Lawyers, Reporters and Cockroaches

Written by: David E. Kelley
Directed by: Dennie Gordon

-------------------- Disclaimer --------------------

I do not own the characters in this story, nor do I own any rights to the television show 'The Practice'. They were created by David E. Kelley and belong to him and David E. Kelley Productions.

This is not a novelisation or a script. It is a straightforward and dry transcript of the episode 'Lawyers, Reporters and Cockroaches'. It also includes descriptions of the settings and camera movements where I felt they were needed. I am not making any money or any other benefit off this, it is purely for fun.

I made every effort to accurately transcribe the dialogue from this episode. If you notice anything that has been transcribed incorrectly, please email me, and I will post an update.

This transcript was written by Ryana.

-------------------- Prologue --------------------

Bobby's office. Lindsay is seated on Bobby's desk flipping through a note pad while Bobby paces behind her, looking through a file.

Bobby: This should be a two day trial, tops.

Lindsay: (surprised) Two days?

Bobby: We're calling two witnesses, they're calling one, we'll go to a jury by the end of the week.

He puts some files into his briefcase and walks over to Lindsay.

Lindsay: Listen, closing arguments. I think I should do it.

Bobby: Why?

Lindsay: Well, you're doing the witnesses, I'll have more time to ..

Bobby: That's not what you meant.

Lindsay: (turning to look at him) Sorry?

Bobby: No, you said you should do it, like you'd be better, not like you'd have more time to prepare.

Lindsay: No, I didn't mean it like that...

Bobby: Yes, you did.

Lindsay: No, I didn't.

Bobby: Lindsay, I know your little inflections. I know that when you said that you meant you'd be more qualified to do the closing. Now, you can either tell me why you think you're more qualified or not, and if you don't, I'm going to have to take that as a lie. (he looks at her accusingly) Are you a liar?

Lindsay: (smiling) That was really good. (Bobby smiles) You're just such a clever lawyer. So good, it's hard to imagine that I could believe that I'm more qualified to do the closing. (she pauses) But I am.

She pulls him close and they kiss.

Bobby: (whispering) You know, maybe it's, um, not smart to try cases together.

Lindsay: Maybe not. (Bobby shakes his head)

They kiss again.
Cut to the outer office where a crash is heard.

Ellenor: (shaking her head) Oh, please.

-------------------- Opening Credits --------------------

Helen and Lindsay's apartment. The camera films from inside the refrigerator as Helen reaches past Lindsay inside.

Helen: He's Swedish, blonde, doesn't speak a word of English and he is going to deep tissue my thigh till I...

Cut to the kitchen

Lindsay: Don't rub it in, Helen.

Helen: You can still come with. Facial following massage, seaweed wrap...

Lindsay: I'm in trial, you know I'm in trial.

Helen: Settle it.

Lindsay: Sorry, there's a little more involved than somebody's dead pet.

Helen: Supposedly, this guy gives a standing massage, too. You move with it. (she teasingly dances up and down)

Lindsay: Funny. I get that rub from Bobby.

Helen: (her sly smile falling off her face and speaking dryly)) Funny.

Cut to a panning shot of the courthouse. Cut to inside. Bobby is questioning Joseph Jacobs, a restaurant chef/owner.

Jacobs: They tell me it's because of our popularity, because of the cuisine, because everybody in the city wants to eat there. That was the nature of the piece and that's why I gave them full access to do the piece.

Bobby: And what happened?

Jacobs: Instead of doing a positive feature, as they promised, they ambushed me with this... this big story... of bugs.

Bobby: Bugs?

Jacobs: Bugs in the kitchen, bugs on the floor. They condemned my restaurant as unsanitary. It's the lead story on the news. My restaurant is closed. My reputation is destroyed. By those liars.

Steven Wieland (Opposing counsel): Objection.

Judge Joseph Camp: Sustained.

Bobby: Mr Jacobs, had they not represented to you that this would be a positive news story, would you have granted the interview and let the cameras in?

Jacobs: Of course not. Their ticket to admission was a lie.

Bobby: (nodding seriously) Thank you. (sits down)

Wieland: Do you deny that they discovered bugs?

Jacobs: Any restaurant has bugs. You got food, you get bugs. It's not like we serve them.

Wieland: And if I'm a patron, sitting in your restaurant and ask if you have bugs, is that the answer you'd give?

Jacobs: I haven't been asked that question in twenty years, and if you were in my restaurant, sir, you wouldn't ask it. You'd only be thinking about how good the food is.

Camera cuts to the jury. A small murmur issues from the crowd. Cut to Bobby, Lindsay and the Jacobs family in a small room at the courthouse.

Mrs Jacobs: You could be more humble, for God's sakes.

Jacobs: It could be false. Humility isn't something I do. (he sculls a cup of water)

Mrs Jacobs: Once in twenty years you could try it.

Jacobs: Oh, don't talk to me like that, Pamela.

Mrs Jacobs: This is our life's work.

Jacobs Jnr: Look, she's right, Dad, and don't.....

The Jacobs family all begins yelling at once. Bobby moves forward to break it up.

Bobby: All right, (yells) QUIET. (the Jacobs stop) Listen to your wife, Mr Jacobs. We need those jurors to feel sorry for you.

Jacobs: Oh no. I don't want pity for me. I want anger against that news station.

Bobby: They're not going to punish the news station if you behave like an ass.

Mr Jacobs looks offended.

Jacobs Jnr: He doesn't mean to... (he breaks off)

Jacobs walks to the window. The others look at each other.

Jacobs Jnr: This restaurant, it was everything to our family.

Bobby: (looks at Mr Jacobs, who is staring desperately out the window) I know. (nodding)

Camera cuts to Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt's conference room, where Rebecca is working on a laptop.

Ellenor: (coming in waving a file) I got a B&E, it's gonna go fast, you want it?

