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SEASON 1, EPISODE 1: PILOT February 11, 2020

Director: George Tillman, Jr.

Written: Hank Steinberg

Cast: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven

 FIRST QUARTER HOUR: We start with Aaron Wallace remembering his life before he was convicted and incarcerated for a crime he did not commit after being sentenced for life. After nine years Aaron is back in the courtroom where he was convicted, taking on his first case, a retrial of a fellow inmate. The Assistant District Attorney who got Aaron prosecuted is his opponent. The ADA and the DA have a conversation about Aaron's conviction and how he got his law degree and what the implications of Aaron's challenging the past conviction of his client, Jose Rodriguez might mean for them. We also meet Aaron's wife as she is visiting Aaron at the prison. Marie Wallace split with Aaron after he was jailed. That creates tension along with problems with their teenage daughter, Jasmine.

Warden Masry has a confrontation with the captain of the prison guards about reforms she has been implementing. She makes the case for them by citing the reductions in prisoners violating rules and commiting acts of violence, but leaves the captain unconvinced. In a prison yard scene, while the inmates are exercising and socializing, a group of apparent racist Nazi wannabes approach Aaron. The leader wants Aaron to take the case of one of his Nazi comrades, but Aaron refuses, but reminds the racists that he is the Prisoners Representative, who advocates with prison management for the rights of all prisoners.

SECOND QUARTER HOUR: We start with Aaron questioning his client in the courtroom. He is having some rookie problems with his line of questioning and gets flagged by the judge sustaining several of the ADA's objections about a suicide note his girlfriend wrote before she attempted suicide by drug overdose. The girl survived, but Aaron's client was blamed for the drugs. The suicide note never made it into the evidence. When Aaron announces that he intends to grill the police who responded to the scene, the DA Glen Maskins warns his ADA not to lose the case.

When Aaron is seen on the evening news, Anya Harrison informs Safiya that Aaron Wallace is sounding like he is going legally medieval on the DA's office and that could result in serious trouble when she runs for District Attorney in the next election.

THIRD QUARTER HOUR: The DA's office goes on the offensive making sure two of Aaron's witnesses cannot testify for Jose Rodriguez, including the policeman who would have found the suicide note, and an inmate who can testify he provided the drugs and not Jose. The prison bus also makes sure Aaron and Jose' don't make it to the courthouse on time, which angers the judge.

At a social function, the DA Maskins spots Anya as she is conversing with a high ranking police officer. Maskins suggests that Anya and her wife, Safiya, are using Aaron Wallace to undermine him to help Anya win the election. The warden later calls Aaron to her office and informs him that his remarks to the media have put her and Anya in a bad position. Aaron promises to stay away from the media, but when Safiya warns him about his credibility, he tells the warden he will take care of his own credibility.

Aaron goes to Jose's cell and finds him reading a letter from the girlfriend who attempted suicide. Taking the letter from Jose', Aaron forms a hasty plan to use the letter to use in court. He sends his best friend Jamal to act as an emissary to the prison Nazis to tell them Aaron will take the case of their member if they do Aaron a favor. The favor turns out to forge the suicide note Jose's girlfriend wrote. Aaron calls his ex-wife to have her assist in the plan by mailing the suicide note, and a cover letter supposedly from a policeman who had saved the note all those years. Her mailing the note puts a realistic postmark on the envelope.

FOURTH QUARTER HOUR: Aaron is able to question the girlfriend in court, and by using the fake note induces her to confess that her parents destroyed the real suicide note. She testified against Jose' because she was afraid she would go to prison for buying the drugs. The ruse with the fake suicide note works, and Jose' Rodriguez's conviction is overturned.

In a visit after Aaron's victory, his daughter informs him that she is pregnant. She urges her father to keep trying to get out of prison.


SEASON 1, EPISODE 2--PROMISES February 18, 2020

Director: Russell Fine

Written By: Hank Steinberg

Cast: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven


Aaron's voice-over narration tells us that inmates refer to promises as "debts." One of the debts Aaron owes to other inmates is the one he owes "Wild Bill," the swastika-tattooed chief of the Nazi faction in the prison. Note: I just call them "Nazis," not "Neo-Nazis," or "Nazi-Wannabes." They wear swastikas, they are Nazis. No use varnishing with softening adjectives.

"Wild Bill" wants Joey Knox, one of his Nazi followers, out of solitary confinement, and wants Aaron to do something to get Knox out since "Wild Bill" helped Aaron get Jose' Rodriguez out of prison in the first episode. This is the debt Aaron must repay, or the promise he must keep.

In the meantime, Aaron is on the trail of documents that could prove he is railroaded and manages to get the warden to permit him to go to court in Manhattan to petition for a Writ of Mandamus to have the records released. Aaron is getting the assistance of Henry Roswell (Timothy Busfield) in the attempt to obtain release of the documents.

When the warden asks Aaron for help with the Joey Knox incident, in which Knox shoved a guard after six years of nonviolent custody in prison, she asks Aaron to look into it. Since this will hurt Aaron with the black inmates, he asks for a favor in return from the warden. He wants a hearing in Manhattan court to obtain New York Police Department records into the investigation that resulted in his conviction through a Writ of Mandamus. The warden agrees.

At the hearing, the attorney for the NYPD challenges Aaron's right to the documents as they are part of an "on-going investigation." When challenged if any prosecutions have resulted from the investigation, the attorney could not think of any, but suggested Aaron, being a convicted drug kingpin convicted by the earlier phase of the investigation, might use the information to help him run his drug operation from inside prison. When countered by Aaron demanding to know of any evidence anything like that is going on, the attorney could not cite anything "substantive." The judge gave the attorney three days to produce the detective in charge of Aaron's case and the file in order to produce something "substantive."


This part starts with Aaron speaking to his daughter at her school over his clandestine cell phone. She wants her father to meet with the boyfriend, Ronnie, who got her pregnant so he can see he is taking responsibliity and cares for her. Aaron agrees to the boyfriend's visit.

Maskins is concerned about Aaron's seeking the Writ of Mandamus, and tells one of his underlings to have the attorney for the New York City Police meet in his office in one hour. Later, Maskins visits Henry Roswell in Roswell's office, who reminds Maskins that he got elected after branding Aaron Wallace a "Drug Kingpin" and securiing the conviction that Roswell outright says was fraudulent.

Aaron visits Joey Knox's old cellmate, Phil Lee, an Asian-American inmate. Aaron asks Lee what he knows about Joey shoving the guard that got him solitary confinement. Lee tells Aaron to ask "Wild Bill." Aaron prods Lee some more, and he tells Aaron that it started with the fight in the cafeteria before Knox got put into solitary confinement.

Aaron is having trouble with "Wild Bill" cooperating in the effort to get Joey Knox out of solitary. A security video appears to show that Knox wanted to go into solitary confinement out of fear. The footage appears to show an alarmed Knox asking a black guard for solitary confinement, but later gets physical with a white guard to get thrown into solitary. Aaron starts trying to find out exactly what is going on with Knox and why "Wild Bill" wants him back in prison population. When he confronts "Wild Bill" in the yard, Aaron realizes it is "Wild Bill" who has Knox running scared.

On his way to the confrontation with "Wild Bill," some of the black prisoners stop Aaron and demand to know why he is helping "Adolf" instead of some of them. Aaron is slowly angering the guards, involved in the incarceration of Knox in solitary, the Nazis, and his own fellow black inmates.


Anya and Safiya are talking as they see the kids off for school. Anya tells Safiya of a telephone call she got from Maskins who told Anya that permitting Aaron Wallace to go to Manahattan court for his hearing is a violation of their agreement to keep Aaron under wraps until after the election. Anya told Safiya that she doesn't care if Wallace goes to Manhattan. If this is making Maskins that scared, maybe they should let Aaron go forward and see what happens as they could get hurt either way.

Jamal, Aaron's closest friend, is playing cards with some of the other black inmates when Aaron appears just outside the recreation room and signals Jamal. Jamal leaves the card table to see what Aaron wants. Aaron explains his problem in getting anything out of either Joey Knox, who now refuses to see him, or Phil Lee. Jamal tells Aaron he will look into it, but warns him everyone is against him on this case, the guards, the black inmates, and the Nazis. As he leaves Aaron, he pretends to pick a fight with him to placate the other inmates.

Ronnie, the boyfriend of Aaron's daughter meets with Aaron during visiting hours at the prison. Ronnie promises Aaron he will stick by Jasmine and they will both finish college with the help of both his family and Jasmine's. Aaron tells Ronnie not to leave Jasmine holding the bag, and he vows to Aaron he won't. Their conversation is interrupted by a friend of Jamal who quietly tells Aaron to get Joey Knox's medical records before starting a fake verbal altercation with Aaron, who plays along. Ronnie promises Aaron not to mention the "prison politics" to Jasmine.

Aaron maneuvers Joey Knox into authorizing release of his medical records by bluffing his signature on the release form by claiming it is for another purpose. The medical records indicate Knox had syphillis just prior to the fight in the cafeteria. Aaron confronts Lee in the cafeteria telling him he knows he had a sexual relationship with Joey Knox when they were cellmates. Aaron gets Lee to agree to testify at a hearing to get Knox moved to another prison.

There is a hearing with Aaron and Joey Knox, the head of the guards, the two guards Joey interacted with in his attempts to get into solitary confinement, the warden and some of her staff, and a judge. Phil Lee is called in to testify to his relationship with Joey Knox and the fight in the cafeteria, and the judge decides to give the warden discretion as to how Knox can be best protected.

After the hearing, Safiya meets with Aaron and wishes him luck with his hearing in Manhattan court about his writ to obtain the NYPD file.


Aaron arrives at the hearing room in Manhattan to find Jasmine there to offer him support. During the hearing, the NYPD attorney is also joined by the Assistant District Attorney who opposed Aaron in the Jose' Rodriguez case. The NYPD attorney informs the judge that the NYPD detective is not there because he has found evidence that the release of the documents could endanger a confidential informant.

The judge gazes for awhile at Jasmine, who is crying about her father's defeat at the hearing, but still rules in favor of the NYPD's position that the documents cannot be released.

Ronnie calls Aaron on Aaron's secret cell phone and informs him that Jasmine gave up on college in California in order to stay close to her father. Ronnie tells Aaron he doesn't think it is fair to Jasmine that her life be completely consumed by her father's incarceration.

In the last scene, Aaron tells Safiya that he has not given up. He has another idea about how to get the information he needs to overturn his conviction. Safiya tells him to go ahead and do what he thinks is best.





GUEST CAST: Felonious Munk--Hassan Nawaz

Turron Kofi Alleyne--Calvin Newcomb

REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven


Opens during a prison seminar or round table discussion led by Hassan Nawaz, and held in a section of the prison used during the physical/psychological rehabilitation of inmates who are drug addicts. The group discussion is led by inmate Hassan Nawaz, a convert to Islam, who is discussing personal responsibility with the group when the viewer first comes into the story.

Aaron enters the story because Warden Safiya Masry asked him to represent Hassan. Aaron confers with Hassan about the case, describing how, at the time the DA offered a plea agreement to Hassan, he was detoxing while in custody. Aaron thinks that Hassan's physical and mental state made it impossible for him to have made an informed decision about the plea agreement. What is needed is a witness. Aaron wants Hassan's brother, a policeman familiar with Hassan's condition at the time when Hassan agreed to the plea deal, to testify for Hassan. In background, Aaron wants to ask Hassan's brother to read the police file about his own case since every legal attempt to obtain access to that file was rejected by the court. Aaron's planning of the case is suggested to have been influenced by this opportunity to get access to the contents of his own file.

Aaron reaches out to Calvin, Hassan's brother, who agrees to visit Aaron in prison to discuss his brother's need for his testimony. When Calvin arrives, he is hostile to Aaron's request to testify for his brother. After a second attempt on his clandestine cell phone, Calvin agrees to testify.



