319. Closet Justice

United States, Original Airdate, March 28, 1999.
Written by: David E. Kelley
Directed by: Alex Graves


-------------------- Disclaimer --------------------

I do not own the characters in this story, nor do I own any rights to the television show 'The Practice'. They were created by David E. Kelley and belong to him and David E. Kelley Productions.

This is not a novelisation or a script. It is a straightforward and dry transcript of the episode 'Closet Justice'. It also includes descriptions of the settings and camera movements where I felt they were needed. I am not making any money or any other benefit off of this, it is purely for fun.

I made every effort to accurately transcribe the dialogue from this episode. If you notice anything that has been transcribed incorrectly, please email me, and I will post an update.

This transcript was written by Ryana.

-------------------- Prologue --------------------

News report. The reporter is standing outside a building, from which is being wheeled a stretcher. There are police cars and police tape surrounding the building.

Lillian Curry (newsreader): ... As well as profound grief, Sister Caroline Oaks was a beloved, beloved, member of the church. Preliminary reports say she was stabbed more than thirty times...

Camera pulls back to show Helen and Lindsayís apartment. Helen is watching the news while putting on her shoes.

Helen: (over her shoulder to Lindsay) Oh, can you believe this? Just what I need.

Lindsay: Helen, itís a compliment. High profile case, you get the assignment, thatís -

Helen: Too high profile! I donít need that kind of pressure. It makes my face break out.

Lillian Curry: The police were actually responding to a call from another kidnap victim, Cynthia Simonson, when they found the nunís body in a closet...

Lindsay: (looking over Helenís shoulder) The arraignmentís when?

Helen: Nine oíclock.

Lindsay: Maybe Iíll stop by on my way and watch.

Helen: Why?

Lindsay: Cause itís high profile and I wanna be there for your first pimple. (she smiles teasingly)

Helen: Haha. Funny.

Lindsay: This is big stuff, Helen. They must consider you their go to DA. Itís a compliment.

Helen: Yeah, yeah.

Camera shows the news again, a close-up of the nunís body (covered in a sheet) being put into an ambulance and then back to Helenís worried face.

-------------------- Opening Credits --------------------

The courtroom, at the arraignment. The doors open and the bailiff escorts Michael Kingston into the room. There are booís and yells from the gallery.

Clerk: Case number 32654. Commonwealth versus Michael Kingston, murder in the first degree.

More yelling comes from the gallery. We see Lindsay leaning at the back.

Judge Hiller: Quiet down. (bangs gavel) I said, quiet! (the gallery quiets) Any body who disrupts this room will be removed, possibly to a jail cell. I donít think you want to test me.

The defence counsel stands.

Mapp: Joseph Mapp for the defendant, your honour, weíll waive reading.

Helen: Helen Gamble for the Commonwealth. Weíd obviously oppose bail.

Judge Hiller: Okay, letís conference, we can set the trial date then. (she pauses and looks out at the gallery. She leans forward) Counsel, I have great respect for the public defenders (Mapp nods) as well as your work in particular, but, given the magnitude of scrutiny this case is likely to generate, together with the limits on your officeís resources... (raising her voice) Ms Dole, would you step up here, please?

Lindsay looks startled. Helen, Mapp and Kingston turn to look at her.

Judge Hiller: Ms Dole, did you hear me? Would you please come forward?

Lindsay: (making her was through the crowd) I hope youíre not thinking of -

Judge Hiller: You win. Congratulations.

Lindsay: Your honour -

Judge Hiller: Get together with the DA. Letís conference as soon as possible.

Lindsay: Your honour, I regretfully have to decline. My schedule -

Judge Hiller: Counsel, this wasnít a request. Itís your case. Next.

Clerk: Case number 32655. People versus Nathan.

Helen and Lindsay just look at each other as Kingston is escorted back out the room.

Courthouse hall, in front of the elevators. Lindsay is pacing. The elevator doors open and Bobby walks out.

Lindsay: Can she really make me do this? She canít make me. Can she make me?

Bobby: Where is she?

Lindsay: Chambers.

Bobby: Címon.

Judge Hillerís chambers.

