- Title: Fairly Legal – Bait & Switch
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In need of a mediator, Judge Nicastro (Gerald McRaney) enlists Kate’s (Sarah Shahi) help in a dispute coencerning a fishing boat captain (Timothy Murphy) who is refusing to pay for an injured deckhand (Aaron Hill) who lost his hand in a boating accident. The case is complicated by the young man’s previous drug use and the the fact that the sailor is the captain’s estranged son.
A little snooping uncovers the fact that the captain and another deckhand are prepared to testify that the one-handed sailor was high during the accident and both blame the young man for the death of his brother the year before. Kate must also deal with Ben’s (Ryan Johnson) attempts to derail her mediation in favor of far more profitable litigation.
In the episode’s B-story Lauren (Virginia Williams) argues a case in front of Judge Nicastro concerning a woman in charge of her husband’s estate having trouble selling off his possessions to pay for the man’s rather substantial debt. The judge correctly identifies the case is hitting a little too close to home for Lauren, and offers a suggestion that she might think about moving on and start dating again.
As Lauren and the judge bond over the loss of their spouses, Kate discovers the truth behind the accidents that left one brother dead and the other without one of his hands and is able to bring a broken family back together again. Which leads to an awkward, but humorous, moment when Kate and Justin (Michael Trucco) catch a flustered Lauren out on a date with another lawyer (Tahmoh Penikett).
It’s nice to see the return of McRaney whose character has been softened a bit but still shows remarkable skill in reading people. Kate’s final scene with the judge is a nice coda to the episode as he commends her on her passion but also cautions her that the skills which make her a good mediator don’t necessarily help in relationships.