In court, Calvin tells the judge that Hassan "couldn't even tie his own shoes" when the DA made the plea offer. While the Judge is in chambers, Aaron approaches Calvin to request he reads Aaron's police file. Calvin objects to Aaron asking for the favor, wondering if that was the reason he agreed to help Hassan. It doesn't help when the judge turns down Aaron's pleading because the only evidence he provided was the testimony of Hassan's brother, a biased witness. The judge criticizes Aaron's preparation for the case informing him that the court is not a teaching institution.

Hassan had seen Aaron's disagreement with Calvin and asks about it on the bus ride back to prison. Aaron confesses about his asking Calvin to help Aaron with his own case by reading his police file. Hassan loses his trust in Aaron as a result. Once back in prison, Aaron tells his best friend, Jamal, that he might have another way to help Hassan.

Assistant DA O'Reilly shows up at the prison with a subpoena for the surveillance video of the visitor's area when Aaron handed off the forged suicide note of Jose' Rodriguez's girlfriend from the first episode to his ex-wife Marie.



The viewer begins with the scene of Marie Wallace helping a patient get started with her first session of chemotherapy when staff from the DA's office arrive to escort her to an interview with the DA.

Aaron informs Jamal that he has found another angle to work with Hassan's case after researching the files about the alleged occupant of the building from which Hassan, while an addict, broke into to steal copper wire. There was a squatter in the an upstairs room in the building. The DA was able to charge first class burglary on Hassan if someone lived in the building. Aaron thinks he has evidence regarding the homeless man who was trespassing in the building that would lower the level of the burglary to a third class offense. Hassan has already served a sufficient sentence for Third Class Burglary. A guard warns Aaron about the subpoena served by the DA's office.

DA Maskins leans on Marie Wallace in his office, but not in an openly heavy-handed manner. He urges her to cut loose from Aaron Wallace as she has made a new life for herself without him. When her boyfriend Darius shows up to pick her up from her meeting with Maskins, he also warns Marie not to be this involved with Aaron's business. It could wind up causing a lot of trouble for her.



We start with Aaron stating his new case before the same judge that ruled against his first petition on behalf of Hassan. Aaron shows proof that the homeless man had died six days before Hassan was arrested. There is no proof any other homeless person occuppied the building after the death of the homeless man, whose last name was Gingrich.

While the judge retires to chambers to consider the new evidence and make his decision, Aaron, a guard from prison, Calvin, and Hassan are waiting in a courthouse stair landing. Calvin and Hassan catch up while sharing a bench. Calvin explains to Hassan why he didn't write or visit after Hassan's incarceration. Aaron looks on as the brothers reconcile.

The Judge renders his opinion. He criticizes the DA's office for the handling of the investigation into Hassan's burglary. However, there is no case law that supports Aaron's request to lower the offense to a Third Class burglary since there is no precedent that addresses the death of the only documented occupant of the building prior to Hassan's arrest. When Aaron says that gives the judge discretion, the judge demurs from setting the precedent as that would be making law from the bench. When Aaron asks to research for pecedents from another state, the judge chastises Aaron for not doing that prior to coming to court. Hassan loses his second petition.

As Hassan and Aaron prepare to leave, Calvin tells Hassan he will visit next week.

Back at the prison, Aaron meets with one of the recovering addicts Hassan has helped with rehabilitation. He asks for information about which guard is helping bring the drugs into the prison.

We see Calvin parked outside Marie's house, watching her return home from work.

The warden calls Aaron into her office. She acts hostile toward Aaron, who counters by telling her he knows about the subpoena. He puts his efforts to find the drug connection into the prison on the table. Basically, the warden has to ease up on Aaron's efforts to resolve his cases for the inmates, and his own case, in exchange for his efforts to break the drug connection.

Marie Wallace enters the anteroom to be searched prior to entering the visitor's room. She is carrying a large envelope, which the guard opens to examine. When we see Marie and Aaron sitting across from each other at the table, she tells Aaron she will not do anything illegal to help him, and he agrees to keep her out of such things. When she gives him the envelope she tells him it is his police file. Calvin gave it to her.


One of the inmates Hassan helped says to Aaron, "The system is broken."

"No," Aaron replies, "it works exactly the way they want it to work."






REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma; Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven; Jasmine Wallace: Tyla Harris



We are presented with Marie in the parking lot of the prison just after she gave Aaron his police file at the end of the last episode. It is here that she begins to review her past life with Aaron Wallace, now in prison for being an alleged "Drug King Pin."

We see Marie pushing a wheelchair of a patient bound for a session in chemotherapy, tellling us that she is an Oncology worker at the hospital. Marie shows us that she is a compassionate, caring person to this late middle aged woman who is a little anxious for this day's round of chemo. After she prepares the patient, and gets her comfortable, she heads out into the hallway where a doctor tells her she could apply the nursing school and gives Marie some literature to read about it at home.

The next scene is when we find out that Aaron runs a dance club, which they called a "disco" back in the 1970s. Aaron is showing Marie what looks like a loft which he plans to turn into a new club since he already has one.

Aaron's sketchy looking partners, Michael Miller and Angelo Torres show up to pour some champagne and toast their deal for a new club.

A brief time into the future we are at the party celebrating the new club. Michael and Angelo praise Aaron for making the new club, now packed with customers, a reality. Aaron and Marie dance together to celebrate Aaron's success.

The evening is interrupted when the DEA raids the club and Aaron is taken into custody.

At Riker's Island prison, where Aaron is being held without bail as a drug kingpin, Aaron confesses that he once caught his life-long friend, Michael, dealing small bags of cocaine, one of which caused a young girl to overdose. Michael promised not to sell any more drugs, so Aaron kept him on at the club. Marie was stunned that the incident took place and Aaron did not tell her.

Marie consults with a woman who appears to be an attorney. She advises Marie that Aaron is in serious trouble and Marie could lose the house as a result. The woman doesn't describe how the house could be lost, but it would be through "asset forfeiture." Major drug dealers' cash and property, such as houses and cars, can be seized by the government. Marie has to take steps to save her house, and we see later she succeeded, I suspect by having her parents assume ownership.

At her next visit to the prison, Marie tells Aaron she is upset about the second mortgage as it was for the building of the second club that Michael and Angelo turned into a place for selling cocaine.

Next, the conference with Aaron's defense attorney where the attorney drops the bad news that Aaron's sketchy friends, Michael and Angelo "flipped" to Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Maskins, and are testifying that Aaron ran the entire drug operation. The attorney advises Aaron to take a plea deal for a maximum of 20 years as only a seller, not a kingpin. Aaron refuses, stating he is innocent.



We start out in the courtroom, and I have to let everyone know, whether they have seen this or not, Aaron's trial is on a par with Custer at the Little Big Horn. He might as well have just told them to drive him to the prison and saved the legal fees. It's a slaughter. I also have to say that Aaron brought a lot of it on himself, but ADA Maskins is as sketchy as Michael and Angelo. Too bad there wasn't a grand jury since Maskins is state of New York, not a federal prosecutor. I'll explain why after this summary.

As witnesses, all Angelo Torres and Michael Miller, who delivered the final blow to Aaron, had to do was point a finger at Aaron and claim it was all his doing. Some good cross examination might have helped Aaron, but his lawyer is not shown doing anything much. His last error was agreeing to let Aaron take the stand. He should have had Aaron duct taped to a toilet in the courthouse restroom instead. Maskins performed an ideal frame-up questioning of the accused, proving Aaron was grossly negligent in the way he handled his business "partners," and in not installing a system of security cameras in the club that could show he was duped by his business partners. Finally, he shows a hospital surveillance tape wherein Aaron braces Michael in the hospital parking garage after delivering the girl who overdosed on the cocaine Michael had sold to her.

Aaron thought all he had to do was testify he didn't know anything about the drugs being sold, including a package of cocaine as big as the first base bag at Comiskey Park that his boyhood friend, Miller, hid in a ceiling panel, and he would be found innocent.

It did not work.

We see Marie throwing up and crying in the women's rest room before the gavel goes down after the word "Guilty."

It was fast, but not painless.

Now about the grand jury comment. Grand jurors can ask questions provided the foreperson and presiding judge cooperate and the questions are relevant. It is important that the grand jurors ask questions because it is in the grand jury that an abusive prosecution can be stopped since the prosecutor needs an indictment to cement that he has PROBABLE CAUSE and a ticket to ride as a True Bill of Indictment IS probable cause. Here are some of the questions, along with the answers we already know. We'll assume Maskins is running the grand jury.

Juror: Has Mr. Wallace ever been arrested and convicted of any felony?

Maskins: No.

Juror: Has Mr. Torres ever been arrested and convicted of any felony?

Maskins: Yes.

Juror: What was the crime?

Maskins: Selling crack.

Juror: I see. How about Miller over there?

Maskins: One felony drug dealing conviction.

Juror: How long in stir?

Maskins: Six years.

Juror: Wait a minute. Those two are ex-convicts, for drug dealing, but the guy you are trying to indict has a clean record, is that correct?

Maskins: Yes.

Juror: What are you doing here?

Maskins: What do you mean?

Juror: What do you think you are doing here? You flipped these two. What deal did you give them? Immunity?

Maskins: That's irrelevant.

Juror: Is one of them an informant? Maybe your informant? I'll bet it's Angelo over there. Am I right?

I'll bet a dozen chocolate donuts that is what we are dealing with in this case. Aaron Wallace should have been charged with felony reckless endangerment of the overdose girl, along with obstruction for not reporting Michael selling the cocaine, so he wouldn't get off scot free, but would only get about 3-5 years in minimum security, out in about 2. Michael and Angelo played him and would do the maximum with Angelo the kingpin. Angelo is likely the informant, too. He gets off as long as he gives Maskins convictions. That is how it looks to me now. Time will tell if I am right.



We next see Marie take Jasmine to visit Aaron in Bellmore Prison. After the visit, while sitting in the car together, Jasmine tells her mother she doesn't understand why her father is not out of prison yet as Marie had promised he soon would be. Marie tells her not to worry. Until her father gets out of prison, Marie will take care of everything, so Jasmine does not need to worry about anything.

We then watch a montage of Marie starting her nursing school training, visits to the prison, and taking care of Jasmine. The final scene in the montage is Marie in her nurse's scrubs, wearing and identification badge to the hospital, and exchanging high fives with Jasmine.

At Jasmine's twelfth birthday party, Darius, a close friend of Aaron's, makes a toast to Marie for graduating from nursing school and presents her with her own stethescope engraved with her initials.

Marie is seen discussing Aaron with her father. While Marie's father praises Aaron as a good father to Jasmine, he decries Marie putting her dreams on hold for Aaron's. He also describes Aaron as "reckless" for how he handled his business and his friends. Marie's father says he can't forgive Aaron for that and says Marie should move on with her life.



We see Marie again visiting Aaron in prison, who tells Marie the plan he has to get out of prison. He is studying to become a lawyer and will attempt to use the law to prove Maskins was corrupt. Aaron has been talking to other convicts who have given Aaron accounts of the corrupt way Maskins handled their prosecutions. Marie is is skeptical of Aaron's plan as it would have to take years to accomplish.

Later, Aaron makes his first call on his illegal "burner" phone to Marie. She asks him what will happen if Aaron's cell gets "tossed," indicating she already knows convict lingo, and his phone is discovered. He will have to forget about being a lawyer. It is very apparent that Marie has become exhausted by Aaron's situation. She wants a way out.

Marie is visiting in prison again. Aaron asks about Jasmine's new boyfriend when Marie cuts him off and says she wants a divorce. Aaron notices the papers she is carrying with her. Marie abruptly finishes the conversation by saying she will leave the papers with the guard, gets out of her chair and hastens away from Aaron who calls on her to come back and talk some more.

We are taken eight years later at a celebration of Marie's birthday when she begins her relationship with Darius, and end with Marie parked in her car, with night having fallen, now in the driveway to her home.







REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma; Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven; Jasmine Wallace: Tyla Harris



We open to Aaron in his cell, reading pages from his police file. He seems to discover something interesting, which brings us to the next scene in the visiting area with Aaron meeting with his mentor, Henry Roswell (Timothy Busfield). Roswell, after Aaron tells him that Maskins had the police wait outside to follow people coming out of the club to detain them, check them for drugs, and then ask if they bought them from the man whose photo the police would show to each club patron. The photo was of Aaron Wallace. The patrons detained would say that Aaron sold them the drugs. Roswell notices a pattern in what is in the documents Aaron shows him that indicates prosecutorial misconduct, but advises Aaron to be patient and work some of the inmates' cases that would add strength to the argument that such misconduct was a pattern in the District Attorney's office with Aaron was prosecuted. Aaron agrees to look into some of the inmates' cases to attempt to build the kind of case Roswell described and then use the established pattern to get a retrial of his own case.

Warden Safiya Masry grills a guard named "Smitty" about the drugs she knows from a security camera's footage that he must be holding for the inmates. Cornered, Smitty tells the warden that he just holds the drugs for the inmates too scared to try to hide it in their cells. Wild Bill, the leader of the Nazi gang in the prison, is the connection for the drugs.

We are back with Aaron, now walking the yard just in front of Hassan Nawaz, an inmate Aaron once represented in court in a case he lost. Hassan agrees to approach Franky G., the inmate Aaron wants to represent.

Later, Aaron meets with Franky G. who agrees to have Aaron represent him. The police used two lineups in their investigation of Franky. The first one, the witness could not identify Franky, but the second line-up had mostly different men in it, most clean-shaven, which Franky was not. He was identified in the second lineup by the same witness who could not pick Franky out of the earlier lineup. This kind of second lineup is considered prejudicial against the accused. Aaron tells Franky he could be able to get Franky out of prison with a prejudicial lineup, particularly since it is mentioned in case documents, but the lineup photo is not available in police records and described as "missing."



We begin with dinner at Marie's house with Jasmine and Darius. Marie and Jasmine are researching witnesses Aaron told her about from his police file when Darius announced dinner was ready. During dinner, Darius and Marie explain to Jasmine about how DA Maskins took Marie to Maskin's office for a conference about being involved with helping Aaron. Both Darius and Marie explain to Jasmine that Maskins might want to question her since the letter Aaron passed to Marie in the prison was supposed to be for her. Marie tells Jasmine that she is not answer any questions without Marie and a lawyer present.

Next Aaron and Franky G. step down from the prison bus to be greeted by a large body of reporters. Franky complains that Aaron did not warn him there would be so much press at the courthouse before the hearing. We find out later why the cameras and reporters have Franky spooked.

In the hearing, Aaron is pitted against Assistant District Attorney Steve Yamada. Yamada claims he can't recall anything about a second lineup, a matter that Aaron did not include in his filing for the hearing. The Judge considers that a "bait and switch" move, so Aaron informs the judge he will take a civil action so that ADA Yamada can be deposed by Aaron, which is an interrogatory session with a witness/defendant in a civil lawsuit. We never find out what amount of money damages Aaron claims for Franky G. in the lawsuit.

After the hearing, Aaron and Franky have another sour conversation followed by Hassan informing Aaron that Franky G. has "no remorse," meaning that Franky is guilty of the crime for which he was convicted and incarcerated. Aaron is unnerved at Hassan's news.

Meanwhile, the warden is shaking down the prison, looking for evidence of the drug running. It gets so bad that Aaron's friend, Jamal Bishop, warns him that a lot of the inmates think Aaron is the warden's informant.

Warden Masry confronts Wild Bill in her office and offers him a deal. If he eases up on the drug running, she will see about getting him a private cell and arranging for his sick mother to come to the prison free of charge to visit. Wild Bill asks for time to consider the offer and appears to agree to slow things down with his operations.

The guards bringing the stuff in for Wild Bill, like Captain Frank Foster, confer as Foster arrives at the prison with steaks for the mess hall. The dope is inside the steaks. When he is warned of the warden's rampage, he starts removing the small packages of drugs from the cuts in the steaks.



There is another meeting between Aaron and the very unpleasant chap, Franky G. Franky wonders out loud if Aaron is a snitch for the warden, and also doesn't like Aaron talking to Hassan, who knows that Franky is guilty of the crime for which Franky is now in stir. This was the reason Franky didn't like cameras and reporters hanging around the courthouse waiting for him to emerge from the prison bus so victims can see him and start complaining to the DA's office about Franky G. being a small time career criminal. During the meeting, Aaron is summoned to Administration.

The reason for the warden requiring Aaron at Administration was Jasmine came to the prison to see Aaron. A social worker was with Jasmine until Aaron arrived. While the social worker left, the warden could see and hear everything on a laptop computer in her office. Aaron tells Jasmine that sometimes he and Marie have to keep things from her in order to protect her from any possible repercussions from anything they do for Aaron's case.

It's time for the deposition of ADA Steve Yamada in a conference room in the courthouse. Yamada's attorney, at a critical point, advises Yamada to plead the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, but at one point is able to admit that he could not make a decision about the second lineup without clearing it with his superiors.



Aaron is in an elevator flanked by two guards. As he is led into the hallway, a woman approaches who informs Aaron he won't need to change from his orange jumpsuit and prison issue jacket into a suit as the meeting with ADA Dez O'Reilly is informal in nature. O'Reilly informs Aaron at the private meeting that he is authorized to offer a settlement of $100,000 to Franky G. after showing Aaron a photo of a woman Franky beat up. O'Reilly also told Aaron about Steve Yamato having a family with a special needs child.

Aaron, back at the prison, informs Franky of the settlement offered by the DA's office. Aaron tries to sell the hoodlum on the deal, and offers to try to get more for Franky, which he could use to get started when he gets released in two years. Franky turns the money down, and tells Aaron to get him out of the prison. We will see that was exactly what Aaron did.

ADA Steve Yamada is fired by Maskins, but promises Yamada he will get a prime job with him if he wins the election as Attorney General. Dez O'Reilly is unhappy about the firing of Yamada, but he could have been the one sacrificed instead since he was Yamada's immediate superior.

The warden has assembled all of the (let's face it) crooked and incompetent guards at Bellmore Prison that things have calmed down as, apparently, faux Nazi Fuhrer Wild Bill has toned things down in response to the "draconian" shake downs for drugs. Actually, Wild Bill has probably agreed to take the warden's deal and is on his way to his Shangri-la of a private cell where he can ogle centerfolds of Adolf and Fatso Goering in Nazis-Gone-Wild magazine.

In the final scene, we see that Aaron's legal efforts have liberated the barbarian Franky G. from the prison, and Aaron can't help but feel a bit guilty as he sees one of Franky's pals pick him up outside the prison as Aaron walks the yard in line of inmates. I don't know why Aaron feels guilty about getting Franky out early. Dez O'Reilly urged Aaron to keep Franky in stir to keep him from hurting anyone like the woman in the photo, but Franky was getting out in two years anyway. He'll be just as bad in two years. He isn't going to change. Why O'Reilly thought a "Drug King Pin" like Aaron Wallace would care, but, wait, O'Reilly knows Aaron was not a drug king pin.

And so it goes.





REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma; Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven; Jasmine Wallace: Tyla Harris



Safiya and her assistant are watching the different screens of the security camera system of the prison while discussing the recent action of toning down the drug dog searches and shake downs of the cells followed by a pull back of the enforcement measures. Guard captain Frank Foster shows up at the prison with a cooler full of steaks which he shows to the guard who greeted him at the entry point.

We now are in the cell with Aaron, pouring over his police file when he notices a notation on one of the photos of a Confidential Informant (CI) of the NYPD identified only by a number. Aaron is next in the cell of his friend Jamal, and tells Jamal how he found out about the CI and how neither he, nor his closed mouth attorney, at Aaron's high speed railroad of a trial knew anything about the CI. The CI was unavailable for cross examination or a Darden hearing. Aaron might get his whole conviction overturned by the doctrine of "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree," since the CI's information gave the NYPD probable cause for a search warrant of Aaron's car which had cocaine planted in it by either Aaron's "best friend," or his best friend's pal, Angelo.

A Darden Hearing is an exparte proceeding to determine if disclosure of an informant's identity is necessary for establishing probable cause. When in absence of an indictment, a judge can approve a search warrant application if sufficient evidence is provided in the affidavit. A Darden Hearing can be triggered to ensure that there is additional evidence other than the informant's testimony to establish probable cause. The defense attorney can be excluded from hearing, which is why it is exparte as the prosecution presents this evidence to the judge without the defense being present. However, the defense attorney is aware of the hearing and can submit written questions. Whenever only one side, prosecution or defense, presents to a judge in absence of the other side, and outside of regular court proceedings, that proceeding is considered exparte. The judge must prepare a report, which the defense can see, but the transcript of the proceedings remain sealed, but available to the appellate courts. This principle was established in the New York case of People v. Darden (1974).

In Aaron's case, there was no Darden Hearing. That is big trouble for the DA's office.

In the yard, Captain Foster stops Wild Bill and his faux Nazi friends from playing cards for cigarettes. Wild Bill follows Foster wondering why Foster is still enforcing the rules when the Warden backed off. Foster tells him it doesn't matter if the Warden isn't suspicious right now, he has to be careful because of what he has to lose.

Maskins meets with a friend on the Prison Board who agrees to help Maskins with his dual problems of Safiya and Aaron Wallace by transferring a dangerous convict to Bellmore Prison to give the warden, and jailhouse lawyer Aaron, a lot of trouble.

Marie's father arrives for a visit and starts lobbying for Marie to stop being involved in Aaron's business. If you think Marie's father didn't like Aaron in Episode 4, you'll be certain that he despises Aaron Wallace after this one.

In a courtroom, Aaron is facing off once again with Dez O'Reilly. Once again, O'Reilly is outmaneuvered by Aaron who is able to arouse some suspicion on the part of the judge about the defense not being informed of the informant's work on Aaron's case. The Judge calls for a hearing about the whole matter.

O'Reilly meets with Maskins, who is on the phone with the NYPD. As if to send a message to O'Reilly, who is on his way to taking two losses at the hands of Aaron Wallace after the first in Episode 1, Maskins tells the NYPD official on the other end of the telephone that he already had to fire someone because of Wallace. After terminating the call, Maskins demands that O'Reilly change the subject to who supplied the NYPD file to Wallace. When he prods O'Reilly to think of who could have obtained the file, O'Reilly finally jump starts his brain sufficiently to realize Hassan's brother is the logical suspect.

On the bus ride back to Bellmore Prison, the bus driver tells Aaron he has to pick up some new inmates for Bellmore. They are transfers from another prison. One of them is Cassius Dawkins (50 Cent). Cassius is a convict who presents a very understated appearance of menace. Dawkins is like a cobra when it is upright, its hood flared, and swaying back-and-forth. Once it gets you mesmerized, that is when it will strike.

After the bus ride down, Cassius and Aaron are walked back into the prison, with the Warden and a brace of guards waiting to greet Cassius Dawkins. Aaron is pretty much ignored by the group from prison administration. Safiya is familiar with Cassius' file and tells him she is aware of how he was apparently an unwelcome presence at the other prisons.

Aaron and Jamal meet Cassius Dawkins in the yard. Dawkins is familiar with Aaron's reputation as a "Jailhouse lawyer." Aaron is uneasy around Cassius.



Cassius Dawkins decides to sit at the mess hall table where Nazi leader Wild Bill sits with his coterie of stormtrooper wannabes. Aaron warns him about sitting at that table before he rejoins Jamal. Wild Bill shows up and demands Dawkins leave the Nazi table. Dawkins gets ready to fight Wild Bill when a Corrections Officer (CO) shows up and orders Cassius to leave the table as it was Wild Bill's before the CO started working there. Dawkins thanks Aaron for the warning.

At home, Anya and Safiya explain to their daughter what the endorsement of the Correction Officers' union for Anya's candidacy for Attorney General will mean in the election. The endorsement could bring Anya a lot more votes.

At Marie's house, as the family prepares for dinner, Marie tells her father she cannot turn her back on Aaron as they raised Jasmine together and her father did not raise her to turn her back on family.

