Air Date: 18th August 2011
Cast: Todd Lasance, Hamish Michael, Ella Scott Lynch, Andrea Demetriades, Indiana Evans, Marta Dusseldorp, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Jerome Ehlers, Jeanette Cronin
Synopsis: Recently awoken from her coma, one of the sister’s in the Mervich case pleads not guilty to murder by reason of insanity. Richard works with Janet on a murder case, and once again is faced with an unco-operative witness. To get all the facts, he must act against his own ethical judgement. Tatum and Tracy (Cronin) compete in a battle of wills in a game of intra-office politics.
Personally I found this to be a fantastic episode, largely because the main focus was on my favourite character to date in the series. It deals with Richard’s moral dilemma dealing with a witness to a murder whom seems overly rattled and unwilling to testify. He takes some actions in this process that he is not proud of, causing the witness more trauma in getting her to relive the events, and trust between the two becomes a big issue. The case itself, and the facts it uncovers, gets under Richard’s skin, and there are stages in the episode where he just cannot cope. Michael performs these moments very well, and with incredible emotion. He is an early career solicitor, and he still has a heart. Another upshot of this episode for me is that in his adversity, Tatum manages to cool her icy response to Richard’s ill-chosen words from a few episodes ago. Having been fond of their friendship prior to this, it is nice to see it return.
Remaining on the topic of Tatum, she gets the more comic storyline of the episode. It has been no secret that her conflicting ideologies with Tracy have led to tension, and in this episode that is played out to extreme effect. In response to the latest insult, Tatum kidnaps Tracy’s finch, Atticus. Trying to appear unperturbed, Tracy loads up Tatum with menial tasks and gets a new finch, Scout. Meanwhile, Connor is getting increasingly attached to Atticus, his own current ward whilst this battle of wills plays out. Though incredibly juvenile, the story arc was quite amusing regardless.
As with previous episodes featuring the Mervich case, in this episode a single element of it is extricated without getting into the full meat and bones of the case, leading me to believe that they are building this one up to explode with the season finale. As mentioned in the synopsis, Hannah-Marie Mervich has woken from her coma, and her recollection of her brother’s murder involves the intervention of angels and demons. Though showing sound mind in a pre-trial hearing, this tirade leads to a not guilty verdict by reason of insanity. Where the case will ead though, with Hannah-Marie essentially pointing the finger at her sister in the process of her testimony, is yet to be seen. Meanwhile, in a side-plot, Lina is making friends with the wife of Erin’s co-counsel, Kowalski, the latter of whom seems to have taken more than just a professional liking to Erin.
The star of the episode is Michael and his heart-wrenching case, which remains unresolved. The episode airs again tonight on ABC2, or it will be available on iView some time after that.
4.5 out of 5