315. Lawyers, Reporters and Cockroaches

United States, Original Airdate, February 21, 1999.
Written by: David E. Kelley
Directed by: Dennie Gordon


-------------------- 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 `Lawyers, Reporters and Cockroaches'. It also includes descriptions of the settings and camera movements where I felt they were needed.

I made every effort to accurately transcribe the dialogue from this episode. If you notice anything that has been transcribed incorrectly, please let me know, at ryana_@hotmail.com, and I will post an update.

This transcript was written by Ryana.

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

Bobby's office. Lindsay is seated on Bobby's desk flipping through a note pad while Bobby paces behind her, looking through a file.

Bobby: This should be a two day trial, tops.

Lindsay: (surprised) Two days?

Bobby: We're calling two witnesses, they're calling one, we'll go to a jury by the end of the week.

He puts some files into his briefcase and walks over to Lindsay.

Lindsay: Listen, closing arguments. I think I should do it.

Bobby: Why?

Lindsay: Well, you're doing the witnesses, I'll have more time to ..

Bobby: That's not what you meant.

Lindsay: (turning to look at him) Sorry?

Bobby: No, you said you should do it, like you'd be better, not like you'd have more time to prepare.

Lindsay: No, I didn't mean it like that...

Bobby: Yes, you did.

Lindsay: No, I didn't.

Bobby: Lindsay, I know your little inflections. I know that when you said that you meant you'd be more qualified to do the closing. Now, you can either tell me why you think you're more qualified or not, and if you don't, I'm going to have to take that as a lie. (he looks at her accusingly) Are you a liar?

Lindsay: (smiling) That was really good. (Bobby smiles) You're just such a clever lawyer. So good, it's hard to imagine that I could believe that I'm more qualified to do the closing. But I am.

She pulls him close and they kiss.

Bobby: (whispering) You know, maybe it's, um, not smart to try cases together.

Lindsay: Maybe not.

They kiss again. Cut to the outer office where a crash is heard.

Ellenor: (shaking her head) Oh, please.

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

Helen and Lindsay's apartment. The camera films from inside the refrigerator as Helen reaches past Lindsay inside.

Helen: He's Swedish, blonde, doesn't speak a word of english and he is going to deep tissue my thigh till I...

Cut to the kitchen

Lindsay: Don't rub it in, Helen.

Helen: You can still come with. Facial following massage, seaweed wrap...

Lindsay: I'm in trial, you know I'm in trial.

Helen: Settle it.

Lindsay: Sorry, there's a little more involved than somebody's dead pet.

Helen: Supposedly, this guy gives a standing massage, too. You move with it. (she teasingly dances up and down)

Lindsay: Funny. I get that rub from Bobby.

Helen: (her sly smile falling off her face) Funny.

Cut to a panning shot of the courthouse. Cut to inside. Bobby is questioning Joseph Jacobs, a restaurant chef/owner.

Jacobs: They tell me it's because of our popularity, because of the cuisine, because everybody in the city wants to eat there. That was the nature of the piece and that's why I gave them full access to do the piece.

Bobby: And what happened?

Jacobs: Instead of doing a positive feature, as they promised, they ambushed me with this... this big story... of bugs.

Bobby: Bugs?

Jacobs: Bugs in the kitchen, bugs on the floor. They condemned my restaurant as unsanitary. It's the lead story on the news. My restaurant is closed. My reputation is destroyed. By those liars.

Steven Wieland (Opposing counsel): Objection.

Judge Joseph Camp: Sustained.

Bobby: Mr Jacobs, had they not represented to you that this would be a positive news story, would you have granted the interview and let the cameras in?

Jacobs: Of course not. Their ticket to admission was a lie.

Bobby: (nodding seriously) Thank you. (sits down)

Wieland: Do you deny that they discovered bugs?

Jacobs: Any restaurant has bugs. You got food, you get bugs. It's not like we serve them.

Wieland: And if I'm a patron, sitting in your restaurant and ask if you have bugs, is that the answer you'd give?

Jacobs: I haven't been asked that question in twenty years, and if you were in my restaurant, sir, you wouldn't ask it. You'd only be thinking about how good the food is.

Camera cuts to the jury. A small murmur issues from the crowd. Cut to Bobby, Lindsay and the Jacobs family in a small room at the courthouse.

Mrs Jacobs: You could be more humble, for God's sakes.

Jacobs: It could be false. Humility isn't something I do. (he sculls a cup of water)

Mrs Jacobs: Once in twenty years you could try it.

Jacobs: Oh, don't talk to me like that, Pamela.

Mrs Jacobs: This is our life's work.

Jacobs Jnr: Look, she's right, Dad, and don't.....

The Jacobs family all begins yelling at once. Bobby moves forward to break it up.

Bobby: All right, (yells) QUIET. (the Jacobs stop) Listen to your wife, Mr Jacobs. We need those jurors to feel sorry for you.

Jacobs: Oh no. I don't want pity for me. I want anger against that news station.