Cassius goes to Aaron's cell to tell him he knows about Aaron's "burner" phone. He asks Aaron to let him make one call. Aaron relents and takes up a position at the entrance to his cell while Cassius makes his call and tells someone on the other end of the phone to brace CO Captain Frank Foster, who we know as Wild Bill's business partner. When Dawkins hands the phone back to Aaron, Aaron looks as stunned as one of Javier Bardem's victims in No Country for Old Men when Bardem's Anton Chigurh would use that air compressor weapon to shoot a rod into a victim's brain. After triggering the rod it would retract back into the mechanism. Dawkins plays Aaron the way Chigurh played the elderly service station owner. Only the flip of a coin saved the old man from Chigurh giving him the metal rod, or something else. Cassius Dawkins is the hip-hop version of Anton Chigurh, and 50 Cent plays him to a "T."



We are at another hearing in which Aaron squares off against Dez O'Reilly. Hassan's police officer brother is on the stand as O'Reilly is following Maskin's orders to try to change the subject of the hearing from the informant to who leaked the NYPD file to Aaron. Why the judge is permitting it when she called the hearing to get to the bottom of the informant issue is anyone's guess. Since Hassan's brother denied he did anything to help Aaron get the file, he is now caught in the perjury trap, another prosecutorial device.

Later, in the yard at Bellmore, Aaron, feeling bad about Hassan's brother even though the police officer gave the file to Marie strictly on his own decision, approaches Hassan. Hassan is furious with Aaron, blaming him for his brother's predicament.

The officials of the Union of Correction Officers are meeting with Anya, plopping a copy of Safiya's book about prison reform on the conference table. They point out to Anya the part in which Safiya's reading of New York's present demographic projections indicates that 35% of the prisons could be closed in the next fifteen or more years. This will mean fewer jobs for COs in the future. The union withholds their endorsement of Anya candidacy for Attorney General. Later, Anya asks Safiya to tone down her prison reform positions until she gets elected as she has to get elected before Safiya's reforms can be enacted.



We observe yet another hearing between Aaron and Dez O'Reilly. It turns out the judge is not as interested in the Darden Hearing problem for the DA's office as she is in the fact that the prosecution kept the use of the informant secret from the defense. The judge has O'Reilly produce the affidavit for the search warrant right then and there. As Aaron reads the affidavit he realizes that his old business partner in the club, ANGELO, was on the DA's payroll. The DA's office had withheld BRADY MATERIAL from the defense. This is evidence that could be exculpatory (prove the innocence of the defendant). All Brady Material must be given to the defense by the prosecution. Another hearing into the matter is called by the judge.

Looks like I collect a bag of donuts for telling everyone, two episodes ago, that Angelo was Maskin's informant.

Marie's father says his goodbyes to Marie, Darius, and Jasmine. As he gets into the hired car he tells the driver to take him to Bellmore Prison "upstate."

Jamal warns Aaron about Cassius Dawkins' antics in the other prisons. Apparently, the psychopath never wants out of stir since he always violates some prison regulation just as he nears a release date and gets more time tacked on to his previous sentence.

Marie's father shows up at the prison and begs Aaron to sign the divorce papers for Marie. Aaron can't bring himself to do it, so Marie's father leaves telling Aaron that he was always too selfish and proud.

In the mess hall later, Aaron surrenders his "burner" to Cassius Dawkins, who now has a posse, with their own table just like Wild Bill's make believe Nazis. More grist for the study of countless Sociology majors of future generations.

The last scene is with a couple of Dawkins' outside thugs surrounding Frank Foster's bound and gagged father and wife on his living room sofa. They greet Frankie Boy as he arrives home from a hard day of keeping the inmates at Bellmore in narcotics. Armed with a mixed bag of handguns, they get down to business with CO Captain Foster.

No one involved with Bellmore Prison is completely on the up-and-up. No one.

And so it goes.





REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma; Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven; Jasmine Wallace: Tyla Harris

Nathan Greenleaf--Marcus Lavoi



We start this episode in the yard at Bellmore Prison. While the inmates engage in activities like basketball and lifting weights, Aaron Wallace and his friend, Jamal, are practicing how Aaron is going to question his one-time business partner, Angelo, exposed now as a professional informant for Aaron's biggest enemy, District Attorney Maskins. Aaron wants to make sure he gets everything out of the informant that he can.

Later, Marie visits with Aaron who fills Marie in on the discovery that Angelo was Maskin's career informant. Aaron explains how he could either get a new trial, or have his conviction overturned by the fact he never got a chance to have his attorney question Angelo, although I'm not sure the attorney Aaron had would have accomplished much. Aaron wants Marie to find out what Michael can tell about Aaron.

Frank Foster, the hapless CO captain whose family had recently been held hostages by some of Cassius Dawkin's goons the previous evening, all because of Franky Boy's dumb drug smuggling operation, is reporting about the incident (or whining, according to one's point of view) to CO Huey Cornell Cornell is a sort of second-in-command in Foster's narcotics business. Franky Boy and Huey decide their best course of action is to set the Nazis against Cassius Dawkins' operation and see which one survives. I call Franky's version of small business entrepreneurship "dumb" because the prison officials should have figured long before that Franky was using the steaks to smuggle the drugs into that microcosm of anarchy, Bellmore Prison. This just goes to show that, when both the criminals, and those trying to catch them, are dumb eventually things will get ugly.

Aaron tries to use the prison telephone system that is provided to the inmates, but is stopped by Dawkins' sycophants who tell Aaron that giving the gang lord his "burner" phone was not enough. King Cassius expected Aaron to eat at least one meal with him in the cafeteria. Since Dawkins is now the phone Nazi in the prison, Aaron's refusal to "break bread" with the convict-who-would-be-king ends with, "No phone for you."

During a meal with Jamal, Aaron asks his friend to make a telephone call for him since Dawkins is now in control of the inmates' bank of telephones. Jamal is reluctant, at first, to get involved with "Aaron's thing," but relents and agrees to make the call. During the meal, Nathan Goodleaf approaches Aaron and asks him to help him get approval for his wedding. His girlfriend is dying of stomach cancer and he wants to give her the wedding for which she has been waiting for years. At first Aaron turns Nathan down.

Meanwhile, Marie talks to Darius about what he thinks of them asking Aaron's old friend Michael about Angelo. Darius isn't thrilled about the idea as he doubts Michael will tell them anything.



Safiya appeals to head of the Prison Board to try to convince him to support Anya's campaign for Attorney General. The head of the Prison Board refuses to endorse Anya, and doesn't think the CO's union will back Anya either. Maskins will get the support of both the board and the union because Safiya's ideas will lead to fewer prison jobs. "Keep supporting that and it will stick to your wife," he tells Safiya.

Aaron meets with Henry Roswell who suggests a precedent that could get Nathan Goodleaf's permission to marry.

Aaron acts on Henry Roswell's information by filing suit, obtaining a temporary injunction against the prison with a hearing scheduled for that coming Monday which he informs his new client, Nathan Goodleaf, after Aaron walks up to Nathan's cell while Nathan is recording his thoughts for his girlfriend.

There is trouble with a capital T for Anya and Safiya as their son, Justin, is busted for shoplifting in an incident that was recorded on video and uploaded to a social media site. This looks like a Maskins set-up, but that is not verified during this episode. The two women are called into the office of the school superintendent who rules that Justin should be suspended for a month. Safiya accepts the punishment for Justin readily, but Anya will not have it. Anya cajoles the superintendent to relax the punishment, but the superintendent will not relent.

Later, once home, the division in the response to Justin's punishment is much wider than even it appeared to be at the school. Angry words are exchanged as Anya suggests she should find a way to get Justin out of his one month of suspension, but Safiya insists Justin take his punishment. Anya wants the whole thing buried and tells her campaign staff to try to kill the video on social media.

Later, we see Safiya in her office. She is on the telephone being informed that Aaron sued the Prison Board. It's a miracle to me that lawsuits of all kinds aren't hitting that place on a daily basis as it is fodder for every slip-and-fall lawyer within 20 miles. This telephone call is the warden's first clue that Aaron Wallace sued the Prison Board on behalf of Nathan Goodleaf, so naturally that is when Aaron shows up in her office. Aaron talks Safiya into going along with Aaron issuing a subpoena to appear as a hostile witness against Nathan Greenleaf getting his wedding. The idea of Safiya being a hostile witness so she can appear to be in the corner of the Prison Board, but reluctantly telling the truth when that will help Nathan be cleared to have his wedding. The only problem for Aaron is he will have to reschedule his hearing with the police informant who put him in prison, Angelo Torres. He gets a new hearing date for that Friday.



Aaron wins the hearing for Nathan Goodleaf's wedding, showing that he has a firmer grasp of law, procedures, and courtroom demeanor than the earlier episodes. He presents his evidence in a way to signal hostility from Safiya, but also makes it easier for her to show where Nathan Goodleaf was not treated fairly in the decision that was made. Nathan was denied his wedding because he defended himself in a physical altercation five years before, while another inmate was permitted to marry after a similar incident after two years had passed.

While waiting for the judge's vedict, Aaron talks to Nathan's girlfriend who had been waiting for 13 years to marry him. She even took a job at a horse farm close to the prison so she could visit often. Aaron is affected by what Nathan's girlfried tells him, but simply listens to her.

When the judge returns to the bench, she rules that the Prison Board's forbidding Nathan's wedding was "arbitrary and capricious," and therefore he should be permitted to get married. Aaron was so lost to what Nathan's girlfriend said that he didn't realize he won until Nathan thanked him effusively, saying no one had ever done that much for him.

Meanwhile, back at Anarchy Central, Frank Foster and Huey Cornelli are having a "sit down" with Cassius Dawkins. Foster informs Dawkins that his rivalry with Wild Bill and "The Brotherhood" ( a sketchy name for a Nazi Fan Club) has to be eliminated. This is the start of Franky's attempt to get one of the Little Dictators killed in order to end his problems at the prison. I'm sure Franky Boy's chronic incompetence will be the undoing of that plan.

The superintendent of the school calls Safiya at home to inform her that Anya managed to get Justin out of the dog house after all. Little Justin gets to go back to his upper crust school after being filmed ripping off a store. When Safiya objects to Anya calling a school board member to get Justin off the hook, Anya complains about Safiya being on a "high horse" and being more forgiving of the convicts at Bellmore than of her own son.



This quarter hour represents the best of this show to date, and now I can tell you why.

We start with Aaron in a restroom, rehearsing his pending interrogative with Angelo Torres. He is still going over it as he walks into the courtroom accompanied by his guards. After Aaron takes his place in the courtroom, he is joined by ADA Dez O'Reilly who makes no effort to even glance over at Aaron. Everyone is sitting around, including the judge, waiting, apparently, for career informant Angelo to show up, when a detective enters the courtroom and walks up to the ADA, leans over, and mutters to ADA O'Reilly.

The judge challenges by telling the courtroom that there is apparently some news.

Dez O'Reilly makes the announcement that Angelo has left the country.

Aaron objects and alleges that Angelo's disappearance was engineered to prevent him from questioning the informant. The judge admonishes Aaron for those remarks and reminds him that he postponed the hearing from Monday to Friday, which was for Nathan Goodleaf's wedding. She gavels the proceedings closed.

Dez O'Reilly picks up his pad holder and brief case and hurries out without looking at Aaron. O'Reilly's demeanor suggests that he has started to reach his limit of practicing law the way Maskins wants it practiced. He has lost that ruthless, almost cartoonish swagger he had before. O'Reilly looks like he is catching on to the kind of person he is becoming. I don't think he likes it, but we'll see.

This is where we see a change in Aaron, too. He isn't completely whipped by this as earlier set-backs. There is something else on his mind which we will see when he gets back to his cell. He accepts what has happened, and as this day goes on, a partially changed man will come into view, as we will see. There is no evidence that he regrets taking Nathan's case which cost him the opportunity to confront Angelo Torres.

Aaron gets back to his cell and retrieves some papers from under his bunk. Later, Nathan Goodleaf appears and asks Aaron to be his best man at the wedding that evening. At first, Aaron is reluctant, but finally agrees saying he would be proud to accept being Nathan's best man. At the wedding, Aaron actually looks content. Nathan's case was the most deserving of all the cases Aaron took, and he kept himself clean the way he conducted it. He put himself out for someone else and saw the results. Aaron liked what he saw. He lost a lot of selfishness working Nathan's case, and became a lawyer.

