TRIAL & ERROR Review: “The Defense Rests” / “The Verdict”

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That’s a wrap on season one of , and I have to say I’m quite disappointed to see it, and these characters go. I’ve enjoyed the ride and laughed regularly along the way. I said in the beginning the show reminded me of The Office or Arrested Development. While not quite as good or groundbreaking, Trial & Error was thoroughly enjoyable, above average for most network sitcoms these days. So what became of Larry Henderson and the gang? Let’s get into it.

Last week ended with Larry declaring in front of the judge that he killed his wife so that it couldn’t be pinned on Summer. But then Summer confesses to killing Margaret, followed by Dwayne. You see a pattern emerging? (Anne opts out). Jose shows up and says that Summer couldn’t have killed Margaret because Summer was with her at the Jessup Farm party, has picture evidence. At this point Larry figures that he doesn’t have to cover for his daughter since she’s innocent and proclaims his innocence as well. Back to square one.

Carol Anne Keane sets out to destroy Summer as a character witness, which at this point seems like the only path forward the defense team has. She goes on the new as an “anonymous” person to give some “inside info” on the type of person that Summer Henderson really is, showing pictures of her from the Jessup Farm party. A complete character assassination in East Peck. Josh realizes they now need to focus on Rutger Hiss and how he could have killed Margaret. They need somebody to take the witness stand to talk badly about him and he knows just the person. Josh calls Carol Anne Keane herself to the stand.

Once there, Josh calls her out on having dated Rutger for three years and how it’s been shown that Rutger was having an affair with Margaret for a while, which he knows hurts Carol Anne. But she turns the tables on him when she starts crying and wins over the jury. So that’s a wash. Their only chance now is to have Larry take the stand himself, which he is eager to do. They call an expert witness coach, Sebastian Rappaport, who teaches Larry some techniques on the stand to keep it together and come off authentic including “caramel on the apple” which is just putting one open hand over a closed fist and keeping it steady. However, when the cross examination from Carol Anne comes, she reveals that she knows something about Larry that nobody else does: he isn’t even who he truly says he is. He is Harrison Weeks; he only changed his name to Larry Henderson after his mother mysteriously died when he was a boy. Larry admits it’s true!

He explains to Josh that since he was a boy the idea of being a different person and starting fresh was the only thing that could keep him sane and comfortable. Josh is mad he didn’t get the chance to make a jury understand that before Carol Anne painted him as a liar. The only way they can get it struck from the record is if they can prove the way Carol Anne obtained the information was illegal. That’s when they realize that the only way she could have known about Harry weeks was if she took pictures from Larry’s bedroom drawer at home–the only place the name was even written down. Luckily they have a documentary camera crew following them around that may have caught it on tape! (It didn’t). But Josh scares Carol Anne enough into think it may have that she admits to it and the evidence is struck from the record.

Finally, Josh and Carole Anne give their closing statements (Carol Anne dealing with a body full of nervous rashes) and Josh choosing to speak from the heart (which was written on some index cards). The jury is let out and Josh is hopefully the deliberation will take a while, which is always a good sign. Nope, Dwayne comes back after about ten minutes saying the jury has a verdict! This is where the first episode ends.

The season finale picks up with the guilty verdict being read by the jury. Josh, in a last ditch effort, asks Carol Anne to show mercy to Larry. At the last moment, Carol Anne changes the state’s verdict recommendation from the death penalty to a life sentence. This is what Larry gets. He hands Josh his skate wrench as something to remember him by and the team is split up.

We catch up with them a few months down the road. Josh is back in New York at his old job, still obsessing over the trial naturally. He’s found two pictures, one taken before the murder, and one taken an hour after, and Larry’s rake is missing from the second one. He calls Dwayne, who has been hired by the EPPD once again and so can get into the evidence. He doesn’t find the rake in the evidence book, but he does find something else they weren’t previously aware of: a baggy of grey hair. Who do we know who has such hair?

DAVE! The Taxidermist always just in the background. Josh and Dwayne go to his house where he admits he did it. Why? “Because she was the one trophy I couldn’t get!” he says. Then he quickly clears up that he didn’t murder Margaret. He was talking about the owl that the cable guy killed on the roof–who he stuffed and brought home. Another dead end.

Their only hope is cracking the password on Margaret’s phone, which Summer is able to do with the help of dyslexic Anne (it turns out to be: LRARY). On it they discover a video that never got sent to Larry’s phone: it’s of Margaret (played by Andie MacDowell) explaining away all the mysteries of the show, from the rake, to the cable guy, to where Summer was that day… And finally the owl the cable guy disturbed on the roof swooped in the house from behind her, knocking her in the back of the head, causing her to fall through the plate glass window.

That’s the twist. The owl did it. Which mirrors a real life case I heard about on the podcast Criminal about a man named Michael Peterson who was accused of killing his wife, and whose defense team posited an owl attack theory. At any rate, in the case of Larry Henderson, the owl was the actual culprit. Larry gets off, the state drops their charges. At the end Larry tells Josh he’s like a son to him, gives him the skate wrench once again, and says goodbye. Dwayne runs in–there’s been another murder in East Peck. And Anne gets a call: somebody needs the lawyer that got Larry Henderson off. Larry slips out while Josh takes the call, officially setting up shop with his new team in East Peck.

It was a fitting conclusion, though I was a little confused by Larry’s exit. He was acting strange and I feel like something went over my head. I’d love if the show came back for a second season, but its fate is still up in the air, and the show creator has said that it would be an anthology show anyway, having an entirely new story and characters (though many of the same actors) in the next season if there is one. I for one and wholeheartedly hoping there is and telling my friends to catch this one.

TB-TV-Grade-A+Season 1, Episode 12-13 (S01E12-13)
Trial & Error airs Tuesday at 9PM on NBC

Read all of our reviews of Trial & Error here.
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.

Paul co-created and writes for SHOWoff, a game that lets players predict what happens next on their favorite TV shows, earn points for what they get right, and see where they stack up against friends and the world (free in the iOS App store).
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulgulyas
Keep up with all of Paul’s reviews here.

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