Shark

The second series of the compelling US legal drama concludes. In the final episode, Stark’s old nemesis Wayne Callison escapes from prison and kidnaps Julie in a bid to get his revenge over the wily lawyer. Stark must submit to Callison’s demands if he is to have any hope of saving his daughter.

Stark’s world looks set to collapse around him this week when Isaac calls him to a crime scene to inspect the body of murdered 22-year-old Megan Cooper. The slashes on the victim’s thighs and head match those favoured by evil serial killer Wayne Callison – Stark’s old enemy. Yet Callison is serving life in a maximum security prison. Is this new victim the work of a copycat?

Stark heads directly to jail to question his old adversary about the killing, but Callison (Bill Campbell) is more interested in having his vengeance on the lawyer for falsifying evidence against him (see the episode, ‘Wayne’s World 2: Revenge of the Shark’). Callison knows this latest murder will give him grounds for an appeal. “During which, I will recount in vivid detail your elaborate plot to frame me by cutting up a young woman’s body and passing her off as a murder victim,” he says.

Stark denies Callison’s accusations, but inwardly he knows he must protect his dark secret. He deliberately slashed the body of suicide victim Hannah Morton to make it look like she was killed by Callison. For Stark, it was the only way to ensure the serial killer saw the inside of a prison cell – but are his actions about to catch up with him?

In the event, the judge denies Callison’s appeal, but it soon becomes apparent that the murderer has other ideas. On his way back to jail, he kills two guards and leaves a third unconscious on the ground before escaping in a van. Stark and his team realise that Callison never had any intention of winning his appeal – he simply wanted the chance to escape during transit from prison. “Now we got two problems,” snarls Stark. “The psycho copycat who did his Callison impression on Megan Cooper, and the real thing about to give him a run for his money.”

Isaac and Reyes make progress with the first of their two problems when they interrogate Christopher Hoffs, a Callison devotee who communicated with the killer by email. Hoffs admits that he selected Megan Cooper as a victim, but insists that another Callison fan carried out the murder. Internet records reveal that Callison had another pen pal – none other than Deputy Sheriff Nancy Lisco, the guard that Callison left unconscious during his escape.

The deputy sheriff has gone on the run, and Isaac and Reyes are shocked to discover photos of Julie in her office. Is Stark’s daughter Callison’s next target? Police race to Stark’s house but they are too late – Callison has kidnapped Julie. A distraught Stark holds things together long enough to get a lead on Lisco and Callison’s whereabouts. SWAT teams descend on the cabin where they may be hiding, only for Stark to hear the words he dreads to hear: “We have a body – female,” says a cop. Rushing inside, Stark finds Nancy Lisco dead on the floor.

Callison’s trail seems to have gone cold – until he calls Stark with further instructions. He orders the lawyer to send the police on a wild goose chase, before directing him to his real hiding place: the mock courtroom in the basement of Stark’s house. This private den is where the lawyer practises his courtroom speeches. Callison now puts Stark on trial by challenging him to defend his record as a father while a terrified Julie watches on. “You convince me you deserve your daughter, and you’ll both walk out of here,” Callison says. Stark must present the case of his life – but how will Julie react when she hears the true extent of her father’s dark deeds?

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?

(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?

12/16

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this instalment, Stark is the target of an assassination attempt that kills his friend. The subsequent investigation leads to one of Stark’s former clients and dredges up a terrible secret from the lawyer’s past.

This week’s action sees Stark at the very centre of his own case. After having dinner at a restaurant, he and Paul Faber, the lawyer’s friend and former colleague, are shot at from a moving car. While Stark escapes the incident with scratches, Paul is killed. Evidence leads the investigators to arrest a professional hitman called Anton Robitaille who soon confesses to the crime. However, Robitaille reveals some shocking news. “Your friend was a mistake,” he tells Stark. “I was hired to kill you.”

Robitaille does not know who paid for the hit but is able to point Stark’s team in the direction of one Hank Busby, a well-known fixer who acted as a go-between in this arrangement. With Stark off the case because of his relationship to the victim, Reyes tries to track Busby down but learns that he has been strangled to death. An informant tells him that shortly before he was killed, Busby was questioned by homicide cops about a girl’s body recently found in an oil field – news which seemed to frighten the fixer.

