Bull Season 3 Episode 12
Something was off in the Malford case.
Coincidently enough, something was off in this week’s episode of Bull as well.
That must be a mistake.
The opening built up a horrifying case without ever going into detail. A man stood by a woman’s bathroom. The abrupt locking of a stall as the door closed behind a victim. Without the soundtrack of violence, we have an idea of what was about to happen without resorting to anything graphic.
Our worst fears were confirmed when the woman we first saw running into the stall was now dead on a morgue slab. The coroners couldn’t find evidence, but Dr. Julia Martin (Francie Swift) decided to stay the night and keep searching.
We time jumped to months later to a press conference where the DA congratulated his team and Julia Martin who found the piece of evidence that convicted the serial rapist and murderer John Malford.
Another time jump (last one, I promise) and years later, Benny Colón (Freddy Rodriguez) entered a bar named Billy’s with current law student Chunk (Christopher Jackson). Benny wanted to show Chunk where all the attorneys hang out in Manhattan’s answer to Old Ebbitt Grill. He pointed out the booth where FDR sat.
Chunk said he preferred seeing the ‘Benny Colon’ booth instead. Benny jokingly replied they weren’t in a Dunkin Donuts. Before he continued Chunk’s education of the attorney social scene, he spotted two lawyers, Ryan Vance and Stella Fox, drinking and celebrating. And he finds out about our newest client Julia Martin currently arrested for tampering with evidence in the John Malford case.
I like to be asked; I like to be the one who can say no.
It appeared Bull was trying to shake up how they get their cases. Benny was the one who gang-pressed Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly) into accepting the case pro bono. Bull showed a bit of reluctance as they enter the prison to visit Julia.
I also can’t afford for you to do a half-assed job because you’re just in it for the free press.
Julia wasn’t a sympathetic character to latch on to in the beginning. She was rigid, refused to hear the possibility of a mistake and was rude to Bull and Benny.
It’s been the show’s MO of late: not everyone in each episode was an automatic likable character for sympathy points. Unlike other clients in Bull, Julia knocked heads with Bull and resisted every suggestion he offered.
There was a point I thought Bull was going to walk out. But towards the end of the conversation, he looked intrigued.
I don’t make mistakes, not when it comes to forensic science.
Bull often juggled two aspects in their episodes: the trial and the mystery. Usually, the trial takes center stage.
This week, the mystery seemed to pull ahead. It was a good move creatively: Julia was as charming as a stick and given the way she was presented, she wasn’t going to win any points with the audience. In fact, Chunk appeared about to lose his patience himself as he tried to make Julia’s testimony more ‘palatable’ and she was argumentative the whole time.
We need people who will look at this situation Julia’s gotten into and think, “This isn’t some big conspiracy.”
The case against Julia and the tampered evidence was the substantial part of the episode. Even though the segment about jury selection is a favorite—although looking for people who believe mistakes can happen was a stretch—I hadn’t realized how much I missed the investigative aspect of the show until this week.
It was great to Bull getting out there to use his chops in figuring out Matford wasn’t involved. It’s a nice reminder that Bull can do more than pick a jury.
Emily was murdered in the dead of winter.
For the past season or so, the case each week was solved and presented in a “Ta-da” fashion, usually in court. It was the same this week. However, we saw more of the process as well; cleverly involving Julia since no one in the cast suddenly became a forensic expert. And Julia ended up helping her own case when she found the evidence was covered in pollen.
The hair that was retested turned out wasn’t the original hair from Julia’s report.
The twist was nice. I had feared Bull was going to go with the obsessive fan framing Julia—this century’s version of “the butler did it.”
Having the defense attorney Vance and not Malford was unexpected, but good. And having the motive not be because of money was a different resolution to saving the client-of-the-week and solving the mystery.
However, despite the slightly different approach to the episode, a few elements didn’t belong. They were distracting, ill-fitted for the episode as a whole.
You can’t spin the truth, you cannot polish it up or put lipstick on a pig, which is what I feel like you’re trying to do to me right now.
Chunk’s witness prep with Julia was a great scene. You could see how frustrated he was getting against the immovable Julia. The coroner refused to adjust her attitude or words to appear more likable to the jury.
There was no allowance to admitting she made a mistake and she repeatedly said this throughout the episode. She was determined to stay true to herself and her beliefs no matter what: she does not make mistakes. Admirably, but ironically, her course of action was a mistake according to Bull.
The next day, Chunk told Benny Julia was not cooperative, she would make the worse witness on the stand; Julia was ‘fundamentally incapable’ of testifying on her own behalf. Bull thought this was a good thing: proof that Julia’s rigidity wouldn’t have allowed her to make mistakes.