Written by: Jill Goldsmith and Alfonso H. Moreno and David E. Kelley
Directed by: Dennis Smith
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 'Crossfire'. 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.
Eugene: (distressed) Sheís trying to cut off custody.
Bobby: Now, Eugene, we could be in for a real fight here.
Eugene: I know
Bobby: She hired Solomon Taggert. (Eugene sighs) Where she got the money to do that I donít know. What I do know is this guy doesnít fool around. (pause) If I have to get ugly, you have to let me.
Eugene: I donít want your tearing her up, Bobby. At the end of the day sheís still my sonís mother.
Bobby: And at the end of the day we want you to still be his father.
The door to the office opens and Kendall walks in.
Eugene: Kendall, what are you doing here?
Kendall: I just came. I took the T.
Eugene: Your mother know?
Kendall: No. (Eugene rolls his eyes. Bobby leaves Eugeneís office) Whatís going on? I had to meet with those doctors and stuff. Why is nobody telling me whatís going on?
Eugene: Your, uh, mother thinks your getting involved with drugs had something to do with my influence. And, uh, she thinks it would be best if you didnít spend time with me.
Eugene: Just for a while.
Kendall: But youíre my dad.
Eugene: It isnít about that. Itís - (pause) Sheís doing what she thinks is best. She loves you just like I do. We just disagree on whatís best.
Kendall: And sheís asking some judge to stop you from being with me?
Eugene: Something like that, yeah. (Eugene pats Kendall on the head)
The office the next morning.
Eugene: Címon, weíre gonna be late!
Ellenor: Weíve got plenty of time, Eugene.
Bobby: Whoís up first?
Ellenor: The guardian (unintelligible), Tania Morrison. She takes a strong position.
Lindsay: Whoís the judge?
Eugene: Come on!
The hall at the courthouse. Helen leaves the elevator.
Mr Hayes: (from behind) Miss Gamble?
Helen: (stopping and turning) Hi.
Mr Hayes: Hi.
Helen: Uh, listen. Unfortunately we werenít able to reach a plea. So, we go to trial.
Helen: Iíll be putting you on first. But, remember we talked about his attorney. Listen, Iíll do what I can to protect you, but the main thing is you have to keep your composure.
Mr Hayes: You wonít let her get brutalised up there?
Helen: This attorneyís tough. Heís known for trying anything.
Mr Hayes: Sheís gonna be attacked, isnít she?
Helen: Well, defendants get the right to confront their accusers, Mr Hayes, and this one will.
Morrison: Kendall has an above average IQ, but he appears to be lacking some moral responsibility with regards to his behaviour.
Taggert: What do you mean, doctor?
Morrison: With the drug arrest, he focuses on the illegal search rather than his own bad act, and in lying to his parents about it afterward, he focuses on how the denial skirted the truth -
Bender: Címon, doctor. Growing up my children threw every excuse in the book at me. Isnít that just part of being a kid?
Morrison: A normal kid understands when heís done something wrong, and uses the excuse as a way to escape punishment. With Kendall, itís almost as if he believes the excuse nullifies the bad act. And therein lies the problem.
Taggert: To what do you attribute Kendallís behaviour?
Morrison: There could be a lot of factors. But I do believe a significant one derives from contact with his father.
Taggert: Heís a bad role model?
Morrison: Iím not saying that. Likely heís a great role model. Iím saying that contact with him is having a negative effect.
Taggert: A good model with a bad influence?
Morrison: Mr Young is a criminal defence attorney. I certainly donít have all the answers, but I know that Kendall is somehow processing right and wrong through his fatherís eyes, and itís resulting in a blurring of the lines for him.
Bobby: How many hours total did you spend with Kendall?
Morrison: About six and a half hours.
Bobby: And in six and a half hours you find that Eugene Young is a bad influence on his son.
Bobby: Because heís a criminal defence attorney?
Morrison: Because of the emotional and behavioural impact heís had on his son.
Bobby: Because heís a criminal defence attorney.
Morrison: Mr Young faces tough moral choices. Maybe he has a handle on it, maybe he doesnít -
Bobby: When youíre saying that Mr Young faces tough moral choices you have evidence of Mr Young acting amorally?
Morrison: Well, I think defending someone accused of murder is perhaps -
Bobby: Itís immoral for a criminal defence attorney to defend murder defendants?
Morrison: Iím talking about how it impacts on a child.
Bobby: Itís your opinion that children canít process -
Taggert: Heís not letting the witness finish.
Bender: I agree. Let her complete her response, Mr Donnell.
Morrison: Of course, every defendant deserves representation. Most eleven year olds can appreciate this. Iím speaking as to whatís going on with Kendall.
