For Life S1E5 Review: Witness

The last episode Marie, was my favorite episode of the series so far.
The way they handled time and the acting performance from Joy Bryant as Marie was Emmy worthy.
This week we are back in present day and the story is continuing.

I’m glad we get to see more of Henry Roswell.
He is the former state senator and sponsored Aaron while he was petitioning to become a lawyer.
He’s played by Timothy Busfield, in the previous moments he’s been in the series he hasn’t wasted a moment.
Roswell, this episode, encourages Wallace to keep digging.
The police file that was gifted to Aaron shows the neglect by the police but Roswell warns to slow down and reminds Wallace that there’s only one shot at asking for a retrial.
Henry suggests that Aaron takes a case similar in how the police department handled eyewitnesses. After winning that case tie it to Maskins or O’Reilly and this proves a pattern.

The continuity on this show I really enjoy.
It’s always great to see when moments from previous episodes aren’t in a vacuum but that the characters actions have consequences.
When Aaron was representing Felonious Munk’s character Hassan we discover that the guards are helping the flow of drugs into the prison.
This is the complete opposite of the warden Safiya Masry’s goal.
With her reform based programs she needs the guards to buy in, which is what she reinforces to Captain Foster after a prison fight.

I like that we see she’s a woman of her word. She respects Aaron’s boundary of only telling on the guards and in turn she doesn’t stay silent but instead she confronts Smitty who is caught on camera selling smack to inmates.
It’s revealed that Captain Foster, played by Glenn Fleshler is involved in the transport of drugs into the prison population.
This was shocking to me because of how he treated Aaron after Wallace became involved in representing the neo-Nazis. Turns out Foster is just a good actor because he himself is involved with Will Bill, head of the neo-Nazis. He smuggles drugs which he passes off to Will Bill.
It’s fascinating to me that he’s not in need of money instead it seems it’s the greed that’s motivating him.
As he said he paid off his mortgage and got a boat and isn’t afraid of retiring.
Again it turns out he’s bluffing because his father and sick and his father’s medical expenses aren’t cheap.

We see that Hassan is still imprisoned, it’s a reminder that actions have consequences.
Even though Hassan should be a free man he’s still imprisoned because of the judge and Wallace’s inexperience.
Rafi Lopez is a prison who needs a new lawyer.
He seems like the perfect candidate for what Wallace needs to prove in court.
The problem is Lopez needs that cosign from Hassan to prove Aaron’s straight up.

He got put away off one eyewitness after a week and he in both police lineups which is “undue bias”.
Rafi is the key to trap the D.A. but there’s a risk of those involved getting dirty in response to Aaron’s prodding.
Meanwhile at home Jasmine and Marie are aiming to track down the witnesses from Aaron’s case.
We also see Maskins’ home-life with his wife, he has a son in high school who is hearing it from kids about this case. 
There’s a great scene between his wife and himself where they discuss the perception that he’s the “racist white man putting innocent Black people away.”
Again it’s great to see both sides of the issue and that Maskins isn’t just some monster but a misguided man who wants to protect himself.

We’re introduced to Adam Yamada at O’Reilly’s son’s christening.
Here we learn of Dez’s ambition of being the next Bronx D.A. after Maskins wins Attorney General.
Yamada is the lawyer who Wallace is trying to go up against in the Rafi Lopez case.
Four years ago there was a plea deal made, the lawyer feels Wallace has nothing but Maskins warns not to underestimate him. “A corned animal is always dangerous”.

Wallace gets Yamada in the courtroom under the understanding that Aaron was arguing the lineup used for Rafi’s case was invalid because the other suspects facial hair didn’t match his clients.
When the judge agrees with Yamada that this assertion is silly Aaron reveals there were two lineups and one got tossed.

The judge recoils and feels betrayed that Wallace blindsided both of them but Aaron convinces the judge that it should be looked out which leaves Yamada hanging.
Yamada is accosted by O’Reilly after the judgment is made.
We, the audience, finds out this connects to O’Reilly and possibly Maskins.
Yamada says that O’Reilly recommended for him to plea out and make the case go away.
We see already battle lines being formed with O’Reilly feigning ignorance and Yamada realizing he himself will need a lawyer if their conversation is exposed.
I like seeing O’Reilly flustered. He feels threatened now that Wallace’s case can directly affect him but Maskins stands firm not risking to bury the blame on the NYPD to save O’Reilly.

We see the ramifications of actions setup earlier in the series.
It’s frustrating seeing the lack of open communication from Marie to Darius.
Feelings are complicated especially when you love an imprisoned man but also are living with a man who loves you immensely.
Instead of explaining that she’s back on board helping Aaron with tracking down witnesses she hides lists and phone calls she makes.

With Masry again we see she’s “bout that life”, after getting intel from Smitty she interrogates Will Bill trying to entice him to flip with accommodations like a private cell and a sponsored visit from his dying mother.
This doesn’t bode well for Wallace’s rep.
Because he represented Joey Knox who was beefing with Will Bill it looks like Wallace snitched and that could lead to Wallace turning up dead.

One think I do enjoy about this show is through it wasn’t immediate the characters in the show usually are eventually honest with each other.
Marie finally explains that she lied to him earlier about Darius.

My favorite example of Aaron Wallace is in this episode.
Aaron was so on point. He went face to face with his enemies and was able to hit them where it hurts.
There was a deposition of Adam Yamada and Aaron was quoting case law and decisions that were made that proved he was in the right.
He got Yamada to admit on record that he received approval from Dez O’Reilly to go after a plea deal in not just this case but many like it.
We, the audience, got to see Wallace’s swagger. He was in his element, so much so that Yamada had to plead the fifth and his lawyer recommended that they take a break.

Wallace’s victory was short lived after O’Reilly put him in a corner.
They were willing to settle and Dez knows that Wallace doesn’t want to show his client but legally he had to.
The offer is $100k and that Rafi stays imprisoned. Their fervor is not just because Wallace had them on the ropes but that Rafi is actually guilty.
Though the lineup was illegal and wrong Rafi admitted to Hassan he did the crime and had no remorse.
Again we see the complicated nature of prison politics as Rafi threatens Wallace if he doesn’t get him out.

The last scene in this episode Rafi is shown exciting the prison which is great for Aaron but terrible for society because Rafi was not remorseful and is highly likely to rob again.
This is great for the audience because we see Aaron won’t always have slam dunk cases or even be on the right side as the defendant. 

Quotes/Favorite Moments

I’m not just gonna get you off. I’m gonna make them suffer – Aaron to Rafi about O’Reilly

I hate it but you’re almost always right – Marie to Darius

Time to put your big boy pants on Dez, it’s getting real – Maskins to O’Reilly

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