Reyes visits the oil field in question and speaks to the police. The body found there belongs to a young woman called Sarah Belkin who went missing 12 years ago. On the day she vanished, Belkin was picked up by none other than Hank Busby and was due to go to a cocktail party at the house of one Jason Normandy – a rich oil baron. Could the deaths of Belkin and Busby be somehow linked to Stark’s attempted murder?

Meanwhile, Stark ignores orders to keep away from the case and pays a visit to Normandy, who he seems to know. Some years ago when Stark was a defence attorney, both he and Hank Busby worked for Normandy, and may have been involved in some dodgy dealings. However, Stark is now determined to bring down the killer of his friend. “No matter what it takes, the guy who bought that bullet is going down,” he says.

Stark heads to his old law firm, where Normandy is still a client, and persuades a young attorney called Jennifer Randolph (Elizabeth Lackey, ‘Heroes’, ‘Home and Away’) to hand over a privileged document. The record shows that a week before the attempted hit on Stark, Normandy transferred half a million dollars into a Swiss bank account registered to Anton Robitaille. With this new evidence, Stark joins the cops as they arrest Normandy. “You’re playing a dangerous game,” the suspect tells Stark as he is led away. “You took your shot,” replies the lawyer. “Now it’s my turn.”

Convinced that he knows more than he is letting on, Devlin visits Stark at home and demands to know the truth –why would a rich oil baron kill Busby, then try to kill Stark? It is at this point that Stark opens up and tells Devlin everything. Twelve years ago, when he was starting his law firm, Stark took on Normandy as a client. Normandy then killed Sarah Belkin and buried her body in the oil field with Busby’s help – and Stark witnessed the crime. When Belkin’s body was recovered, Normandy began to get rid of the people that could tie him to the murder. “This one’s bad Sebastian,” says an appalled Devlin. “I know,” replies Stark. “You need to get Normandy.”

When the case moves to trial, Stark’s old partner, Frank Bell (Peter Gallagher, ‘The OC’), is defending Normandy and has learned a few tricks from his former colleague. He has managed to convince Jennifer Randolph not to authenticate the document detailing the money transfer. Without this, there is no evidence linking Normandy to any of the murders, meaning that the case is sure to be thrown out of court. With no other choice, Stark puts himself forward as a witness and plans to confess his involvement in Sarah Belkin’s murder in order to put Normandy behind bars. “You could lose your licence – maybe more,” says Devlin. “Do what you need to do,” replies a resolute Stark.

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this instalment, a close friend of a famous rock star is murdered at a hotel suite. Suspicion falls on a wealthy car dealer known for running high-stakes poker games, until a member of the rock star’s entourage comes forward with some new information.

Stark and his team are called to a swanky hotel suite where 25-year-old Shaun Mason has been asphyxiated. The room is registered to Justin Bishop, a young rock singer who was at the hotel the previous night to launch his second record. “Looks like the party’s over,” says Stark.

Shaun was one of Justin’s close-knit entourage of three, which includes Justin’s brother Rob and his manager, Brody Miller. When Stark visits the three friends at the flat they share, he learns that Shaun had something of a gambling problem and had lost a great deal of money on the night of his death. The ME’s report, meanwhile, reveals that Shaun suffered bruises and cuts some hours prior to his death – including one cut on his head seemingly caused by a bracelet or watch.

Reyes and Isaac learn that the man who held the poker game at which Shaun lost money is one Andy Zahai – a wealthy car dealer known for his high-stakes games. Suspecting that Zahai may have killed Shaun over money, but aware that there is not enough evidence to make an arrest, Stark comes up with a plan. The wily prosecutor joins one of Zahai’s games at an exclusive restaurant and has soon won a great deal of cash – and, more importantly, Zahai’s expensive watch.

Tests show that the clasp on the timepiece caused the injury to Shaun’s head, and Zahai is arrested. However, he has a cast-iron alibi for the murder. Though he did fight with Shaun during the game, he was still playing at the time of death – and the other players, including a judge, can verify that fact. Zahai is released and Stark and his team find themselves back at square one.

Phone records from Justin’s flat show that somebody was making regular calls to one Jillian Parks – the editor of a Hollywood gossip magazine. The rag has recently been publishing intimate images of the singer, leading the prosecutors to suspect that one of Justin’s entourage may have been selling the pictures for big money. “We might have just found our motive,” says Devlin. Justin has an alibi for the time of Shaun’s death, but Rob and Brody do not. Could either of these two have killed Shaun to protect the singer?

