The conclusion of last week’s Conviction was satisfying, sure, but in a cliché way, and had me wondering: I know we’re only two episodes in, but is every week going to be Hayes defying her team, then proving her superior skills as an attorney just in the nick of time to wrap up each case with a neat little bow? As electric as Hayley Atwell is on screen, that formula can get tired.
This week, to help spice things up a bit, we got a little twist on the classic “let the innocent man rightfully go free” schtick: The team was defending the bad guy. Despite some opposition from her team, Hayes chose to focus on the case of Rodney Landon, a known Muslim hater serving four life sentences for bombing a mosque and killing four people on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Landon’s got a lengthy, well-documented history of saying horrible, hateful things about Muslims, but he insists he’s innocent of that day’s crimes — the police had no fingerprints, and no camera footage of him inside the mosque. “My speech put me in the police cross hairs, and once I was there, they didn’t look at anyone else,” he explains. Also hurting his case? The fact that he wrote a blog about building bombs and had bomb residue on his clothes. Man, this guy’s a real winner.
Still, despite the fact that he’s very obviously an awful human being, Hayes insists it’s her job to ensure innocent people are freed from prison, no matter who they are as a person. In the scene I’ve come to look forward to every week, Frankie recreates the crime scene, this time with Tess, and a former bomb scene investigation professor. We see flashbacks to the day of the crime, and soon, Frankie concludes that Landon definitely didn’t make the bomb. The use of flashbacks was really powerful in this scene, and I think that’s something the show does well — instead of focusing on just the main characters, it introduces us to the people they’re defending and gives a better glimpse at who they are than a lot of procedurals do. It felt incredibly eerie to watch the victims laugh and chat, knowing the tragic fate looming in front of them.
Meanwhile, Hayes pays a visit to the wife of the imam killed in the bombing and, just as we could expect, she’s pissed; pissed that Hayes is going to set a murderer free, pissed that she’s dredged up painful old memories, and pissed that the American media has distorted the true meaning of Islam. Good thing Hayes has Wallace as a make-do therapist!
Unfortunately, Wallace isn’t thrilled with Hayes’ case of choice this week. See, Wallace has connections to the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Unit, and really doesn’t want Hayes snooping around. Could it be he’s trying to cover something up?
This is an ABC procedural, so of course he is. Maxine’s bartender dad helps her get the scoop, and it goes something like this: Police had been trailing Landon in the weeks leading up to the bombing and broke into his apartment without a warrant. That’s where they found his journal, which contained a whole lot of hate speech, and a plan to blow up a mosque. However, since the evidence the cops used against Landon (a.k.a. the journal) was obtained illegally, it guarantees Landon a new trial — exactly the reason Wallace wanted Hayes to stay away.
NEXT: Hayes and Wallace deal with the real bomb of this episode