TRIAL & ERROR usually airs back to back episodes on Tuesday nights, but seeing as there is an odd number of episodes in the season (13) one had to end up airing alone and I’m assuming executives figured the stronger back to back pair was with the finale and the episode just before, choosing to air Episode 11, titled “Unusual Suspect” by itself in a special airing on Thursday night. Though it was an episode that advanced the plot in a huge way, it was lighter than usual on laughs–which is to say, still the funniest new network comedy I’ve seen this year and not up to snuff for its great track record.
Since the last episode, we jump forward in time about a month into the trial. Prosecutor Carol Anne Keane has Margaret’s brother and Larry’s brother-in-law Jeremiah Jefferson Davis on the stand, and it’s not going well for Larry, Josh, and the defense team. Jeremiah recounts the tale of the “Thanksgiving of Horror” in which he claims to have heard Larry say in anger “I’m gonna throw Margaret through the window.” We then see a crime scene investigator on the stand, Carole Anne making him go through each individually numbered shard of glass on a projector for the sleep jury. We find out Anne has yet another condition in which she sleeps with her eyes wide open (which has really helped her out at her job). In the end the crime scene investigator concludes, at Carol Anne’s prodding, that these shards ARE consistent with what it would look like if a Southern woman was pushed through a plate glass window. Devastating.
At the defense office/taxidermist the team is having Chinese take out and wine when Josh tells them he plans to bring Larry’s daughter Summer to the witness stand. She’ll be able to build Larry’s character back up after Carol Anne spent weeks tearing him down. When everybody leaves, Larry goes to find a “candle snuffer” to put the dinner table candles out (when he asks Josh where his candle snuffer is Josh replies “in the 1800s.”), Josh hears Larry’s phone buzzing in his coat pocket. He goes to answer it and discovers it isn’t Larry’s phone at all–it’s his dead wife Margaret’s missing phone! Larry tackles Josh to the ground.
Larry explains he couldn’t give up the phone. The screensaver is a picture of him and Margaret. Oh and there’s also incriminating evidence on it. Margaret changed the password before she died, but there are texts from Summer on there that are of the “I hate you, I never want to see you” variety. Turns out Summer and Margaret had a complicated relationship. The two of them really went at each other. Josh is at least relieved that Summer was out of town the night of the murder, so she couldn’t have done it. Yeah, not so much. That morning she and Margaret had a “tiny fight” over some jewelry of Adelaide’s (Summer’s real mom) that Margaret was wearing and wouldn’t give to her. She stormed off to her uncle’s afterwards. “Jeremiah?” Josh asks, and Larry tells him it certainly wasn’t his twin brother Harry. Josh did NOT know Larry had a twin brother (SIDENOTE: Does anyone see a George/Oscar Bluth thing being foreshadowed here or just me?)
Josh goes to visit Jeremiah to ask him about Summer’s visit that morning Margaret died. Jeremiah, who lost all his money to his wife Josie who ran off, is now staying at a frat house. Seeing as he founded the chapter, they have to let him stay there. He’s drinking a keg to himself on the porch when Josh approaches. Jeremiah tells him that indeed Summer and Margaret had a troubled relationship, but she had an alibi. She was at a concert that night. When Josh inquires what concert she was at, Jeremiah tells him it was Michael Jackson. When Josh tells him Michael Jackson’s been dead for seven years, Jeremiah replies “Oh, then she might have done it.”
When Josh confronts her about this, she admits that she wasn’t away, or at a concert, but that she went to Jessup Farm. Dwayne looks particularly disgusted (Steven Boyer’s facial expressions are MVP). The Jessup’s are known for their huge barn parties in which plenty of drugs are involved. Summer never admitted to this because she’d been forbidden by her dad to go, and she also experimented with hallucinogen’s that day. Dwayne gets a video from that day out of one of the Jessups. It’s of Summer, intoxicated, smashing a pumpkin angrily with a sledgehammer and proclaiming she’s going to go get her jewelry back. Not good.
But that gives Josh an idea–put Summer on the stand and make it sound like she could be a suspect. This would be the reasonable doubt they need to introduce for the jury to let Larry off the hook, and Carol Anne Keane wouldn’t be able to counter! Josh and Summer are both on board, but Larry is not. What if Carol Anne then comes after Summer? That’s a chance they are willing to take. When they go against Larry’s wishes and announce to the judge that Summer will testify, Larry shouts “Wait! I did it! I killed Margaret!” Carol Anne Keane celebrates. Josh is heartbroken.
The episode ends on this huge bombshell and not on a funny note, which was surprising but gets me plenty eager for the final two episodes of the season on Tuesday.
Season 1, Episode 11 (S01E11)
Trial & Error airs Tuesday at 9PM on NBC
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Paul Gulyas | Contributor