Aware that Justin and his group might be unwilling to talk, Stark decides he must “divide and conquer”. He arrests Justin for murder, and waits. Before long, Brody Miller comes forward. “You’ve arrested the wrong guy,” he says. Brody claims to have seen Rob kill Shaun, and reveals specific details of the crime that were never released, suggesting that he is telling the truth – or that he is guilty himself. When Jillian Parks then reveals that it was Rob who was selling the images to the magazine, Stark arrests his suspect.

As the case moves to trial, Jillian’s testimony shows that Rob killed Shaun because he threatened to expose his lucrative sideline. But a conviction looks unlikely when Brody, the prosecution’s key witness, is discredited. The defence shows video footage that places Brody elsewhere at the time of Shaun’s death, meaning that he cannot have witnessed the murder. While Brody did not see Rob kill Shaun, however, it is clear that he knows somebody who did – since he revealed specific details of the crime that were not released. “Well this is a first,” says Devlin. “We know who the killer is, we know why he did it, we even know that somebody saw it happen – and we’re going to lose this case!” Stark and his team must race against the clock to find the real witness before the case is thrown out of court.

Elsewhere this week, Trevor seems to have returned to his old ways when he loses his temper at work and is fired. Julie, however, stands by her boyfriend and decides it is time to take their relationship to the next level.

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this instalment, a female tennis star is murdered and suspicion immediately falls on a recently released prisoner who attacked the victim five years earlier. However, it gradually becomes clear that there is more to the case than meets the eye.

When new evidence emerges relating to an old case that Devlin prosecuted, a stalker convicted of stabbing tennis star Christina Shaw (Holly Valance, ‘Neighbours’, ‘Prison Break’) is released from prison. Still convinced of the man’s guilt, Devlin makes it her priority to protect the player and put the stalker, Richard Lee Franco, back behind bars. “We’ll get Franco,” she asserts. “And this time we’ll make it stick.”

After a little digging, the prosecutors come up with a new witness who is prepared to testify against Franco at his retrial. However, before Devlin can deliver the good news to Shaw, the star turns up dead. It appears that someone broke into her house and, after a struggle, stabbed her to death. “This is my fault,” says Devlin.

Before long, Franco hands himself in to the DA’s office and confesses to the murder, claiming that he and Shaw were destined to be together in death. However, some of the things he says do not match up to the specific details of the murder, leading Stark to doubt his guilt. “It wasn’t him, Jess,” he tells Devlin. “You’re not serious,” is her incredulous response. But Stark’s theory gains credence when DNA tests show that hair found under Shaw’s nails does not belong to Franco. “He’s the perfect fall guy,” says Stark. “And whoever killed Christina knew that.”

Without enough evidence to keep him in custody, Franco is released and the prosecutors set about finding the real killer. They talk to one Zach Holbrook – the bodyguard in charge of Shaw’s security when she was attacked five years earlier. Holbrook reveals that Shaw had come to him some months ago and asked for his help. She suspected her husband, Kerry Conklin, of infidelity, so Holbrook looked into it and discovered that Conklin was having an affair with another young tennis player.

When it then emerges that the alarm at Shaw’s house was deactivated on the night of her murder, Conklin is arrested. However, it seems he has a cast-iron – if a little unsavoury – alibi. When Shaw was murdered, her husband was in fact sleeping with the mother of his new girlfriend in order to win her favour and gain control of the young player’s burgeoning career. DNA results also show that the hair found at the crime scene is not Conklin’s. Though clearly immoral, this man did not murder his wife – but he is able to point Stark and his team in a new direction. Conklin reveals that rather than responding to a request for help, Holbrook had in fact approached Shaw with evidence of her husband’s affair. Before Shaw was married, she had a fling with her security manager – and he was never able to fully accept their break-up.

Worried that the judge will not grant the prosecution permission to obtain a DNA sample from a third suspect, Devlin visits Holbrook’s office under false pretences and takes a sample of his hair. When tests match Holbrook’s DNA to the hair found under Shaw’s nails, Stark and the team arrest their man. During the trial, however, the defence reveals video footage of Devlin’s misdemeanour and the DNA evidence is deemed inadmissible. Having already targeted two innocent men, the prosecution is given just 48 hours to come up with new evidence before the case is thrown out of court. “We need something now or Holbrook is going to walk,” says a desperate Devlin. But just as the trial looks set to collapse, redemption comes from the most unlikely of sources.

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this instalment, a spate of brush fires across the city unearths a complex web of arson, deceit and murder.

