Conviction recap: Season 1, Episode 2
Hayes brings back a case from Conner's past
This week on Conviction we got lies, videotapes, and… a dance party? (We’ll hold off on the sex part of the equation… for now). We’re only two weeks in, but tensions are building, romances are heating up, and lies are threatening to be exposed. This is going to be fun.
Case No. 2: The Prospect 3
Ten years ago, Conner was part of the team that prosecuted the Prospect 3, a group of three teenage boys accused of assaulting and raping a black female victim, Zadie, in Prospect Park on her walk home from work. Because they were stupid, reckless teenagers, they filmed themselves the entire night of the attack as they ran around lighting garbage cans on fire and causing general mayhem. The video gave Conner and the prosecution timestamps that matched up with the time the victim’s watch stopped (which happened when a brick was thrown at her). Add that to the fact that the trio confessed to the crime, and Conner and crew were able to find them guilty. The case was incredibly high-profile and made Conner’s career. So it’s understandable why the rest of the CIU crew is hesitant when Hayes decides this is their case for the week.
They agree to go along with it, though, because there is good reason: The boys recanted their confession, and there was no trace of their DNA on the victim, despite a rape kit that tested positive. Hayes, Maxine, Tess, Sam, and Frankie (basically everyone but Conner, who is not being told of this case) get to work visiting the boys (now young men) in prison, where they continue to maintain their innocence. For anyone who’s recently watched the Amanda Knox documentary on Netflix, listening to the boys tell their side of the story felt eerily familiar. They explain how, while they were being questioned, the police got gradually more and more aggressive until the boys just told the cops what they wanted to hear: that they were guilty.
With four days left to solve the case, Maxine and Frankie attempt to re-create the crime scene by following the timestamps on the video the boys filmed. They’re hoping that by re-tracing the steps of the victim and her attacker, they can confirm that the paths of Zadie and the boys would have crossed at the time she was attacked. Things don’t add up, though: Unless Zadie is a miraculously fast speed-walker, the boys were still eight minutes away from her location when the attack happened.
Of course there must be more to the story, and there is. Maxine and Frankie track down a colleague who left work with Zadie on the night of the attack. They interrogate him until he reveals crucial information: The DNA found on Zadie was his, but he didn’t rape her. He reveals the two had consensual sex in a Mardi Gras bar bathroom, which would explain the positive rape kit and why the DNA didn’t match that of the boys. Zadie’s memory of the night was wiped out when she was hit by the brick, but the co-worker swears he told her what happened between them, essentially calling Zadie a liar for telling police and the media that she was raped. The colleague also reveals a total game-changer: Zadie’s watch was smashed during sex, not during the attack, which completely changes the timeline that had Conner so convinced he was right.
NEXT: So if not them, who?
Hayes informs Conner of the new development, and the two go to work figuring out what next steps they might possibly take. Upon reviewing the trio’s files, they realize only one, Brian, had a previous record of violence against women. Could it be that he acted alone, and his companions took the fall for his actions? Hayes and Conner review the night’s police records and realize that Brian was released way before his friends, leaving him plenty of time to attack Zadie on his own. This is more than enough convincing for Hayes and Conner, and after Hayes pays a visit to prison to taunt Brian with the Mardi Gras beads he stole from Zadie as a trophy, he confesses. Hayes was right, the two innocent boys go free, and all is well! Sort of.
The sexual tension between Conner and Hayes reaches an all-time (well, two-episode) high as Conner asks for a way to thank her for her hard work and leans in for a kiss. But Hayes is way too bad-ass to fall for that. She’s still pissed Conner sent her mother (a.k.a. the former First Lady) to find out what the CIU was working on (if you recall, they wanted to keep the Prospect 3 work from Conner because it’d been his case 10 years ago). “Next time you want to check up on me, find a different spy. Because I’m never sleeping with someone already in bed with my mother,” she tells him as she storms away. You go, girl.
The episode was pleasantly surprising as it slowly but surely began to delve a little deeper into the background of the characters. We saw Tess struggle with her guilt, Sam struggle with his conscience, and the strains on Hayes’ relationship with her mother. It’ll be fun to see where each of these struggles go.