Bobby: Thank you, doctor, but how -
Morrison: I still havenít finished. By defending these people, the drug dealers, the people that use drugs, Kendall sees an implied endorsement. Dad says these people are okay. Dad says what these people did wasnít so bad. Dad said itís the police who were at fault. These are the things this kid is processing. Itís not coming from his mother.
The conference room.
Dr Plath (sp?): Thank you for taking the time.
Rebecca: Sure. Iím going to have Lucy take notes if you donít mind.
Plath: Sure. Well, as I said on the phone, Iím a practising child psychologist and I was recently discharged from my job, for grounds I believe to be illegal.
Rebecca: And what were the grounds?
Plath: I developed a condition in my eyes which they sited as cause.
Rebecca: What kind of condition?
Plath: It effects the muscles and, well, (removes his dark sunglasses) as you can see Iím rather cross-eyed. (thereís a pause as Rebecca and Lucy look at him while trying not to look like theyíre looking at him) Can you tell?
Lucy: Well, since you mention it...
Rebecca: And this is why they fired you?
Plath: Yes. Itís a bi-lateral nerve palsy. I got it from a head trauma. Ms Washington, it does not render me disabled. I have been and continue to be an excellent psychologist. Iím very good at what I do.
Lynette: I spent most of the afternoon walking around window shopping, and then I walked to my car.
Helen: And what happened?
Lynette: As I started to pull out that man jumped in the passenger side.
Helen: What did you do?
Lynette: I tried to jump out my side, but he grabbed my wrists so I couldnít get out.
Helen: What happened then?
Lynette: He pulled a knife out of his jacket and pressed it against my neck really hard.
Helen: Tell me, what was going through your mind?
Lynette: Fear. I was thinking if he just wanted the car heídíve let me jump out. I thought he was going to hurt me.
Helen: What happened next?
Lynette: I started talking.
Helen: You started talking?
Lynette: Yes. I started telling him about myself. I though that maybe if he knew something about me he wouldnít want to kill me.
Helen: Why would you think that?
Lynette: Iíve read that one strategy with an attacker is try to humanise yourself with them so they wonít kill you.
Helen: And it worked?
Lynette: Yeah, I guess so, because he told me to get out, which I did, and he drove away.
Mr Dawson, the defence lawyer, stands and begins his cross-examination.
Dawson: Any bruises on your wrist or your neck?
Lynette: I donít think so.
Dawson: You never went to a hospital.
Dawson: Can anybody account for your whereabouts that afternoon when you say you were window shopping?
Lynette: Not that I know of. I was by myself.
Dawson: Did you also kiss Randy Strunk (sp?)?
Lynette: (leaning forward, shocked) Excuse me?
Dawson: (walking towards the witness stand almost casually) The truth is, you met Randy, you had consensual sex with him and then you loaned him your car. Isnít that what happened?
Lynette: Are you crazy?
Dawson: You would never sleep with someone youíd just met?
Dawson: Fair question.
Helen: Sidebar, your honour.
The judge beckons Helen and Mr Dawson forward and they approach the bench.
Dawson: Sheís been known to pick up men and not just with her car.
Helen: Oh, you gotta be kidding me...
Dawson: Sheís the social girl. Iím just showing that...
Helen: That is completely irrelevant. Even if it were true, a victimís sexual history is inadmissible. Rape shield.
Dawson: This is not a rape. Rape shield doesnít apply. And I am entitled to cross-examine my clientís accuser.
Judge: I wonít let you go there, Mr Dawson.
Dawson: You donít know this woman, judge, sheís a real...
Judge: Problem is, counsel, I know you. Youíre not going there.
Dawson looks hugely disgruntled. Helen throws a slightly triumphant look at him over her shoulder as she returns to her seat and Dawson rolls his eyes.
Another courtroom. Sharon is giving her testimony.
Sharon: Heís a good man, and in my opinion, a very good father.
Taggert: (glancing over his shoulder at Eugene) Well, then why are we here?
Sharon: Because of the world he lives in. My ex-husband fights for bad people. (camera cuts to Eugene, fidgeting in his chair in disbelief) My son attributes some idealism to this world. The influence scares me. Heís begun to deal drugs. With a sense of pride, even. A pride that he gets from his dad.
Eugene: (quietly in Bobbyís ear) Object to that. (Bobby puts up a hand to tell him to be patient. Eugene sits back in disbelief and looks at Ellenor, sees the same reaction there, gives up and looks back at Sharon)
Sharon: It would be one thing if he came home wanting to defend criminals, but to identify with them as role models? This is beginning to happen.
Taggert: Have you talked to your ex-husband about this?