Rebecca: You mean, can you dump it on me?

Ellenor: Rebecca, it is a trial. There are six year associates across the street still waiting for their first jury trial. Do you have any idea...

Rebecca: (interrupting) I hear the sweet song of a lujack.

Ellenor: It will be good experience.

Rebecca: I have to finish this payroll crap, which I was supposed to have finished by the first of the year, which I would have finished but for a few lujacks dumped on me, with the best of intentions.

Ellenor: Doesn't Lucy take care of all this stuff now?

Rebecca: Do we really want Lucy to know how much we all make?

Lucy: I heard that. (Rebecca smiles at that)

Ellenor: Well, how much money do we all make? (Rebecca looks at her in disbelief) I'm a partner. I get access to the books now, remember?

Rebecca: (shaking her head) I have to run that by Bobby.

Ellenor: Rebecca, I'm a partner. Of course I can see what people are making in my partnership.

Rebecca: (sighs and turns the laptop to face her) Okay. That's salary, plus partnership draw, doesn't include benefits or insurance.

Ellenor: (shocked) Is that right?

Rebecca: Yeah, why?

Ellenor: Lindsay makes twice my salary?

Rebecca: Well, Ellenor, she brings in a lot of business, her percentage should be...

Ellenor: (interrupting) Twice?

Rebecca: Ellenor, she makes almost as much as Bobby. You should know that...

Ellenor storms out into the office.

Ellenor: Where's Bobby?

Jimmy: Uh, he's in trial.

Lucy: With Lindsay.

Ellenor: (throwing her arms up in despair) Ah.

Eugene: What's the matter?

Ellenor: (sarcastically) nothing.

Lucy: I don't believe you.

Ellenor looks at her. Lucy runs and hides behind Eugene, who looks at Ellenor. Ellenor shakes her head. Camera cuts to Helen's office. She is packing her briefcase and talking on the phone.

Helen: It will have to wait till tomorrow. I'm off to enter a plea then I'm having a spa day. (very brief pause as the person on the other end replies) Yeah, lucky me. My first day off in a year. All right, bye. (she hangs up)

An elderly woman enters her office.

Helen: Hello

Ms Tyler: (uncertainly) Miss Gamble? I'm Sylvie Tyler. It was my cat who was killed.

Helen: Oh, I'm terribly sorry. Please. (she indicates a seat)

Ms Tyler: (sitting) I was curious, you don't plan to call me as a witness?

Helen: Well, there's not going to be a trial. The defendant's pleading guilty.

Ms Tyler: (nodding) I see. So he'll go to jail?

Helen: No, he'll probably be put on probation.

Ms Tyler: What does that mean?

Helen: That... He'll be on probation. Probably for a year.

Ms Tyler: So, nothing will happen to him? (pause) I don't mean to sound like a doddering old loon, Miss Gamble, but I was widowed thirteen years ago. For the past eleven years Candy, (she pulls a picture of her cat out of her purse and hands it to Helen) that was her name, Candy. She's been my dearest friend. The boy knew that. He was a neighbour. He knew uh... (the camera cuts to Helen., looking uncomfortable. Long pause. Ms Tyler looks sad, but resigned) It's not so bad to murder somebody's cat. (she gets up, takes her photo back from Helen, and walks out of Helen's office.

Helen: (sighs and speaks plaintively) I have a massage.

Cut to inside the courtroom. A television is set up, and is playing the bug story about the Jacob's restaurant.

Michael Sawyer (reporter): Instead of balsamic vinegar and paprika, we found these little guys. (shows a jar with a cockroach in it. Camera cuts to the jury) Or I should say, these big guys. And they were everywhere. (cut to Mr Jacobs, and then to Jacobs Jnr, who is sitting uncomfortably waiting to give his testimony, then back to Jacobs) Wondering what gives that clam chowder that little extra tang? Well, it just might be his sister. (television flicks off)

Bobby: After this aired, business went down?

Jacobs Jnr: It died. Our gross went from seventy thousand a week to twenty-three. After two months, we had to close our doors.

Bobby: Had you made any other changes? The menu, the chef... anything else that could possibly account for your sudden plunge in popularity?

Jacobs Jnr: There were no changes in personnel or substance. It was that broadcast. It destroyed us. (camera shows a quick shot of a juror)

Wieland: You are the manager?

Jacobs Jnr: I am.

Wieland: As well as the son of the chef?

Jacobs Jnr: It's a family business.

Wieland: Yes. And you don't actually deny the allegations made in that broadcast, do you?

Jacobs Jnr: I certainly dispute the charge that our corn chowder gets its flavour from a cockroach.

Wieland: But the substance of that broadcast was that the place was bug infested and neither you, nor your father, take issue of that, and here you are suing a news company...

Bobby and Lindsay: (together) Objection.

Bobby: Argumentative.

Camp: Sustained.

Wieland: Was my client guilty of any factual inaccuracies, to you knowledge?

Jacobs Jnr: They were guilty of lying to us about the nature of...

Wieland: In the broadcast that we just saw on the monitor, were there any factual inaccuracies to your knowledge?

Jacobs Jnr: The statements were exaggerated.

Wieland: Why didn't you sue for defamation?

Bobby and Lindsay: (together) Objection.

Wieland: Your lawyers told you you had no case for libel, or defamation.

Bobby and Lindsay: (together, Bobby standing up) Objection.

Camp: (pointing to him) Sustained.

Wieland: You are not here today disputing the truth of my client's broadcast, are you, sir?

Jacobs Jnr: No.

Wieland: (smiling in satisfaction) Thank you. That's all.

Judge: Counsel?

Bobby: The plaintiffs rest, Your Honour.

Camp: The witness may step down.

Wieland: Your Honour, at this time we move for a directed verdict, in favour of the defendant.

Camp: I'll hear arguments after lunch. Adjourned. (bangs gavel)

He leaves. Lindsay and Bobby get up and look at each other. Cut to the hall outside the courtroom.

Jacobs: What's going on? What is this directed verdict?

Bobby: They're basically arguing that we haven't made a case and they shouldn't even be forced to put on a defence.

Jacobs: We haven't made a case?

Lindsay: But that's a first amendment problem.

Bobby: Which Lindsay will address. (She looks at him sharply, but doesn't say anything) I don't expect this to set us back, but we only have an hour so we need to prepare, and we'll meet you right back here. (to Lindsay, taking her arm) C'mon.

Lindsay: I'll address it? Me?

Bobby: Well you're the constitutional expert.

Lindsay: I'm also second chair.

Bobby: Just think of it as a closing, all right?

Lindsay: Oh, funny, Bobby.

Bobby: Never mind.

Camera cuts to Helen and another lawyer coming out of a lift at the courthouse.

Helen: I want time.

Billy Merino, another D.A: Excuse me?

Helen: I'll give you a year, six months suspended, six served.

Billy: Ha ha ha.

Helen: Best offer, Billy.

Billy: Best offer? Last night we had a deal. You were going to spend the day in seaweed.

Helen: I changed my mind.

Billy: (stopping her) Helen, it was a cat.

Helen: I met the owner. When I said probation, I had trouble looking her in the eye.

Billy: I'm giving you a guilty. At trial you could lose and then you'll really...

Helen: (interrupting) Billy, six months served or no deal.

Billy: He starts college in the fall. I'm not about to agree to six months.

Helen: Then we go to trial. (she smiles and walks away)

Billy: (calling after her) It was a cat. (he sighs).

Camera cuts to Eugene's office., where Eugene is looking at a pad.

Eugene: Two hundred and forty-two thousand?

Ellenor: Am I overreacting? I mean, I know she brings in business, but to be making twice what we do?

Eugene: Well, the partnership agreement is pretty clear. The formula is..

Ellenor: Yes, the formula favours who brings in the business, but when we vote on new business, and Lindsay getting one vote and Bobby getting two, plus the tie breaker, with only three other voting partners the two of them control...

Eugene: Ellenor....

Ellenor: They sleep together, Eugene. Who are we kidding? She makes twice what we make.

Eugene: You forget that we became partners because of her power play. It went to our benefit...

Ellenor: You're forgetting that it was a power play. Look at these numbers... Numbers are numbers. They are not subject to interpretation.

Eugene sighs and looks at the printout, then up at Ellenor.

-------------------- Commercial --------------------

Ellenor, Eugene and Rebecca are seated inside the conference room.

Rebecca: I do not feel comfortable having this conversation.

Ellenor: Why?

Rebecca: I did not show you those salaries to start up some revolt.

Ellenor: It's not a revolt. We have an issue here, are we all going to just ignore it?

Eugene: Look, Ellenor, I don't like making half of what she earns either, but the idea that there's some evil conspiracy going on...

Ellenor: I'm not saying that...

Rebecca: Yes, you are. That's why we're having this secret meeting.

Ellenor: It's not secret, Rebecca.

Rebecca: Oh, no? Then where's Bobby? Where's Lindsay?

Ellenor: In trial.

Rebecca: Then why can't we wait till then? I mean, if you have a problem with somebody, go face to face. I don't like the smell of this meeting (she gets up) and I'm no longer in it. (She walks out)

Ellenor: (shaking her head) She's gonna back Bobby no matter what.

Eugene: I'm backing him too, at least until I speak to him. As for Lindsay, you're making her into something that she isn't.

Ellenor: She's good. Am I making her into that?

Eugene looks at her, then gets up and walks out.

Cut to the courtroom, where Lindsay is arguing against the directed verdict.

Wieland: Nothing in the broadcast was untrue.

Lindsay: This isn't a libel case. It's fraud. The truth of the broadcast isn't the issue, it's the truth of the promise that got them access to the restaurant.

Wieland: You cannot decide whether that promise was broken without first evaluating the content of the broadcast. This is a complete end around the first amendment.

Lindsay: This has nothing to do with the first amendment.

Wieland: Have you read the Bill of Rights lately?

Lindsay: Yes. And I've also read the Food Line case, and ABC made the same freedom of the press, flag waving defence. It didn't work there, and it's not going to work here because the issue here is fraud. Did the defendant commit fraud against the plaintiff. Did the plaintiff sustain injuries as a result of the fraud. The answer to both questions is yes.

Camp: C'mon, counsel. Whichever way you phrase it, you are suing a news station for the content of a broadcast.

Lindsay: The conduct for the basis of the suit is the misrepresentation...

Camp: Yes, yes, you continue to frame the issue very nicely, but the net result is the same. A news station is being sued for undercover reporting.

Lindsay: They can do undercover work. They just can't commit fraud against someone when they're....

Camp: Suppose they snuck in, uninvited, and filmed the cockroaches. Then you'd sue for trespassing, claim harm from trespass. Nothing to do with the first amendment, right?

Lindsay: These are good questions. From an appellant court judge. But you're a trial court judge. The only question you should be asking is have we set forth facts to support our claim? And, under existing law, under Food Line, we have.

Wieland: First of all, this is not Food Line. Here we have an assault on the freedom of the press, not to mention the integrity of journalism.

Lindsay: (sarcastically) Gee, I'd hate to attack the integrity of journalism. (to Wieland) Your client should have saluted those cockroaches out of professional courtesy.

Wieland: (turning to her) Oh, you're very clever.

Camp: All right, all right. Look. I'm not going to pretend I like this case, but for now, I'll let it continue. Let's bring in the jury. Mr Wieland, you may begin your defence.

Lindsay goes to sit down, looking very satisfied. Camera cuts to another courtroom.

