For the People recap: 'Rahowa'
Jay takes on an uncomfortable case, while Allison tries to navigate the Seth situation.
For those of you hoping to get some information on the backstory of our six plucky public defenders and AUSAs, I have some news: The second installment of For the People will leave you…partially satisfied. It looks like the new legal drama will be filling in character backgrounds slowly — which feels like the right way to go. Take Leonard for instance: We briefly meet his mother, Senator Knox. She seems both powerful and unfeeling. What was his childhood like? We’re getting hints as to what makes Sandra, Allison, Jay, Leonard, Seth, and Blunt Cut tick, and it’s enough to keep us wanting more.
Jay gets the big Closing Argument Moment of this episode (this honor seems to rotate amongst our lawyers), so let’s start with him. Jay’s parents are immigrants who run a dry cleaning store. His mom still packs him lunch. That’s fun! Jay feels like he needs to prove his worth after his disastrous fraud case loss to Blunt Cut — whom he will continue to blame, thank you very much — so he tells Jill (they are on a first name basis, much to Jill’s chagrin) he is fully committed to taking on a very high profile case. He may live to regret that commitment. Just kidding! Obviously he becomes a better person through his hardships and retrospection. This is TV, people!
The defendant in question has been charged with shooting an assemblywoman during a campaign rally…and he is a white supremacist race warrior. With the face tattoos to prove it! Jay meets this Carl character, and he is as awful as you’d expect. Jay tells Jill he can’t defend someone who hates who he is, who his parents are, just for the way they look. But Jill has defended horrible clients as well — they don’t get to choose their clients, but they will defend them as “vigorously as possible” because that’s their job, and honestly, what is the alternative?
He gets the same speech from Clerk Krissman. In a wonderful development, Krissman and Jay go way back. Jay was apparently a pot-smoking bike messenger when he first crossed paths with our favorite court clerk and she gently nudged him toward a career in law. Now they have lunch together and talk about how ridiculous it is that they are asked to defend people who want to take their rights away. But Krissman reminds her young friend that when they go low, we go high.
With all this reassurance, Jay still has a tough battle in front of him. Aside from the tattoos, there is also video of Carl at the rally spouting off some truly heinous rhetoric and threatening the life of the assemblywoman. Things don’t look good — which gives Jay an idea. He needs to make the jury forget about looks. He’s going to cover up all of Carl’s tattoos, give him a suit, and remind the jury of the person inside. After spending some time with Carl, though, Jay realizes that may not be the best course of action. He comes up with a new strategy.
Jay admits to himself and Jill that in his mind, he had already found Carl guilty — but not because of any evidence of the actual crime for which he’s on trial. He’s going to make the jury see this, too. He knocks down witness after witness, showing that Carl wasn’t the only threatening tattooed skinhead at the rally, there were lots of men there who looked just like him and had a desire to get rid of the assemblywoman. Furthermore, there were people at the rally who looked nothing like Carl, felt the same way, and had access to guns. If the jury convicts Carl, they aren’t doing so based on evidence, they are doing so because they find his beliefs repugnant — and that’s not how the justice system works. That’s not an America that Jay wants to live in. (Recap continues on page 2)
See? A Closing Argument Moment! Jay redeems himself. He goes back to the dry cleaning store, ashamed to tell his father who he helped get off in court today, but his father reminds him that not all people, or all nations have fair trials. It’s a win for Jay and a win for the American legal system, even if it doesn’t exactly feel that way.
Speaking of big wins, Roger has a meeting with his boss, Douglas Delap, and it seems the Attorney General and the President are pressing Delap to make some major moves regarding the opioid crisis in the country. Roger’s office has opened countless investigations into doctors overprescribing opioids to patients, but haven’t filed formal charges in three years. Delap wants Roger to start charging people. He also wants Roger to buy a tall plant to make his office seem bigger. The guy has a lot of asks!
Roger gives the opioid task to Blunt Cut and her new assistant, Probation Seth. Since Seth royally screwed up his insider trading case, he won’t be getting his own case for a while. This development does not please Seth nor does it please Blunt Cut, who will suffer no fools.
