Even with some big cop outs—so big it’s practically another soft reset of the series—it’s either the best or second best episode with show co-creator John Romano’s name in the writing credits. Most of the episode is a “day in the life” of the people working at the U.S. Attorney’s office; more of a few days in the life, but still. The episode’s got a nice scale to it.
Arise and Fall starts with David Caruso complaining about cockroaches to secretary Jodi Long, which ends up driving both B plots. There’s going to be some evidence mishandling, giving Ruben Santiago-Hudson something to do all episode, but also will provide another aspect to the Peter Outerbridge learns blue bloods can be problem employees too story arc. Outerbridge has just won a case with previously unseen because it’s a huge office attorney Brian McNamara (and Hillary Danner). They’re going to form a subplot group throughout the episode, starting with them opening up the series’s hang out restaurant for coffee after a night of celebrating.
Outerbridge hasn’t had a lot to do on the show and he handles this story arc quite well. Though the episode completely goes with “sexually harass a woman” to fuel her male colleagues’ character development trope. Women, regular cast or guest stars, are fairly disposable around here. Mary Ward even shows up for a couple scenes to establish something for back again David Cubitt to pick up later.
Caruso spends the first half of the episode dealing with the outstanding “girlfriend Helen Slater is possibly on the mob payroll” multi-episode arc, which has Arye Gross showing up for a two scenes as the investigator, which ends up being as many scenes as Slater gets. It’ll end up being one of the big cop outs.
The second half’s A plot—the episode’s fairly balanced so the only reason it’s the A plot is because it’s Caruso’s—is about Cubitt turning himself in and Caruso trying to work it all out.
Outside the opening cockroach conversation, most of Caruso’s scenes have him pensively, silently reacting to either news or giving news to someone. The episode takes its time with those moments, with director Richard J. Lewis letting Caruso find the meat in the scenes. It’s nice Lewis takes the time, especially since the only other distinctive aspect of his direction is how poorly he directs kid Jimmy Galeota. Like, the writing’s not great on Galeota (who’s emotional fodder for the Cubitt subplot, just like Ward) but still. They should’ve kept doing takes until they got something a little better.
It’s a mostly high mediocre episode (as it combats the first half cop out), with the second big cop out dragging it down at the end.
But, hey, maybe they’ll finally figure out what to do with the show next episode.