Sharon: My ex-husband breathes this world. Thatís what led to us splitting up. Heís inside it. He defends these people on a mission. It was more important to him than being a husband, more important to him than being a father.
Eugene: (standing) Objection! That isnít true, Sharon!
Bender: Mr Young...
Eugene: You know that isnít true!
Bender: (banging his gavel) Mr Young. Take your seat. (Eugene doesnít)
Sharon: I know you love him. But you donít see what youíre doing to him.
Bender: Ms Young, please do not address your ex-husband. (Eugene sits)
A room at the courthouse. Eugene bursts through the door and flings his coat down on the table.
Eugene: That was a lie!
Bobby: It doesnít matter.
Eugene: You just sat there!
Eugene: You just let her go on with that!
Bobby: I get my chance on cross...
Eugene: (yelling and pointing at the floor to emphasise his point) You shouldíve shut her down!
Bobby: Eugene. You know she gets to tell her side. You know I had to let her.
Eugene: She knows my values. She knows I donít honour the people I defend and she knows Kendall knows that.
Bobby: Taggert probably told her to come on strong. Like I said, these kinds of fights we donít win by holding back. Eugene. Look at me. (Eugene looks up) Now itís my turn. I donít wanna hold back. Anything you got her that I can use, now is the time to tell me. (Eugene looks away) Iím friends with Sharon, I donít wanna go after her, but if you want your son back.... I have no real choice. (pause) And you have to help me. (Eugene looks at him, and then looks away, obviously battling torn loyalties)
The elevator at the courthouse. Camera starts at Ellenorís face, then pulls back to show Eugene and Bobby. The elevator stops, the doors open and a group of people enter, among them are Sharon and Taggert. Bobby, Ellenor and Eugene look at each other, and then Eugene stares at Sharonís back. She seems to sense that sheís being watched and she peeks out the corners of her eyes, and then turns around. Eugene continues to stare at her. The elevator stops and Sharon looks away, and then walks out. Eugeneís eyes follow her all the way, and then they all leave and walk out into the hall.
Sharon: (putting her hand out to stop Bobby) Bobby...
Sharon: Itís okay. (to Bobby) A second? (they move away a bit, and Sharon looks down the hall at Eugene) Does he know why Iím doing this?
Bobby: He understands the reason you gave him, yes. Does he understand? (Sharon looks away)
Sharon: Do you?
Bobby: I understand you think youíre doing whatís best. (thereís a pause) Iíll see you in there. (he walks off, leaving her thinking in the hallway)
Another courtroom, where Mr Dawson is continuing Lynetteís cross-examination
Dawson: How long was it, from the time Randy allegedly got in the car until the time you got out?
Lynette: It seemed like forever, but it was probably no more than a couple minutes.
Dawson: So, you only had a couple of minutes to reveal the personal details that you hoped would spare your life.
Dawson: And the details that you chose to reveal were of course, the ones that you thought would generate the most sympathy.
Lynette: I guess so, yes.
Dawson: You told him you had a settlement coming from a car accident. That you broke up with your last boyfriend because you discovered he was seeing one of your friends. That you had allergies.
Lynette: I probably did.
Dawson: Your favourite movie is Braveheart. And you told him you lost your virginity in a car. You tell him that?
Lynette: I honestly donít remember everything I said. I was scared. I was just rambling on.
Dawson: Are those things true? (Lynette doesnít answer) If youíre not sure, we can always verify them with your insurance company, your friends and your doctor.
Lynette: A lot of it is true. I was trying to talk to him about my life, make him feel like he knew me. (she shakes her head and breaks off)
The office. Jimmy is sitting at his desk, watching Rebecca talk to Dr Plath
Rebecca: What I did was fax a demand letter, plus a draft of motion for injunctive relief, which we can bring before a judge at any time. It did succeed in getting their attention.
Plath: Which means...
Rebecca: Dr Fairby, your boss and his lawyers are coming for a meeting. I suspect that they could be offering to modify your settlement.
Plath: Well, that isnít what I - (pause and he glances at Lucy) I really want my job back.
Rebecca: (nodding) Okay then, Iíll take a shot.
Plath: Thank you, Ms Washington. (Rebecca shows him to the door. Jimmy leans over his desk to look at him again.
Rebecca: Iíll call you right after the meeting. (She closes the door, smiling at him. Then the smile falls off her face and she walks back to Jimmyís desk) I saw you snickering.
Jimmy: I wasnít laughing, I....
Rebecca: Itís a palsy, Jimmy. Real funny.
She walks back to her desk, and Jimmy looks at Lucy, who raises her eyebrows and turns back to her work.
A courtroom, where Bobby is cross-examining Sharon.
