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S01.E04: Fire in a Crowded Theater

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After a young woman is murdered Elijah and Anthony take on hate-speech in a case against a controversial leader who is represented by Elijah's old friend and attorney Rachel Madsen.

Original air date 2029.10.14

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Felt like some missed opportunities in this one.. Mainly Elijah and Emerson talking to Sydney about being minorities  and her blind spots.. Overall decent

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I get that that it's necessary plot device, but why would the defense put their client on the stand, even if it's a civil case?  They won't gain anything by his testimony, and there's always the chance the defendant will implode on the stand.  They should have enlisted the help of constitutional law experts instead.  Understand that I'm not in his corner, but only puzzled by the courtroom procedure.  I was involved in a class action civil suit once (never again, but that's another story), and the first thing our attorneys told us was "The case has already been mostly decided by expert testimony.  The only thing you will do by talking too much is ruin your own case.  Answer Yes, No, and I don't remember."

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I wanted to like this one.  I'd been saying that it would be nice for them to win a case by being good lawyers and not by some lucky break (like the "missing" police report last week that suddenly appeared), so this week they win one by persuading the jury with semantics and by appealing to the emotions -- which is part of being a good lawyer -- and it still felt a bit empty.  Maybe because I'm pretty much with Sydney on this one.  Yeah, the guy's a scumbag, and what he's doing is wrong by some definitions (including mine), but any case about restricting free speech is dangerous ground, a slippery slope as she put it.

I liked Elijah comparing it to calling "Fire!" in a crowded theater; I think it's a fair comparison.  It's inciteful speech.  You're not physically hurting anyone, but if your words cause harm to others, or incite others to cause harm, then you are at least partly responsible, and thus partly guilty on some level.  I bought that argument, again maybe because I really felt that the guy was guilty of *something*.  But somehow I couldn't believe that a jury would buy it.  It seems like a precedent would be set and it would be a bit easier to find scumbags like him guilty.  I guess I'm too cynical for what is shaping up to be a feel-good show.

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54 minutes ago, Orbert said:

I bought that argument, again maybe because I really felt that the guy was guilty of *something*.  But somehow I couldn't believe that a jury would buy it. 

It's a lot easier to convince someone of something they already want to be true/right. 

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I agree.  But then I wonder how it is that people like Mathers continue to get away with what they do.  There have to be at least a few juries out there like the one in this episode, and once precedent has been set, it gets easier and easier for others like him to get put away.

I guess I'm thinking about hate groups in general, who do survive and do it by being very careful to stay within the law.  Suing the leader of such a group on the grounds that he incited the actions of others isn't an angle I remember hearing about in the news or anything, so maybe it's a relatively new thing.

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Not bad, it was a solid episode.  Nice touch with the white supremacist guy in the bathroom.  Very normal & non-threatening, showing the most harmless looking people can be dangerous.  Good they didn't use some hulking skin-head.  They did show a bit of tattoo coming out of his shirt collar, which we're probably supposed to assume is swastikas or other white power symbols.  It worked for me. 

I did notice that every so often, Jimmy would throw a soft drawl into a word.  A very subtle touch, and just right for Memphis.  I like it.

I just keep thinking of him as Bobby  *LOL*

Edited by leighdear
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2 hours ago, leighdear said:

I just keep thinking of him as Bobby  *LOL*

Or Victor SiFuentes, 40 years after LA Law.  Wonder if Susan Dey was Carolyn?? 🙂

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10 hours ago, SuzieQ said:

Or Victor SiFuentes, 40 years after LA Law.  Wonder if Susan Dey was Carolyn?? 🙂

Susan as dead Carolyn would be GENIUS casting for flashback scenes!

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On 10/15/2019 at 12:10 PM, UNOSEZ said:

Felt like some missed opportunities in this one.. Mainly Elijah and Emerson talking to Sydney about being minorities  and her blind spots.. Overall decent

I kept thinking, is Jimmy Smits not supposed to be a man of color on this show? I assume his late wife was white and Emerson's mother is not - Sydney looks white, Emerson does not. It was weird to me that Elijah only made thinly veiled references to Sydney "not getting it."

ETA: I forgot Elijah was Sydney's adoptive father.

Edited by Empress1

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