Safiya makes some changes, too. She lets Nathan and his bride have a honeymoon in a visitor's trailer in the prison. She also sends a voicemail to the head of the Prison Board telling him all about it and that she will move ahead with other reforms at Bellmore.

Later, Marie comes to visit. Aaron gives her the divorce papers she gave him a few years before. He signed them because he doesn't want Marie to throw her life away waiting for him as it might take years for him to get out.


And so it goes.






REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma; Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven; Jasmine Wallace: Tyla Harris



Henry Roswell, a frequently forgotten character who is supposed to be Aaron Wallace's lawyer mentor, opens this episode looking into his bathroom mirror. In a voice-over by Timothy Busfield, Henry thinks about how he came to be a corrupt public servant, and this theme of how such people come to that state will be the underlying theme throughout this episode.

At the prison, Aaron tells Jamal why he signed the divorce papers for Marie after all these years.

Later, we see Aaron getting together with Henry Roswell in the visitors' room. Henry tries to push Aaron into going after Maskins in a lateral way by challenging one of his earlier convictions. This was a triple murder, a family, back in 1997 or 1998. A Latino and a black man working on the property were convicted of the murders. The Latino committed suicide, but the black man, Easley Barton, is incarcerated in Clinton, New York. Henry will try to get Barton transferred.

Next, we see Henry discussing the transfer of Barton with Safiya. Safiya informs Henry that Aaron cannot proceed against Maskins again until Anya signs off on it. While this is going on, one of the most amusing things happens in the next scene. It takes place in the prison showers, the place most often used as a scene of violence in prison movies.

Cassius Dawkins, trying to make himself known as the undisputed Emperor of Bellmore, decides to take a shower in the usual shower room, and at the usual time, that Wild Bill's faux Nazis take a shower. Soon, Dawkins is surrounded by three of the stormtrooper wannabes. This episode, more than any of the others, gives the viewer a clear vision of Bellmore's Nazis. As Nazis, they are more on a par with the Nazis in the big "Springtime for Hitler" production number in "The Producers" than the Nazis you see in most war films. Surrounded by three Wild Bill Nazis, Dawkins goes throught them like a hot knife through butter. Wild Bill's boys are laid out on the shower floor, bleeding and moaning (those not knocked unconscious, of course) with a near naked black man standing over them with not a mark on him.

And where was Der Fuhrer, Wild Bill? Wild Bill's sole contribution to this inept assassination was standing just outside the shower room. He yelled for the guard. "Big Help Billy" they should call him.


We're moving to a faster pace

Look out! Here comes the Master Race!

Springtime for Hitler and Germany!


Later, we are in the yard with Aaron and Jamal, one of my favorite supporting characters. Jamal was really impressed with Cassius Dawkins for beating up and slashing three of Wild Bill's slapstick stormtroopers. Aaron has decided he better take Dawkins' case if he ever wants to use one of the prison's phones anytime in the future.

Visiting King Cassius at his cell, Aaron tells Dawkins he will take the case, but has to have not only access to one of the phones, but he needs a private line. That will be what it will cost Dawkins for Aaron to represent him. Dawkins agrees.



Aaron asks Safiya for access to the guards for interviews and for a look at the surveillance imagery from the attempted assassination of Dawkins. Aaron also asks about the transfer of Easley Barton from Clinton, but Safiya had no news about that.

From the prison, we got to the hospital where Marie is talking with her friend, Doctor Vanessa Hamid. The doctor is concerned about Marie's confusion about Aaron. Marie has the divorce papers and can file them and finally be able to marry Darius, who is a good man. Marie remains uncommitted in either direction.

Meanwhile, at Anya's campaign headquarters, there is disagreement about how to deal with the loss of the endorsement by the Correction Officers' Union. The Prison Board also refuses to endorse Anya because of Safiya's positons about prison reform. To counter this, Anya's advisors tell Anya to repudiate Safiya's ideas. Anya does an about face and decides to forget about the CO's union and the Prison Board and work to get the votes of prison inmates instead, despite the fact that the families might just have something to do with the inmates being incarcerated. Anya tells of a plan to have town hall meetings with the prisoners to get their ideas about how to change the prisons. Glen Maskins, the present DA and Anya's opposing candidate, will have an opportunity to hold his own town meeting in the prisons.

Next, we see Anya and Safiya getting the visitors room ready for the town meeting.

Dawkins' gang politely refrained from attending the town meeting. They had something more important to do back in the cell block. They decided to spend the evening torturing a Nazi with scalding hot water. Dawkins had to use a mirror, but he stole some glances at the action. It all ended with the usual clueless guards escorting the Nazi to the infirmary, which must be reaching capacity with Wild Bill's casualties.

Safiya and her assistant see surveillance footage that shows Dawkins orchestrated the scalding of the Nazi. The warden decides to transfer Dawkins to a place she supposedly abolished--Solitary Confinement.

Aaron finally tracks down Dawkins in solitary, after stopping by the Emperor's cell as it was being tossed by the guards. Aaron has to convince the would be lord-of-the-jail to testify on his own behalf to cancel out Wild Bill's testimony. Aaron finally gets a phone call from Dawkins. He uses the call to contact Jasmine, who is walking on campus with her boyfriend between classes. Aaron tells his daughter about signing the divorce papers. He has to cut her off as the prison ran a recording warning that the call can be monitored.

Henry Roswell continues looking for the policeman who once sent him a letter about the triple murder, complaining about how the DA's office handled it. He visits a journalist who tells him to contact another policeman, Tommy Gagliardi, who might know about the murder.

Marie tells Darius about the divorce papers. She tells him she will file the papers soon after Jasmine's baby is born. Marie admits to Darius that it will take years for Aaron to get out of prison.



Aaron and Dawkins are on their way to the room inside the prison where the Prison Board will hold the hearing about Dawkins beating up the three Nazis and the scalding of the lone Nazi in Dawkins' cell block. Dawkins cannot understand why Aaron wants out of the prison, which flabbergasts Aaron. Dawkins explains that he was nothing in the real world, but he's in charge inside the prison. That is why he never wants to leave.

The hearing itself starts out bad for Cassius Dawkins. The Prison Board controls what the emphasis is in the hearing, and it is that Dawkins was the instigator in all the confrontations with the Nazis, and the guards present, including Frank Foster, had to admit Dawkins was controlling access to the prison phone bank meant for the inmates.

Adding to the entertainment, Wild Bill's testimony was as wildly stupid as it was amusing. Wild Bill tells Aaron that if he wanted to retaliate against Dawkins, Aaron's client wouldn't be sitting next to him. Aaron remarked that Wild Bill stated that he would commit violence to retaliate against another prisoner.

When things start looking really bad, Dawkins tells Aaron to ask for more time. Aaron asks for, and is granted, an adjournment for one day. Later, Dawkins tells Aaron to get Foster to perjure himself. If Aaron doesn't do it, he'll get "the stick," rather than "the carrot."

Henry Roswell meets his retired cop in a bar. He begins to establish a rapport with the former policeman, but when he tries to pry the name of the policeman who sent him the letter about the Triple Murder, he orders Roswell out of the bar.

After he earlier turned down a texted invitation to dinner from Marie, Darius asked Jasmine what she would like for dinner. She chooses Chinese. Before he goes to order, Darius reminds Jasmine that he loves her and her mother.

In the cafeteria, with only Huey Cornell present, Aaron meets Frank Foster as he is eating his lunch at one of the tables. Aaron tells Foster he is going to have to testify at the hearing tomorrow. Foster wants to know what he can say that isn't in his report? Does Wallace want him to make it up? Aaron says it will be Foster's testimony.

Frank objects to this, telling Aaron how Dawkins' men held his family hostage and put a gun to his head in his own home. An Aaron Wallace who was at first ruffled with the guard captain, took a deep breath and sat down across from him asking, "You're a captain. How did you get here, man?"

Foster, almost crying, says, "I don't know. I don't know."

We see a second change coming to Aaron Wallace, the first being his realization in the last episode about how selfish he has been, especially with Marie along with some of this other cases. He sees the broken Foster, who should be his enemy, and he feels some compassion for him.



Next day, Frank shows up at the hearing and lies to beat the band. He found the shiv the Nazis tried to use on Dawkins, but it fell in a toilet and was lost. Dawkins gets off on self-defense. After Dawkins walks free, an exasperated Safiya asks Aaron if he sold his soul to Dawkins.

Dawkins visits Aaron, and returns his burner phone, telling Aaron that he is of more use to him in the joint.

Henry Roswell has found the address of the policeman who sent him the letter. It is his widow who answers the door. She is hostile to the DA's office for how that case led to her husband leaving the police force. He wrote lots of letters about the case, no one did anything. She turns the file over to Henry.

Aaron meets the newly-arrived Easley Barton.

As Foster leaves the prison at the end of the day, he sheepishly looks away from the other captain who tried to neutralize Dawkins as the prosecutor for the Prison Board.

Anya tells Safiya she is all for Aaron going after Maskins for the Easley Barton case. Anya knows a lot about it. When she tells Safiya it could help her campaign to have Aaron go after Maskins, Safiya loses some of her enthusiasm over Anya's change of heart.

Before we take our leave of this stew of human fallibility, we see Frank Foster having dinner with the family his criminal activity caused to be held hostages in their own home. However, I think Frank's daddy has a secret.

Marie comes home to find Darius moved out. Marie's mother's ring is on top of the envelope on the bed as Timothy Busfield's narration plays out about how "everyone wants to win."


And so it goes.


TELECAST--April 15, 2020



REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma; Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven; Jasmine Wallace: Tyla Harris



We start with Marie attempting to telephone Darius. As Jasmine enters the room where Marie is speaking to Darius' voicemail, she leaves the message to Darius to call her back.

Now we are with Easley Barton in the yard talking to Aaron Wallace. Easley wants to know why his case is so important to Aaron. Easley thinks the talk in the prison is right about Aaron doing a lot of his legal work to benefit his own case, but agrees to hear Aaron out about his case.

Next we see Henry Roswell and Aaron discussing with Easley about what they have found out about Easley's case. The evidence was the knife and duct tape that came from the tool box of Carlos, Easley's partner in the landscaping and handymen business they were running. The knife and duct tape are the keys. Henry and Aaron explain to Easley they want to go for a DNA test on the duct tape. In order to convince a judge to give access to the evidence in the case and get a DNA test, at least one contemporaneous break-in/homicide case will have to be found in which a similar knife and duct tape were used. Easley objects since he can't fathom how they will be able to find any such break-in case among all the cases the police must have, but Roswell tells him there is a relational database used by the police today that could make the search much faster. There were 189 break-ins during that period of time.

We are brought to the city sidewalks on which Safiya is walking her daughter to school while talking on the phone to her assistant at the Shangri-La of Bedlam, Bellmore Prison. Apparently Lard Ass Frank Foster is now on the radar screen of what passes for security at Bellmore, where narcotics flow freely and assassination is a major passtime. Inmates not members of one gang or another can only hope to get out alive if a novel coronavirus contaminates the prison.

After Safiya says goodbye to her daughter after closing her phone conversation, we are shown Captain Foster passing throught the security checkpoint, emerging with a Bible wrapped in a white cloth. Captain Obvious has found a new smuggling medium for bringing narcotics into the prison. We will see if this one is as invisible as cartons full of steaks.

After Frankie Boy goes through "security," we see Safiya talking to a recent graduate of Hassan's drug rehab program. She tries to get the inmate to tell her that, in essence, Frankie Boy is the source of drugs in the prison. In a place where the Grim Reaper can appear at any time, the warden expects the inmate to finger a Captain of the guards. Just like in the world outside Bellmore, if we dial 911 when a serial killer is roaming through our house, we have to wait for the police to show up. When they finally arrive, our corpse is found sans liver since Hannibal Lecter is already dining on it with some fava beans and a nice Cianti. An Inmate can expect guards to show up when the inmate is bristling with shanks like the quills of a porcupine. The inmate tells Safiya she cannnot guarantee his safety and he keeps quiet. The inmate is also scared of Cassius Dawkins, Foster's business "partner."