Bobby: Youíre the one with the primary physical custody right now, arenít you, Sharon?
Bobby: (standing and walking over to her) Youíre the one spending the most time with Kendall. Possibly you share some blame for his problems, or is that just impossible?
Sharon: I lived with Eugene for nine years. I know where the blame goes. Plan B, I know that too.
Bobby: Plan B? Whatís that got to do with Eugeneís parenting?
Sharon: Itís got to do with Kendall always bragging that his dad can get anybody off.
Bobby: Heís a bad parent by the way he defends his clients?
Sharon: Heís a bad influence when it comes to teaching him accountability.
Bobby: What about you as a primary caretaker, refusing to accept any responsibility? What message on accountability does that send?
Sharon: Iím accepting responsibility to set my sonís life back on course. Iím taking the steps necessary to see that heís raised with the right values.
Bobby: So, your concern in all this is that Kendall learn the right values.
Bobby: And you donít think that Eugene is teaching those values to Kendall?
Sharon: No. I donít.
Bobby: And values, thatís the one of the reasons you got divorced. Your difference of opinion on values. (the light dawns on Sharon and she looks at Eugene accusingly) You had an affair, didnít you, Sharon?
Sharon: That was four years ago...
Bobby: How long did that affair last?
Taggert: (standing) Objection, your honour. What relevance is an event that happened...
Bobby: Excuse me, but this witness is saying that my clientís character is deficient, and that his son gleaned these deficiencies. I should be allowed to question the petitioner on her character.
Bender: Iíll allow it. Answer the question.
Sharon: The affair lasted about two months.
Bobby: And during the affair, on more than a few occasions, you told Eugene that you were having dinner with a girlfriend or that you were working late, when in fact you were seeing this man, isnít that right?
Sharon: It was wrong, I know that. But...
Bobby: You lied to him.
Bobby: And did Kendall know you were lying to his father? What kind of influence...
Sharon: Kendall never found out about either the affair or...
Bobby: So, your son still doesnít know the truth. The deception lives on.
Bobby: Withdrawn. The man you were seeing was married, right?
Bobby: What kind of values does that teach your son, Sharon? What kind of values does he get from a motherís infidelity and adultery...
Bender: Sustained. Move on.
Bobby: You complain about Eugeneís job. You ever once ask him to quit his job?
Sharon: I knew he never would -
Bobby: The question was did you ever ask him to quit, yes or no?
Sharon: No, that doesnít mean -
Bobby: Ever urge him to demand to be made partner? That ever happen?
Bobby: So this world he lives in, which you so object to, you wanted him to become a partner in it. (pause) You get alimony, donít you, Sharon?
Bobby: You make money off this world, you urge him to go for partner and now you cite this world as ground for parental unfitness. Is hypocrisy a value you pass on to Kendall?
Bobby: Best interest of the child, Sharon. Does that include infidelity, lying, hypocrisy -
Bender: Mr Donnell...
Bobby: After you drew this conclusion that Eugeneís job wasnít good for Kendall, did you go to Eugene and say Ďhey, what do we do about this?í or did you just move for full custody?
Sharon: Heís not going to change.
Bobby: You just filed for full custody without so much as a conversation, didnít you, Sharon? Donít you think it could be in Kendallís interest to work things out with his dad before ripping him away -
Taggert: (standing) Heís badgering her.
Bobby: Didnít Eugene deserve that much? A conversation?
Taggert: Your honour...
Bobby: Didnít Kendall deserve that much?
Sharon: (loudly) Heís not going to change! (she looks on the verge of tears. Eugene looks slightly ashamed)
A room at the courthouse. Bobby, Eugene and Ellenor are around the table, not looking at each other.
The conference room.
Dr Fairby: I agree, heís an excellent child psychologist, but if he canít connect with patients...
Rebecca: What evidence do you have that he canít?
Fairby: Look -
Rebecca: Have his patients left him since he established this condition?
Fairby: Some have -
Rebecca: But most havenít.
Fairby: The problem is, I need doctors who can help build our clinic. Heís unable to bring in new business.
Rebecca: You effectively discharged him for a medical condition.
Fairbyís lawyer: No. The discharge was predicated on the inability to perform the functions of the job.
Rebecca: What if he wears dark glasses?
Fairby: How would you feel about a therapist where you canít even see his eyes?
Rebecca: Iíd deal with it.
Fairby: Look, part of the job is cultivating new clientele. He is unable to do this. Look, I like the guy. I wouldnít do this if I didnít have to.
The courtroom. Randy is giving his testimony.
Randy: Iíd seen Lynette Hayes around. And, uh, Iíd always wanted to meet her. I saw her walking across the street looking into some store window.
