Season 7

Episode 708: “Reasonable Doubt””

Episode 708: “Reasonable Doubt””
Original Air Date:December 3, 2000
Written by::Burt Pearl
Directed by:Peter H. Hunt
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:


Carol Anne Larkin Bonnie Franklin
Walter Titlebaum Bill Macy
Samantha Munson Cathy Lee Crosby
Peter Garfield        John Billingsley
Nicholas Withers Nate Bynum
Carlos Jimenez Enrique Castillo
Young Shim Noh Elizabeth Sung
Billy Coates    Michael Flynn
Zack Collier Sean Wing
Kevin Carter   Erik King
Francis Bolaczek Christy Summerhays  
Jonathan Persky Michael Mitz

Monica is summoned to be a juror on a murder case in which the defendant could get the death penalty.  The defendant, Brendan Falstaff, is on trial for the murder of his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Bennet.  The prosecution maintains that Brendan Falstaff set fire to Elizabeth’s house while she was asleep.  The defense, however, maintains that their case is built merely on hearsay and circumstantial evidence.  After hearing both sides present their case, the jury is ushered into the deliberation room to reach a verdict.  Carol Anne is selected as the foreperson and tallies the votes, but Monica holds up the process by requesting the others to discuss the decision.

Most of the jurors are in agreement that the evidence supports finding Brendan Falstaff guilty — based on investigators’ findings that the fire was the result of arson, that a gas can was found in Brendan Falstaff’s trunk and that Mr. Gunderson, the neighbor across the street, identified Brendan’s car leaving the scene of the crime.  Monica raises some doubt regarding Mr. Gunderson’s ability to identify the license plate when he couldn’t identify the make of the car.  One of the jurors is able to explain this to the other jurors’ satisfaction, but Monica remains unconvinced of Brendan’s guilt.  Outside the courtroom, Tess overhears two officers discussing the case.  The one man who could corroborate Falstaff’s alibi was a homeless wino whose testimony was inadmissible.  Tess is frustrated that an innocent man could be convicted, but Andrew reminds her they’re here on assignment and refuses to let her interfere with the wheels of justice.

Meanwhile, back inside the deliberation room, Monica asks God for help, and her prayer is answered when she notices that one of the jurors is dyslexic.  Monica asks the jurors to consider the possibility that Gunderson was dyslexic, and that he merely repeated Falstaff’s license plate by memory, having towed his car from in front of his house on numerous occasions.  Monica’s insight turns the tide as the other jurors start to change their minds.  Undone by the prospect of an acquittal, Carol Anne reaches her breaking point and rushes into the restroom.

Monica talks with Carol Anne privately and discovers her zeal to convict Brendan Falstaff has more to do with her husband’s unsolved murder in an unrelated case.  Over the years, Carol Anne has turned her anger inward, blaming herself albeit without cause.  Monica assures Carol Anne that she is not to blame and that she needs to find forgiveness, starting with herself.  Carol Anne emerges from the restroom and admits to her fellow jurors how her state of mind clouded her ability to see the truth.  She calls for another vote.  Back in the courtroom, the verdict is announced and Bredan Falstaff is acquitted.  Recognizing the victim’s parents’ sense of grief, Carol Anne approaches them in an effort to help them find the closure she so desperately needed.

(); ?>