So, even after going through a whole episode to close off the Sean Blakemore arc—he’s Simone Missick’s law school love, and he’s around again; it’s causing feelings, which are always awkward because Blakemore and Missick haven’t got any chemistry together. Returning guest star Ronak Gandhi does a great job pretending he’s in the middle of a chemistry-soaked scene when it’s ice-cold flirting. It’s nice to have Gandhi back, especially since there’s the inexplicable Blakemore.
Blakemore’s defending a wealthy client’s son in a drunk driving case. Gandhi was supposed to plea it down, but things got screwed up. It’s a tedious case, with only Gandhi keeping it going. Though when Lindsey Gort’s still involved (she and Blakemore are partners now), she does fine. It’s Blakemore and Missick. This arc’s exasperating.
The good case this episode is J. Alex Brinson’s. He’s defending an ex-con who’s experiencing homelessness and charged with lighting fires in encampments. Nick Fink plays the kid; he’s okay, nothing more. T.J. Ramini plays the district attorney, an obnoxious British guy who’s never lost a case in his career. If the character’s supposed to be annoying and incompetent, Ramini does a fine job. The real surprise is Roger Guenveur Smith. He’s the judge. And he’s great. Smith’s been incredibly uneven this season, but he’s outstanding.
The episode’s mostly a Brinson showcase, outside Missick’s shenanigans. Lindsay Mendez gets a largely thankless subplot about a client—she’s a victim counselor for the D.A.—punching her out in a courtroom. She starts questioning her place in the halls of justice and even… wait for it… no-calls, no-shows to go to brunch with Jessica Camacho.
Wilson Bethel’s got very little to do, playing manager to Mendez, witnessing the Missick courtroom’s car accident (putting him on the stand), and getting a perfunctory exposition sequence with Gort. They can only have a good time for so long before Bethel (like always) brings up Gort’s not impending enough divorce. It’s most of Bethel’s personality at this point.
Oh, and there’s a very weird hangout scene for Bethel and Missick. It makes a little bit of sense because he’s a witness in her courtroom, but the joke they can’t find a new place to hang out is very tired seven episodes into the season. Especially since it’s a fourth-tier subplot.
There are the definite minuses, but Brinson’s case is “All Rise” at its earnest best.
And it’s great to see Gandhi again.
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