Monday, October 11, 2010

US Television: Outlaw, Episode 1.4, "In RE: Curtis Farwell"

Season One, Episode Four, In RE:  Curtis Farwell
Original Air Date:  October 8, 2010

Cyrus and his team take the case of Curtis Farwell, a man who was seriously injured when the car he was driving malfunctioned.  The accident was one of eight similar accidents involving the same make and model of car.  Four of the accidents were fatal.  Claire wants Cyrus to help her raise money for Senator Vidalin's favorite charity to prevent him from voting against the interests of her biggest clients.  The mysterious man Cyrus noticed watching him in the first episode returns.

Cyrus appears on an episode of Larry King Live (yes, Larry King made a cameo) opposed by Patty Friedman, a reporter from a political web site.  The subject of the show is why Garza quit the Supreme Court.  Cyrus treats the appearance as a chance to not only make it known he isn't a turncoat (except for turning his back on a justice system that doesn't always do justice) but to inject a bit of his sense of humor into the interview. 

Just as Cyrus is getting ready to enjoy a pleasant night with Miss Friedman, Claire calls.  Senator Vidalin is threatening to vote against the interests of her biggest clients unless she dumps Cyrus from her firm.  Her solution:  raise a boatload of money for Vidalin's favorite charity.  By time Cyrus is finished talking to Claire, Patty has fallen asleep putting a damper on the festivities.  He turns on the television and watches a news story about a series of accidents involving the Jupiter coupe. 

Al asks the rest of the team if they noticed a man out front of Cyrus' home that morning.  The man looked like a bodyguard and appeared to be watching the house but none of them saw him.  Al finds a case he feels will be perfect for the team but Cyrus overrules it wanting to take the case of Curtis Farwell instead.  Farwell was badly injured in one of the Jupiter coupe accidents.  Cyrus wants to take the case because he feels Jupiter has been buying off not only the survivors but Congress as well.  There have been 8 accidents, four of which were fatal.

While Al organizes a meeting to speak with Warner Quinn of Jupiter and to speak with other accident victims, Cyrus heads to play some poker.  Al sends Mereta and Eddie to the impound lot where Farwell's car was taken so they can be walked through the accident.  Eddie finds a recall notice for Jupiter coupes from the previous year in the files sent over from Ralph Nader's office.  Farwell's car isn't in the batch in the recall notice. 

Lucinda leaves for a job interview in Detroit and Cyrus and Al meet with Warner Quinn (Kyle Secor) in the study.  Quinn jumps right from praising Cyrus to handing him an envelope with information about his client.  Farwell had 3 DUI's and two stints in rehab and he feels that is probably what contributed to the accident.  He feels it most certainly puts his character in question.

At the impound lot, the officer shows Eddie and Mereta that the tie rod was broken on the car and explains how skid marks can show the tie rod was the cause of the accident.  The officer pulled the report but the photos from the scene were missing.  As they are leaving the impound lot to go to the beltway to check for skid marks, Eddie reveals to Mereta that he has set up a job interview with the same law firm his girlfriend works for but he hasn't mentioned it to Cyrus yet. 

None of the other Jupiter accident victims want to talk to Al and Cyrus or they have selective memory problems of the accident.  All of the victims have one thing in common:  money they didn't have before the accident.  In Detroit, Lucinda, now posing as "Jill" is interviewing for a tech support job listed on the Jupiter web site. 

When Al and Cyrus return to Cyrus' home that night, they find it has been trashed.  Al mentions the man he saw in front of the house the other day.  Once the detective has gone, Cyrus admits to Al that the mystery man might be from Vidalin who threatened him when he left the Supreme Court.  Lucinda calls while they are talking.  She has set up a secure web site for Cyrus that contains the contents of Warner Quinn's e-mail account.  She has found a video where a woman can be overheard talking about the defective tie rods on the Jupiter cars.  However, the woman never appears on camera and isn't identified by name. 

Cyrus and Al go to Detroit to confront Warner Quinn and his corporation counsel with the video.  Cyrus wants a settlement of $3 for Curtis Farwell and an immediate recall of all Jupiter coupes. 

