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Locked in a Sensory Deprivation Tank - "Make Me" (Episode 20, Season 1 of Bull) on CBS

In the twentieth edition of his weekly column in Law360, DOAR’s real-life New York City Jury Consultant and Psychologist reviews the fictional NYC Jury Consultant/Psychologist on the television series “Bull,” focusing on what litigation is really like in the trenches.

[Spoiler Alert]…





This week, Bull intentionally influences his client to attempt to strangle Bull in court to prove that his client is not guilty of murder. Finally, the show reveals what we jury consultants are really like: selfless and disposable.

The Case of the Manchurian Golfer

In this episode, we get a little sci-fi Manchurian Candidate story about a guy who bashes his father’s head in with a golf club at the driving range at Chelsea Piers, possibly due to hypnotic suggestion from a cult leader.

You might think that sounds interesting until you learn that Benny is moping around, concerned about being investigated for corruption. Yes, that endless subplot which has been mentioned and remains undeveloped episode after episode. Someone give me a golf club so I can beat up the little blue index cards on the writers’ room wall that say “peevish Benny subplot.”

Even Bull appears tired of Benny’s Hamletian rumination to the point where he has a psychologist attempt to surreptitiously give Benny psychotherapy by asking him out to dinner. Presumably, Bull’s plan is for there to be lot of “Benny, which disapproving entrée do you think your mother would order?” and “If you weren’t so short, what kind of soup would you be?” (Editor’s note: We had to cut the other 35 jokes in this series). Fortunately Benny declines the dinner offer, so the psychologist is able to keep her license to do unethical psychotherapy.

Everyone sets out to investigate. Danny and Chunk try to infiltrate the cult, but Chunk gets found out and locked in a sensory deprivation tank for about 30 seconds. Cable is back to her old self and hacks into the Chelsea Piers golf range computer, finding exactly the file she wants in approximately five seconds and downloading tons of video in under a minute.

At trial, with the great Desmin Borges (known for the FX comedy-drama “You’re The Worst”) playing Bull’s attorney, Bull once again decides to teach the jury by humiliating them, this time by shoving their noses into the fact that they have been victims of unconscious persuasion to wear red to court.

Bull has the daughter of the cult leader on the stand call the defendant’s phone while it is in an evidence bag. The ringtone triggers him to kill so he tries to choke Bull to death. The bailiff intervenes. The jury finds the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity, and, in a psychoanalytically ironic twist, the daughter is arrested for killing the defendant’s father while actually trying to kill her own father.

Is That What Jury Consulting is Like?

In voir dire, the attorney passes around a candle for the potential jurors to smell and opine on. He also has gun owners raise their hands, and many do, as if everyone in New York is Travis Bickle. But these are not the only inaccuracies. Unlike in this episode, my clients have never tried to strangle me before seeing the bill.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. See you next week!

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