The Firm hit a rough patch in its first Saturday outing. It feels less disjointed this time out, but it's still missing that something that held my attention when it began.
The cops cut Mitch loose, while Ray, Abby and Andrew (yep, Shaun Majumder's back this week!) worry over him. The crazy turn of events prompts Mitch to confide in Andrew, because he doesn't yet know what Andrew's up to, which means he has no problem telling Andrew everything about the Sarah Holt case. Of course, this information finds its way back to Alex Clark shortly thereafter. She decides it's time to "bring McDeere in and tell him a story that covers everything," which she does. It largely involves demonizing the dead guy.
Mitch decides to turn down an offer of help from his old witness protection contact - because it's always a wise idea to reject aid when people are after you - but can't get himself excused from a court case involving a pharmaceutical company that may have stolen a doctor's work. Mitch wins an injunction on behalf of his client, only to hear in the hallway that his client's company's shareholders are willing to sell out to the enemy. Despite a late effort, Mitch isn't able to stop the sale. We find out at the last minute (literally) that Mitch's client is a duplicitous guy who covered up flaws in his own research and the whole court case was a sham. It's one of those plot twists that feels there for the sake of having one.
Meanwhile, Mitch confronts Sarah with an underwhelming burst of anger, and her only response is "Sorry I got you into this." She's not bothered by him at all, and I can't blame her. Josh Lucas really intimidated me in Glory Road, so I was expecting more when Mitch exploded, and the intensity just wasn't there. The contuining plot gets another wrinkle as Tammy and Abby discover that the numbers on Martin Moxon's list have the same number of digits as corporate tax ID numbers, and match them to subsidiaries of Noble Insurance, Martin's employer. Unfortunately for them, the list they've got is a fake one, and the bad guys are listening in to Mitch's every word.
The best part of the episode by far is that Andrew finally emerges from Alex's shadow and finds his spine. I've said before that there's a lot that could be done with his character if the show allowed it, so to see him stand up to her was a treat. It also served to give his character just that extra dose of credibility with the audience; it's easier to believe him as a competent lawyer if we see that he does more than run errands on her behalf. Plus, we learn that his friendship with Mitch may not be an act, as he's willing to warn Mitch about something dangerous five weeks later. Kudos to Shaun Majumder for doing a lot with a relatively little amount of screen time. (Although having watched his Comedy Central special over the weekend, I'm having a small issue reconciling super-serious Andrew with Majumder's stand-up comedy act.)
Unfortunately, "Chapter Eight" doesn't quite pack the punch of the show's earlier episodes. The show's original cases were compelling, with characters that I cared about; for the last few weeks, I haven't been interested in any of the legal action, except for a great appearance by Victor Garber. The conspiracy plot has never quite hooked me, and I'm not thrilled that just as we end one set of flashforwards, we jump into another. It's a stylistic device I never cared for. (Plus, there's a little insult to injury as we're greeted with multiple promos for Awake, the show that took The Firm's original time slot.) These characters used to be a little more quirky, their stories more engaging, and I miss that. Hopefully, the show won't get cut off before we can see what this all adds up to.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.