Bluff City Law Episode 4
Hate Speech or Free Speech?
We waste no time getting right into in here. The Webster family has “seen justice” for their daughter’s death with her killer to see a minimum of 23 years in prison. However, Elijah is ready to take the fight to Campbell Mathers his culpability in the death of Ashley Webster. Before he does, he gathers the firm in the conference room. They only voice of dissent? Sydney Strait.
While we might expect another father/daughter team up, that seems less likely given their opposing stances on the case. That’s okay, the bench is deep at Strait and Associates and they are all brilliant lawyers. Anthony steps up to ask for second chair on the case. Elijah and Anthony both know that given the subject matter and the people involved, it paints a target on Anthony’s back. With a tentative go ahead from Elijah, Anthony discusses the case with his wife. Though she isn’t thrilled at the idea, she knows that fighting for what is right outweighs personal security sometimes.
Before things even get started you can feel the charged environment of the courtroom. This is a scene that has been replicated repeatedly in the history of our country, though Bluff City Law brings us very up to date and current for the events of the day. Anthony gets bumped around a bit as he makes his way to the table and he is all but frozen when he sees his wife enter the courtroom. In an act driven of real fear, he asks Sydney to take her out of the courtroom.
Elijah doesn’t pull his punches as he lines up the confines of free speech as decided by the Supreme Court and shows evidence of alleged violation of those tenets by tweet via Mathers. When he puts Kevin’s mother on the stand, she is sure that the only way her son pulled that trigger was through the influence of Campbell Mathers.
On cross, Rachel lays out a difficult history of behavioral and mental health issues and suggests that Kevin wasn’t driven by Mathers, but rather by a complex mental health state that was present before he ever encountered the words of Mathers.
As the case continues, each side reasonably lays out their case. Elijah with a little more passion and emotion, but Rachel with clarity, precision and common sense. Elijah takes the approach that the escalation of the rally coincides with the timeline of tweets from Mathers. Each building upon the last.
Conversely, Rachel points out that 206 times, recent political rallies have reached the point of violence without presence or influence of Mathers. Mathers had also participated in many rallies that did not escalate to violence.
Rachel questions the shooter, Kevin asking why he shot Ashley. He claims he did it to shut her up, stop her from screaming. Anthony Little takes the cross. Kevin admits to hating black people. Anthony prods at Kevin’s childhood, how he felt out of place and it caused him pain. He then posits that Campbell Mathers offered Kevin exactly what he needed. A target for his pain. A place to lay the blame of the difficulties of his life. He puts text on the screen that Kevin admits is from his social media. Kevin was surprised to learn that the words he used were exact copies of words used by Mathers. Kevin lacked the knowledge or ability to differentiate them from his own.
Before putting Campbell Mathers on the stand, Elijah checks in with Sydney. As a dissenter to his position, she has a clearer perspective on his purpose. He asks if she would tell him if he was over the line, she affirms she would. He carries on with the case.
Rachel questions Mathers first. He claims that he chose to hold the rally at The Liberty Mural as an exercise in freedom and in no way meant to incite violence. Mather explained that in his view, it was a good place to use your voice when it isn’t the popular or accepted opinion. He claimed it to be the same as what the people on the mural fought for. Elijah starts his cross with a little information on his wife and the history of The Liberty Mural. He then proceeds to absolutely lose his cool and garner another contempt charge.
Rachel’s close is reasoned and careful. It makes sense, there is no fault in the logic, no straw man argument. Elijah begins with an apology to the court and the jurors. As he continues, he discusses the changing landscape of our reality, the interconnectedness that technology brings. He argues that Campbell Mathers shouted “fire” in a crowded theatre. The jury finds in favor of the Webster family for $20 M in damages.
George Bell Case
Jake is ready to start the civil case. He enlists Briana for help since his leads have dried up. When he meets George to discuss the civil case, George wants nothing to do with it. He seems happy to take his $200,000 and move on with his life of freedom. After he jumps in the fountain without regard for himself or Jake’s warnings, red flags are raised.
After Jake has George meet with a doctor, he finds that George will require extensive work to overcome his trauma and reacclimate to society. Without it, the doctor fears George may not be able to survive his life of freedom. Jake knows that the settlement offered will not cover George’s needs. After a consultation with the firm’s go-to for sage advice, Della, Jake has an honest conversation with George. Jake will see this case through and make sure George gets the help he needs. It looks like that post-it note landed exactly where it should.
Siblings coexisting or getting closer?
Della enlists Sydney to find a connection to a deceased client. The client was a friend of Sydney’s mother, but had no family and left no will. Della is looking for help to find the appropriate party to whom to distribute the estate. Sydney and Emerson work through the journals and Sydney finally asks Emerson why he chose to find Elijah now.
After reading all the journals, Sydney invites Emerson to the place where most of the journals were written. They found no person with whom she had a connection, but she was very connected to this place. The estate will be directed to a beautification project. Amid this discussion, Emerson reaches out and makes a true, honest, connection with Sydney. This family is beautiful; no matter how they came together.
I’m not going to offer much in the way of thoughts/opinions here lest I carry my opinion on the subject matter into this review. Let me be clear in this: this episode was well written, expertly acted, timely, courageous and well-done. Do yourself a favor and go watch it again. This is great television.
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