When the fourth wildfire in two weeks rips through an LA township, a man is killed and a firefighter dies trying to save him. It is thought that arson is to blame for the rash of fires, so Stark is put in charge of finding the person responsible. “Spread the word,” he tells his team. “I’m going to nail this freak, and anybody that gets in my way is toast.”

A suspect emerges in the form of one Deno Orr, who appeared in news footage taken at the scene of all four fires. During questioning, Orr claims to be a video artist who had been chasing and filming the fires for the sake of art. With only circumstantial evidence linking him to the crimes, he is released. However, when Reyes and Isaac later visit his house to conduct a search, they find him trying to burn down a shed full of incendiary equipment. The flames get out of control and Orr is injured.

Convinced he has his man, Stark visits Orr in hospital and coerces him into making a confession. Orr admits starting all of the brush fires and points the prosecutors to a stash of videos he recorded at the scenes which cement his guilt. Glad to have tied up the case so quickly, Stark tells Reyes to arrest Orr and charge him with arson and two counts of murder, but Reyes delivers some shocking news. The ME’s report shows that the man who died in the house – one George Hadley – was actually killed by blunt-force trauma before being dumped in the path of the fire. “Which means we’ve got another murderer on the loose?” asks Stark, incredulously. “Exactly,” responds Reyes.

Though he did start the fires, Orr has a cast-iron alibi for the time of Hadley’s death, so Stark and his team set about finding the real killer. CCTV footage shows Hadley entering a nearby store shortly before his death, but it also shows that fire captain Joseph Stevens – the man in charge of tackling the brush fires – was in the area at the same time. “So our hero firefighter was at the blaze where Hadley’s body was found and also at the place where he was last seen alive,” says Devlin. “That’s a pretty big coincidence,” adds Madeleine.

Devlin questions Stevens and learns that he made the decision to steer the fire towards the house where Hadley’s body was found – but he claims that this tactic was all part of controlling the blaze. However, when traces of Hadley’s blood are found in Stevens’s car boot, he is arrested and charged with murder.

A motive for the murder and attempted cover-up emerges when footage is discovered showing Stevens and Hadley’s wife, Diane, at a hotel bar together. Diane is questioned and eventually admits that she and Stevens had been having an affair, but insists that she had no idea her lover intended to kill her husband.

As the trial gets underway, Stark demands to see the fire department’s reports, which he hopes will confirm that Stevens had no professional reason to change the course of the fire. But the defence lawyer reveals that the reports have been destroyed, meaning that the prosecution must fight the case without vital evidence.

Using an old contact, Devlin learns that Don Alston, chief of the LA fire department, gave the go-ahead for the reports to be destroyed. Stark visits Alston and threatens to bring charges to him if he refuses to testify against Stevens, but Alston makes a shocking revelation. He claims that Stevens committed murder not because of an affair, but because Hadley had sexually abused Stevens’s son, leading to the boy’s suicide just weeks earlier. The fireman’s death was an accident, explains Alston, but Stevens murdered Hadley for what he did to his son. “As God is my witness,” adds Alston, “I would have done the same thing.” This new evidence puts Stark in something of a moral dilemma: should he push for the maximum punishment for Stevens because of his crime, or should he treat him leniently owing to the mitigating circumstances?

(8/22)

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this instalment, a series of highway shootings across the city puts the public on high alert and presents Stark with the task of tracking down a disgruntled sniper.

Stark and his team are called to the scene of a traffic accident in which a man lost control of his car after being shot at. The weapon used was a highcalibre rifle, but Stark is keen to keep any talk of a sniper away from the press. “Nothing screws up traffic like a freeway shooter,” he says.

However, it then comes to light that another highway crash on the previous day was also caused by a shot from a rifle. Both drivers survived the shootings and the subsequent crashes, but the first victim, Ellis Warner, is in a critical condition. Computer reconstructions suggest that in both cases, the shots were fired from a car parked on an overpass at a distance of around 500 yards, confirming Stark’s fears that they are dealing with a serial sniper. Before long, the press gets hold of the story and panic begins to spread.

Suspicion falls on an LA gang known as the 6th Street Posse, whose new members are sometimes made to shoot random members of the public by way of initiation. Reyes and Isaac question a member of the gang and soon come up with the name of a suspect known for dealing in weapons – one Kelvin Barlow. When cops storm Barlow’s house, they find him in possession of a number of high-calibre rifles along with newspaper cuttings about the recent shootings. “Now we’re gunning for you,” says Reyes as the suspect is led away.

