Presumed Innocent Season 1 Episode 3 Review: Discovery

Spoilers

Is Rusty Sabich guilty of the murder of his former mistress Carolyn, or is he, as was once written about Congressman Gary Condit, “the Unluckiest Adulterer Who Ever Lived”?

Through three episodes, that appears to be the central question of the Apple TV+ version of Presumed Innocent. I predict the series will debate that question quite a few times.

Rusty (Jake Gyllenhaal) is unquestionably guilty of adultery, dishonesty, and various degrees of unethical and unsavory personal and professional behavior. But is he a murderer?

The third episode of the series, “Discovery,” does not bring us much further towards resolving that question.

And it also starts to raise doubts over whether it was wise to stretch this mystery — previously a novel and then a feature film — into an eight-part mini-series. After all, there can only be so many red herrings.

Related: Presumed Innocent Series Premiere Review: Meet Rusty Sabich (Again)

The episode begins as the second episode ended, with Rusty receiving a text message—’YOU WERE THERE—I SAW YOU’ —from a mysterious number. But it’s not a blocked number; an actual number is listed.

Rusty called the number back but got no response. He then admits to Barbara (Ruth Negga) that he was, in fact, at Carolyn’s house the night of the murder but swears that “I wasn’t there to kill her.”

It was all a dream

Then, there’s a bit of misdirection: We see a scene of Rusty and Carolyn arguing, and he appears to be about to strike her with a weapon.

However, we then see a blood-covered Rusty declare, “Wake up, Raymond,” and discover that this was a dream by Raymond Horgan (Bill Camp), clearly feeling anxious that his friend and client may be guilty of the murder.

He discusses this at the kitchen table with his wife (Elizabeth Marvel), who confides that she’s worried about the “glare” that comes with such a high-profile case.

Raymond also tells his wife that he believes his friend is innocent- but that’s before he learns Rusty was at Carolyn’s the night she died.

About that text

Rusty eventually gets a response to that text and decides to meet his text correspondent in the typical location of a spooky, rain-soaked warehouse.

Related: The Lincoln Lawyer Season 3: Everything We Know So Far

It turns out to be… Carolyn’s teenage son Michael (Tate Birchmore), whose existence Rusty was unaware of before her death.

Michael reveals he has pictures and videos of Rusty on the night of the murder, that he saw no one else there that night, and that he has shared them with the prosecutors.

In this scene, neither of them acts as though they are the murderer.

Paparazzi

The episode also makes clear that the murder charges, including news vans parked outside, are taking their toll on the Sabich family.

Barbara is told by her boss at an art gallery to “take a step back.” After that, she flirts with a bartender, although she stops short of pursuing an affair with him.

Their kids are also not all right, with the couple’s daughter demanding to know the strength of the evidence.

Prosecutorial intrigue

There’s also a lot going on with the prosecution side of the show, in which Nico (O-T Fagbenle) and Tommy (Peter Sarsgaard) are working to put Rusty away.

We see them interrogating Rodriguez (Nana Mensah), the detective helping Rusty. This continues to be a strange blind spot in the series since, at one point, she suggests that Tommy might fire her, and Nico removes her from the case.

Doesn’t she work for the police? How could a prosecutor have the power to fire her?

Related: The Courtroom Crusaders: TV Lawyers You’d Want in Your Corner

This also came up in the first episode when, for some reason, the district attorney, not the cops, was under fire for the lack of an arrest up to that point.

Despite that, whether Nico and Tommy are working the case professionally or seeking to destroy their former office enemy is one of the show’s more compelling strands thus far.

In the new episode, we see them strategizing, with Tommy denying the implication that he “hates” Rusty.

The murder trial, with Rusty, the career prosecutor now on the other side of the courtroom, was a huge part of the original Presumed Innocent.

A character says the trial is “ten weeks” away, although it’s unclear how many episodes the show has to go until the start of the trial.

However, we get one pretrial hearing scene, which takes place in a courtroom.

An affair to remember

The show still has yet to show us much of Carolyn as a character outside of the context of her affair with Rusty.

In the third episode, we get a couple of flashbacks to the two together, including Rusty explaining that the “tenderness” she showed with a little girl who had been assaulted was what first drew him to her.

Later, we hear old conversations between the two after things went wrong- as we watch Tommy listen to them and prepare his legal arguments.

A few ‘Innocent’ observations

While Scott Turow, the book’s author, is a Chicago native, the book and original movie were more vague about geography. The Apple show, however, emphasizes Chicago color, complete with looks at downtown and the L Train.

Related: Murder in a Small Town Season 1: Everything We Know So Far

It’s been reported, especially after the movie Knives Out, that Apple does not allow villains to use iPhones or other products in movies or shows.

It’s unclear whether that might explain whether Rusty, who uses an iPhone, is the killer. At the end of the episode, we see him looking at evidence on an iPad.

On the other hand, characters in Apple TV+ shows, good and evil alike, tend always to use iPhones and Macs.

The character of Sandy Stern, who represented Rusty in the book and movie and also appeared in other works by author Scott Turow, is not Rusty’s lawyer in the Apple version.

However, a dialogue line establishes that Sandy still exists in this universe when Raymond Horgan says a new lawyer on the team, Maya, formerly worked at “Sandy Stern’s.”

In the end, the third episode moves some pieces around, although I get the sense there will be many more — possibly too many more — before we’re done.

And that’s even before we get the reveal, in the episode’s final shot, of ano

Stephen Silver is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow more of his work on his Substack The SS Ben Hecht, by Stephen Silver.You can follow him on X.

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