Monday, September 30, 2019

REVIEW: 'All Rise' - Lola Does Her Best to Prevent a Defendant from Being Deported in 'Long Day's Journey Into ICE'

CBS' All Rise - Episode 1.02 "Long Day's Journey Into ICE"

When an ICE agent pursues a defendant in Lola's courtroom, she must fend him off while determining the appropriate sentence for the offender, an undocumented immigrant whose crime was warning people of a grocery store selling spoiled goods.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS' All Rise.

"Long Day's Journey Into ICE" was written by Gregory Nelson and directed by Michael M. Robin

This show presents a more aspirational view of how the justice system should work. It has the care and consideration of how one specific case should be handled in each episode. Sure, that may not be realistic and sustainable in the longterm. It is probably unwise for Lola to give so much attention to the cases she personally feels inspired to make a difference in. Sherri keeps telling her that she needs to address the backlog of cases that are quickly piling up on her desk. And yet, that isn't a pressing concern. The only repercussions that come from all of that is Lola is still having a cluttered judge's chambers where no one can sit. That mostly allows everyone to continue to see her as the new judge just assigned to the bench who doesn't quite understand how the system works. She is trying her best to create a courtroom that embodies what the system should be. It should be the judge, prosector and defense attorney all working in tandem to create the best version of justice in each specific case. That may not be attainable in every case that will come across Lola's desk. And yet, she will make a difference when she believes it's up to her to ensure that even more tragedy doesn't occur. In this episode, she is presented with a young man who came from Nicaragua illegally and has continually been abused by the system. He is being threatened with deportation largely because ICE is pushing the limits to see how far they can go. It's absolutely despicable. This agent walks into Lola's courtroom believing that he is the one in control. It's his responsibility to provide the justice that Leo needs. He walked in with his mind already made up. Everyone fears what he is capable of doing. They aren't defenseless though. They have tools at their disposal as well. ICE isn't suppose to send its agents into the courthouse in order to intimidate the various individuals who come in and out of the building every day. This agent is trying to take advantage of Lola being new to the bench. She has allies in this fight. She is passionate about it. But it also feels like it's safer for Leo to accept a bad deal where he'll spend four years in prison just to ensure he has enough time to mount an adequate defense in his immigration case. That's horrifying. Outside pressure is what's motivating this case and not the actual merits of the charges filed against him. Lola is trying her best to delicately handle this situation without ruffling too many feathers. Her actions reverberate throughout the entire courthouse. Other judges are telling her what she should do. It's ultimately her call though. This is the impact she can have as a judge. As Emily notes to Luke, the proceedings in this case aren't going to fix the immigration crisis. That's too big for any one individual to handle. It's the role of the courts to enforce the law while also having empathy for those caught up in the system. It's the responsibility of those making the policies to ensure that the actions of this country reflect our humanity above all else. Because ICE feels emboldened by the people in charge, it has created a world of terror where people are scared of what could happen. Leo didn't feel like he could make an asylum claim even though he would be killed if he returned to Nicaragua. The system is failing him. That's what makes it a victory when Lola and the lawyers create a plan for him to get the time he needs for an adequate defense. That's the version of justice that makes all of this feel like a victory. That's what everyone is chasing. They need to understand that they made a difference. There is the fear that when Mark brings charges against a man for bribing a witness that the system will go easy on him because he knows how to feign remorse and sympathy. He doesn't contest the charges after they are formally brought against him. Until that moment though, he was more than comfortable bulldozing the world and even his daughter into submission. She didn't want to be a part of that. But it still all rests in the luck of the draw with the judge. Lisa hasn't been a major character so far but she delivers the punishment that seems fitting for this case. That's notable even if it seems a little too simplistic without putting in the necessary work to make it land properly.