Cyrus visits Curtis Farwell and his daughter in the hospital to present them with the results of his meeting with Jupiter.  The company is offering $10 for Farwell but they refuse to the recall and the Farwells must keep all details of the accident secret.  While the Farwell's are dismayed that Jupiter will not be recalling the cars, Curtis instructs Cyrus to take the deal.

With the exception of Eddie, the team isn't pleased about the outcome.  Cyrus calls his reporter friend, Patty Friedman.  She arrives at his home after he carefully placed the file folder with the settlement information in it on his coffee table.  He casually talks about the settlement of the case without revealing any of the particulars.  She sees the file folder and, when she thinks he has gone outside, she goes through the files and takes pictures of them with her phone.  Just as he hoped she would.

The next morning, Al arrives and is angry at having been called by Jupiter's counsel because the settlement was retracted thanks to Patty Friedman's investigating it. 

Things go downhill when Cyrus learns that Curtis Farwell has died from a blood clot in his lung.  He then has to tell Farwell's daughter that Jupiter had pulled the settlement and that they must now go to court.  He assures her that they will win in court.  To prove the case, they must call Laurie Farwell in court.  The judge allows her to be called in court despite objections from Jupiter's lawyer. 

At the charity fundraiser Claire is holding for Vidalin, Cyrus meets Patty Friedman and her husband.  Cyrus strikes a deal with Vidalin that he will raise $200,000.00 for his charity if he lays off Claire. 

Eddie, Lucinda and Mereta go through the list of names of everyone present when the video she found at Jupiter was made.  They have 65 names to work with.  Using a side conversation the woman had they are able to track down her son's sports team, get his name and find her name among the 65 they have.  Mereta and Eddie go to see her and are met by her husband and young son.  Athena Phillips died a few months ago.  According to her husband, "Jupiter killed her".  All of her paperwork was given to her lawyer and sealed until her son turned 18.  They need a court order to unseal the documents which means Mereta must get the order as Eddie has a job interview. 

In court, Laurie Farwell testifies about what her father had told her after his accident.  When asked by his daughter why the accident happened, he wrote down "steering wheel".  Jupiter's lawyer points out that Curtis Farwell was diabetic and had eaten cake at his grandson's birthday party prior to driving.  She paints a picture to the jury that the accident could have been Farwell's fault rather than a fault of the car.

Mereta wins the court order and gets the box of documents.  She is attacked in Lucinda's car in front of Cyrus' home.  They go through the box of documents and find what they are looking for.  The next day in court, Cyrus calls Warren Quinn to the stand.  When questioned about Athena Phillips and her report of defective tie rods, Quinn denies she ever submitted any such report.  Presented with e-mails from Phillips about the defects, Quinn "cannot recall".  He claims the e-mails are the work of a disgruntled former employee.  Cyrus wants to read Athena Phillips' suicide note but Jupiter's lawyer objects.  The judge allows it.  Cyrus wins the case and Laurie Farwell is awarded $20 million and Jupiter is expected to recall all the defective coupes immediately.

I, personally, really liked this episode.  Several things about it appealed to me.  I found the case itself interesting.  Cyrus did take the case for personal reasons but also taking, and winning, the case was the right thing to do.  Jupiter certainly wasn't going to recall the cars on their own.  Something had to make them do it.  Seeing the awesome Kyle Secor as Warren Quinn was great.  I've been a fan of Secor since he was Detective Tim Bayless on Homicide:  Life on the Streets (one of the best shows ever!).  He is one of the finest actors out there, in my very humble opinion, and it's always a pleasure to see him.  The interaction of the Outlaw characters was also a plus, this week.  I think that if this show has nothing, it has good characters and great actors bringing those characters to life.  With proper writing, these characters (and actors) could take this show very far.

It was announced on 6th October that NBC has put Outlaw on "hiatus" due to dismal ratings.  Four more episodes are scheduled to air as a total of eight have been produced.  NBC has said they will be evaluating the Outlaw's performance over the coming weeks.  If the ratings improve, it might save the show.  If not, we will be saying 'farewell' to it for good.

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