Josh Lucas as Mitch McDeere, doing what he does best: running. Photograph by Ian Watson/NBC.
Maybe it’s thanks to those weeks of being completely underwhelmed, but last night’s episode of The Firm was actually not all that bad. The writers wisely left out any more distracting family subplots and focused mostly on the case of Elle Larson, a therapist accused of killing one of her patients. In the first few episodes, it felt like too much was being crammed into confusing and awkwardly structured one-hour blocks, with the result that everything suffered. Now the show seems to be going the Law & Order route, where one case is the major focus and everything else happens around it. That said, this Sarah Holt case is still hella annoying, though. She’s a random do-gooder who offers to help an old lady, then tries on a $50,000 necklace, then gets spooked when the old lady’s son arrives, then gets arrested for murder when the old lady is smothered—that much I can deal with. But she also has some sort of laptop with secret encrypted information on it that could get everyone at Mitch’s firm sent to jail? And it’s so important that creepy, sniffy Martin would throw himself off a balcony rather than face the consequences? Ri-ight. On that note, the winners and losers from “Chapter Four:”
Mitch. Because all his clients are apparently overwhelmingly good-looking strawberry blondes. There’s Sarah Holt, of course, whom we didn’t see much of this week. But in her place was the gorgeous Elle Larson (if someone can tell me who this actress is and stop me tearing my hair out from wondering where I’ve seen her before, I’d appreciate it). Also, for some reason, Joey Morolto doesn’t seem to want to have him killed. So that’s a stroke of luck.
Washington, DC. Mitch’s clients aren’t the only ones who are positively modelesque. Every single person on this show, from bitchy lawyer boss Alex to Elle Larson’s stalker, is unbelievably attractive—unless, that is, they’re working for the Morolto family. Suck it, Chicago.
Math-based suspense. Six weeks earlier! Five weeks earlier! Four weeks earlier! Any minute now, y’all, we’ll catch up to the present. Maybe we’ll even get an episode that doesn’t open with Mitch running (though I sincerely doubt it).
Tammy. Despite all my previous misgivings, I’m actually starting to like her. Her “I want to be your family” speech to Ray at the end of the episode was very sweet, and though yes, her cigarettes and stilettos are absurd, she’s also a refreshing change from the icy coldness of all the other female characters.
Green Pontiacs with tinted windows. Your moment in the spotlight is finally here! Did anyone else go, “Green car. GREEN CAR”? ’Cause I did. Just saying.
Emergency plans. Mitch, please. You go to all the trouble of crafting a meticulous emergency escape scenario, complete with a big, shiny boat (Lonely Island, anyone?), and you get your whole family together, and then you just leave them all there and trot back downtown to get busted again? You are a truly terrible, terrible decision maker.
Claire. Where was she all episode? Exhausted from all the angsty ten-year-old drama? It was unbelievably awkward that she was supposedly hiding “below deck” when Mitch arrived at the boat. We know enough about Claire now to guess that at the first sign of trouble, she’s throwing some kind of a tantrum. The idea that she’d just trot quietly down to the boat’s TV room or whatever while her entire family is panicking upstairs is just silly.
Computers. Maybe this is just me, but I’m pretty sure that if a laptop I was working on that belonged to a client started going insane-o and spewing MS-DOS text, I’d probably close it up and try to take it offline. Or at least close it up until I had a flash drive handy.
Professional ethics. Because all therapists go to their clients’ houses, dance with them, drug them, and then leave. No, really. Elle Larson might have got off her murder rap, but how long can her license really last? I liked the renegade cop who killed her stalker, though. He was a nicely chilling and complex (for his two minutes of screentime) character. More of this, please.
Whoever works in the IT department at Kinross & Clark. “You don’t eat, sleep, or crap. Nothing distracts you from wiping the hard drive the minute Sarah Holt’s laptop is switched on,” says Andrew to the poor computer slave. Sounds like the least fun job in history.