Judge Hiller: Oh, come on. You love these cases. Granted, it doesnít involve a chopped off head, but still...

Bobby: We donít want this one.

Judge Hiller: Why?

Bobby: You know why.

Judge Hiller: Well, then humour me.

Bobby: The victim is a nun. Stabbed thirty times. This kind of crime... The stigma will run to the lawyers defending the psycho who -

Judge Hiller: Again, I keep going back to the client who cut off the girls head. You defended him -

Bobby: He was innocent!

Judge Hiller: To the public he wasnít! So, you face the same stigma there, Bobby.

Bobby: Which is why we donít need to be lawyers on this one.

Lindsay: Plus, the District Attorney is my roommate. Thatís grounds for disqualification right there.

Judge Hiller: Not if the judge is convinced youíll rise above the potential conflict, which I am. (Lindsay sighs)

Bobby: Helen Gamble is also an ex-girlfriend of mine -

Judge Hiller: Youíve tried cases against her before...

Bobby: Your honour...

Judge Hiller: Bobby, if I were to recuse you every time you slept with the other side -

Lindsay: Hey. (she glances sideways at Bobby, who glances back at her)

Judge Hiller: Thereís already a lynch mob mentality out there, you can see that. I need to ensure he gets a legitimate and zealous defence. You people fight for murderers better than anybody.

Bobby: You canít force us to take this case.

Judge Hiller: Of course I can. Itís exactly what Iím doing. (Pointing to the door) Go defend him!

Bobby and Lindsay look at each other and leave the room.

Another part of the courtroom.

Jimmy: I got him down to straight probation. I think we should jump.

Burrows: But, Jimmy, if I take any guilty finding, I lose my job. Iíve got a morals clause which says any criminal conviction.

Jimmy: Maybe we could talk to your boss.

Burrows: He canít waive it, no. Thereís a precedent. This is a company with thirty-two thousand employees. This isnít fair, this isnít fair!

Rebecca: Mr Burrows, itís not like you didnít commit the crime. You offered the woman money.

Burrows: But I never would have. I am sitting in a bar, I am minding my own business and she came up to me.

Jimmy: Weíre gonna go with entrapment.

Burrows: Is there any chance we could win?

Jimmy: Yes.

Rebecca: But not a good one.

Burrows: Well, the way I see it, Iíve got nothing to lose.

Rebecca: Yes, there is. You get convicted at trial, you could do time.

Burrows: Miss Washington, it isnít exactly like my life has a lot of dimension. I have a job, which Iíve put in sixteen years at. Iíve been a complete company man, and they say I can stay on, but not if I have a guilty finding. I wanna roll the dice, Jimmy.

Jimmy looks at Rebecca, then nods at Burrows.

The conference room.

Ellenor: This is bad.

Bobby: What can I tell you?

Ellenor: First of all, if this thing goes to trial we lose a fortune. The court order fees are minimal.

Bobby: I donít care about the money.

Eugene: Then whatís the panic, then? Weíve done nasty cases before.

Bobby: This was a nun, Eugene, stabbed repeatedly.

Eugene: I understand, but weíve defended child killers. Are you upset on religious grounds?

Lindsay: Have you been watching the news?

Ellenor: Look, we could bring a motion before a different judge, try to get out of it -

Bobby: Arguing what?

Ellenor: Hardship. That weíre too overloaded to take -

Bobby: (sternly) That wonít fly. Look... (sighs and composes himself) Look, weíve been assigned the case, so we do the job. Lindsay, meet with the client.

Lindsay: (sarcastically) Oh great.

Bobby: Ellenor, I want you to draft up a motion for a gag order. No doubt Helen will be trying this case in the media every chance she gets. You and Lindsay will try it, if it gets that far, weíre better off with women.

Lindsay: (raising her hand) Iím moving out of criminal, remember?

Bobby: Never mind. Eugene, Iíd like you to do a memorandum on changing venue. We need to try and move this thing out of Boston.

Ellenor: How about LA?

Lucy walks in with a note for Bobby.

Bobby: (taking it) Lucy, good. All calls from the media, we have no comment.