Judge B Watson: Ready for trial?

Helen: Yes, Your Honour.

Watson: This is the dead animal case?

Helen: Yes

Watson: I thought there was going to be a plea.

Helen: We couldn't come to an agreement on sentencing, Your Honour.

Billy: She wants time.

Watson: What do you mean, she wants time?

Billy: She wants time.

Judge: Time served?

Helen: Yes, for extreme abuse towards a domestic animal. Yes, Your Honour, I believe time is warranted.

Watson: Serious?

Helen: Serious.

Watson: All right. Let's empanel...

Billy: Your Honour, the defence is still willing to plead guilty, so we can go right to sentencing now.

Watson: Excellent.

Helen: Wait a second. I'd like a trial.

Watson: What?

Helen: I'd like to go forward with a trial.

Watson: Forgive me counsel, I skipped my Ginko this morning. I got a defendant wanting to plead guilty and the prosecutor demanding a trial? What the hell is going on?

Helen: He wants to proceed to sentencing because he detects a predisposition on your part not to give time. I sense the same predisposition. I'm confident that after you hear eyewitness testimony of what actually happened, the predisposition will change.

Watson: You want to inflame(?) me?

Helen: I want you to get a true picture.

Watson: I get the picture. The defendant killed a cat. If he's pleading guilty, we're not going through this charade of a trial for a colour commentary. A guilty finding is entered.

Helen: I'd like to be heard on sentencing before you rule, Your Honour.

Watson: One hour. We're back in. (pause as everyone begins to move off) Blast.

Cut back to the other courtroom.

Sawyer: My intent was to do a positive piece. That's not something that I was just saying.

Wieland: But at some point, you obviously changed the focus.

Sawyer: That point came when we discovered how unsanitary the kitchen was. This was a revered North end family restaurant. The chef was practically an icon, and that was the story we wanted to tell, but when I saw how filthy it was back there, it became a bigger story. And a more important one for people to hear, given the health issues.

Wieland: But to be clear, after you were given permission to come in and film, your intent was to do the positive story?

Sawyer: Yes.

Bobby: You never would've lied to get access?

Sawyer: No.

Bobby: When you decided to switch the focus to attack the restaurant on sanitary grounds, did you tell anybody at the restaurant?

Sawyer: No.

Bobby: You just continued to film?

Sawyer: Yes.

Bobby: Were you being honourable when you changed the focus and didn't tell my client you were now out to trash his restaurant?

Sawyer: I'm a news reporter, Mr Donnell.

Bobby: You're a news reporter. Does that mean you were being honourable, or was that the justification for being dishonourable?

Wieland: Objection.

Camp: Overruled.

Bobby: At the time you changed your focus, why didn't you tell my client?

Sawyer: He would've thrown us out.

Bobby: You didn't want him to know the truth?

Sawyer: At that point, no.

Bobby: Do you know whether my client's restaurant received any code violations?

Sawyer: To my knowledge, they did not.

Bobby: Did you mention that in your broadcast?

Sawyer: Just because a restaurant hasn't been sited doesn't...

Bobby: The question before you is did you report in your broadcast that my client's restaurant has never been sited for any sanitary code violations?

Sawyer: We did not report that.

Bobby: Mr Sawyer, what did you think would happen to my client's restaurant after you aired this piece?

Sawyer: I knew it would be detrimental.

Bobby: You knew it would be detrimental? Did you consider that it might destroy his business?

Sawyer: Of course. I had to consider it.

Bobby: So you knew you were being deceptive, and you knew they'd get hurt by relying on your deception. That's pretty much it, right, Mr Sawyer?

Sawyer: Expose reporting is a tough business, Mr Donnell.

Bobby: Yeah. Tougher on some than others, I guess.

Cut to Helen's office.

Helen: Basically, I'll just ask you to talk about the loss you feel. You can do it in a narrative, but I think I can make it more effective with a Q and A.

Ms Tyler: Okay.

Helen: And then with the witness, Mr Patterson, I'll ask him to describe how he saw the cat killed.

Ms Tyler: Okay.

Helen: You might want to leave the room for that part.

Ms Tyler: (hesitantly) This judge doesn't seem to care much.

Helen: You have to realise. These judges deal with rapists and murderers on a daily basis.

Ms Tyler: (reminiscing) She was ruining the fabric. All my friends said 'get her de-clawed' but I couldn't do that to her. What if she gets chased by a dog and wants to defend herself? But I never thought to protect her from teenagers.

Cut to the Donnell, Young, Dole and Frutt offices. Jimmy is typing at the computer. Ellenor comes over to him.

Ellenor: How you doing, Jimmy?

Jimmy: (looking up) Not bad. (he pauses for a second) How's things with you?

Ellenor: Good.

Jimmy: Good.

Ellenor: (taking a deep breath and leaning forward) Listen. I think the time is right to bring you up for partner. Bobby said wait a year, it's been a year... And with your big win over Tommy Silva, you know, timing's everything, they say. Just wanted you to know, I fully support it.

Jimmy: Thank you, Ellenor.

Ellenor: Sure.

Lindsay and Bobby walk into the office and through to Bobby's office.

Lindsay: I think you did some damage.

Bobby: I hope.

Lindsay: So, I'll close, right?

Bobby: Why?

Lindsay: Because I've been preparing it, I though we discussed that.

Bobby: You keep dodging my question. (they reach Bobby's office and he closes the door) Why do you think that you're better at closing than I am?

Lindsay: Can we just skip that...

Bobby: (interrupts her as he takes her elbow and pulls her in front of him so she is leaning against his desk with him leaning in front of her {hard to explain}) No, I'd really.. I'd really like to know.

Lindsay: (slightly surprised by his insistence) Well, okay... Your strength when it comes to closings is... passion, and my strength is more like clinical persuasion.