Dawson: What did you do?
Randy: I thought Ďwhat the hellí. So I crossed over and I went to say hello.
Dawson: And what happened?
Randy: I put a light hit on her, she seemed receptive, so we just started talking.
Dawson: How long were the two of you talking out there on the street?
Randy: Few minutes. Then we started walking. We got to where she was parked and then we were just leaning against her car, talking some more. (Lynette shakes her head in the gallery)
Dawson: Did the two of you get inside the car?
Randy: Yeah. We were getting kinda cold standing outside. She asked me did I wanna get in.
Dawson: What happened once the two of you were in the car?
Randy: She ran the heater for a while and we listened to some music. Then we fooled around.
Time shifts and Helen is now questioning him.
Helen: So after just meeting you, she finds you so irresistible that she just had to have you.
Randy: I guess so.
Helen: Then you made such a favourable impression she just gave you her car?
Randy: No, she loaned it to me. I had lost track of time and I was really late for a job interview that I had across town. The job was really important to me and it was too late for me to catch a bus.
Helen: So, instead of offering to just drive you herself, she just gave her car to a complete stranger?
Randy: Well, we werenít total strangers at that point. Anyway, she had some things that she needed to get done, and so I was supposed to meet her back there at that street at five oíclock.
Helen: But you decided to keep the car instead.
Randy: I got lost trying to find the warehouse across town where I was supposed to meet with this guy in shipping and receiving. Anyway, by the time I got back, she was gone.
Helen: So you figured free car.
Randy: No. I didnít have her phone number or her last name. I was searching for registration when the police arrested me. Thatís the truth.
The office, itís late. Eugene is staring out the window. Bobby comes up behind him.
Bobby: Still love me?
Eugene: She started it. I know that.
Bobby: And sheís not finished, Eugene. Tomorrow morning, youíre on that stand. Theyíll be coming after you.
Bobby: You canít lose control. You canít seem erratic or volatile. You have to remain calm in that chair.
Eugene: Itís a little easier said than done.
Bobby: Youíll do it because of the stakes. Youíll do it.
Eugene: I canít figure out how this happened. Custody battles, divorce. I know it can turn into a runaway hate, but Sharon and me, we get along. We still love each other. I know we both love Kendall. Howíd this happen?
Mr Hayes: Whatís wrong?
Helen: Well, I guess my radar.
Mrs Hayes: Whatís going on?
Helen: Lynette, I could be way off, but I get a gut feeling with witnesses, and after listening to Randy Strunkís testimony, it had a believable ring to it.
Lynette: Youíre not serious.
Helen: Thereís just a couple of things that donít exactly make sense. I mean, after he took the car, he then returned to the same area. He didnít change the plates, he acted like an innocent person...
Lynette: Why would I say he just stole my car?
Helen: Is it possible that you just thought that when he didnít come back soon enough?
Lynette: No. He car-jacked me.
Helen: Mr and Mrs Hayes, can you just excuse us for a second?
Mr Hayes: No. Whatís this about?
Helen: I need to speak with your daughter in private. Please. (they leave. Helen sits next to Lynette) Lynette. If you are making this up, a man could be facing jail.
Lynette: Iím not making this up.
Helen: He car-jacked you.
Helen: Look, I know it was your father that reported this to the police. Are you just sticking to the story you gave him?
Lynette: No. Itís the truth.
Another courtroom. Ellenor is questioning Eugene.
Eugene: If anything, Kendall needs to spend more time with me, not less.
Ellenor: How did Kendall get those drugs?
Eugene: He got them from someone who works for a former client of mine. It was an unfortunate coincidence.
Ellenor: Did you ever introduce Kendall to this former client of yours?
Eugene: Of course not.
Ellenor: Have you in any way conveyed to Kendall that was okay to take or sell drugs?
Ellenor: Why do you think your ex-wife blames you for Kendallís problems?
Eugene: Sharon has always had ideological problems with my job. I think that when this happened it hit a lot of nerves and fears. I also think she blames the break up of our marriage on my job. Sheís reliving a lot of that anger, I guess.
Ellenor: Can you understand that?
Eugene: I can understand her fear. When it happened I was afraid too. But I also got angry. But I donít understand her punishing me. And I certainly donít understand her punishing Kendall. And thatís what youíre doing, Sharon. (thereís a pause)
Taggert: Your son got arrested for possessing drugs. Drugs that he bought off of one of your clients.
Eugene: That was a coincidence, as I said.
Taggert: Your lawyer, (indicating Ellenor) Ms Frutt. She was recently arrested on drug charges herself, wasnít she? (Ellenor rolls her eyes)
Eugene: Those charges were dismissed, she was set up by the police.