Next we see Henry Roswell receiving files in a police department evidence room. He finds the file of the break-in and homicide involving a surviving victim, Anna Fernandez.



Aaron is lying on his bunk listening to recordings of the trial of Easley Barton. He experiences flashbacks to the day Maskins tried to get Aaron to take a plea deal for a generous 20 years in stir. The memories pull Aaron off the bunk.

While Aaron is going through the flashback, we see Glen Maskins being greeted by the man he wants to replace, the Attorney General (AG). AG Burke introduces Maskins to his Chief of Staff and Communications Director before giving Maskins the bad news that Henry Roswell and Aaron Wallace are involved in the Easley Barton case. The AG reminds Maskins that his taking over after the election requires the Barton case to be kept from hurting the AG since he is close to retirement.

The whole episode shakes up Maskins. After the meeting he is on the phone to his campaign headquarters talking about how AG Burke had two witnesses to none for Maskins, a legal disadvantage that the more corrupt among attorneys is sure to apprehend. Maskin's campaign manager advises him to keep focused on the campaign. Coming clean about framing people into the luxury of the penal system is not an option, apparently.

For the first time this evening we get to see the smiling countenance of King Cassius Dawkins, Lord of Bellmore Prison, the finest realm ever ruled by any monarch despite the fact that the only women in Bellmore being a couple of guards and the warden. Dawkins is in a good mood because the Bible smuggled into the joint by Frank Foster is delivered to him in the yard by one of Dawkins' many flunkies among the inmates.

In the meantime, Safiya decides to take the gloves off and confront Frank Foster about his activities. She goes right at him, but offers a fig leaf by suggesting he testify that he was somehow threatened into bringing drugs into the prison. That could keep him out of prosecution for the smuggling. Foster turns the warden's offer down, advising her that he will retire instead, taking a 12 percent hit on his pension to just get out of Bellmore altogether. When Safiya demands he leave immediately, Foster says he will fight it through the union.

Henry Roswell tells Aaron he will need help finding out the address of the surviving victim of the break-in, Anna Fernandez. Aaron is able to get some information from one of the inmates and passes it to Roswell. Henry tracks Anna Fernandez to a hardware store in Ohio, working under an assumed name. He begins to persuade her to attend a hearing for Easley Barton.

Marie discovers Jasmine and her boyfriend working on Chemistry homework while Jasmine also surfs social media looking for discussions about her father's situation. Jasmine has found that Aaron's club was raided 6 or 7 months after the girl overdosed at the club. Jasmine tracked the girl to Spencer Richardson (a character to appear in two future episodes).

Next, we see Anya at her campaign headquarters taking in Safiya's story about Frank Foster. Anya is concerned about Frankie Boy turning to the CO's union which would make the election even more difficult for her. Anya advises Safiya to lay off Frank Foster.



We see Aaron and Easley on the prison bus on their way to the hearing to get access to the "bulky" evidence in the trial, the knife and the duct tape.

Next, we are at the courhouse with Anna Fernandez and Henry Roswell when AG Burke appears and asks to speak with Henry alone. The AG really screws up with this little meeting by letting Roswell know that the Barton case is extremely important to the point that he hints that he wants Roswell to make the thing go away since AG Burke supported Henry in his alcoholic past. This meeting shakes up Roswell, who loses Anna Fernandez.

We see Aaron and Easley sitting at their table in the courtroom, waiting for the witness to arrive. Henry finally comes into the courtroom, without Anna, and has a quiet conference with Aaron. The judge allows them to step outside where Henry admits the AG's confronting him caused him to lose Anna Fernandez, who they find sitting on a hallway bench.



Aaron wins the hearing through the careful handling of his witness, Anna Fernandez. She tells of how she heard the sound of something falling, and went to where her husband was working on paying bills when she was assaulted. Her husband was murdered. She was immobilized by duct tape. She identifies the knife in a photograph of the knife used in the murder for which Easley and his partner were accused as exactly like the knife that killed her husband. The judge grants Aaron access to the evidence for DNA analysis.

Aaron confronts Henry about the meeting with the AG that almost cost Easley his witness to get his conviction investigated. Aaron tells Henry the cases have to be about inmates like Easley, not about settling old scores, either Aaron's old scores or Henry's.

AG Burke responds to Aaron's victory in Easley Barton's case by releasing Easley and eight other inmates based on "new evidence" that suggests they were falsely convicted. Maskins is shown stunned by the televised statement of the AG. He tells his wife that it means the AG knew Easley Barton was innocent the entire time--23 years ago.

Safiya is back fencing with Frank Foster again. She demands he leave the prison immediately and turn in his uniform and badge. For all of his years of drug running and messing with the inmates, he will not receive a letter of recommendation. That should leave a mark. Foster remains defiant as he will not surrender his uniform without a fight.

We see Aaron walking Easley out of Bellmore. Easley's son is waiting to pick him up as he has room for his father at his home. Easley tells Aaron to "make a difference where he is." This episode shows that the changes seen in Aaron Wallace in the previous episode, in which Aaron sacrificed a hearing about his own case in favor of his client winning the right to get married in the prison, are looking like permanent changes for the formerly self-obsessed, selfish Aaron Wallace of the past.

I like this Aaron Wallace.

We now see Marie telling Jasmine that she is not the reason Darius left.

Henry and Aaron meet in the prison visiting room. They agree to keep going from this point under the new attitude, unspoken but palpable, that the inmates they represent in court must come first.

And so it goes.



TELECAST: April 22, 2020




REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma; Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven; Jasmine Wallace: Tyla Harris

This is a flashback episode chronicling the years Aaron Wallace has spent in the anarchy that is Bellmore Prison. We start at the beginning of Aaron's sojourn in this place of "correction" and "rehabilitiation" in between gang assassinations, assaults on inmates by guards, and drug overdoses.



We start with Aaron in his cell searching through the photos and newspaper clippings all about his case and attempts to get a new trial. A hearing about a new trial is apparently on the horizon, but all of that brings Aaron's mind back to his original trial.

FIRST FLASHBACK---We are in the courtroom with Aaron standing beside his Sherpa guide to future incarceration, his lawyer, awaiting the verdict of the jury on the following counts;

One count of Violation of Penal Law as Major Trafficker---GUILTY.

One count of Criminal Sale of Controlled Substances---GUILTY.

We see Aaron's mother break down at the news and comforted by Aaron's father. Marie breaks down at the news as well.

SECOND FLASHBACK---Aaron is visited in his temporary jail (maybe Rikers Island) where his father advises him to not give up. "Make it to tomorrow enough times, and you will walk out," he promises Aaron. Aaron advises his father he has been assigned to Bellmore Prison.

THIRD FLASHBACK---Frank Foster greets the new prisoners at Bellmore. Warden Cyrus Hunt informs the new inmates that he expects respect, order, and cleanliness on their parts. He promises that if they follow that rule, they could thrive at Bellmore, except for the ocassional inconvenience of a beating by the guards, or a beating by one inmate gang or another. Just to emphasize his point, one inmate had a facial expression the Warden did not like. The inmate hit the floor seconds later. Warden Hunt is a practioner of "Show as well as Tell."

FOURTH FLASHBACK---Aaron arrives in his assigned cell. Jamal Bishop, whom we know now as Aaron's best friend in stir, is in the top bunk. Aaron immediately throws up in the toilet. Jamal tells Aaron what side of the cell belongs to Jamal, including the wall. He can't mess with Jamal's things, or put anything up on Jamal's side of the wall.

FIFTH FLASHBACK--Marie arrives for a visit. Aaron and Marie are screened off from each other and they must use telephone handsets to communicate. Aaron tells her that his cellmate, Jamal, murdered someone. When Marie asks who Jamal killed, Aaron says he did not ask.

SIXTH FLASHBACK--Aaron emerges from getting his tray filled with Bellmore's fine cuisine and looks for a place to sit down. Wild Bill bars him from the Nazi table with a flip, "Back of the bus!" Next, he tries what turns out to be the black prisoners' gang. The leader informs Aaron he needs to join the crew if he expects protection. Aaron, thinking for some odd reason that protection is the function of the guards, respectfully tells the head of the black inmates' gang that he has an appeal of his convictions coming up. The leader of the black convicts scoffs at Aaron's appeal.

SEVENTH FLASHBACK--Darius visits Aaron. Aaron expresses his appreciation for Darius sticking with him. "I know who my friends are now," he tells Darius.

EIGHTH FLASHBACK---While in what looks like the line to use the telephones, a convict invites Aaron to help move drugs since Aaron was a "King Pin" as a drug dealer, according to his convictions. Aaron refuses and gets assaulted. Jamal intervenes to help Aaron. Both Jamal and Aaron wind up in solitary confinement.



NINTH FLASHBACK---We have a series of vignettes of Aaron's halcyon days in solitary confinement with the meals coming through a large slot in the door like one of those slots to receive incoming mail, and his use of calisthenics to get some exercise. With the Nazis, the black gang, and the drug smugglers after him, I'm surprised Aaron would ever want to leave solitary. He might come out looking like Tom Hanks in "Cast Away," but at least he would get out alive.

TENTH FLASHBACK---Aaron and Jamal are let out of solitary for a meeting with the Inmates' Representative, who acts as if he really works for the Warden, which he should if he doesn't want guards making him wish he had worked for the warden. The representative is supposed to try to get Aaron and Jamal out of solitary, but he tells them they should just eat solitary and be happy about it unless they want to represent themselves. They did find out that their cell was tossed after they were thrown into solitary and some raw potatoes were in the cell, which can be used to make "moonshine" whiskey. Aaron told the Rep that the potatoes were his, which surprised Jamal as they were his potatoes. Aaron told the Rep he would like to represent himself, and Jamal goes along with Aaron. The Rep gives Aaron the handbook for inmates' representative to use.

ELEVENTH FLASHBACK---Henry Roswell runs the hearing for Aaron and Jamal to get out of solitary, although I don't know why they would want out. Aaron says that the handbook states that the food disallowed in cells is only that food that needs cooked, and Aaron takes one of the potatoes and eats a bite of the raw spud, tossing another to Jamal, who also starts eating a raw potato. Aaron also argues there was no distillery equipment or yeast for fermenting found in the cell, so they were not making "moonshine" in the cell. Roswell lets them out of solitary.

TWELFTH FLASHBACK---Warden Hunt confronts Aaron on his way back from the hearing and has a guard separate Aaron's right shoulder saying that Aaron fell down. He is next seen wearing a sling.

THIRTEENTH FLASHBACK---In the cafeteria again, Aaron is threatened by the convict who started the fight in the telephone line that got Aaron and Jamal solitary confinement. Aaron approaches the black gang for help, but they reject his appeal.



FOURTEENTH FLASHBACK---Darius visits Aaron. Aaron announces that he has made Darius his "mercy contact," to be informed if anything happens to Aaron. Aaron asks Darius not to tell Marie.

FIFTEENTH FLASHBACK---Aaron tells the boss of the black inmates' gang that he will kill the inmate that threatened his life. The leader tells Aaron they will back his play and provide a shank for him to use on the drug dealer.

SIXTEENTH FLASHBACK---Aaron shows up in the cafeteria kitchen. A member of the black gang slips him a shank while a couple of others seize the drug dealer from behind so Aaron can stab him. The drug dealer begs for his life and breaks down sobbing. Aaron can't kill the drug dealer. He leaves the kitchen with yet another group wanting to kill him. It would have been more convincing to say Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide if he had done it this way.

SEVENTEENTH FLASHBACK---When Aaron winds up back at the cell, Jamal asks if he killed the drug dealer. When Aaron does not answer, Jamal informs Aaron that he has "crossed the King" ( the leader of the black inmates' gang). Jamal must have been surprised when Aaron didn't puke on his bunk.