Bobby: And....

Lindsay: And, standing up and banging the righteous sympathy drum isn't going to sell the jury. I mean, they saw all those bugs...

Bobby: I don't bang the sympathy drum, Lindsay. I mean, that's not my style.

Lindsay: I meant that as a compliment. It's very persuasive

Bobby: That's a compliment? Banging the sympathy drum?

Lindsay: Why are you being so sensitive?

Bobby: (moving away from her so she can finally stand up straight) Well, you're making me sound like Johnny Cochrane or something

Lindsay: Johnny Cochrane's a good lawyer.

Bobby: If you like pulpit-thumping closings and I don't do that.

Lindsay: All I'm saying, or trying to say is neutral legal reasoning works best here.

Bobby: You mean dry?

Lindsay: Excuse me?

Bobby: Nothing.

Lindsay: You think I'm dry?

Bobby: No... no

Lindsay: (defensively) My closings are not dry.

Bobby: Lindsay, you're a great lawyer, but Clarence Darell, you're not.

Lindsay: Oh, and you are?

Bobby: The jury is bored by the time summations roll around if you don't stir things up a little.

Lindsay: Bored? It's a one day trial.

Bobby: I'm talking in general.

Lindsay: I'm talking here. If you go in there and rant out of anger or outrage, we'll lose. A velvet glove is better here dammit and I am not dry!

Bobby: Is this the velvet glove I'm hearing?

Lindsay: Oh, shut up.

Bobby: Fine. You do the closing.

Lindsay: Fine.

She marches to the door and yanks it open. Ellenor is standing there with her hand poised ready to knock.

Lindsay: What are you doing?

Ellenor: (shrugging) Well, I was about to knock. I never know what I'm gonna interrupt.

Bobby: (sighing) What's up, Ellenor?

Ellenor: Uh, some partnership issues. I'd like to talk, maybe after this trial is over, or whenever you come up for air.

Lindsay: What's that supposed to mean?

Ellenor: Nothing.

She walks off. Lindsay slams the office door closed.

Lindsay: I think she needs a long vacation, Bobby. With three votes, we can give her one.

They look at each other. Bobby nods slightly.

-------------------- Commercial --------------------

In a courtroom inside the courthouse.

Watson: This is a sentencing hearing.

Helen: And you can call witnesses at a sentencing hearing.

Billy: This is a cheap stunt to exploit your sympathy, Your Honour.

Helen: I object to the insulting accusation that you would be manipulated by a witness. A judge should get a little more credit than that.

Watson: Thank you for your support, counsel. I'm touched.

Helen: I won't take up much of the court's time.

Watson: I'll hear from one person only. The owner of the pet, or the eyewitness. Your pick.

Helen: If I promise to be brief with both...

Watson: One witness only.

Helen pauses. She turns around and looks at Ms Tyler and the eyewitness, Mr Patterson. She looks back.

Helen: I call Chris Patterson.

Ms Tyler looks at Mr Patterson, shocked. Camera cuts to Mr Patterson in the witness box.

Patterson: I was in the middle lane, I was probably travelling around 60, when this green station wagon passed me.

Helen: Did you see who was inside?

Patterson: Not then, when the car pulled into my lane in front of me, it looked like three kids, high school age, about. I never really saw their faces.

Helen: Could you tell us what happened next?

Patterson: The driver reached out his side of the window, holding something. I thought it was a stuffed animal, it was orange coloured. And then, I saw it's legs moving, and I could tell it was alive. I thought 'what's going on'? And then, after five or ten seconds, he let it go. And it hit my windshield and stuck there for a few seconds.

Helen: Could you tell what it was then?

Patterson: Yes. It was a cat.

Helen: What happened then, sir?

Patterson: Well, I swerved, my windshield was broken. I managed to get into the breakdown lane, and stop. I got out of my car, and it was still plastered to my windshield.

Helen: What was?

Patterson: The cat.

Helen: What happened next, sir?

(all through this dialogue the camera constantly cuts back and forth between Patterson, Ms Tyler, Judge Watson and Helen)

Patterson: I called the police, gave them a description of the car, plus the first three numbers of the licence... and then I removed the remains from my car.

Helen nods.

The camera cuts to Donnell, Young, Dole and Frutt. Jimmy is standing at the filing cabinet.

Ellenor: Hey, Jimmy.

Jimmy: Ellenor.

Ellenor: You given any thought to what I said before?

Jimmy: (removing his glasses) Actually, I've done nothing but think about it. Mainly, my thought is: to what do I owe this lightning bolt of good will.

Ellenor: Sorry?

Jimmy: A sixth partner would tip that little power scale, wouldn't it? The Bobby/Lindsay block would no longer control, and you being my champion, I'd have these pulls of loyalties, wouldn't I? (while he is speaking we see Rebecca hovering in the background, watching for a moment before walking away.)

Ellenor: It isn't about that.

Jimmy: Really. Timing really is everything, I guess.

Ellenor: You know what, Jimmy, forget it. And forgive me for looking out for you.

Jimmy: I don't want to be partner here, Ellenor. Too much politics for me. (he walks away)

We see the courtroom in which the jury is hearing the lawyer's closings for the Jacobs' case.

