Sunday, October 17, 2010

US Television: Outlaw, Episode 1.5, "In RE: Tracy Vidalin"

Season One, Episode Five, In RE:  Tracy Vidalin
Original Air Date:  October 16, 2010

In the aftermath of a robbery, a policeman is murdered and the daughter of Senator Vidalin is being held as an accomplice to the murder.  Vidalin wants Cyrus and his team to help his daughter prove her innocence.  Is the young girl Cyrus Garza has always known to be sweet and innocent just that or could she really be involved in the murder?  Eddie and Mereta start uncovering details from Lucinda's past.

While Al, Mereta and Eddie are watching Cyrus throw the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game on television, a call comes in for Garza.  Senator Vidalin's daughter is in trouble and needs his help.  Once he's home from the game, Cyrus and Al go to see Tracy Vidalin (Ashley Rickards) in jail.  Cyrus has known Vidalin for nearly 30 years and, for most of it, considered him a good friend.  Whatever bad points the Senator has, Cyrus thinks his daughter, Tracy, is a good girl.

Tracy tells them about her boyfriend, Lonnie Daws (Michael Stahler), and that he had a gun the night of the incident.  She recounts the evening for them saying the couple was parked figuring out where to get dinner when Lonnie said he had a surprise for her.  He gets out of the car and waits in the car for 10-20 minutes before hearing an alarm go off in an apartment building.  Lonnie runs out yelling for her to drive and he now has a gun.  She panicked and crashed the car after which Lonnie ran from the car and killed a policeman.

Al and Cyrus inform Senator Vidalin and his wife about the trouble their daughter is in.  If she knew about the robbery, she is guilty of the policeman's murder as an accomplice.  Cyrus takes the Senator aside and tells him he doesn't really feel he should handle Tracy's case considering the tension between the two men.  However, Vidalin wants Cyrus because of his skill as an attorney.  The two men agree that the most important thing is Tracy Vidalin.

Eddie finds nothing of interest criminally on Lonnie Daws.  Lucinda doesn't want to go to the hospital to help a Senator that hates her boss.  The police will not let Eddie and Mereta see Lonnie Daws when they go to interview him.  To give Al some time to get past the police and obtain a statement from Daws, Cyrus tries stalling in court during the arraignment.  The People charge Tracy Vidalin with felony burglary and felony murder to which Tracy pleads not guilty.  Mereta and Eddie take a court order to the hospital allowing them to speak with Lonnie but find that he has died.  The judge denies bail for Tracy and remands her to the county jail for trial.

Wanting to learn more about Daws, Cyrus speaks with Tracy's parents.  They felt he was a bad influence on her as her grades began to suffer and her behavior changed when she started seeing him.  Two months prior, Lonnie had been caught breaking into his uncle's liquor store but, at the request of his daughter, the Senator helped make the charges disappear.  The prosecutor (Timothy Busfield) drops a bomb on Cyrus when he hands him a DVD that contains Tracy Vidalin's confession to the crime even though Tracy told Al and Cyrus she said nothing to the police.  Cyrus spends the night watching the video but still doesn't get to the confession because of the length of time the police had been holding her.

The team goes over a list of Tracy's personal items found in the vehicle and writing, including her journal.  An affair by Senator Vidalin becomes an issue and before the team can combat it, they have to know all the details.  Cyrus speaks with Vidalin who doesn't want to speak of his affair.  He blames Lonnie solely and feels Tracy's anger toward him for the affair was acted out by her dating Lonnie, not by the burglary.  Vidalin doesn't want the details of his affair to come out at trial because he wife doesn't know.  Despite saying he had called off the affair six months ago, his mistress was in town two weeks ago.

After watching several more hours of the video, Al finally gets to the confession.  The confession consist solely of Tracy answering "yes" when asked by the police if she felt she needed to pray for forgiveness for what had happened.  Cyrus feels her statement was coerced as does the rest of the team even though Tracy was asking for forgiveness for something.

In court, the prosecutor plays Tracy's "confession" while the detective who was talking to her in the video is on the stand.  Cyrus questions the detective about the almost 22 hours of interrogation and 2,012 questions he asked her during those hours.  He argues that Tracy, who didn't say anything except "yes" after almost twenty-two hours of interrogation was invoking her right to remain silent by remaining silent.  The judge refuses Cyrus' argument and allows Tracy's statement to be entered into evidence.  Vidalin feels Cyrus is allowing his personal feelings toward him to interfere with how he is handling the case.

Al notes an oddity in something Tracy says to Cyrus about how the robbery was committed.  It brings up questions as to whether she knew anything about the building.  Cyrus still believes Tracy couldn't have been involved in the crime but Al wants to look at it objectively.  No one at the building knew Tracy and they cannot connect her to it in any way until they find information that Vidalin's mistress was subletting an apartment in the building.  Tracy denies knowing anything about the woman living there and wants to testify that she had nothing to do with the robbery.

In court, the prosecutor has both Tracy's journal and the tenant list from the building.  Cyrus calls Tracy to the stand and she denies knowing that Lonnie intended to break into the building or that they had planned the burglary together.  She explains that she wanted forgiveness for being in the car and with Lonnie.  Under questioning from the prosecution, Tracy claims Lonnie hit and raped her when she tried to stop him from rifling through her father's belongings for money.  He then threatened her and her family with harm if she tried to get away from him. 

Lucinda talked to the man who knew of the threatening messages for the Senators mistress.  The man happens to be Tracy's ex-boyfriend.  When confronted with what he said regarding her and her feelings for her father's mistress, she claims he is lying.  Cyrus and Al know she is lying and she makes no attempt to hide the fact.  She is confident that her story of being raped and abused by Lonnie won over the jury. 

The prosecution makes a compelling closing argument to the jury about Tracy's guilt and Cyrus counters with an argument of her innocence.  The jury finds her not guilty and she is released. 

Earlier, Mereta had written down a series of numbers she sees on Lucinda's arm and even asks her about them but Lucinda doesn't answer.  Mereta later believes the numbers to be map coordinates and is shocked when the numbers point to Delaware where Lucinda refuses to go.  Eddie and Mereta travel to Delaware to find out the truth about Lucinda and arrive at a cemetery where Mereta stumbles (literally) into a tombstone bearing some sort of information about Lucinda's past.

I find it sad that this is the first of the four final episodes of Outlaw that we will ever be seeing.  Not only is there a story line involving Lucinda opening up (and we'll probably never be able to finish it in just 3 more episodes) but this episode was excellent.  Truly excellent.  Some shows need a few episodes to really gather momentum to find their audience and for all we know, Outlaw could have been one of those shows.

Cyrus was given a wake-up call.  He believed in Tracy Vidalin because he thought he knew her.  He'd always known her to be a good girl and never thought her capable of doing anything wrong.  When he learns that she isn't what he thought she was, it causes him to question more than just his judgment of her.  This could have been a turning point for the Cyrus Garza character but, since there is such little time left in the series, we'll never know if that was going to be the case or not. 

As for the story line involving Lucinda, I do hope we get more information about that in the next three episodes.  I'm expecting the tombstone to be for a child she lost or perhaps to link her to another character in some way.  I'm sure whatever it is, Lucinda isn't going to be happy that Eddie and Mereta snooped into her private life and she will make that unhappiness known.  I like Lucinda and Carly Pope does an awesome job with the character.  When the final seconds of episode eight tick off, I think it will be Lucinda Pearl that I will miss the most.

Outlaw airs on Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. Central) on NBC.
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