BULL Review: “Bedside Manner”

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After two weeks off, I was excited for a new , but the show committed the greatest television sin of all—it was just boring. At this point, the story is very predictable: Bull takes on a difficult case and gets the defendant off against all odds. There’s never the slightest doubt as to whether or not he will win, so there’s no real tension or drama. This week, Bull accepts the case of Dr. Terry Roberson, a brilliant gynecological surgeon accused of malpractice after he performed a radical hysterectomy during what was supposed to be a routine surgery to remove uterine fibroids.

He removed her uterus to save her life, as she started bleeding out, but the whole point of the fibroid removal surgery was to make it possible for her to have children. Now she never can. The difficulty Bull’s facing here is the fact that she’s a saintly, sympathetic witness while Dr. Terry Roberson is an arrogant asshole incapable of pretending otherwise. Terry also used to date Marissa, the blonde who runs Bull’s company. Bull’s solution is to hire Liberty, the second chair lawyer in the Peters case—the nerdy woman with the incredibly thick glasses—instead of Benny, as they need their lawyer to be sympathetic.

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They run a mock trial. All the jurors instantly hate Terry, who’s so abrasive and cocky he makes Dr. House look like Mother Teresa. His ideal jury would be comprised of deep pragmatists—people who are comfortable with jerks as long as the jerks are on their side. Liberty isn’t the best at the voir dire thing and accidentally dismisses a juror he’d like to keep, so he comes up with a new strategy. Fill the jury with people like Terry—uncompromising, arrogant assholes at the top of their professions. As they all have God complexes, Bull and his team refer to them using the names of Greek gods.

Bull tells Cable to do a deep dive on the surgery, to see what really went wrong. She finds that Terry actually saved her life three times. Twice, he corrected mistakes his anesthesiologist and nurse made, but he didn’t include that information in his . The anesthesiologist got him into a fancy golf club and he used to sleep with the nurse, so Bull thinks Terry requested to use them in the surgery for not-so-ethical reasons. Terry insists that he used them because even though they make mistakes, they make the same mistakes every time. Surgery is unpredictable, but he can anticipate their errors.

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Fine. This never comes up again—the prosecution doesn’t seem to notice or look into the issue. That’s another issue with this show. Except for in “Callisto”, the show’s best episode yet, the prosecution never seems even one one-hundredth as prepared and thorough as Bull and his team. They’re so mismatched, there’s never any anxiety that Bull might lose. Bull sends Cable and Danny to break into to the hospital and get the data from the robotic arm Terry used to do the surgery.

Bull notices a problem. The juror they’ve nicknamed Dionysus is on their side, but not for the right reasons. And he’s suddenly spending suspicious amounts of money. Bull realizes that he’s being paid off by the company behind the robotic arm. They are really invested in Terry being found not liable. Bull convinces Dionysus to just not show up to court anymore, causing the judge to bring in an alternate juror. Dionysus may have been on Bull’s side, but he wasn’t under Bull’s control and was way too flashy about his new-found wealth.

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Cable realizes that the robotic arm malfunctioned during the surgery. It wasn’t Terry’s fault that Erica, the patient, bled out—the arm nicked an artery. Immediately after the surgery, the company released a software patch fixing the issue. In the show’s most improbable scene yet—and that’s saying a lot—Liberty calls to the stand the owner of the robotic arm company and does a demonstration of the “knife game” using the robotic arm. She has him lay his hand on the table and she’s going to make the blade go right between his fingers. If the arm is 100% reliable, he shouldn’t be scared.

No judge in the world would allow such dangerous nonsense in their courtroom, but whatever. When Liberty reveals that they’re going to be using the version of the software used during Erica’s surgery, the man quickly chickens out. He essentially admits that the arm malfunctioned, but it’s not enough for all the jurors. Terry may not have violated a physical standard of care, but he violated an emotional one by not comforting Erica after the surgery. Bull brings in Benny, who riled Terry up during mock trial, to get Terry to admit that he’s never been good with people and struggles in emotional situations.

Bull wins the case. Terry is found not liable. Shocker! There’s another new episode next week, so we’ll check back in with Bull and the team then. One of these days, he has to lose, right?

TB-TV-Grade-B-

Season 1, Episode 6 (S01E06)
Bull airs Tuesdays at 9PM on CBS

Read all of our reviews of Bull here. 
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Jennifer lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jtrof
Keep up with all of Jennifer’s reviews here.

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