Lindsay: When I got my first apartment, I had cockroaches all over. Gross. (she shudders) Hate cockroaches. Don't we all? I mean, who here would go into a restaurant if they were told the kitchen was infested with those gross bugs? It was a no-brainer. That broadcast would put my clients' restaurant under. They knew it, they aired it anyway. (the defence looks uncomfortable) Freedom of the press. They had a duty, they might argue. Warn the public. But this case is not about free speech, it's about fraud. They made a promise, they breached that promise. As a result of that breach a family business has been destroyed. You want to wrap an American flag around their conduct, stand up and salute the constitution, you can do that, but freedom of speech is never a defence to fraud. Never. And let's ask ourselves that dirty little question we've all secretly been asking. (she walks right up to the jury box) Do we really, really believe they went in there to do a puff piece? We don't have any evidence to the contrary, the truth lies in their minds only, but when you look at the landscape of news today, you see a lot of fluff features on restaurants? Today it's about scandals, hidden cameras and catching people. Every kitchen has bugs. (she paces before the box) It's not a big deal really, but add some good copy, some dramatic reporting, vivid footage, throw in a health scare and tease it during prime time, 'could you be eating a cockroach tonight', that's a great hook. (she stops pacing) Easy to manufacture a story like that if you've got the footage and if you don't, well lie to get it. Lie proudly and declare journalistic integrity. Look what's happening today. Forget the tabloids, we have reporters at major newspapers, including the Boston Globe right here, getting caught making up stories. Writing stories about people who don't really exist. Plagiarising. CNN, Time magazine reporting about tail wind and germ warfare, don't let the facts spoil a good story, we can just print the retraction on weekends, or put it in a foot note. Anything to get the story and to get it first. Who cares who gets hurt? (motions to the Jacobs) These people got hurt. They were defrauded. It cost them everything they had worked their whole lives for. (sarcastically) Hail, hail freedom of the press. I think it's time to send a little message (pauses) to all the cockroaches.

Wieland: (standing and walking over to the jury) It's just open season on the press these days, isn't it? And why shouldn't it be? I mean, look at what the press has done. We all know that it was the media that planted that intern in the oval office. We know it was the press that caused all those republican congressmen to have that sudden explosion of conscience. And it was the journalists that convinced Kenneth Starr that his true calling was pornography.

Lindsay: (standing) I'm sorry, but we've wandered a little off the path, haven't we?

Wieland: (pointing to her) You went into tail wind.

Camp: All right. (Lindsay sits down) Mr Wieland.

Wieland: (pacing) Journalism is like every profession. Some of it's good, some of it stinks. But for it to be good, it has to be unflinching. Yes, there was a representation made here that the article would be favourable, but that was based on the assumption that the kitchen was not bug infested. Should we have written a puff piece anyway? The place is crawling in germs, but we promised to be nice. Is that the kind of press we all want? What if we found body parts? Promised to be kind, don't enter it. Who are we kidding? They made a discovery and it was news. They (points to Bobby and Lindsay) would have you made that some kind of deal was made here. A deal that should be prioritised over the truth. Who are we kidding? When news is uncovered, reporters report it. That is the essence of a free press. We don't clear it through publicists. What if you bit into a cockroach one night and then found out that we sat on that story? (he pauses for effect) Yes, send us a message. (he sits down)

Cut to another courtroom.

Jones: I was showing off in front of some friends, like I was cool, and I did a terrible thing. I know that it was cruel, and I know that it was stupid. (turning to Ms Tyler) I'm so sorry. (turning back to the judge) I'm sorry.

Watson: What were you thinking?

Jones: Just that my friends were all laughing, daring me, and I guess I just thought... They were all looking at me like wow, you're crazy...

Watson: You know that woman over there? Ms Tyler?

Jones: Yes.

Watson: She your neighbour?

Jones: Yes.

Watson: You knew that was her cat, her pet?

Jones: Yes.

Watson: Counsel, statements?

Helen: (standing) I'd like to address the court briefly, yes.

Watson: Tomorrow morning, ten o'clock.

Camera shows Watson, then Billy, then Helen before cutting to a night, exterior shot of a building, then inside to Bobby and Lindsay walking into the Donnell, Young, Dole and Frutt offices.

Lucy: Hey, how'd it go? (she's all dressed up)

Bobby: Okay, I think. Wow, look at you.

Lucy: I have a date with a Celtic.

Bobby: (amazed) A Boston Celtic?

Lucy: Yeah, they're getting paid again, and looking to date. (she walks out)

Bobby: (he walks over to Lindsay, who is standing at her desk) The closing was good.

Lindsay: (looking up and saying coolly) Thank you.

Bobby: So... we're still fighting?

Lindsay: Bobby, I wasn't putting you down. I was talking about styles.

Bobby: I know

Lindsay: And you called me dry. You said I give dry closings.

Bobby: I didn't say that.

Lindsay: Yes, you did. Don't deny....

Bobby: Lindsay, as arguments go, this is a silly one. Maybe my feelings got hurt a little, then I hurt yours, whatever, but this really isn't worth a grudge.

Lindsay: (grudgingly) Okay.

Bobby: (smiling happily) Let's go home, get some sleep. (making a face) That summation made me drowsy.

Lindsay: (smiling) Funny.

They kiss, but are interrupted by Rebecca, who comes out of one of the other offices.

Rebecca: Hey. How's things?

Bobby: (turning around) Jury's deliberating, can't really tell.

Rebecca: When are you gonna deal with Ellenor?

Bobby: I'll get to her.

Rebecca: Bobby, she is still reeling from losing the asbestos client. She learned how much Lindsay makes, okay, that was my fault. She's now urging Jimmy to make a play for partner so you two won't be able to control the votes. We have a little cancer growing here. I think you need to get to her now.

Bobby: Let's schedule a meeting, I want everybody.

Rebecca: (nodding slightly) Okay.

Bobby and Lindsay walk out of the office.

Bobby: (to Lindsay) I'm so sick of this.

-------------------- Commercial --------------------

We see the conference room, with all the lawyers seated around the table.

Bobby: I guess we should just open it up.

Jimmy: I'm not a partner, I don't think I should be here.

Bobby: This is more like a team meeting, Jimmy, I want you here. (camera shows Ellenor looking discontented) Ellenor, let's begin with you.

Lucy opens the door.

Lucy: Bobby, sorry. Um, Steven Wieland's here.