Taggert: Thatís exactly what Kendall said when you asked him how the drugs ended up in his locker, isnít it?
Eugene: Except in Ellenorís case, it was true.
Taggert: A client dropped a bag of what was thought to be drugs on Ms Fruttís desk.
Eugene: Thatís right.
Taggert: And when asked who the drugs belonged to, Ms Frutt responded ĎI donít knowí, didnít she?
Taggert: But she knew where the drugs came from, didnít she?
Eugene: As lawyers, we have a duty not to betray our clientís -
Taggert: So, Ms Frutt did the right thing by lying?
Eugene: In that context, it wasnít lying.
Taggert: It was telling the truth?
Taggert: Which was it?
Eugene: It was protecting our client, which as you well know we have an ethical obligation to do.
Taggert: Yes. Did you sit down and explain that to your son, Mr Young?
Eugene: Kendall knows about our duties. We have these talks -
Taggert: Iím not talking in general. Iím referring to that specific occasion after he witnessed Ellenor Frutt lying to the police. Did you sit down and explain the situation to him?
Eugene: Not that time, no.
Taggert: Can you honestly say that you have taught Kendall right from wrong, truth from lie?
Eugene: (heatedly) I have never ever encouraged my son to break the law or to lie.
Taggert picks up a remote control and flicks on the television. It is the video obtained from the Nanny-cam in the last episode, ĎTarget Practiceí, where Kendall and another boy, Michael, are sitting in Michaelís living room discussing drug selling.
Kendall: (on tape) My dad says that if you ever get caught, never admit to anything. Not even to your lawyer, because theyíll be stuck with whatever you tell Ďem.
Taggert pauses a moment to let that sink in, and then flicks off the television. Eugene takes a deep breath.
Eugene: (quietly) I never told him that.
Taggert: Is that the truth, or a justifiable lie?
Ellenor: (standing) Objection. (Bender waves for her to sit back down)
Eugene: Kendall knows what I do for a living, Mr Taggert.
Taggert: Yes, in fact he spends a lot of time at your office, doesnít he?
Eugene: Until this happened.
Taggert: He was right there when the police charged in with their guns, arresting Ellenor Frutt. He was even in the line of fire, wasnít he?
Eugene: You know that was a common occurrence.
Taggert: On average, how many waking hours a week do you spend with your son outside the office?
Eugene: I work a lot of hours. And thatís why heís with me at work.
Taggert: And thatís his exposure to you, isnít it? Eugene Young, the lawyer.
Eugene: And father. And father!
Taggert: Father at work. (Eugene throws a look at Bobby, who raises his hand as if to say Ďdonít worry, itís okayí) (thereís a pause) Reference was made earlier to Plan B. What is that?
Eugene: Itís a defence strategy.
Taggert: More specifically it means accusing someone in open court of committing the crime.
Taggert: According to recent court transcripts, you accused a brother of beheading his sister even though you didnít believe he was really involved in the death. Correct?
Taggert: Ever sit down and talk to Kendall about why you do these things in court?
Eugene: Yes. I have.
Taggert: Ever been booked on assault, Mr Young?
Eugene: Once. The charge was dropped.
Taggert: You got mad at one of your clients who sodomized two young boys. You beat him up in open court, right?
Bobby: (standing) Objection. This has no relevance.
Taggert: (turning and pointing at Bobby) Everything is fair game. You made that clear.
Bender: All right. Iíll give you a little latitude, Mr Taggert. (Bobby sits down and Taggert turns back to Eugene)
Taggert: When this case was filed you were under court order not to discuss the merits of it with your son, Kendall. Is that right, sir?
Taggert: You talk to him about it two nights ago?
Eugene: He was confused as to what was going on.
Taggert: (pointing at Sharon) You basically tell him that his mother was wrong?
Eugene: I told him we disagreed as to what was best.
Taggert: Well, would it surprise you that he went home with the idea that you thought she was wrong? (Eugene rolls his eyes) The night before the hearing you violate a court order, position your son on your version of the merits. (Taggert pauses) Are these the good footsteps for a son to step in? (the camera gives a close of Eugene and then Sharon, both looking uncomfortable)
Cut to another courtroom. Rebecca is arguing Dr Plathís case before Judge Philip Swackheim.
Rebecca: Heís being fired for a medical condition. Thatís contrary to law.
Defence Counsel: Heís being terminated for an inability to perform the functions of -
Rebecca: Appearance is not a function. He has six-nerve palsy brought on by a head trauma. And thereís no -
Swackheim: Well, I donít know much about psychology, counsel. But I do suspect that if I were to go see a therapist to unearth my troubles, it wouldnít help to have him look back at me cross-eyed.
