The Practice

Season 3 Episode 11

Split Decisions

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jan 03, 1999 on ABC

Episode Recap

An asbestos company approaches Ellenor and her firm to represent them for litigation. To avoid the appearance of the heartless corporation, they want to hire a small but competent firm like Ellenor's. She know this means they might have to hire out to cover the case, but it would also mean two millions dollars per year for the company and is very excited about the prospect.

Meanwhile, Eugene's high school friend (Jerry Green) is in some trouble. When Eugene goes to jail to meet with him, Jerry is in makeup and a dress. He's been arrested for solicitation and is terrified of his wife and children finding out. Since the man accused of approaching Jerry is a politician running for District Attorney, (Gilbert Carr) she agrees to let him go as long as he gives a "colorful testimony" against Carr. Eugene agrees with the stipulation of using his initials to keep Jerry's identity secret.

Back at the firm, Ellenor and the other lawyers discuss the possibility of taking on the asbestos company as a new client. To her surprise, the other lawyers are not excited about this prospect and don't want it at all. They feel defending a company that makes people sick is not moral, to which Ellenor points out that most of their clients are highly immoral people and their hesitation is hypocritical. When the discussion gets more heated and even personal, Bobby suggests they wait until Eugene can be present and they'll vote.

At her apartment, Helen gets a visit from her boss, Scott Colby. He makes a not-so-subtle suggestion that she try to bring out all the graphic details on the Green case in order to smear Carr. Helen makes her disgust with his suggestion known and asks him to leave.

Tensions are also rising at Bobby's office, with the frosty relationship between Lindsay and Ellenor getting worse and Lucy asking Rebecca if she's a lesbian.

Eugene breaks the news to Jerry that he'll have to cooperate with the D.A.'s office to testify against Carr or they'll come after him. Jerry feels it necessary to explain to Eugene that he's not gay; he just likes to wear the clothes. When Eugene asks him why he went with Carr. Jerry was to sing the National Anthem while Carr pleasured himself. There was no contact between the two of them, Carr just wanted to look and it made Jerry feel good to be viewed that way.

The partners meet again to discuss the asbestos company with principle again being raised. After talking in circles they vote, ending in a tie. Bobby decides tiebreakers and decides to reject the client.

Gilbert Carr's attorney visits Eugene and basically threatens his client with public humiliation if he testifies against Carr, including exposing his real name on the stand. Eugene, equally threatening, advises the lawyer not to hurt Jerry. He goes to Helen to see if there's anything she can do, she tells Eugene he's not being realistic about keeping Jerry's identity a secret, but that'll she'll go easy on him during the trial. However, at the trial Helen humiliates Jerry, even having him re-enact singing the National Anthem they way he did that night. Jerry is about to break down when Eugene steps in and objects to what is going on. Although Helen states that Jerry isn't represented by counsel and has cut a deal, the judge sustains Eugene's objection saying what Helen had him do wasn't necessary. Later Eugene blows up at Helen for scarring Jerry like that.

At the office things between Ellenor and Lindsay come to a head and they end up in a screaming match. Things don't seem to get any better when Ellenor finds a medical bag by her desk. She's understandably shaken and when she opens the bag a spring-loaded fake head pops out at her. Lucy laughingly tells her that she got her good, to which Ellenor responds by taking a swing at her.

Bobby has a talk with Lucy about toning down her "spice" and with Ellenor about the firm not taking on the asbestos company. Ellenor admits she's jealous of the business Lindsay brings in and this was her chance to land a big client. Bobby assures her she'll never take a back seat to Lindsay and she shouldn't blame her for feeling that way.

Helen receives kudos from her boss on the mud slinging she did in court. Jerry's picture is on the front page of the paper, along with a picture of him in drag. Eugene feels like he let Jerry down, but Jerry doesn't blame anyone but himself; his only thoughts are of his children and how they'll react. Eugene assures him his family and friends will stand behind him.

The judge rules that there's not enough evidence to support probable cause against Carr and the case is dismissed. Colby is upset and insists they go after Jerry Green in order to keep the story in the papers. Helen flatly refuses to do it and threatens to go to the press with his political motives if he doesn't drop it. Eugene overhears this exchange and thanks Helen.

Bobby and Lindsay discuss the problems they've been having in the office and Lindsay thinks it might be a good idea if they go back to being strictly co-workers. Bobby says he'd rather fire her than break up. Lindsay jokingly tells him he can't fire her, she's a partner, to which he responds, "Yeah…mine."

Helen visits Jerry Green at his home and apologizes for what she did to him in court. Jerry is cool but says he believes she's truly sorry. Helen leaves with tears in her eyes.

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