After a lackluster episode last week, BULL returned to form with one of its most fun cases yet, featuring the return of Bull’s rival attorney, the beautiful Diana Lindsay from the “Callisto” episode, and his best nemesis yet, Andrew Withrow, a sociopathic billionaire real estate developer. The sky bridge on one of Withrow’s buildings collapsed, causing fifteen people to die. The US Attorney’s office has charged Withrow with fifteen counts of manslaughter, but are having trouble making their case, even though they have Withrow’s signature on a document signing off on using substitute, shoddy building supplies to build the supports of the bridge.
Enter Bull, who’s more than eager to help take Withrow down. From his experience with him at a charity auction, Withrow is someone who needs to win at any cost and loves wielding power over people. He’s going to spend every last dollar he has to beat the manslaughter charges. When Withrow learns that the defense hired Bull, he tells the judge that his mother was just admitted in the hospital and asks for some time. The judge agrees to give him 48 hours. Bull learns that he staged the hospital visit to buy time and can tell from his micro-expressions that he doesn’t feel real sympathy for the victims. He’s convinced he’s up against a sociopath.
Withrow may be sociopathic, but he’s also incredibly smart and connected. He must have learned that Diana is one of the few people who’s an almost equal opponent for Bull, so he brings her in. Not to mention that the two have incredible sexual chemistry—they hooked up in the “Callisto” episode—and her very presence distracts Bull. To complicate things further, Bull’s offices are located in a building owned by Withrow and the power just happens to mysteriously go out when they’re about to upload their data on the mirror jurors. They have to work in Bull’s apartment, which is pretty much what you’d expect—large, modern, sparsely decorated because he spends all his time at work, but with a rock climbing wall, because he’s a cool guy.
Diana visits Bull at home, for some flirting about her love of ambitious and talented men. She’s pulled away by Withrow, who claims to need her for work. All this does is make Bull even more determined to beat him. Diana really is a solid opponent for Bull. She bribes his mirror jury so they don’t turn up to court, so Bull gets one of the jurors on their side dismissed for his online comments about smoking weed before the trial. Diana retaliates right away by striking one of theirs for making prejudicial comments about Withrow. Bull gets yet another one of Diana’s eliminated for talking to a reporter, but it’s possible that he staged the photos. It’s like a fun, sexy game of high-powered chess.
Bul knows that Diana won’t put Withrow on th stand, so she’s probably going to try to throw one of his employee’s under the bus. The most likely target is the project manager, Sean Lahiri. When Danni tracks down Sean, he’s distraught over the whole thing. He told Withrow twice in person that he had serious concerns about the structure of the sky bridge, but each time Withrow ignored him. When the accident happened, five lawyers came to his office and essentially gave him $200,000 to keep quiet. Danni implores him to testify, but he’s iffy. It would be career suicide, but it would also be one of the few things he could do to alleviate his guilt.
They really need Sean, as their strategy isn’t working. Withrow has made a big deal about how hands on he is in his building projects—his phrase is “the brick stops here”—but his defense is centered on the fact that he’s so busy, he doesn’t read every document he signs. Diana dramatically has a team of men march in dozens of boxes to show the jury just how many documents he has to sign every month. Bull thought he could get Withrow to crack on the stand if he attacked his reputation enough, claiming that the hands on, involved manager image was built on a foundation of lies, but he doesn’t give anything away.
Sean does decide to testify and his testimony is damning. So damning that Diana asks for a continuance before cross-examination and Withrow agrees to a plea deal. He’ll go to jail, but it will be minimum security with the possibility of parole after three years. It’s a conclusion both Bull and Diana can live with, but it’s not the end of the case yet. That very night, Sean kills himself, although Bull thinks he was murdered. There was no evidence of murder, but Bull thinks it’s too convenient that the one witness who could put Withrow away just happens to die right before cross-examination.
Because the defense did not get a chance to question Sean, his testimony is removed from the record. It seems like Withrow is going to win—he’s so confident that he offers Bull $10 million to be his attorney, claiming that everyone has a number and he knows his. Bull rejects the money, but Withrow’s phrasing gave him an idea. He has Cable go through Withrow’s emails and dictations, finding that he spoke to an actuary. He wanted to know how much it would cost him if the bridge collapsed, putting human lives in terms of dollar signs and deciding that he could live with the hit to his bank account. When Bull’s attorney brings this up in his closing argument, it wins the case for them.
Withrow is convicted, but he promises to appeal the case. His grounds for appeal is the fact that his lawyer has been colluding with the prosecution’s legal adviser—he knows that Bull and Diana have been seeing each other. I really hope Withrow comes back, maybe in the season finale, because he’s been the best villain yet. It would be fun to actually see this appeal, with Bull and Diana working together against him. It was a great combination of characters and personalities, resulting in the show’s best episode so far.
Season 1, Episode 15 (S01E15)
Bull airs Tuesdays at 9PM on CBS
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor