one hit wonder (15/16)

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this instalment, an up-andcoming songstress is murdered shortly after attending a party at the Playboy Mansion.

Suspicion initially falls on a sleazy record producer who was having an affair with the girl. However, the case is put in jeopardy when Reyes becomes intimately involved with a key witness who turns out to know more about the crime than she lets on.

Stark and his team are called to the scene of their latest case – a young singer named Abby Coleman has been beaten to death and dumped by the roadside. Shortly before she was killed, she had been at a record company party hosted by Hugh Hefner (guest starring as himself) at the Playboy Mansion. Suspicion falls on one Rupert Stone, a successful record producer with a bad reputation with women who was rumoured to be having an affair with Abby. “If Abby was sleeping with this creep, we just may have our man,” says Jordan.

An examination of Stone’s car turns up an earring and a scrap of clothing belonging to the victim, while a search of his home proves even more fruitful. In the suspect’s basement, the attorneys find a sex dungeon, complete with a bloody flail that seems to match the injuries on Abby’s head. “Time for Stone to face the music,” says Madeleine.

During questioning, the arrogant suspect confesses that he was having a relationship with Abby, and even that he slapped her and threw her out of his car when she ended their affair after the party. But he denies murdering her, claiming that she was alive when he left her by the roadside. With only circumstantial evidence so far linking Stone to the crime, Stark and his team set about looking for witnesses. They visit Gina Giordano, a record company executive who works with Stone.

It seems that Gina has helped cover up many of the producer’s past indiscretions in order to maintain his lucrative allegiance to the record company, but she refuses to testify. However, when tests prove that the blood found on the flail is not Abby’s, the prosecutors need Gina to tell them everything she knows.

As Reyes pays Gina another visit, the other lawyers learn that the witness left the party for an hour at the time of Abby’s death, despite her claim to have been at the mansion all night. “She could have been there when Abby was killed,” realises Madeleine. They attempt to contact Reyes, but he is otherwise engaged. After going to Gina’s home and finding her in the pool, Reyes is seduced by the wily executive and ends up staying the night.

In court, the defence attorney, Monica Wells (Deirdre Lovejoy, ‘The Wire’), requests a dismissal owing to a lack of evidence, but the judge allows the prosecution one more day to strengthen its case. Reyes then gets a call from a distressed Gina and rushes off to see her – she has been beaten up. Convinced that Stone has set one of his goons on her, Gina provides Stark and his team with comprehensive computer records detailing all the times she paid people off to protect Stone. “Put this bastard away,” she says.

With this new information, Stark looks set to bring the trial to a speedy close, until some shocking new evidence emerges that turns the case on its head. Footage from a freeway camera shows that Stone was alone in his car some time before Abby made a call from her cell phone on the night of her death – meaning that she really was alive when he left her by the roadside. With Stone now apparently in the clear, Stark and his team find themselves with just one credible suspect. “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is our star witness,” says Stark. Little does he know, however, that this new suspect is intimately involved with one of his prosecutors…

Elsewhere this week, Julie receives some flowers, chocolates and poetry through the post. She assumes they are from her boyfriend, Trevor, but he denies sending them. Does Julie have a secret admirer, or is there something more sinister at work?

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