Rebecca: And that is bigotry. So, he looks different. In time -
Swackheim: Would you step up here a minute Mr Plath. Dr Plath? (Dr Plath moves to join Rebecca) Iím looking to get an idea. Um, my mother-in-lawís got, uh, delirium. Tell us what that is.
Plath: Delirium is basically a disturbance of consciousness. It can affect cognition, often manifested by reduced clarity of awareness of the environment. It can cause focus problems. Attention deficit problems are common. The person is frequently easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli. And itís often difficult to engage in long sustained periods of conversation. Thereís also disorientation as to time -
Swackheim: Iím sorry. Iím upholding the discharge.
Rebecca: Your honour...
Swackheim: Ms Washington, this may not seem fair, but itís tough to take him seriously.
Rebecca: You canít penalise him for something he canít control!
Swackheim: Nor should I penalise them (indicating Dr Fairby). Dr Plath, you may be an excellent doctor, but medicine is business these days. And under the adage you only get one change to make a first impression, I have to sympathise with the defendant as well.
Rebecca: This isnít fair.
Swackheim: And your problem, young lady, is that you think justice is fair, mmm mmm.
Cut to the chambers of the judge on Helenís case.
Judge: Iím not a big fan of ex-party. Whatís the mystery?
Helen: Iím not sure if I have good faith belief in the defendantís guilt anymore.
Helen: I guess it comes down to creditability. My gut tells me she fed her father the story, he insisted on the arrest and sheís cornered.
Judge: What have you got to support this?
Helen: Just listening to their testimony. I think I believe him.
Judge: So what? Youíre not the jury.
Helen: Still, if a DA doesnít have a good faith belief -
Judge: It may affect your bringing the charges, but your weighing the testimony... Come on.
Helen: What if I brought a motion to dismiss?
Judge: Forget it. And donít tank your closing, either. Defence attorneys arenít the only ones with obligations in that room.
The hall in the courthouse. Sharon is sitting alone on a bench. Eugene sits down beside her.
Eugene: Whyíd you do this, Sharon?
Sharon: Here you go. Disobeying another court order. Weíre not supposed to talk about this outside -
Eugene: Whyíd you do this?
Sharon: (after a pause) I know you love him. But I also know Iím losing him. If it were to you, Iíd deal with it. But Iím losing him to something... Heís a good kid becoming a bad kid. You donít see that. Either because you donít want to, or you canít. (Eugene looks down, and then up again)
Eugene: Do you really think heís better (thereís a pause) cut off from me?
Sharon: Yes. (Eugene looks stunned, and leans back against the bench.)
Taggert: This isnít about whoís a better person. Or who loves Kendall more. Itís whatís in the boyís best interest. Weíve listened to the guardian, (unintelligible), somebody who is neutral, linking Kendallís problems to his contact with his father. A boy losing an ability to distinguish right from wrong. We all saw that tape. An eleven year old boy versed on the how-toís of drug dealing. Who in this room wasnít horrified? Eugene Young was sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress when in open court he accused a brother of killing his own sister. An allegation he admittedly didnít really believe. And in defence of Eugene Young, his colleague, Jimmy Berluti, described him as being in extreme denial. A man struggling to survive what he does for a living. That struggle is affecting Kendall. Weíre not asking for punishment or that it be permanent, but for know we have to listen to Dr Morrison and appoint Sharon Young as full custodian. In the end, itís not about a mother and a father, itís about the welfare of an eleven year old boy, who clearly needs help. (he sits and Bobby stands up)
Bobby: We see young kids in this room every day arrested for drugs. We donít take them away from their parents, just the opposite. The courts usually plead for the parents to step in. Thatís exactly what Eugene Young would like to do. This is a huge overreaction to a bad event. There is nothing, absolutely nothing to even suggest any parental unfitness. Mr Taggert quoted Jimmy Berlutiís closing argument as evidence. Well, he left out the part of the summation where Mr Berluti referred to Eugene Young as deeply honourable, dignified, a hero. I second that. So do you, Sharon. There is nobody, nobody who has walked through these doors with more honour, more dignity and morality than the man sitting over there. (he sits down again)
The hall at the courthouse. Helen and the Hayesí are walking to the courtroom.
Helen: (stopping at the door and turning to Lynette) If you recant I promise there will be no perjury charges.
Lynette: Why are you doing this?
Helen: Lynette, Iím just saying that if you did make this up -
Lynette: Itís bad enough that the defence attorney attacks me, now the DA goes after me too? (beginning to cry) He car-jacked me. He did.
Inside the courtroom.
