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
Back in prison, Hayes and Sam visit Landon, who is more than willing to admit his plan was to blow up a mosque — only, not the one that landed him in prison. With his creepy, piercing stare, this guy gives off serious serial killer vibes, which was exactly his goal. He insists that had his plan worked out the way he wanted it to, it would have had much bigger repercussions that just killing four people. Man, this guy is creepy. Even though such plans could make him guilty of attempted mass murder, he can never be arrested for it because of the illegally obtained journal. Yikes. What happened to saving the good guys?
This guy is dangerous, and Hayes knows it, but she’s still committed to getting him out of prison. She visits Wallace once again (these two must live close by, because she is ALWAYS there) and this time, has a sudden recall. She recalls her visit with the imam’s wife, and realizes her behavior was similar to the many times Hayes’ mother had to deal with her father’s affairs (no offense, but this sudden realization seemed like a bit of a stretch). Could this have been a love crime, and not a hate crime?
In full focus mode, and with only one day left to solve the crime, the team re-watches security footage from the mosque and realizes the wife had a habit of visiting with a tiny purse in tote — except the day of the bombing, when she brought a large bag big enough to hold a bomb. The team pays a visit to her house, and within minutes, Maxine tracks down the bag seen in the security footage. Sure enough, Frankie finds bomb residue on the bag. So there it is: The wife is guilty, Landon is innocent, and Hayes scores another picture-perfect ending.
Or does she? As to be expected, Hayes visits Wallace after all is said and done. She apologizes for Chicago (What happened in Chicago?! They reference it, like, four times in this episode and the vagueness is killing me) and after gazing into each other’s eyes for several seconds, they finally break the sexual tension with an aggressive make-out session. Unfortunately, they’re interrupted by the real bomb of this episode. They turn on the TV to find that someone has leaked the footage of Wallace letting Hayes off the hook to news stations, and the media is none too happy. Et tu, Sam? (It had to be Sam..right?)
What did you think of tonight’s episode of Conviction? Are you shipping Hayes and Wallace? Do you think it was definitely Sam who leaked the news? Did you miss Daniel Franzese in this episode like I did?