Seth doesn’t make a great first impression. There is so much information to comb through (there are open investigations into 25 doctors), he suggests they attempt to get warrants to search the homes of all 25 doctors; there might not be evidence at their offices, but they could’ve gotten sloppy at home. When they show up at Judge Byrne’s home to file the warrant requests, he reams them out. This is lazy and sloppy and borderline unethical—he would never grant this request. You guys, Blunt Cut is pissed. She hasn’t slept more than four hours a night since elementary school, she is not lazy. She blames Probation Seth for this, and is not giving him a second chance. They are doing this her way.
You could call it the Blunt Cut way or the Al Capone way. Al Capone was arrested not for his mafia doings, but for tax evasion. Blunt Cut wants to deploy something similar — find something other than opioids to arrest one of the doctors for; she wants to find another way in. She does so with Dr. Rollins, a doctor who is over prescribing to his patients and also, as she and Seth discover, keeping an undocumented housekeeper. Little do they know the situation is much bigger than just that. They bring the housekeeper in for questioning and discover that not only is she undocumented, but she also isn’t getting paid at all. She is working for Dr. Rollins in order to pay off what he calls her debt for him bringing her to this country. She’s not allowed to leave the house until she works off that debt — she’s been there for 17 years.
But wait, there’s more. The housekeeper has millions of dollars to her name and several offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. Dr. Rollins has been using his housekeeper as a front to launder money…for one of the biggest drug cartels around. This case just became about opioids again. Needless to say, Roger (and Delap) is elated. This isn’t just any movement on drug cases, this is huge. But Roger isn’t just in it for the big win (he’s mostly in it for the big win), the guy has a heart, too. He has Blunt Cut and Probation Seth petition Judge Byrne to allocate some of the doctor’s seized money to the housekeeper. Five million dollars to be exact. Everybody wins!
Well, except for Probation Seth. (Recap continues on page 3)
Seth may have won over Blunt Cut, or, at the very least, shown her he isn’t totally inept (she leaves him some binders, highlighters, and Post-Its, which is the highest honor from Blunt Cut). Still, he is continually having awkward run-ins with Allison. She’s trying to normalize things, but it isn’t working. She hears that Seth is living in a less-than-desirable Airbnb situation (although he is learning a lot about feet from his podiatrist roommate, so that’s something!), so she has a sneaky feeling that he’ll be back. But when Seth doesn’t make any moves to make up with Allison, she tells him they should just get over it; it’s time for Seth to come back home. The only problem: Allison didn’t kick Seth out, he left because he wanted to. It’s always Allison’s way. She makes all the decisions in the relationship. If he sticks around, he’ll always be “second chair” to her. That’s a devastating blow in lawyer speak.
So no, there won’t be any easy reunion for Seth and Allison. However, the conversation with Seth does make Allison think about her relationships in general, and helps her with the problems she’s having with Sandra. Who goes by Sandy now, I guess? Allison wants Sandy to feel at home in her parents’ apartment, but Sandy insists on doing things like avoiding the kitchen and keeping all of her clothes in a duffel bag by her bedroom door.
We don’t get a full explanation as to the reasoning behind Sandy’s actions, but we do get some clues based on her case of the week. Sandy takes a pro bono case after witnessing a woman get turned away by Clerk Krissman for filing paperwork just five minutes late (Krissman is right though; if she starts bending the rules for one person being five minutes late, where does she stop?). The woman is being evicted from her apartment, but they are suing her slumlord for violating the Americans with Disability Act; her son has a disability and the landlord has made no effort to fix the apartment building. Also, there’s lots of rats and broken down stairs, etc. It’s a terrible situation and Sandy won’t stand for it.
When she makes her case in front of the judge, she gets very worked up. So worked up that you know this is about more than justice for her client — this is personal. She especially gets choked up as she talks about slumlords having no regard for their tenants. Those tenants and those kids go neglected. So neglected that those kids learn to not want anything more than what they can fit in a bag, so they can carry it away by themselves if they need to. WE GET IT, SANDY. Assume we’ll be learning more about Sandy’s troubled childhood and how it connects to her deep desire for justice. Sounds fun, right?
There may be hope for Sandy (and Allison!), though. She comes home to find that Allison has bought her a very chic looking rack to hold Sandy’s duffel bag. If Sandy doesn’t want to unpack, Allison will have to be okay with that, but she still wants her friend to know that this is her home. And then the BFFs share a bowl of cereal. It’s all very cute, even if they are eating something called “Soy Flakes.”