Barlow claims to have alibis for the shootings and insists that he is only guilty of weapons charges. However, when Stark threatens him with a charge of attempted murder, he becomes more co-operative and provides the details of his recent customers. While the lawyers are analysing these names, they receive an anonymous tip saying that a suspicious vehicle has been spotted nearby.

Reyes and Isaac race to the scene and arrive in time to see the cops grab the driver, but he has no gun. When news then arrives that there has been another shooting on the other side of town, it becomes clear that the tip was a red herring, designed to throw police off the scent. Like the previous two, this latest victim has not been killed. “Three shots, three survivors,” says Madeleine. “Sooner or later our luck is going to run out.”

The bogus tip is traced to a payphone that has been used to call in a number of other tips about the shootings, so Reyes and Isaac lie in wait with Kelvin Barlow, hoping that he will recognise the caller as one of his customers. Sure enough, he soon spots one Sam Purcell, who recently bought a sniper rifle. Purcell is arrested and a search of his car unearths several high-calibre rounds. “Looks like we’ve got a winner,” says Reyes.

After a little digging, Stark learns that Purcell is an ex-soldier who longed for active service but was never allowed to fight; while his psychological reports from the army suggest that he has angermanagement issues. However, the suspect denies he is guilty and orders a lawyer.

When the case arrives in court, Stark paints Purcell as a failed soldier who was frustrated at being kept away from the battlefield, so chose to vent his anger on members of the public when he returned home. In reply, the defence points to the fact that no gun has actually been found and there is no real evidence linking Purcell to the crimes.

However, the case takes a shocking turn when another shooting takes place while Purcell is in custody, suggesting that he may be innocent after all. The case is thrown out of court and Stark is forced to release his suspect, but he is still convinced of Purcell’s guilt. “If we don’t come up with something fast,” he spits, “I’m going to shoot that son of a bitch myself.” But his frustration only grows when news comes in that Ellis Warner has died in hospital. With the double-jeopardy rule meaning that Purcell cannot be charged for the same crime twice, is Stark about to let an unstable killer slip through his fingers?

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this instalment, a young fashion designer and close friend to Raina is murdered in a subway station. The investigation leads to a married man who was having an affair with the victim, but the suspect flees to Mexico before the trial concludes.

This week’s episode sees Stark and his team face a tough case as a close friend of Raina’s is murdered. Hanna Hartnell, a successful designer, was fatally stabbed shortly after a fashion show at which Raina and Isaac were guests. “We need to find who did this,” says Raina. “We will,” promises Stark.

A press photograph taken at the after-party reveals that Hanna had been arguing with a man after the show. At Hanna’s place of work, her colleague identifies the man as Louis Menashi – a textile supplier with a reputation as a lowlife. Menashi is duly brought in for questioning but denies any wrongdoing. He claims that the quarrel was about textile prices, and asserts that he was in flagrante with an unidentified blond man in an alley at the time of the murder.

When it emerges that Hanna was due to testify against Menashi at a civil fraud hearing, Stark is sure he has his man and convinces a local drug dealer to act as an eyewitness. However, when the case arrives in court, the defence reveals that the eyewitness suffers from myopia and was offered legal consideration in another case in exchange for his testimony. “So you’ve got a visually impaired ex-con looking to make a deal,” says the incredulous judge. “Well, it sounds bad when you put it that way,” responds Stark.

The case against Menashi takes another knock when Raina tracks down the blond man from the alley and he corroborates the suspect’s story. But it is at this point that startling new evidence emerges and changes the direction of the prosecution. The ME’s report reveals that Hanna was pregnant when she was killed. “When a pregnant woman dies violently,” says Stark, “we’re looking for the dad.”

Reyes manages to get hold of CCTV recordings from a hotel where Hanna was staying at the approximate time of her baby’s conception. The footage shows that she had been having an affair with a married man called Eli Weber – an investor in her clothing company. Meanwhile, Raina learns from Hanna’s doctor that she had intended to keep her baby, despite pressure from the unidentified father to terminate the pregnancy. With a new suspect complete with a motive for murder, Stark and his team release Menashi and pay Weber a visit at his home.

Weber eventually admits privately to Stark that he had an affair with Hanna, but claims to have known nothing of the pregnancy and denies killing her. In order to eliminate himself from the enquiry and keep the affair from his wife, he agrees to provide a DNA sample. However, a subsequent appeal to the judge from Weber’s newly appointed lawyer deems the DNA evidence inadmissible.

