We have learned many things about our good doctor over this premiere season. He plays to win, can’t stand losing. He likes to play dress up and lives to fool with expectations. He’s usually hungry. But, most of all, he hates lawyers.
So what is the triple-doctorated psychologist to do when an infamous defense attorney, on trial for the murder of his sports dance squad fiancee, declares on national television that he has retained the services of Dr. Jason Bull? Pay the man a visit to set him straight of course. This delights Jules Caffrey (Isaiah Washington, The 100) as it gets Bull in his door and gives him the chance to convince him of his innocence.
It’s no easy case. A.D.A. Shelley Giordana (Annabella Sciorra, Mental) has built a solid case with piles of evidence, witness testimony, and a pretty damning voicemail from Caffrey’s deceased fiancee, Lauren. The T.A.C. team is quick to point out to Bull that the mock juries hated the relationship narrative between the much older, three-times divorced Jules and the 25-year-old Lauren. To top things off, Benny is loathe to defend a man who whooped his legal butt in court multiple times.
And the client isn’t exactly a walk in the park. He scores 38/40 on the N.P.I. (Narcissistic Personality Inventory) illustrated brilliantly when Bull points out that only Donald Trump and Elmo refer to themselves in the third person more than Jules does. As it is, Bull deduces early on that the only attorney capable of defending Jules Caffrey *is* Jules Caffrey. (Benny’s relief was palpable.)
T.A.C.’s primary mission is to fill the jury with low N.P.I. individuals who don’t like spectacle or high drama. “Canadians, essentially,” translates Bull. Jules, as a seasoned defense attorney, wants exactly the opposite but Bull convinces him that, as the defendant in this case, he needs to trust the process and depend on facts, not emotion to coerce a jury.
Meanwhile, with Cable pointing them in a general direction based on Lauren texts and messages, Chunk and Danny hit the basketball court and question Lauren’s dance squad colleagues and co-workers. They turn up some juicy dirt which points them at the other dancers rather than alleged lovers. First on the list: Angela Miles (Kati Sharp, Vinyl). Chunk has a good chat with the ruthless cheerleader but ultimately, she has an alibi.
In a minor side-plot, Cable’s romance with ex-gamer boy Wes is all unicorn puke and sparkles until Bull’s new assistant, ex-model Allie (Lara Goldie, “Dressed to Kill“) comments on how presents out of the blue usually mean guys are hiding something. This prompts Cable to deep-dive Wes’ devices, leading her to a gamer den where she busts his secret and then proceeds to pwn him at his own game.
At the courthouse, voir dire couldn’t have gone much worse. Jules refuses the T.A.C. game plan and reverts to old habits which antagonize and turn key jury members. When A.D.A. Giordano notices that he and Bull are squabbling, she takes the opportunity to accept the jury. Distracted, Jules accidentally agrees to it as well.
About as frustrated as we’ve ever seen him, Bull leads Jules out a back exit of the courthouse, away from the media circus out front. He reminds Jules that T.A.C. was hired because they are the best at the science and that Jules’ reliance on image is going to get him convicted. “Lie to others, not to me. It’s the fastest way to end up in jail.”
Jules just cannot give up the limelight. Assembling his own rally at Washington Square, he manages to sway mirror jury members to his side by trying his case in the court of public opinion. Bull has to admit that it had an effect but is adamant that in the actual courtroom, Jules has got to listen and play the game plan as the A.D.A. calls his three ex-wives to the stand to testify that he is a monster.
In a stellar bit of cross-examination drama, Jules has possibly the first open and honest conversation with each of his previous wives about what went wrong in their relationships. A little sad that it takes putting them on the stand under oath to get a heartfelt conversation but ultimately, it is a productive exercise, moving even the most antagonistic jurors to tears.
All the magic happens on the stand this episode (with Cable wielding the true wand, of course). When taking a second look at the victim, the team discovers that she was actually a grifter with multiple fake identities in various states. Keeping it from Jules only to spring it on him when Bull is questioning him on the stand (New York State law procedure is *weird* when it comes to defendants who represent themselves), there’s a certain note of satisfaction when he asks, counter to the prosecution’s assertion that Jules is some kind of player,”How does it feel to know that you were the one who got played?”
With an acquittal setting Caffrey free to launch the “Jules Show 2.0”, Bull then makes peace with the A.D.A. by helping her nail Lauren’s actual killer, her brother Jared (Adam Aaldeerks, Ballers) who not only shares his sister’s trichotillomania (which Bull cottoned on to) but also her penchant for multiple aliases as he had testified during the trial as witness, Derek Miller.
A welcome return to series form was the closing scene of the T.A.C. team blowing off steam at a pub, playing pool and darts, while Caffrey and Bull compare notes on manipulating the world around them. Interrupted by one of Jules’ fans, Bull joins his “three-ring circus” and proceeds to demonstrate how to play darts with, of course, a bullseye shot.
Bull airs Tuesday nights at 9pm PT/ET on CBS.