Bobby: (getting up) Uh, excuse me a sec... Lindsay? (Lindsay follows him out of the conference room. Ellenor looks insulted. Lucy sits down and smiles chirpily at everyone)

Rebecca: (after a very long, uncomfortable pause) Um, how was your date with the Celtic?

Lucy: Slam dunk. I'm seeing him again.

Ellenor: You're dating a basketball player?

Lucy: (defensively) They're the most law abiding of all professional athletes, Ellenor.

Ellenor: Yeah, but doesn't your head come up to his... you know, knee?

Lucy: Nice. You know, if someone makes the slighted remark about your weight, you're quick to jump, but it's okay to make fun of the short-statured. (she gets up and walks out)

Ellenor: (calling after her) I was making fun of the tall-statured.

Inside Bobby's office.

Wieland: Absolutely sealed, no admission of liability, not even a hint of it.

Bobby: I think my client's going to want a public apology, otherwise....

Wieland: Your client's going to turn down four hundred thousand dollars?

Lindsay: They put him out of business.

Wieland: Which means he must need money. Four hundred thousand. Something tells me he's gonna take it.

Bobby: We'll bring it to him.

Wieland: Quickly. Jury's out.

Cut to a courtroom.

Helen: Yesterday, I just wanted to plead this out and get to a spa and have some Swedish sex god rub the cellulite out of my [I have no idea what she said here] (Watson raises his eyebrows). But then I met Mrs Tyler, over here, and suddenly I became horrified at my not being horrified over this. That young man (motions Jones) grabbed her pet and hurled it out of a car going sixty miles an hour on a highway. Imagine. And imagine you, me and Mr Merino not even batting an eye. It was somebody's pet. And if he gets to just throw on a tie, stand contrite, say he's sorry and that's the end of it then... well, who are we? What he did was depraved, it was sick. And if we don't punish him, well, maybe we get the society we deserve. I'm not saying lock him up forever, Your Honour, but, for everybody's sake, even his, lock him up some. (she sits down, and Billy rises)

Billy: I'm not gonna stand here and defend what Brent Jones did. It was sick. And we should be horrified, but, as Miss Gamble admitted, she changed her mind, and decided against probation, only because she met the owner of the pet. And suddenly this case has a human face on it. But, let's be honest, this is not a case of a crime against a person, it was an animal. I don't mean to sound cold, and again, let me reiterate my own personal condemnation for this young man's act of cruelty, but this is about killing an animal. And the killing of animals - we slaughter cows, pigs in cruel ways, nobody gets arrested. A cat is an animal. Yes, a companion animal, one that's more loved by humans. If this was a bobcat, caught and tortured in a spring trap, we wouldn't be here. But a domestic cat? We have to recognise the hypocrisy, don't we? We're here, not because of some unusual act of cruelty, but because it happened to a person's pet. However much we might want to look at this as a crime against humanity, it isn't. This is a good young man. No record, honour student, from a good home. But he did something very stupid, for which he is hugely sorry, but we have to keep things in perspective.

Cut to the conference room, where the lawyers are meeting again.

Ellenor: Two hundred and forty-two thousand dollars. That's my problem.

Bobby: You know the pay structure, percentage of the business brought in.

Ellenor: I know that we take her clients, not mine. I know that.

Bobby: We voted on that asbestos client.

Ellenor: Right, three hands for, two against, and since yours count double...

Bobby: Is that why you went to Jimmy? To put a hand in your pocket?

Ellenor: Two hundred and forty-two thousand dollars.

Lindsay: Since when did you take such a strong interest in math, Ellenor?

Ellenor: Certain equations fascinate me.

Lindsay: Try adding two plus two. You couldn't do that with your asbestos clients.

Ellenor: What is that supposed to mean?

Lindsay: (mockingly) They're good people, they didn't know their stuff was killing people... That's crap. They knew at the turn of the century that asbestos kills, but if they pay their legal bills we'll just ignore it and pretend they're saints...

Everyone begins talking at once. Bobby and Eugene calling order and Ellenor objecting. Lucy opens the door.

Lucy: Bobby?

Everyone: What?

Lucy: Hey! You know, it's a small head, and you can all bite it off, but there's just not enough to go round. (less severely to Bobby) The Jacobs family's here. (she closes the door behind her)

Bobby: (beginning to stand) Let's pick this up in ten.

Eugene: I'm not picking this up. I'm sick of this.

Bobby: (sitting back in surprise) What's your problem?

Eugene: The problem is this partnership. We used to be lawyers just taking the cases we felt like taking. Ever since we became partners, splitting up pieces of the pie, it's all about that. All about money...

Lindsay: Nobody's forcing you, Eugene. You can divest.

Eugene: But the rot is already in the wood.

Lindsay: So you may as well take your cut.

Ellenor: You pissy little bitch.

Bobby: Oh, come on...

Eugene: You know what, Lindsay? I've been trying to defend you, but it's getting harder and harder-

Lindsay: Defend me against what? Her? Help someone who needs it.

Ellenor: (to Bobby) Is this what happens to women when you insert your penis? I'm just curious....

Lindsay starts up, climbs across the table and lunges at Ellenor, whose chair falls backwards onto the ground. In the background we hear everyone shouting. Camera shoots from behind Ellenor and we see Lindsay with her hands around Ellenor's throat. Eugene pulls Lindsay off of Ellenor and Jimmy pulls Ellenor up, but him and Eugene are pushed back onto the conference room table as Ellenor lunges at Lindsay. Jimmy is shown gasping for breath. Cut to the outer office, where the chaos is clearly heard. The conference room door rattles as someone is pushed against it. The Jacobs look shocked.

Lucy: (reassuringly) It's fine, they're just strategising.

