Saturday, September 25, 2010

US Television: Outlaw, Episode 1.2, "In RE: Officer Daniel Hale"

Season One, Episode Two, In RE:  Officer Daniel Hale
Original Air Date:  September 24, 2010

Garza and his team go to Tuscon, Arizona when a uniformed police officer shoots a Latino man three times putting him in the hospital.  The side of the issue Cyrus chooses to take surprises everyone, even his own team.

Cyrus, who is partying in Las Vegas flies into Tuscon to meet his team.  They are all aware of the case as it has been a major headline on the national news.  The team are shocked to learn they aren't there to support the man who was shot, James Reyes, but to instead defend the police officer who shot him, Daniel Hale.  Al is strongly against taking the case.  He doesn't feel they need to support racial profiling.  Garza takes it despite Al's objections.  Eddie is probably the only member of the team to agree with Cyrus in taking the case.

Eddie is told by the doctor who has been researching Reyes' injuries for the prosecution that one of the shots hit him in the back.  While at the hospital, Lucinda sees his wife Melissa.  She sits down with her and casually talks with her to gain her confidence.  Melissa Reyes comments that her husband loved to fight and was almost arrested a year ago for a fight he had gotten into.

The prosecution plays a tape that was made from a bug placed in Hale's police car that has Hale saying "they're calling me a racist" and "I hate these people".  It doesn't sound good until Garza points out in open court that the conversation was taken out of context.  Hale was reading a paper at the time and was referring to the reporters who had written the article, not to individuals of another race.  After making a point to the judge that Hale did have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his patrol car, the tape is stricken from evidence.

Cyrus and Al have something to eat and are accosted by a policeman who wants to see their ID.  Al protests but Cyrus hands his over.  When the officer sees who Cyrus is he apologizes to them and thanks him for being there to protect one of their own.  When the policeman is gone, Al cannot understand why Cyrus wasn't angrier over what had just happened to them.  Cyrus feels it isn't worth getting arrested over.

When the time to select the jury arrives, Cyrus is advised to pick white conservative males.  Instead, he chooses a predominantly Latino jury.  For James Reyes to testify, the lawyers, judge (a great appearance by Ed Begley, Jr.) and jury go to his hospital room.  His testimony is fine until Cyrus begins to examine him.  Cyrus is able to show that Reyes has a definite temper.  Garza manages to make the doctors testimony about Reyes' injuries less damaging to his client by providing a valid alternative as to how the injuries could have occurred.  Hale didn't have to shoot Reyes in the back for the injury to appear that way.  Later, Cyrus is able to obtain a surveillance tape of what happened between Reyes and Hale from a local "businessman" who runs an illegal gaming casino in the back of an automotive repair shop.  The tape shows that Reyes was, in fact, an aggressor in the incident as Hale maintains.

Garza wins the case and Officer Hale is found not guilty.  Al doesn't believe he can continue working with the team but Cyrus tells him he needs his help.  I don't foresee Al leaving the Garza team anytime soon.

Cyrus seems to do the exact opposite of everything his team advises and his actions often lead them to wonder if he really has thought things through or if he's not simply barking mad.  He sees things differently than his team and what appears as a mistake (or insanity) to his team, is a carefully planned move to Cyrus.

Throughout the show, Lucinda is dropping hints to Mereta about the little ways she can get some "quiet time" with Cyrus.  Lucinda, no doubt, means it as a bit of the same sort of teasing she aims at Eddie.  Mereta, as we learned in the first episode, "loves" Cyrus.  At one point, she is shopping for something to wear to "surprise someone she works with".  Mereta might not mind the idea of getting Cyrus alone in his room in the least bit.

Arizona's new law requiring police officers to stop and request identification from anyone that might be an illegal immigrant has been a subject of debate at both the state and national levels in the United States since its enactment.  I wasn't surprised to see that a dramatic series used this law as the basis for an episode.  I was impressed at the handling of it.  This is an issue that people feel very strongly about.  Either they strongly support the law or they are strongly against it.  There's very little middle ground.  I didn't feel like the writers were preaching to me that "this law is bad" or "this law is good".

The issue of the muscle that was following Cyrus in the first episode wasn't addressed in this one at all.  There are a lot of things the writers could do with that particular storyline.  I honestly can see where Outlaw has some promise.  With Jimmy Smits heading the show, I want it to do well.  I want it to become a show that I can't wait to see every week.  I enjoyed In RE:  Officer Daniel Hale more than I did the pilot and am hoping this is a show that grows even more comfortable as everyone settles in and we progress through the season.  I'll be there with Outlaw on Friday nights for a while longer, at the very least, to see if that happens.

Outlaw airs on Friday nights at 10:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. Central) on NBC.
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