Bobby: They're not going to punish the news station if you behave like an ass.

Mr Jacobs looks offended.

Jacobs Jnr: He doesn't mean to... (he breaks off)

Jacobs walks to the window. The others look at each other.

Jacobs Jnr: This restaurant, it was everything to our family.

Bobby: (looks at Mr Jacobs, who is staring desperately out the window) I know. (nodding)

Camera cuts to Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt's conference room, where Rebecca is working on a laptop.

Ellenor: (coming in waving a file) I got a B&E, it's gonna go fast, you want it?

Rebecca: You mean, can you dump it on me?

Ellenor: Rebecca, it is a trial. There are six year associates across the street still waiting for their first jury trial. Do you have any idea...

Rebecca: (interrupting) I hear the sweet song of a lujack.

Ellenor: It will be good experience.

Rebecca: I have to finish this payroll crap, which I was supposed to have finished by the first of the year, which I would have finished but for a few lujacks dumped on me, with the best of intentions.

Ellenor: Doesn't Lucy take care of all this stuff now?

Rebecca: Do we really want Lucy to know how much we all make?

Lucy: I heard that. (Rebecca smiles at that)

Ellenor: Well, how much money do we all make? (Rebecca looks at her in disbelief) I'm a partner. I get access to the books now, remember?

Rebecca: (shaking her head) I have to run that by Bobby.

Ellenor: Rebecca, I'm a partner. Of course I can see what people are making in my partnership.

Rebecca: (sighs) Okay. That's salary, plus partnership draw, doesn't include benefits or insurance.

Ellenor: (shocked) Is that right?

Rebecca: Yeah, why?

Ellenor: Lindsay makes twice my salary?

Rebecca: Well, Ellenor, she brings in a lot of business, her percentage should be...

Ellenor: (interrupting) Twice?

Rebecca: Ellenor, she makes almost as much as Bobby. You should know that...

Ellenor storms out into the office.

Ellenor: Where's Bobby?

Jimmy: Uh, he's in trial.

Lucy: With Lindsay.

Ellenor: (throwing her arms up in despair) Ah.

Eugene: What's the matter?

Ellenor: (sarcastically) nothing.

Lucy: I don't believe you.

Ellenor looks at her. Lucy runs and hides behind Eugene, who looks at Ellenor.

Ellenor shakes her head. Camera cuts to Helen's office. She is packing her briefcase and talking on the phone.

Helen: It will have to wait till tomorrow. I'm off to enter a plea then I'm having a spa day. (very brief pause as the person on the other end replies) Yeah, lucky me. My first day off in a year. All right, bye. (she hangs up)

An elderly woman enters her office.

Helen: Hello

Ms Tyler: (uncertainly) Miss Gamble? I'm Sylvie Tyler. It was my cat who was killed.

Helen: Oh, I'm terribly sorry. Please. (she indicates a seat)

Ms Tyler: (sitting) I was curious, you don't plan to call me as a witness?

Helen: Well, there's not going to be a trial. The defendant's pleading guilty.

Ms Tyler: (nodding) I see. So he'll go to jail?

Helen: No, he'll probably be put on probation.

Ms Tyler: What does that mean?

Helen: That... He'll be on probation. Probably for a year.

Ms Tyler: So, nothing will happen to him? (pause) I don't mean to sound like a doddering old loon, Miss Gamble, but I was widowed thirteen years ago. For the past eleven years Candy, (she pulls a picture of her cat out of her purse and hands it to Helen) that was her name, Candy. She's been my dearest friend. The boy knew that. He was a neighbour. He knew uh... (the camera cuts to Helen., looking uncomfortable. Long pause. Ms Tyler looks sad, but resigned) It's not so bad to murder somebody's cat. (she gets up, takes her photo back from Helen, and walks out of Helen's office.

Helen: (sighs and speaks plaintively) I have a massage.

Cut to inside the courtroom. A television is set up, and is playing the bug story about the Jacob's restaurant.

Michael Sawyer (reporter): Instead of balsamic vinegar and paprika, we found these little guys. (shows a jar with a cockroach in it. Camera cuts to the jury) Or I should say, these big guys. And they were everywhere. (cut to Mr Jacobs, and then to Jacobs Jnr, who is sitting uncomfortably waiting to give his testimony, then back to Jacobs) Wondering what gives that clam chowder that little extra tang? Well, it just might be his sister. (television flicks off)

Bobby: After this aired, business went down?

Jacobs Jnr: It died. Our gross went from seventy thousand a week to twenty-three. After two months, we had to close our doors.

Bobby: Had you made any other changes? The menu, the chef... anything else that could possibly account for your sudden plunge in popularity?

Jacobs Jnr: There were no changes in personnel or substance. It was that broadcast. It destroyed us. (camera shows a quick shot of a juror)

Wieland: You are the manager?

Jacobs Jnr: I am.

Wieland: As well as the son of the chef?

Jacobs Jnr: It's a family business.

Wieland: Yes. And you don't actually deny the allegations made in that broadcast, do you?

