This week's sixth installment of The Firm belongs to its guest star, but also reveals some important pieces of the puzzle, so it's a necessary stepping stone to bigger things.
Confined to an interrogation room at the local police precinct, now the sole suspect in Martin's death, Mitch is glaring a hole in the one-way mirror, while one of Martin's colleagues lays it on thick for the cops. Our favorite lawyer is pretty much like a caged animal.
Two weeks earlier, not noticing there's the mob henchman outside his house, Mitch is getting his first look at the list of nurses that Margaret Whitaker fired. "I had such high hopes for today. I woke up in such a good mood," he grouses. Tammy uncovers an IP address at the bottom of the list and it belongs to the victim's insurance company. All of a sudden, Sarah is starting to look really guilty.
Mitch goes to meet with the insurance company's IT department, and instead is taken to the executive floor, where he meets Martin for the first time, and the guy who will later accuse him of being Martin's killer. Their meeting is awkward and way too obviously scored as Mitch tells them what he knows. He's pretty much laughed out of the room, but Martin approaches him at the elevator and gives him a list of numbers. Abby makes the ridiculous suggestion that they call Martin to have him elucidate the list, which only causes Martin to panic.
In addition to what's going on with Sarah, Mitch is also defending a man accused of burning down a nightclub that he was thrown out of. The man swears his innocence and claims that an incriminating fingerprint must have been planted. Judge Walter Dominic (Victor Garber) seems a little too sympathetic; he calls Mitch into chambers and convinces him to get his client to sign a jury waiver. Dominic unexpectedly convicts the defendant of assault and sentences him to eight years in prison. He insists to a livid Mitch that "I did you a favor."
With help from Ray and Tammy, Mitch realizes that Dominic is trying to pad his stats for his re-election campaign, by sentencing only white defendants to prison time. How do they hold him accountable? While Mitch fakes an apology and Tammy distracts a secretary with a fake marriage idea, Ray sneaks his way into the judge's chambers and narrowly escapes. Mitch then confronts Dominic, who realizes too late that he's been bugged and all the incriminating stuff he's just said has been heard by the FBI. Mitch's client walks free and Dominic gets arrested.
Meanwhile, there's the same random mob guy talking to Claire, who ought to know better by now. When an understandably panicked Abby finds her, she doesn't mention anything about said conversation. I know the kid is only ten, but considering that she grew up in witness protection, you think she'd be a little more wary. She catches a lucky break: Joey Morolto calls off the henchman for now, preferring to bide his time.
The best part of "Chapter Six" is the guest appearance from Garber, who was cool in Alias and flat-out amazing in Eli Stone. Watching him tangle with Lucas is a delight; he's an adversary we love to hate. There have been plenty of smarmy judges, but Garber's presence makes his all the more interesting. If this were Law & Order and he wasn't an antagonist, I'd say he would be a perfect candidate to be a recurring judge.
It's also nice to see some of the pieces of the big picture come out this week. We're down to two more episodes before the show catches up to the flash-forwards, so it was definitely time for us to meet Martin. And there really wasn't much move on the mob angle until now, although I'm still trying to get a bead on how we're supposed to feel about Joey. One moment it seems like he wants to be relatively normal, the next he's making not-so-veiled threats. It goes back to what I've said before about still trying to get a read on the show's villains. It'd certainly be interesting if Joey turned out to be a more sympathetic villain, much like Andrew, but I can't quite figure out where the show is going with either of them.
I have the feeling that we're going to need to wait two more episodes until we see what The Firm is really made of. Once it catches up to the flash-forwards and can dispense with the gimmick (as well as that pacing limitation), I'm interested to see if the main story will get some real momentum behind it and we'll start to see all sorts of things coming out of the woodwork. If so, this could be a really crisp thriller in the home stretch. We'll have to see how it all plays out.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.