Accused – Season 1 Episode 14 “Jessie’s Story” Recap & Review

Jessie’s Story

This is Jessie’s story, a young teenage girl looking for closure about her biological father. The issues involved in this story are sensitive in nature and as we soon find out, Kara Harrison is Jessie’s mother. It is just the two of them in the house and they live in an apartment. They’re also friendly with their neighbours, who happen to be a traditional, functional family, unlike the Harrisons. Dominic is a criminal lawyer, Andrea, his wife, is a therapist, and their kids Will and Fern, are Jessie’s age. Will and Jessie are actually quite close too. 

Jessie is hyperenergetic and participates in cross-country running to vent that. Her second ACL tear means she can no longer run and she also has a weak knee, potentially resulting from her father’s genetics. Jessie was a test tube baby but does not know her father’s identity. The plot thickens though as we learn Andrea and Kara were friends before but for some reason, they don’t see eye to eye now.

Jessie wants to know the identity of her father but Kara tries to discourage her. After some convincing, Jessie agrees not to pursue this matter.

In the present day, we see Jessie and Kara waiting for the former’s trial to start. It is unclear what she has done but Will is involved. Dominic appears all of a sudden and offers to represent Jessie for free with a “Defence” that will win the case for her. Kara hands over Jessie’s father’s file to her and says that he died a few years ago in a car accident. The company that sponsored the procedure for the birth is named Reproductive Strategies (RS).

Jessie is shaken. She is livid with Kara for not telling about his identity to Jessie before he died. Jessie calls over Will for emotional support but he is head over heels in love with Jessie. However, Kara seems uncomfortable with their closeness. She keeps reminding Jessie of being “careful around boys” so it seems like there is something in Kara’s past that bothers her. Jessie and Will call the offices of RS and ask for information about the donor, matching the file name from the file Kara gave Jessie. But the receptionist is reluctant to give out any information.

Will and Jessie look over the potential donor involved in legal cases. They fall asleep in the laundry room of the building, while their parents get worried. Kara has a meltdown in front of everyone and asks Jessie to stop seeing Will altogether. Desperate for answers, she hatches a plan to break into the offices of RS that night. They do not find any records of Jessie’s father and she breaks down crying. Will consoles her as she tries to upend the Cryolab specimens.

They’re about to kiss when Will notices the silent alarm has gone off. As they are escaping, Jessie’s knee issue acts up and she is unable to walk. She decides to stay back and Will escapes. She is arrested and confronts Kara about falsely fixing up the donor’s report. Kara agrees to the accusation, while Jessie is confused about why Kara went into so much detail about him. Kara says he is still alive, and it turns out that Dominic is Jessie’s father.

Kara and Dominic had an affair in the past, but he didn’t know about his fatherhood. Kara did not tell him as she felt she would lose Jessie and ruin her friendship with Andrea. So Will and Jessie are actually siblings! That is why Kara was so concerned, so Kara decides to tell the truth in court to save Jessie. And that is the “Defence” Dominic wants her to abandon.

In the present, Dominic pleads with Kara to drop her idea to tell the court the truth. She agrees but Jessie is confused. She goes to Will and says she really wants to kiss him. He is reluctant because he knows who the father is… and then he tells her the truth. He sent the DNA sample Jessie threw away and it matched the one he did of himself a year back.

The children confront their guilty parents. Andrea still does not know about it and Dominic pleads with Will and Fern to keep it that way but instead, Will tells her the truth. 

Kara expresses her helplessness about the situation and claims that she did the “best she could.” Jessie forgives her and they embrace. Andrea is heartbroken when she learns the truth and leaves the house to stay with her sister temporarily. Jessie wins the case and is given six months of probation; no jail time. Dominic and Jessie share a laugh in the elevator and also learn that they share a mutation in their knees. She also mentions that her and Kara are moving away so that Andrea can come back.

Andrea confesses she was completely blindsided by what was going on. Kara apologises for pulling away from Andrea at the time and she also asks her not to move away. As the episode closes out, we see them celebrating “family time” together. 

The Episode Review

This was arguably the most “American” episode of Accused. And also the most cliched, cringe-worthy, and nonsensical thus far in season 1. The coddled storytelling in Jessie’s Story felt cuckolded to the idea of a happy ending and softening the heavy emotional blows to keep it “mellow.” Although the actors churned in decent performances, they seemed to lack proper direction. There were many instances when the music wouldn’t match the tone of the scene, and others when the balance between exposition and plot completely vanished.

Betsy Brandt (Marie from Breaking Bad), who was the star attraction in this episode, seemed flattering in expression but lacked understanding of her character. That flows from the overarching delusion and disjointed feel the writers and director had about Jessie’s Story. Episode 14, which is the penultimate of season 1, was embarrassingly uncompelling.

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