by Doward Wilson
On September 20, 2016, CBS TV introduced us to the world of jury trial selection as seen thru the eyes and work of Dr. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly) and his support staff. Five episodes into the season we have seen a wide ranging variety of clients and trial situations.
Episode 1, “The Necklace,” opened with an unsympathetic client in the form of the spoiled son of a tech billionaire. He has been accused of having sex with and then murdering a girl who has been a supplier of recreational drugs to his wealthy school friends. Untangling lies from his client, his family, and the people surrounding him was just part of the story. We are exposed to what lawyers go thru in accepting or dismissing potential jurors, and I found this a fascinating process.
Episode 2, “The Woman In 8D,” introduced us to gender bias when the female pilot at a commercial airline is the sole survivor of a crash that killed 62 people. The airline and its lawyer are pushing for a settlement with the victim’s families that will leave the woman with no life or career, even though she has a perfect flight record. This was an eye opening episode that clearly showed another way in which women are still being discriminated against.
Episode 3, “Unambiguous,” is the story of a young woman on trial for the murder of a college athlete. The Cold Case was reopened when a blogger discloses that the woman had filed rape charges against him, just prior to his murder. This was a very relevant story that highlighted what damage non-responsible reporting can do to people’s lives.
Episode 4, “Callisto,” takes us to the small Western Texas town of Callisto where the local lawyers have a stranglehold on patent trials.This case gives us a young woman who has built a superior working formula for a Hemophilia B drug that was developed by a large drug firm that had never been able to make it work long term. The woman’s younger sister had participated in the original drug trials by the developer and was the motivation behind her sister’s pioneering work at reformulating the drug successfully. Now she and her formula are on trial for patent infringement. Callisto was the setting for Bull’s only losing case, and he is once more up against the woman he lost to. This episode had a lot of comedy in it that showed off Bull’s lighter side. Picture waking up the morning after an evening spent drinking with the female opposition lawyer, in a cow pasture!
Episode 5, “Just Tell The Truth,” is a young man on trial for confessing to the murder of his fiancee after hours of nonstop interrogation. He’s a working class, chef in training, and she’s the only child of wealthy parents who disapprove of him and the engagement. Bull turns down their request to work for them to get their daughter justice. Instead, he takes the young man’s side to prove his innocence. This episode shows the darker side of police investigations that can go very wrong.
I have enjoyed watching this series very much. It gives us a totally different look on how jurors are accepted or dismissed for trial duty by opposing lawyers, while showing us the many aspects that can go into a jury trial by your peers. The cast comes together to give you a good sense of a large family with different talents. You should check out several episodes to get a feel for the show as the story lines have been both diverse and relevant.
Bull airs on CBS on Tuesdays 9/8c. Learn more and watch episodes on their website.