EIGHTEENTH FLASHBACK--Aaron, now desperate, approached "The King" in the yard. He asks that, if he gets The King's man, Shotgun, out of solitary, like he got himself and Jamal out, would that pay his debt to The King. The King agrees.

NINETEENTH FLASHBACK---Warden Hunt is seen in his office eating a Chinese dinner for lunch, washing it down with beer. He informs Aaron he is impressed with how he got Shotgun out of solitary, and seems to know what would have happened to Aaron had he failed. After seeing Frank Foster's roast beef back a couple of episodes ago, and Warden Cyrus Hunt's Chinese dinner, I wish I had a job at Bellmore, or maybe that they would open up the cafeteria for outside customers like hospital cafeterias. For some reason, hospital cafeterias make great meatloaf.

TWENTIETH FLASHBACK---Aaron's most recent attorney shows up to inform Aaron that an appeal is just impossible. The cost would be astronomical, he has no money left, and she will not work pro bono. Aaron's attorneys should all work pro bono. They don't really defend him anyway.

TWENTY FIRST FLASHBACK---Henry Roswell is in his drinking days as a State Senator. I suppose there was little else to do as a state senator except drink. We see him getting a call from Aaron Wallace, and later we see them at the prison discussing Aaron studying law at the prison and getting passing the bar exam for Vermont, which has a reciprocal agreement with the New York Bar. To take the exam, Aaron plans to use the Americans with Disabilities Act to be able to take the Bar examination at the prison. Roswell gives Aaron a precedent to use to make the argument for using the ADA.

TWENTY SECOND FLASHBACK---Warden is standing in front of the room in which Aaron will take the bar exam. He tells Aaron he is impressed with Aaron using the ADA to get to take the bar exam at the prison. When Aaron gets back to his cell, he finds Jamal has cleared the wall for Aaron to put more of the evidence of his case on the wall.

TWENTY THIRD FLASHBACK---Marie shows up asking for a divorce.



TWENTY FOURTH FLASHBACK---Aaron receives a letter from the Vermont Bar Association in the recreation room with Jamal and some other inmates. Aaron has Jamal open the envelope and tell him the results of the bar exam. Jamal announces that Aaron passed the bar exam.

TWENTY FIFTH FLASHBACK---Henry Roswell speaks for Aaron at the hearing for Aaron to be admitted to the Bar. Aaron's father also attended the hearing, sitting outside to express support for his son. The guards give them some time to themselves.

TWENTY SIXTH FLASHBACK---In an attempt to further clarify the event in the 23rd Flashback, Darius shows up to inform Aaron that he is moving in with his wife. "Time for all of us to move on," Darius advises Aaron. I'm sure that last platitude provided just the right amount of consolation for Aaron.

TWENTY SEVENTH FLASHBACK---Henry Roswell shows up to inform Aaron that he had to leave the state senate for his third DUI. The Vermont Bar approved Aaron for membership. There are progressive thinkers on the Prison Board that could get Cyrus Hunt out of the warden's job if the inmates filed enough complaints.

Aaron is next seen meeting with the Nazis, the Black gang leaders, and the Latino inmates' leaders. After some desultory back-and-forth, all the groups begin to make complaints about different problems with the prison. At the end of this vignette of scenes, we see Warden Hunt packing up his office. I wonder if he took his chop sticks with him.

We see Aaron meeting with his first client, Jose' Rodriguez.

TWENTY EIGHTH FLASHBACK---Safiya arrives at the prison and announces that the first change will be to permit contact visits. The phone booth system is removed. We soon see Marie and Jasmine arriving for a visit.

Aaron and Jamal get separate single cells.

Aaron meets the new warden in her office. He thanks Safiya for his chance to hug his daughter for the first time in years.

We leave as the two of them get to know each other.


And so it goes.






REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma; Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven; Jasmine Wallace: Tyla Harris



We begin with a glimpse into later in the episode. Jamal is lying on the ground, bleeding while Aaron Wallace is trying to help him. He is thinking about the years he has spent in prison and how he was always concerned about how he would survive. The opening scene ends with Aaron's narration:

"Sooner or later you have to decide if there is anything worth fighting for beyond yourself."

With those words, we are taken into Aaron's cell, his wall display of elements of his own case, and the appearance of Jamal Bishop in Aaron's cell. Jamal notices that Aaron's case is "getting real" and Aaron points out the main elements as follows.


In Maskin's first case, the prosecution of Easley Barton, it was a rush to judgment.



In the Rafi Figueroa case (Episode 5) the lineup was used to manipulate the key witness.



Angelo's status as an informant was not disclosed to Aaron or his defense attorney.


Aaron tells Jamal that he has a hearing scheduled to try to get his case retried.

From Aaron's cell we are taken to Frank Foster's retirement party. There is a large cake presented to the applause of the gathered guards and clerical people at Bellmore there to celebrate Foster's retirement. Safiya drops in to congratulate Foster, who says it means a lot to him coming from her. Neither one was sincere in their well-wishing.

The warden then visits Aaron, working on his case in the Administration offices. Safiya complains that Foster is taking two weeks to retire when she wants him out right away. Aaron downplays it, advising Safiya to forget about Foster and just be glad he's leaving. Safiya then informs Aaron that the inmate, Frankie, who Safiya tried to inconceivably convince it was safe to tell her Frank Foster was smuggling the drugs into the prison, accused Aaron of working for Cassius Dawkins. Aaron tells her that Foster's recent actions were probably the result of coercion and that all Foster wants to do is leave with his head held high and Safiya should let Foster go.

Dawkins walks alongside Foster on the prison side of the fence, while Foster walks on the outside of the fence. Dawkins is not happy about Foster retiring, but Foster responds by telling Dawkins he'll find another "mover."

Aaron is in the yard with Jamal, discussing his case when one of Cassius Dawkins' crew slides up beside Aaron to tell him Cassius Dawkins wants to "see his lawyer." Aaron replies that he is working on his own case and isn't taking on any more just then. The inmate then tells Aaron all Cassius wants is "intel," namely who is the warden's source inside the prison. Aaron says he does not know. The inmate reminds both Aaron and Jamal that, "There ain't no Switzerland" in the prison. Aaron gives up working outside and leaves. The inmate reminds Jamal again that, "There ain't no Switzerland."



Marie and Henry Roswell are visiting Aaron at the prison. They inform Aaron that the Internet sites Jasmine has been surfing turned up the identity of the the girl who overdosed at Aaron's club. She was the biggest factor in his trial. It turns out she was not underage when she was in the club. She is the daughter of a billionaire and big donor to Maskin's campaign. Marie tells Aaron that Darius has moved out.

We go from the prison visiting room to Marie's house where Darius is moving out, and Marie confronts him. Darius asks Marie if she loves him, and she replies that she does. As far as Aaron goes, there are different kinds of love, and while she still supports his efforts to get out of prison, her feelings for Aaron are not the same as her feelings for Darius.

At the prison, Aaron is talking to a witness he needs at his upcoming hearing when another inmate informs him that Jamal took a beating. When Aaron goes to check on Jamal, he tells Aaron the best thing Aaron can do is stay away from him.

Frankie, the hapless drug addict who refused to tell the warden that Frank Foster was smuggling the drugs into the prison, is back in the infirmary with what appears to have been exposure to Fentanyl, which was placed under his tongue. Frankie is even more closed mouth than before. Safiya responds by having Frankie's cell tossed.

Frank Foster drops in on B-Block, near Frankie's cell while it is being tossed. This enables Foster to find out Frankie had tucked a Bible passage in a deck of cards. Soon the warden will know Bibles, and perhaps other religious books like the Koran, are being used to smuggle the drugs. Still, there is no sign that anyone involved in Bellmore's "security" department had started to suspect those steaks Foster used to bring to the prison. Dot connecting is not a strong suit at Bellmore.

Safiya informs Aaron about the Bible passage. She needs Aaron's help, as the inmates' representative, to get them to temporarily surrender their Bibles, Korans, etc. so that she can bring in Special Investigations and use drug sniffing dogs to find the book used to smuggle the drugs. Aaron agrees to it as long as the inmates get the books back right away.

Dawkins sidles up to Jamal in the cafeteria after Nazi leader Wild Bill taunted Jamal for getting beat up by another black inmate. Jamal stalls Dawkins about Aaron being the informant by asking him to wait and let him "Suss out" the whole thing. Dawkins agrees after spotting Frank Foster in the cafeteria. Dawkins approaches Foster and asks him what he thinks of Aaron Wallace being the rat. Foster agrees that Dawkins' suspicion does make sense.



We begin after the commercial break with the guards collecting Bibles and Korans. Aaron talks Hassan into giving up his Koran promising that he will get it back. The inmates begin blaming Aaron for the confiscation. When the drug sniffing dogs come up with no drugs in the sacred books, Safiya tells Aaron she needs another day. Aaron declines, reminding the warden that he gave his word to the inmates that their sacred books would be back in their hands in less than 24 hours. Aaron changes the subject by informing Safiya that he has something about Maskins that could help Anya in the election, and says he will trade it for being able to attend his hearing. Safiya asks why Aaron thought he needed to hold something over her head, and Aaron replies that, between them, it was always "quid pro quo." Safiya leaves the room without further comment.

Darius is taking with Michael, Aaron's former partner in the club, who finally admits that he knew Aaron was innocent, but helped frame him because he figured Aaron would take the plea deal.

Jamal meets with the Potentate of the Penitentiary, Cassius Dawkins. Jamal tells Dawkins that Aaron has been playing everyone, and has to be taken out. Jamal promises that he will kill Aaron to get his "name back" in the prison. Dawkins agrees.

Later, we are in the visiting room. Jamal meets with some unknown African American man. In the middle of their conversation, we find out that they were lovers before Jamal was incarcerated. Jamal tells the man to forget about him and abruptly leaves the visitors' room. One of Dawkins' minions observed the meeting.

Now there is Frank Foster standing in a corridor, leaning on the wall when Huey Cornell appears through a nearby corridor. He hands Foster the Bible owned by Darius Dawkins. Foster demands to know if Cornell is now Dawkins' errand boy. Cornell tells Foster Dawkins has a last job for Foster. We will soon see what that job will be.

The warden meets with some members of Special Investigations in the surveillance room where all the cameras are monitored. They begin locating and tracking Frank Foster as he moves through the prison. When Foster emerges from a rest room with a Bible in his hand, this is evidence of Foster's guilt as the smuggler. No one has a light bulb go off in their heads about the steaks yet. I'm still waiting. How long, for pete's sake, how long?

We now see Jamal in his cell. He is taping magazines to his chest to serve as makeshift body armor. He tears down all the pinups of scantily clad women and puts up a photo of himself and the man who visited him earlier. He fills the pockets of his hoodie with salt he collected at the cafeteria. This is sometimes used to blind victims of attacks in prison by throwing the salt in a victim's face.

We are now in the security line to enter the visitors' room, and Darius is waiting his turn to be searched before entering.

Aaron is flagged by a guard about Administration reporting that Aaron has a visitor. Aaron acknowledges the guard, but takes some things to his cell. There he finds an alarming note from Jamal telling him to stay out of the gym. Aaron leaves the cell and tells the guard he needs to go to the gym. When the guard reminds Aaron about the visitor, Aaron tells the guard he has a right to go to the gym. The guard relents.

Frank Foster relieves the guard who is clearing inmates to enter the gym. He tells the guard he is needed inside the gym and takes over clearing the inmates just in time for him to clear Jamal. Foster lets Jamal pass despite the makeshift body armor. As Jamal passes into the gym, he sees Dawkins finish a bench press. When Dawkins leaves the bench, Jamal begins to shadow him on a parallel route.

Foster passes Aaron through to the gym. He looks for Jamal, asking one of Dawkin's flunkies, who shrugs. He calls for Jamal and finally sees him. Jamal is close to Dawkins now, right behind him as he took a drink at the fountain. He makes a remark about Aaron, expecting Jamal to kill him in the gym. The remark is followed by Jamal flinging salt into Dawkins' eyes, and sticking a shank against the left side of Dawkins' neck in an attempt to open either his jugular vein or cartoid artery. Dawkins seizes hold on Jamal and the two grapple. Dawkins might have had a weapon, or took Jamal's because Jamal gets stabbed more than once, with one in the chest area. He goes down. Dawkins moves to finish Jamal when Aaron punches him. It was when the punch struck Dawkins that the commercial interrupted the action.



