(13/16)

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this instalment, Stark faces losing his career, lifestyle and freedom thanks to his involvement in a 12-year-old murder case. He is thrown a lifeline by the state attorney’s office, but soon learns that saving his own skin may come at a very high price.

After confessing that he knew one of his former clients murdered a young woman 12 years ago (see last week’s episode, ‘Partners in Crime’), Stark finds himself suspended from work pending a full disbarment hearing. Things soon get worse for the lawyer when he is arrested and charged as an accessory to murder. “I’m done,” he reflects.

But Stark is thrown a lifeline when Jordan Westlake, the deputy attorney general, pays his bail and meets him as he is released from jail. Handing him a picture of one Oscar Riddick, a dangerous criminal kingpin who has so far evaded arrest, Westlake asks for Stark’s help in exchange for his freedom. “You want your life back?” she asks. “Go get me Oscar Riddick.”

With little choice but to help Westlake, Stark begins to do some digging – and his former teammates lend him a hand. On the night of Sarah Belkin’s death, her killer, Jason Normandy, met up with none other than Oscar Riddick. It emerges that Riddick had been a silent partner in Normandy’s oil business and that the oil field they bought together had never actually produced any oil. “It’s got to be a front,” suggests Isaac. “Yeah, but for what?” responds Reyes.

Believing that Riddick may have been involved in Sarah’s murder, Stark manages to get her case reopened and her body exhumed. Tests show that she actually died of a massive heroin overdose – more than she could possibly have taken herself. Stark and his team theorise that the empty oil field was actually a front for a heroin-smuggling ring, and that Sarah was killed because she had discoveredthe truth and threatened to go to the police. “If we can link Riddick to the heroin that killed Sarah Belkin, we can nail this son of a bitch,” says Stark.

Just as the case seems to be slotting into place for the lawyer, he receives a stark warning. While at home with his daughter one evening, a sniper shoots at him – and only narrowly misses. A spooked Stark visits Westlake and requests extra resources, but is told that the investigation is strictly off the record. However, Stark manages to secure the assistance of Westlake herself and the pair of them visit Normandy in prison.

Normandy is clearly afraid of Riddick and is reluctant to give anything away, but Westlake manages to persuade him to talk with the promise of protection for his children. Normandy eventually admits that he did inject Sarah with a lethal dose of heroin – but only at the behest of Riddick.

However, Westlake takes the deal one stage further and offers Normandy his freedom in return for his evidence against Riddick –much to the chagrin of Stark. In order to catch and incarcerate her long-term target, Westlake intends to use the testimony of both Normandy and Stark. But the latter is determined not to let Sarah’s killer go free and refuses to appear in court. “You don’t testify,” warns Westlake, “prison is going to be the least of your problems.” “I abandoned Sarah Belkin 12 years ago,” responds a resolute Stark. “I won’t do it again.” Having built his entire career on dishonesty, is Stark about to risk his own future to make a rare ethical stand?

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