Helen: Randy Strunck, heís gotta be the luckiest man in the world. He meets a very attractive woman who, and even though sheís a complete stranger, just canít help herself and agrees to fool around with him in her car. Then, she generously gifts him with her car. (she pauses) That happens every day, doesnít it? (another pause) Randy isnít lucky, ladies and gentlemen. Heís just careful. He chose his victim. He chose the time. He chose a location where there would be no eyewitnesses. Randy chose every single detail of the attack to work to his advantage. And after he got caught he, along with his attorney, chose the strategy of putting the victim on trial. He said she said, it was reasonable doubt. Go ahead. Put him back out there. Just donít forget to lock your car doors.
Time shifts to Dawsonís closing.
Dawson: My definition of the luckiest man in the world wouldnít be an innocent man convicted for a crime he didnít do. Hereís a flash. Sometimes the defendant actually is the victim of false charges. Maybe she thought he stood her up. Or duped her. Or maybe he wasnít really coming back with her car. I donít know what was in her mind when she told her father what happened. But she wasnít car-jacked. No bruises, no physical signs of anything violent. She wasnít car-jacked. This case reminds me of a question we used to have on tests in school when I was growing up. Orange, apple, pear, hammer. Which one doesnít fit? Here, according to Lynette Hayes, we have an attacker, with a knife, who took her car. Who also happens to know about her past relationship with an ex-boyfriend, among other things. These are the things you tell someone you have a personal relationship with, however brief. Not an attacker. Something doesnít fit.
The conference room. Rebecca is working when Dr Plath comes in and she stands up.
Rebecca: (in answer to his shrug) Iím sorry.
Plath: You tried. Should I appeal?
Rebecca: (sighing) Sit. (they sit) We could appeal, but I donít think weíd win. Youíre not in what we call a suspect class and thereís no special protection for people with -
Plath: Funny faces. (pause) So, youíre not recommending that we keep going with this case?
Plath: Well, thank you for your time, Ms Washington. (they stand)
Rebecca: I wish I couldíve been more help.
Plath: Well, I appreciate your not laughing, anyway. Good day.
Rebecca: Goodbye, Mr Plath.
Judge Benderís chambers.
Bender: Between all the back and forth, the one piece of evidence that stands out most is that you didnít try. The boy was arrested, the court papers were filed... The fact that you didnít first try, Ms Young, tells me that you were leading with fear and anger, and not necessarily Kendallís interests.
Sharon: That isnít true.
Bender: Well, Iím not satisfied that youíve exhausted every possible remedy. Taking away a boyís father, thatís severe enough not to be the first course of action. So, Iím ordering you both to try again. If you fail, try again. Then, maybe come to me. Mr Young, I am tempted to restrain your son from coming to your office, but Iím not there yet. We seem to have two intelligent and loving parents here, so letís put some of that intelligence and love to work. For Godís sake, this is not about you. This is about your son. the petition to modify custody is denied. (everyone looks at each other)
The courtroom for Helenís verdict.
Judge: (taking the verdict and looking it over) Will the defendant please rise? (Randy and his lawyer stand) Madame Foreperson, the jury has reached a verdict?
Foreperson: (standing) We have, your honour. Commonwealth versus Randy Strunck, on the charge of assault and confinement for the purpose of stealing a motor vehicle while armed, we find the defendant, Randy Strunck, guilty. (Randy looks horrified.)
Judge: The jury is dismissed with the thanks of the court. Weíre adjourned (bangs gavel)
Mr Hayes: Good job. Thank you.
Lynette: Thank you.
Helen looks very unhappy. Lynette smiles at her awkwardly, but as they lead Randy out, she looks slightly uncomfortable. The camera closes up on Helenís face, she looks uncertain.
The city, itís night. Eugene is walking down a snowy street and stops at Sharonís house and knocks on the door. She opens it.
Eugene: He ready?
Sharon: Not quite.
Eugene: Iíll wait. (Sharon reluctantly opens the door so he can come in)
Kendall: Hey, Dad!
Eugene: Hey. (he sits down)
Sharon: Just be a couple minutes. (she goes to sit back at the table with Kendall) Okay, almost done. How many tablespoons of water does it take to fill a gallon container three quarters full?
Kendall: Whoíd use a tablespoon to fill a gallons container?
Sharon: Someone with too much time on their hands. (Eugene smiles at this) How many tablespoons equal an ounce?
Sharon: Okay. Figure it out.
Eugene almost sadly looks around at all the photos of Kendall, at all different ages, scattered around the room.
Kendall: One hundred and ninety-two.
Sharon: Good. Last one. (they continue on this track, as Eugene continues to look around the room, a look of sadness/regret on his face.)
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