend a client accused of armed robbery of an 80 year old man, and the whole thing is caught on tape. The client is steadfast to make a plea. Ellenor placed a personal ad, and is embarrassed about it. The Ellenor personal ad seems like a small story line, but proves to be more important in the future. Bobby continues to struggle to keep the firm going. The case against the tobacco industry is moving slowly, and many of his clients are not paying. Bobby pleads for a loan from his friend and banker, Jimmy. Jimmy agrees to give a $70,000 "construction" loan, even though there are no plans to expand the office to the empty space next door. The threatening father/divorce case proves to be a tragedy, as the father is killed by his 11 year old son when he illegally entered the home and was threatening his wife.
We start to see some of the "back door" law practice that the firm will become infamous for. Eugene makes several attempts to get a restraining order against Mr. Gibson. Even though the evidence is strong that Mr. Gibson is a threat to his wife, the judge does not grant the order. After Mr. Gibson leaves a highly suggestive message on Mrs. Gibson's answering machine, Eugene calls a meeting, and basically threatens to unleash goons onto Mr. Gibson if such behavior continues. While you may cheer for the level that Eugene goes to in order to protect his client, it is very much unethical and unbecoming of a lawyer. Even so, scum like Mr. Gibson should have to face consequences. Another ethics quiz comes to play, when Bobby's firm has two clients, both of which face the same D.A. Bobby is forced to lie to his client and say that 10 years was the best he could do for his armed robbery charge. Truth be told, Bobby was close to getting six years for his client. But he trades one client for another, so that an 11 year old boy does not have to face a trial and a murder rap. For making the deal, the D.A. agrees to sign off on self-defense. It's a tough quiz. When you look at the crime of the armed robbery, versus the actions of the young boy, justice is served albeit in a round about way. But the conflict remains, as it is the defense lawyers mantra to do everything he can to defend his client. All clients. No matter how bad the crime, no matter how guilty they may be. Bobby was forced to not give his best effort for the bad guy, in order to save a good kid. Maybe the robber deserved ten years. But it's hard for Bobby to let up on his effort.
It's that kind of legal ethical twist that we will see a lot of, in The Practice.
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