The prosecution attorneys turn back to forensic evidence to build their case and order a search of the subway tunnel where Hanna was killed. It is not long before a jacket covered in blood is found. “Now all we have to do is prove that this is Eli Weber’s jacket,” says Isaac. “And Hanna’s blood,” adds Raina. Weber is arrested and charged, and the judge allows Stark to take DNA from the suspect. However, during a recess at the court, the suspect flees and flies to Mexico in a light aircraft.

Determined to bring Weber to justice, Stark takes Reyes and follows his man to Mexico, ordering Devlin to continue the trial in absentia. He intends to use an old contact to track Weber down, but Reyes’s smart mouth gets him in trouble with a local policeman, and he and Stark are locked up. With Weber still missing and the chief prosecutor now languishing in a Mexican jail, is the case about to be thrown out of court?

The second series of the compelling US legal drama continues. In this week’s instalment, the apparent suicide of a famous fighter turns into a murder case that leads to the man behind a bigbusiness fighting league.

Stark and his team are called to the home of one Steve Abbot – a famous fighter who has just won his 40th bout in the Ultimate Fighting League (UFL). Abbot has been shot in the head and lies slumped over the breakfast bar. There are no signs of forced entry, nothing is missing from the house and there are no solid suspects. After initially pretending that Abbott was murdered, his wife, Kelly, eventually admits that she tampered with the scene to cover up her husband’s suicide. “Steve was a hero to a lot of people and I couldn’t let our son know how he really died,” she says.

However, Stark is still keen to treat the case as murder. It emerges that Abbott, along with many other fighters in the UFL, was on a cocktail of performance-enhancing steroids prescribed by a doctor at the behest of one Teddy Banks – the founder and CEO of the UFL. “I want to nail Teddy Banks for second-degree murder,” he tells a shocked Devlin. By forcing Abbott to take steroids that made him depressed enough to kill himself, Stark theorises, Banks is responsible for his death. Banks is arrested, but the prosecution case is slim. No fighter is willing to testify that they were forced to take steroids, and Banks’s expensive lawyer is incredulous that Stark wants to charge his client with the murder of a man who committed suicide. When it arrives in court, the case is soon dismissed by an irate judge.

Raina finds a new lead in the form of Rick Carris – another fighter from the league who was friends with the deceased. Carris left a message on a fan website offering sympathy for Abbott’s suicide – but it was posted before the suicide verdict was released. He could only have known such details by being at the scene before Kelly discovered her husband’s body. When it also emerges that Carris was spotted in the area on the night of Abbott’s death, Stark and his team arrest their new suspect. “I am going to find out what happened the night Steve Abbott died,” says Stark.

Further digging reveals that Carris was beaten in the ring by Abbott two years earlier – a result that caused Carris to file for bankruptcy and Abbott to sign a lucrative new deal. The lawyers then discover photographs taken some years ago showing Carris on holiday with Kelly, who later became Abbott’s wife. “Abbott got the glory, the big bucks and the girl,” says Madeleine. “And we just got our motive,” adds Devlin.

The case seems to be solved, until a re-examination of the murder scene shows that Carris had an accomplice. A call from Carris’s phone on the night of the murder is then traced to a private jet belonging to none other than Teddy Banks. Though Banks was in Vegas on the night of Abbott’s death, he could easily have made it to LA in time to assist Carris. “There’s just one little problem,” says Reyes. “We have no idea why Banks would want to kill his franchise fighter.”

Stark and Devlin make an illicit visit to Carris in jail and, without his lawyer present, it is not long before he talks. He claims that Abbott planned to quit fighting and expose Banks’s underhand dealings. Carris accompanied Banks on a visit to Abbott’s house to make him change his mind, but Banks pulled out a gun and shot Abbott – before forcing Carris to help him clean up.

When the court is next in session, Stark calls Banks to the stand as a witness, then makes a shocking statement. “Your honour, the people would like to drop charges against Mr Carris, and we would like to re-file against Mr Banks,” he says. “Only this time, it’s murder one.” Will Stark’s audacious tactics work?

Elsewhere this week, Stark and his ex-wife, Claire, clash over their contrasting approaches to Julie’s upbringing; and Stark’s concern for his daughter seems well-founded when her new boyfriend gets drunk and winds up in trouble.

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