Thursday, August 1, 2013

Educational TV

Watching TV with Eric has been a learning experience.  Any program or movie we watch that has anything to do with law, legal issues, or lawyers results in a seminar-length lecture for me on what the show has done right or, more likely, completely made up.  Let me give you a few examples (plot spoilers ahead):

Eric got a mocha and saw Avengers on the same night in Malaysia. 
It was a big day.
How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2005-)

Relevant legal plot:  In the early seasons of the show, Marshall graduates from law school and instead of working at an environmental law firm, takes a job at a large corporate firm in order to pay both his student loans and his wife Lily's massive credit card debt.  He works long hours, frequently gets yelled at by his boss, and has clients who should probably be in jail.
Eric's response: Yes!  Yes!  That is exactly what being a first-year big law attorney is like!

Relevant legal plot:  In the most recent season, Marshall has changed jobs three times in six years, weathered long stretches of unemployment, and achieved his dream of becoming an environmental lawyer.  After he disagrees with the verdict in a major environmental case, he applies to be a judge and, in the season finale, is asked to fill a judge's seat.  Drama ensues as he keeps this offer and his decision from Lily.
Eric's response: That is ridiculous!  Judges are not appointed in New York, they are elected.  No lawyer who has had that short and checkered a career would ever, ever be elected to a seat!  This is complete and utter bull!

Revenge (ABC, 2011-)

Relevant legal plot: Tyler is arrested after attempting to murder Emily at Daniel's birthday party.  He is sentenced to imprisonment in a mental facility.  He later breaks out and surprises Daniel on the beach with a gun.  They struggle, Tyler gets shot, and Daniel ends up charged with his murder.  The murder trial is a significant plot line in the rest of the first season.
Eric's response: Why are they charging him with Murder 1?  This was obviously an act of self-defense against someone who had previously threatened him.  There is no possible way that this would even have come to trial.  His defense lawyer is an idiot.

Tyler was even wearing gloves! Clearly he intended to kill Daniel!  Come on!

Community (NBC, 2009-)

Relevant legal plot: Jeff Winger wins a case for a stripper who was on trial for tax evasion.  This case brings him such accolades at his law firm that a rival lawyer decides to leak that Jeff never finished college, which gets Jeff fired and disbarred.
Eric's response:  You would not be hailed by your firm for winning what would have been a small-stakes pro bono case that your firm probably wouldn't have allowed you to take in the first place.   

Horrible Bosses (New Line Cinema, 2011)

Relevant legal plot:  The three main characters are escorted to the police station for questioning regarding a recent murder.  A few minutes into the interrogation, Dale asks if they are under arrest.  When the police say no, Dale notes that if the men are not under arrest, they are not required to sit and answer questions.  The three leave the station.
Eric's response:  I would show that scene in my law school classes!  It's awesome!

Castle (ABC, 2009-)

Relevant legal plot:  Any time someone asks for his or her lawyer, it's a sign that the suspect is guilty.  This happens in the rare episodes when Beckett and Castle do not get an immediate confession. 
Eric's response: Everyone should have a defense lawyer at their side!  Asking for a lawyer is not an admission of guilt.  You should never be questioned by the police without your attorney present.  And second of all, defense lawyers are not gutless little weenies who sit next to the macho cops while trying to protect the bad guys!  They're a basic part of the system that is there to make sure that the cops don't arrest the wrong guy!  

I'm sure I'll be able to write a follow-up post with more examples soon.  There are new episodes every season...

What are your favorite legal plot lines? 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you don't mind. ; ) I feel like this is the lawyer's equivalent of yelling at the TV during football games.