We return from the commercial ( I can't take many more with the COVID lockdown as a theme with hair like Robinson Crusoe) to a full out brawl between Dawkins' gang and Wild Bill's Nazis.

Frank Foster, in a move mirroring Wild Bill's at the showers when Dawkins knocked around three of Bill's stormtroopers, shuts the exit gate on the desperate inmates and guards attempting to evacuate, leaving them begging to get out.

Darius telephones Marie and Jasmine to tell them something has gone wrong at the prison, but can't tell them what it is.

Dawkins was struggling with Aaron until he could get a solid hold on him, eventually body slamming Aaron. When he goes to deal with Aaron, Wild Bill dispatches some Nazis to jump Dawkins from behind. Soon, disaster will befall Wild Bill since, like Wild Bill Hickcock, he has forgotten to sit with his back to a wall. One of Dawkins' stooges comes from behind and crowns Wild Bill with a 45 pound barbell plate. I tried several times to use stop action to see if I could read the number on the plate and determine its actual weight, but it was impossible. Only the 5 was readable. I thought the exact weight would be both informative for the viewer in addition to---well---entertaining. The Dawkins' gang member went ahead and made sure of Bill by bashing him a second time with the plate. I read somewhere that it is easier to crack open something that is hollow.

And so we bid farewell to the Faux Fuhrer, Wild Bill, who is now on his way to the Great Beer Hall Putsch in the Sky. We need to pause here to say our goodbyes to this show's true comic relief. We mustn't grieve the loss of Wild Bill, for surely the Nazis will find some other bumbling incompetent to take his place. We should be comforted by the fact that it is a better place to which William is bound. When he arrives at the Gates to Hell, Satan will be there to greet him. One look at Wild Bill and Satan will look up toward Heaven and groan, "Am I really THAT bad? Come on, man. Give me a break."

With Dawkins neutralized by the Nazis, Aaron is able to get back to Jamal. As he starts calling for a medic, another of Dawkins' boys takes what looks like one of those small hand weights, about 5 pounds, and smacks Aaron on the forehead. After awhile, Aaron passes out from what is likely a concussion.

Hassan and some other inmates pull Rodriguez, the guard Foster sent into the gym, who is now unconscious, out of the main riot action. Hassan waves to the camera and pleads for help.

Safiya calls in her SWAT-style reaction team, CERT, who respond by dropping tear gas canisters into the gym. Safiya puts the place on lockdown.

Marie and Jasmine are watching the riot coverage on television when Darius calls the second time. He still does not have any news about Aaron. Marie asks again what Darius is doing at the prison. Darius tells her about Michael admitting that Aaron is innocent. This news actually surprises Marie, who finally lets us know she was not sure Aaron was innocent. Neither was Darius.

We are taken back to the prison where Safiya is seeing the casualties being loaded into ambulances, including Dawkins, who is still alive, and Jamal, who looks very bad. Later, in the infirmary, we see Aaron lying on a gurney as he says in voice-over narration:

"I know what everyone will say. We brought this on ourselves, that we are animals, and that is why we need locked up. Will it never get outside these walls that, when all this went down, I went to my brother and was willing to die for him same as he was for me? Would you do that? Would anybody do that for you?"

And so it goes.





REGULAR CAST: Aaron Wallace: Nicholas Pinnok; Safiya Masry: Indira Varma; Anya Harrison: Mary Stuart Masterson; Marie Wallace: Joy Bryant; Glen Maskins: Boris McGiven; Jasmine Wallace: Tyla Harris



We open with Safiya in the surveillance room at Bellmore Prison reviewing the video content and examining live video from the outside cameras. We listen to Safiya provide a voice-over narration of the effects of the riot.

"I used to believe that one person could make a difference. That a powerful idea if pushed with conviction and courage, could overcome inertia and apathy. I don't know now if I was wrong, and maybe I'll never know. But today I am sure of one thing: everything I tried to do here will be twisted around and second guessed. Fourteen minutes of violence will wipe out eight months of progress and I'll be made to look like a fool. If I let that happen, then whatever I stood for, whatever I tried to do here, those ideas and ideals will be buried for a very long time. I can't let that happen."

The Attorney General shows up at Bellmore and confronts Safiya. Attorney General tells Safiya there will be a hearing into the riot and how she has been handling things at Bellmore and that her "softer touch" caused the riot. When Safiya wants to know why Cassius Dawkins was sent to Bellmore, the Attorney General accuses her of trying to make a patsy of someone else for what she caused.

Next we see the chaos outside the prison where Jamal's former boyfriend can't get any information about what happened in the prison and about who was injured.

Darius is on the phone to Marie, tellling her that no one at the prison can tell him anything. After Marie completes the conversation with Darius, she tells Jasmine she thinks there might be someone who can tell them about Aaron's status. Marie and Jasmine got to the headquarters of Anya Harrison's campaign for Attorney General. When one of the campaign workers finds out it is Aaron Wallace's wife and daughter, the campaign worker advises Anya to not talk to them, but Anya approaches them anyway and contacts Safiya on her mobile phone, handing it off to Marie to ask Safiya about Aaron. Safiya tells Marie that Aaron likely has a concussion and most likely will not be able to participate in a hearing for his retrial.

Next, Safiya visits Aaron in the infirmary, informing him about Marie calling about his status. She tells Aaron she will do all she can to help him get into the city so that he can petition the court for a continuance.

We then see the interrogation of Frank Foster by two detectives who inform Foster they heard the story about how Foster took over the job of frisking inmates waiting to enter the gym. The detectives inform Foster they know he was helping Dawkins' operation, but they will help him if there were any extenuating circumstances such as threats or extortion by Dawkins. Foster replies that he shouldn't say anything more, so the detectives take him into custody as Safiya looks on. Foster asks Safiya why she is letting them use handcuffs on him. Both inmates and guards berate Foster as he is frog-marched through the prison to be processed back in New York.

Safiya has to put up with heckling from the inmates about the prison being on lockdown since so few inmates participated in the actual riot. She enters Aaron's cell and finds Jamal's last note to Aaron warning him to keep out of the gym. This is a valuable piece of evidence pointing to the origin of the riot.



We begin with Aaron in the infirmary being examined by a doctor. The doctor prescribes a drug as he is concerned Aaron might have brain swelling. He has to take a pill very six hours, but is released to go to his cell. Back in his cell, Aaron calls Henry Roswell to inform him of what happened at Bellmore and about his medical status. Aaron tells Henry he needs to get another attorney to ask the judge for a continuance.

Next we see District Attorney Glen Maskins meeting with this staff in this office. The staff have been gathering information about the Bellmore situation. It appears the place is in lockdown, so that should eliminate Aaron Wallace getting his retrial.

The Attorney General returns to Bellmore with former warden Cyrus Hunt in tow. Hunt is going to take over at Bellmore while Safiya waits for the Prison Board to decide how they will blame her exclusively for the entire riot. Somehow, the AG thinks that is not scapegoating, while trying to find out how Dawkins wound up in Bellmore is scapegoating. The AG tells Safiya to get her personal things out of the warden's office.

Safiya manages to get an order out transferring Aaron to Rikers Island over night so that he can attend his hearing the next day. Aaron finds out from the guard accompanying him to the bus that Jamal and Dawkins are still alive.



We begin with the sight of Frank Foster on the other side of the bars. He has blood stains on his hands. The sight to the blood upsets him until an inmate in the cell across the corridor heckles the former Captain of Corrections Officers. Another guard arrives with the news that Frank Foster has made bail and his wife has arrived to collect him. Frank's wife is relieved to see him, but Frank's father accuses him of taking his name from him.

Aaron is arriving at Riker's Island for the night. The processing guard recognizes Aaron from previous overnights at Riker's. When he asks Aaron about his head injury, the guard who escorted Aaron from Bellmore Prison gives the Riker's guard Aaron's medication.

As Safiya is packing up her office, Hassan arrives to see her. Safiya tells Hassan the inmates will need him more than ever after all that has happened. Hassan tells Safiya that Jamal was supposed to kill Aaron for Dawkins, but Jamal played Dawkins and made an assassination attempt on Dawkins instead.

Huey Cornell is with Acting Warden Hunt and tells him about the handoff of a book to Foster on the surveillance videos. Hunt lets Huey know that he already saw it by telling Huey the book was a Bible. Hunt promises Huey he will "loose" that footage, but now he owns Huey.

As Safiya lugs the box full of her possessions to her car, reporters pepper her with questions, but she can't answer because of the AG's gag order. As she gets in her car, Safiya looks at her cell phone screen. She wants to contact someone at Lubeck Prison.

Later, Safiya tells a friend on the Prison Board, Judith, and advises Judith that she intends to get evidence to help her case with the Prison Board, but she will need help from Judith.

Hunt is going through video of the riot and sees Aaron punching Dawkins to get him off Jamal. Hunt is tossing anyone who did anything in the riot into his reopened solitary confinement section of the prison. Hunt is flabbergasted to hear that Aaron Wallace has been transferred to Riker's Island to be in court tomorrow.

Henry Roswell telephones Marie's house, but gets Jasmine. Roswell tells Jasmine not to worry. Aaron will be in court tomorrow.

Aaron is roused in his cell at Rikers Island. The guard tells him he is being sent back to Bellmore Prison. Once back in Bellmore, Aaron is informed he is on his way to solitary confinement.



Frank Foster is on the telephone at his house trying to get help from his union. The union refuses to help him. The disgraced Captain of Corrections Officers goes upstairs to his bedroom and shoots himself.

Aaron pleads with a guard bringing a meal to his cell in solitary to call Henry Roswell and tell him about his situation at Bellmore. The guard is reluctant because of everything that is happening, but tells Aaron he will try, but will make no promise. After the guard leaves, Aaron experiences hallucinations of Jamal, Jasmine, and Marie telling him not to give up.

We now go to the home of Safiya and Anya. Safiya shows Anya the lies on the transfer order for Dawkins to go from Lubeck to Bellmore, and that she intends to use the evidence to save her reforms at Bellmore even if she can't get her job back. The phone rings. Safiya is told that Frank Foster committed suicide.

Safiya is seen meeting in a restaurant with Huey Cornell. She tells Huey that she tried to pay her respects to Frank's family, but couldn't get in to see them. Safiya goes on to tell Huey that she heard Foster tried to get Jamal to kill Dawkins, but that she heard from another source that Jamal was supposed to kill Aaron for Dawkins, but Jamal tried to kill Dawkins instead. Huey tells Safiya how Dawkins' gang terrorized Foster's family and forced Foster to work with him. Safiya tells Huey the information could save Foster's reputation (but only if no one ever figures out about the steaks--no danger of that!) and his pension for his family.

After this conversation, Henry Roswell calls Safiya while she is on her way up to use extortion on the Prison Board Chairman to save her reforms at Bellmore. Henry needs Safiya to find a way to spring Aaron to get to the hearing to argue for his retrial. She tells Roswell she will try.

Safiya confronts the Board Chairman prior to the the hearing and informs him she has evidence Dawkins was sent to disrupt Bellmore because of the blatant erroneous information in the transfer request, such as no evidence of Dawkins being in any gangs. Safiya tells the chairman she wants a moderate put in charge of Bellmore, who will keep Safiya's reforms in place and that Aaron Wallace...

Aaron is roused in his cell in solitary. A guard tells him he has to get on the prison bus.

As Aaron is seen inside the courthouse men's room, now in his suit and tie, and on his way into the courtroom, Safiya continues the narration she began at the start of the episode, saying that her sacrifice will be worth it to save the reforms and to enable Aaron Wallace to pursue justice in his case.

Aaron greets the judge and requests the court's permission to make his opening statement.

In a way, Safiya might have been making her closing statement with the voice-over narration at the end. We will have to see what the future brings to Bellmore Prison.

And so it goes.