Jake works a case that hits close to home, while Julia struggles with her guilt over last week's shocking death
Credit: ABC/Nicole Wilder
S1 E5
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If you’re just like me and still reeling from last week’s most dramatic Notorious episode yet (that was best read in Chris Harrison’s Bachelor voice), then perhaps you also enjoyed the slower pace of tonight’s installment. You see, poor Julia is still reliving Levi’s suicide (maybe it would help to remove the bloody shoes from your foyer? Just a thought) and can’t help but blame herself. Did she somehow push him over the edge? Because the rest of the world has yet to see the jarring tape Levi sent Julia, however, nearly everyone is still convinced of Oscar’s guilt — particularly Max, the dark and handsome DA with a penchant for making intense eye contact.

He meets up with Julia to ask if she thinks Levi killed Sarah, and eventually the conversation ends with Max acquiring the photos of Jake and Sarah in bed together — and Max and Julia agreeing to a lunch date. Sparks are really brewin’ here, people, because there’s obviously nothing as romantic as blood and guts.

Meanwhile, Jake’s case this week provided some pretty good insight into his so-far mysterious backstory. Jenna, a 9-months-pregnant surrogate, is sh-t out of luck: She’s due to give birth any minute now, but the biological parents of the child have bailed, leaving her with no choice but to raise the baby herself or place it into foster care. Because laws are weird, putting the baby up for adoption is not an option. Her fertility lawyer, Maggie, basically sucks; she refuses to help track down the parents and keeps repeating that she has to keep client information confidential.


We soon see Ryan’s single appearance this week, in a complete recreation of episode 1’s opening scene (with different players, of course). He and Ella are having sex in her motel room (that’s still weird to me, I don’t know), when a phone rings, a time is shown, and someone says “I’m late for work.” Seriously, did no one think I’d notice the show’s two sex scenes so far were exactly the same?

Max pays Jake a visit and ever so politely informs him that his team is aware Sarah was having an affair shortly before she was murdered. You know, if Levi originally gave Julia the pictures but is now dead, who gave the pictures to Max? Levi’s ghost? Ryan trying to get another promotion for a company he doesn’t even work for? As soon as Jake hears this, he knows he’s in deep — but more on that later.

NEXT: And the award for most boring date of all time goes to…

Julia and Max go to a bar together and talk about stuff… I don’t know, it was boring, I’m sorry. (Is anyone shipping this? Yawn. I’ve seen dogs with more chemistry than these two.) Max agrees to appear on LHL; when he does, he declares Oscar guilty in Sarah’s murder…at least, until Julia ambushes him and plays the unstable-Levi-saying-he-wants-to-protect-Oscar video. That is not a very good way to impress your crush, Julia, but that’s okay — your job is more important. Max is pissed, but like, not pissed enough to not want to continue dating her after.

She’s frustrated by Max calling her out in front of her entire staff, so she does what all normal people do when they’re sad: She sits on a rock and stares at the skyline. Somehow, by some totally crazy miracle, Jake just knows she’ll be there, and he goes to engage in some flirty banter in a scene that reminded me of The Bachelor. You know, those times when the annoying contestants decide they deserve more time with the leading man and sneak off to “surprise” him by “randomly” showing up at while they’re, like, clipping their toenails or something.

But anyway, Jake’s surrogate-mother case hits a strange snag after he has Jenna appear on LHL in a public plea to get the biological parents to come forward. Jenna’s water breaks live on air, and parents do come forward. But they’re adoptive parents, not the biological ones. Despite the fact they’re ready and willing to raise the baby as their own, the law says they can’t, and the sweet little baby is ripped from their arms and handed over to child protective services. Everyone quickly realizes it was all a scam set up by Maggie, who has conveniently fled town just as the sh-t starts to hit the fan.

Since this cause is so near and dear to his heart, Jake begins researching the law like he’s Elle Woods trying to get into Harvard. In a poignant moment, we see Jake reminiscing on his troubled childhood through tears, spliced with images of Julia sobbing as she finally finds the courage to clean Levi’s blood off of her shoes. Character development! Yay! I love it.

Eventually, Jake realizes a very similar surrogate scam happened in Boston with a lady named Doris — and that Doris is actually Maggie! Jake and Ella ambush Doris in a train station and get her to reveal that the biological parents don’t actually exist: She impregnated Jenna by using egg and sperm purchased at a clinic in Prague, so I guess that explains why they were so hard to track down. Since the biological parents were simply donors, they surrender their parental rights, giving Jenna the ability to turn the baby over to the prospective adoptive parents who came forward after the LHL segment. Aww, this scene was nice and fuzzy and heartwarming, and somehow felt like a weird episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Of course, we have time for one more twisty ending. Earlier in the episode, a mysterious someone snuck Jake and Sarah’s affair photos to Oscar in prison. And, understandably, he’s PISSED. Jake pays him a visit and Oscar goes a little berserk, punching him in the face and firing him as his lawyer. It turns out Max set the whole thing up to get a reaction from Oscar and figure out whether he knew about the affair. Since he went so nutso, Max concludes he wasn’t aware of the affair… AND NOW HE THINKS JAKE MAY HAVE MURDERED SARAH! Who killed Sarah Keaton is totally the next “Who shot J.R.?”… Right? Okay, maybe not, but the next few weeks should shape up to be pretty interesting.

Episode grade: B-

Episode Recaps

ABC’s sexy new legal drama Notorious follows Julia George (Piper Perabo), a news show producer, and Jake Gregorian (Daniel Sunjata), a top-notch lawyer on their tag-team approach to creating news. The TV show — which is based on the real-life relationship between criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and Larry King Live news producer Wendy Walker — also stars Ryan Guzman and Aimee Teegarden.
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