Lucy: (quietly) Okay. (she walks out)

Ellenor: Wait. Youíre putting her in charge of Ďno commentí?

Lucy: I heard that.

Ellenor: Oh, you heard that? Such radar.

Bobby: All right, all right. Letís get to work.

They all move off.

Judge Kittlesonís chambers.

Jimmy: (pacing) It isnít fair. The guy is like this sad sac. It was entrapment.

Judge Kittleson: What do you want from me, Jimmy?

Jimmy: You know I would never ask a favour in a million years that I thought was, you know, unethical -

Judge Kittleson: I donít know that, actually, but go ahead.

Jimmy: The guy is getting a bum shake. Heís worked hard in his job and heís about to lose it because some undercover cop got him aroused and... itís vintage entrapment.

Judge Kittleson: So, make the argument.

Jimmy: Iíd like to make it to you. Judge Cohenís going on vacation. This thing will get transferred to one of six divisions, including yours. I know Mark Patsos, the clerk. Iíd like him to steer it your way.

Judge Kittleson: That wouldnít be a good idea. I wouldnít kick it. From where I stand your client committed the crime, and second, I donít appreciate your even asking what youíre asking. It amounts to an exparte communication, itís wrong and you know it!

Jimmy: I gotta good guy here -

Judge Kittleson: I donít care.

Jimmy: Fine, forget it. Fine.

Judge Kittleson: Youíre angry now.

Jimmy: (getting up) Just forget it. I gotta go -

Judge Kittleson: Hey, Jimmy, I understand you wanna help your friend, but you have to understand that once I put on that robe, I donít play favourites for anybody. (pause)

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah. I thought Iíd just take a shot.

Judge Kittleson: Oh, I do like that. You do take your shots. (she hugs him and whispers in his ear) Say, why donít you come back in a couple of hours? When the robe is off? (she smiles suggestively)

We see an exterior, aerial shot of the prison, then inside to Lindsay making her was to see Kingston. She reaches the visiting room, sits and they both pick up the phones.

Lindsay: Hello, Iím Lindsay Dole.

Kingston: I know. I was there at the arraignment, remember?

Lindsay: Yes, okay. First of all, attorney client privilege, anything you say obviously goes no further so...

Kingston: Yes, but you donít want me to be too truthful in case I wanna testify. We have to preserve you from lawyer ethic problems.

Lindsay: (pauses) All right... (exhales) Any thoughts on how a sliced up nun got in your apartment?

Kingston: I havenít a clue. Howís that?

Lindsay: (ignores that) This woman, Cynthia Simonson, who called the police. Was she being held captive?

Kingston: Shouldnít you get to know a bit about me, first? I mean, Iím sure a nice person such as yourself has conflicts defending something so vile as me.

Lindsay: I kind of stay emotionally neutral in my cases. So, letís just stick with the facts of the case. Letís start with the underlying kidnap charge on the girl -

Kingston: (laughing) I didnít kidnap her. She came back to my apartment willingly. She just found herself locked in. And that would be false imprisonment, by the way, thatís a distinction from kidnapping. This isnít your first case, is it?

Lindsay: (giving him a look) No, it isnít.

Kingston: Cause you got a little virgin thing going on. Well, not that I donít like it...

Lindsay looks uncomfortable.

Lindsay: Look. Mr Kingston, youíre in jail right now either because you killed somebody, or somebody else played you for the perfect dupe. Either way, I consider you pretty stupid. And if you think youíre going to intimidate me somehow, well, you can just forget that because I really donít have the time. Iím representing you because a judge ordered me too. And I will defend you as best I can, but donít mistake my efforts for caring. You disgust me.

A church. The bells are tolling.

Sister #1: The reason he even knew her is because she reached out to help him.

Helen: How so?

Sister #2: He would show up at the church sometimes, angry, despondent. One time, Caroline approached him. That was the thing about Caroline. She was there for everybody.

Sister #1: Being there for him got her killed.

Helen: Three nights ago, she went to see him?

Sister #2: Yes. She got a call from him. And he asked if she could come visit him at his apartment. She knew nothing about his criminal record... (she trails off) We told the police all this.