Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Whole Truth

I am one of those lawyers who watch law shows and movies.  "My Cousin Vinny" comes on, I watch it.  I chuckle every time Tom Cruise asks Noah Wyle about eating meals at Gitmo.  "The Practice"  "Raising the Bar"  I watch them all.  (Except for "Law & Order" which I have boycotted ever since the episode when they successfully prosecuted a defense attorney for refusing to reveal client confidences.)

This new t.v. season brings us a new law show I have to check out.  (There's "The Defenders" with Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell, too.  I don't feel the need to try out any show with Jim Belushi.)  The show I have to try is "The Whole Truth".  (It doesn't hurt that Rob Morrow is in it as "Northern Exposure" is one of my favorites ever.)

The premise is that we watch the run-up to a trial and then the trial through the jury verdict.  Then, we the audience, learn the whole truth.  The way it's been described, I get the idea that the last scene in every episode is of the actual crime, so we definitively learn whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.  What I'm interested to see is how often the show's "whole truth" actually completely follows either the defense or prosecution trial presentation.  In reality, the truth is more often than not somewhere between the two sides.  There are certainly some cases where the defendant wasn't the robber or killer.  Those cases should be clear enough.  But there are lots of cases where something happened between the defendant and the victim and neither side is totally right.  I'm also curious to see how often they will have an innocent person be convicted or a guilty person go free.  Or, of course, how often a guilty guy gets convicted or an innocent one gets acquitted.  In short, I'm curious to see how accurate and nuanced the show is.


Mad Jack said...

In reality, the truth is more often than not somewhere between the two sides.

Nothing like a dose of reality to set you back a step or two, is there? Thanks for the post! I, two, am a Law and Order fan, only I continued watching the show after they sent that crooked, morally bankrupt defense attorney to jail for obstructing justice and lying to McCoy and company.

Okay, I'm pulling your chain. Mostly I end up talking back to the TV as McCoy railroads one person after another, and everyone talks to the police without ever saying 'I want my lawyer'. My favorite of all time is The Devil's Advocate, with Al's soliloquy at the finale, Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow..

I'll tune in to The Whole Truth.

S said...

So the last scene wasn't a flashback to the actual crime but rather a quick moment of someone finding the key missing evidence which made it quite clear who the culprit really was. In this case, one side's theory proved entirely correct. I wonder what to make of the fact that the pilot episode chose to go the safe route of having the state properly prosecute the right party.

The actual construction of the show was interesting as we first saw the prosecution build its case, then went back in time to watch the defense through the same time period, seeing the prosecutor's side of a phone conversation, then the defense side later.

All in all, not a terrible show. I'll try it again. But, I'm not sure how I'll really feel about that last scene in each episode. I hope they switch up how they do that and find some cases where the audience itself will truly be the only ones who really know what happened.

Gideon said...

Looking for a liveblogging replacement for Raising The Bar, I gave this show a shot. Won't again. It was absolutely terrible, in my opinion. So this week I'm going to liveblog The Defenders, which was far more entertaining and actually more accurate in its portrayal of the criminal defense attorney and courtroom procedure.

S said...

I think my deep and abiding love for Joel from Northern Exposure is probably what kept me from thinking this show wasn't terrible. But I think you might be right that The Defenders is the better choice, from the few little bits I did see.

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