The Guardian: Indian Summer

Saturday 5th September 7.30pm

The legal drama starring ‘The Mentalist’ actor Simon Baker continues. Having been arrested for possession of narcotics, disgraced corporate lawyer Nick Fallin (Baker) is sentenced to perform community service representing at-risk children. This week, a teenage runaway coerces Nick into helping her stay with her sister. Elsewhere, a crumbling Alvin faces a loss of funding for the clinic.

While sitting in a bar, Nick is propositioned by an attractive young woman and takes her home. When he arrives at Children’s Legal Services the following day, he is given the case of Dina Jameson, a 15-year-old girl who faces separation from her younger sister. Nick is horrified when he comes face to face with his new client – and realises she is the same girl he took home. “When I told you I was 25, you should have asked to see my ID,” she says.

Dina explains that her foster parents, the Hallers, kicked her out after she had an affair with their friend and business partner, Fletcher Sachs. However, they are keen to adopt her eight-year-old sister, Lisa. Dina admits she propositioned Nick because she needed a lawyer to help her stay with her sister. In order to ensure his help, she threatens to report him for statutory rape. “Maybe I could tell the police about what we did last night,” she suggests. Nick visits the Hallers and is astounded to find that Sachs is still in business with the family. “You don’t know Dina. If you did, you’d understand where we’re coming from,” Wayne Haller says.

Nick meets with Dina again and explains that he cannot force the Hallers to adopt her. He also suggests that her best chance of getting custody of Lisa herself is to get a job. “No jobs, no training courses. Just get it done,” she replies. When Nick attempts to dig into Dina’s past, she claims that her parents abandoned her and Lisa. “One day they left us at a rest stop and never came back,” she says. Alvin insists that the best option for Lisa is to be left with the Hallers. “There’s an eight-year-old girl who stands a chance of having a good home,” he says.

The Hallers come into the clinic and Alvin questions them about Fletcher Sachs. “He’s human. He slipped,” Wayne says. He also tells Alvin that they reported Sachs as soon as they knew about his relationship with Dina. Nick takes the opportunity to ask Lisa about her past, but he is surprised to discover that her recollections differ from Dina’s. “We lived in an old school bus. We parked it under a bridge,” she says. Nick visits Dina’s school and confronts her. She retaliates by again threatening to tell the police about their night together. “I know an awful lot about you,” she says, ominously.

Desperate to find a way out of the situation, Nick gets his car dusted for Dina’s prints and asks a friend in the police force to trace her. He discovers Dina’s real name is Ava Donaldson. Following a rape at just ten years old, she went on the run. When he tracks down Ava’s real parents and brings them into the clinic, Nick is astonished to learn she is 28! Why is the troubled woman lying about her age? And is Lisa really her sister?

Elsewhere, Alvin loses funding for the clinic when a rival firm wins the contract to provide legal services for children. Nick tells Alvin that Fallin and Associates are trying to redistribute leftover funds from a class action law suit – and CLS could qualify for a donation. “Don’t push too hard. Don’t demand it. Just be humble,” he says. Facing a shortfall of $300,000, Alvin also agrees to take part in a charity auction to try and raise some funds. The harassed lawyer hits a new low when he goes to bed with the woman who ‘bought’ him…

The following day, Alvin arrives at Fallin and Associates to plead his case for a donation. His lack of preparation does not impress, and he breaks off the presentation. “You’ve already made up your minds haven’t you? You’re not giving this money to me,” he says. Could Children’s Legal Services face permanent closure?

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