The door bursts open as Ellenor pushes Lindsay through it, but they are separated by Jimmy, and are reaching around him, trying to get to each other. Lindsay turns them around and pushes Jimmy and Ellenor onto her desk, while Eugene tries to pull her off. Jimmy is still stuck in the middle. A lamp is broken. They all fall off her desk and onto the floor. Bobby comes running out of the conference room, with a shoe in his hand. The phone starts ringing in the background. Bobby and Eugene try desperately to pull Lindsay and Ellenor off of each other and off of Jimmy. Throughout all this the Jacobs look stunned.

Lucy: (trying hard to be heard over the racket) Donnell, Young, Dole and Frutt. (she listens for a moment) Hey! (no one pays her any attention, so she shouts louder) HEY!! (they all stop and look at her) Verdict.

Everyone gets up, dishevelled, and begins to recompose themselves.

Bobby: (straightening his tie and still holding Lindsay's shoe) C'mon, there's an offer on the table. We can discuss it on the way, let's go.

Jacobs: (still looking shocked and very uncertain) None of my business, but you got a big morale problem here.

Lucy turns around and looks at the rest of them with a disgusted look on her face.

-------------------- Commercial --------------------

We see an exterior shot of the courthouse before the camera cuts to inside.

Watson: Mr Merino's point is well taken. We drop live lobsters in hot, boiling water, we chop off chicken's heads and then happily enjoy the meal. To actually put a person in jail for killing an animal... But I agree with Miss Gamble. This was an act against decency. And to trivialise it would be an crime against humanity. There has to be a consequence. For the sake of society, for the sake of Miss Tyler, for the sake of an innocent cat. I sentence you to one year in county, nine months suspended, the remaining three to be served, starting now. Bailiff, take the defendant into custody. Adjourned.

Helen turns to look at Ms Tyler. She looks happy, and mouths 'Thank you'. Helen turns back, looking satisfied. The camera shows the floor as the jury marches back into another courtroom. Cuts to the plaintiff's table, where they are all looking uncomfortable.

Bobby: (whispering) It's still not too late. The offer's still-

Jacobs: I said no.

Mrs Jacobs: Joseph, it's four hundred thousand dollars. Take it.

Jacobs: I want them to say that they were wrong.

Bobby: They won't do that.

Jacobs: Then we don't settle.

Camp enters and sits.

Camp: Members of the jury, you've reached a verdict?

Foreperson: We have, Your Honour.

Wieland: Your Honour, one second to confer with counsel, one second.

Camp: Hurry up.

Wieland leans to whisper to Bobby and Jacobs.

Wieland: One point five, still no admission.

Jacobs: No. I want the admission.

Bobby: (to Wieland) Unsealed.

Wieland: Okay.

Bobby: (to Jacobs) If it's unsealed the public sees the amount. That's the same as an admission. (persuadingly) One point five, Joe, take it.

Jacobs: They're afraid it'll be more.

Bobby: Maybe, but that kind of money....?

Jacobs: No.

Camp: Counsel?

Bobby lifts his hands helplessly before leaning back and running his hand over his eyes.

Wieland: Go ahead.

Camp: Thank you. (to the jury) What say you?

Foreperson: Jacobs versus WYPR Broadcasting Company, on the grounds of fraud, we find in favour of the plaintiff and order the defendant to pay damages in the amount of two hundred thousand dollars. (The defence breaths a sigh of relief.) We further order the defendant to pay punitive damages in the amount of eighteen million dollars. (the courtroom breaks into an uproar, and the plaintiffs table look at each other in shocked happiness)

Jacobs: What? Did she say eighteen million?? (his wife and son nod excitedly)

Camp: (banging his gavel) Order!! Order!! Order!!! (the courtroom quiets down and Camp speaks to the jury) You gotta be kidding me. You jackasses. (the jury looks shocked)

Bobby: (standing and speaking carefully) Your Honour, I'm not sure if that's.. appropriate.

Camp: (motioning for him to sit down and still speaking to the jury) Eighteen million dollars, what the hell is that? You find for the plaintiff, okay. Personally I disagree, but I was prepared to let it stand. But eighteen million? That's sounds to me like there's bias going on. You seem like very nice people but... I'll let the verdict stand, tempted as I am to vacate it. But I'm cutting the damages to two million. (to Jacobs) You, sir, should accept it and smile. Now, I'm going to go for a walk. Any luck, I'll get nicked by a bus, sprain a knee, file a claim, get rich and (throwing his arms up into the air) retire to the Bahamas. Adjourned.

The courtroom breaks into excited talking. Mr Jacobs hugs Bobby, laughing ecstatically. Night, an exterior shot of buildings is shown. Camera cuts to the office, where everyone's celebrating.

Jacobs: Two is nice. Eighteen is better, but two is nice.

Bobby: Sure is.

Jacobs: We can open up a new restaurant. With mahogany tables, curtains-

Lucy: (walking past, meaningfully) Bug spray.

Mrs Jacobs: I don't know how to say thank you.

Ellenor: (to Lindsay) Congratulations, Lindsay

Lindsay: (uncertainly) Thank you.

Jacobs: A toast! Wait wait wait wait! Can we take a picture? I'd like to take a picture of us with our lawyers. Miss Washington, please?

Rebecca: Sure.

Jimmy: (to Eugene) Two million, unbelievable.

Eugene: Tell me about it.

Jimmy: That's almost seven thousand to the firm on contingency, you realise that?

Ellenor: (dryly) Wow.

Jimmy: And Lindsay's client too. She could make over a million this year.

Ellenor: (dryly again) Yep. (she opens another bottle of champagne and it pops. Everyone laughs)

Rebecca: Smile (she takes the photo)

Lindsay looks at Ellenor and smiles slightly and uncertainly, Ellenor returns the smile stiffly and only for a second. The smile leaves Lindsay's face and she just looks uncertain.

-------------------- End --------------------

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