Jacobs Jnr: I certainly dispute the charge that our corn chowder gets its flavour from a cockroach.

Wieland: But the substance of that broadcast was that the place was bug infested and neither you, nor your father, take issue of that, and here you are suing a news company...

Bobby and Lindsay: (together) Objection.

Bobby: Argumentative.

Camp: Sustained.

Wieland: Was my client guilty of any factual inaccuracies, to you knowledge?

Jacobs Jnr: They were guilty of lying to us about the nature of...

Wieland: In the broadcast that we just saw on the monitor, were there any factual inaccuracies to your knowledge?

Jacobs Jnr: The statements were exaggerated.

Wieland: Why didn't you sue for defamation?

Bobby and Lindsay: (together) Objection.

Wieland: Your lawyers told you you had no case for libel, or defamation.

Bobby and Lindsay: (together, Bobby standing up) Objection.

Camp: (pointing to him) Sustained.

Wieland: You are not here today disputing the truth of my client's broadcast, are you, sir?

Jacobs Jnr: No.

Wieland: (smiling in satisfaction) Thank you. That's all.

Judge: Counsel?

Bobby: The plaintiffs rest, Your Honour.

Camp: The witness may step down.

Wieland: Your Honour, at this time we move for a directed verdict, in favour of the defendant.

Camp: I'll hear arguments after lunch. Adjourned. (bangs gavel)

He leaves. Lindsay and Bobby get up and look at each other. Cut to the hall outside the courtroom.

Jacobs: What's going on? What is this directed verdict?

Bobby: They're basically arguing that we haven't made a case and they shouldn't even be forced to put on a defence.

Jacobs: We haven't made a case?

Lindsay: But that's a first amendment problem.

Bobby: Which Lindsay will address. (She looks at him sharply, but doesn't say anything) I don't expect this to set us back, but we only have an hour so we need to prepare, and we'll meet you right back here. (to Lindsay, taking her arm) C'mon.

Lindsay: I'll address it? Me?

Bobby: Well you're the constitutional expert.

Lindsay: I'm also second chair.

Bobby: Just think of it as a closing, all right?

Lindsay: Oh, funny, Bobby.

Bobby: Never mind.

Camera cuts to Helen and another lawyer coming out of a lift at the courthouse.

Helen: I want time.

Billy Merino, another D.A: Excuse me?

Helen: I'll give you a year, six months suspended, six served.

Billy: Ha ha ha.

Helen: Best offer, Billy.

Billy: Best offer? Last night we had a deal. You were going to spend the day in seaweed.

Helen: I changed my mind.

Billy: (stopping her) Helen, it was a cat.

Helen: I met the owner. When I said probation, I had trouble looking her in the eye.

Billy: I'm giving you a guilty. At trial you could lose and then you'll really...

Helen: (interrupting) Billy, six months served or no deal.

Billy: He starts college in the fall. I'm not about to agree to six months.

Helen: Then we go to trial. (she smiles and walks away)

Billy: (calling after her) It was a cat. (he sighs).

Camera cuts to Eugene's office., where Eugene is looking at a pad.

Eugene: Two hundred and forty-two thousand?

Ellenor: Am I overreacting? I mean, I know she brings in business, but to be making twice what we do?

Eugene: Well, the partnership agreement is pretty clear. The formula is..

Ellenor: Yes, the formula favours who brings in the business, but when we vote on new business, and Lindsay getting one vote and Bobby getting two, plus the tie breaker, with only three other voting partners the two of them control...

Eugene: Ellenor....

Ellenor: They sleep together, Eugene. Who are we kidding? She makes twice what we make.

Eugene: You forget that we became partners because of her power play. It went to our benefit...

Ellenor: You're forgetting that it was a power play. Look at these numbers... Numbers are numbers. They are not subject to interpretation.

Eugene sighs and looks at the printout, then up at Ellenor.

-------------------- Commercial --------------------

Ellenor, Eugene and Rebecca are seated inside the conference room.

Rebecca: I do not feel comfortable having this conversation.

Ellenor: Why?

Rebecca: I did not show you those salaries to start up some revolt.

Ellenor: It's not a revolt. We have an issue here, are we all going to just ignore it?

Eugene: Look, Ellenor, I don't like making half of what she earns either, but the idea that there's some evil conspiracy going on...

Ellenor: I'm not saying that...

Rebecca: Yes, you are. That's why we're having this secret meeting.

Ellenor: It's not secret, Rebecca.

Rebecca: Oh, no? Then where's Bobby? Where's Lindsay?

Ellenor: In trial.

Rebecca: Then why can't we wait till then? I mean, if you have a problem with somebody, go face to face. I don't like the smell of this meeting (she gets up) and I'm no longer in it. (She walks out)

Ellenor: (shaking her head) She's gonna back Bobby no matter what.

Eugene: I'm backing him too, at least until I speak to him. As for Lindsay, you're making her into something that she isn't.

Ellenor: She's good. Am I making her into that?