Presumed Innocent – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

The Burden

Episode 4 of Presumed Innocent begins with Rusty and Barbara having a talk with Kyle. Rusty tells Kyle about the pictures of him outside Carolyn’s house. Kyle admits he found out about the affair a few months ago. He went there because he wanted to know why Rusty kept going to Carolyn. His answers don’t satisfy Rusty, who gets angry and eventually, Barbara tells him to leave. While he’s walking outside, he recalls Carolyn practising her speech for the Bunny Davis case with him.

When he returns home, Barbara tells him off for interrogating Kyle like a prosecutor. But they only get into a fight till Barbara storms out. Elsewhere, Tommy Molto practices questioning the medical examiner as a witness. It doesn’t go well since Kumagai doesn’t like being told what to do.

Back at work on the case, Raymond and Rusty wonder how to go about the case now. Rusty is also frustrated about Barbara saying “she’s done” when they fought. Raymond reminds him that he dug his own grave and hints that Rusty is being self-centred.

At the prosecutor’s office, Rusty’s secretary Eugenia discovers she’s on Molto’s witness list and isn’t happy about it. Molto then talks to Michael, who talks about seeing Rusty go to Carolyn’s house that night. But he also reveals that during lunch with his mother, Carolyn said that she was afraid of someone she worked with. But she never mentioned a name.

Barbara finds herself at the bar across from the cute bartender again. This time, he introduces himself as Clifton and takes a seat beside her. Meanwhile, Rigo calls Rusty and tells him she got a match in the second DNA at the Bunny Davis case. The person’s name is Brian Ratzer. The two of them go to the man’s house and try to ask him about the murder incident. The man seems awkward and evasive and they leave without much information. Rigo blames Rusty and his aggressive questioning.

At night, Rusty has disturbing dreams about Carolyn. He wakes up to find the bed empty next to him. He finds Barbara frantically cleaning Kyle’s bike. She’s worried about him becoming a suspect. After all, he is black, which Barbara says Rusty seems to forget.

The parents send Kyle to their therapist but he doesn’t make much progress. She tells Barbara that she can’t be a therapist for all of the three of them and they should, ideally, each have their own. Elsewhere, Nico tells Molto to not be hostile towards witnesses like Eugenia. He also says that Raymond has asked for a meeting, which does not bode well for them.

Later, Rusty speaks with Mya who asks him what happened the night of the murder. He says he was texting Carolyn from work but she wasn’t responding and it frustrated him. He went to a bar and had a few drinks. Then Carolyn texted back, telling him to come over.

We see confusing bits and flashes of what happened. Rusty says they just argued, he wanted to get back together and she didn’t. But she kissed him goodbye, giving him hope, and then he went home. Mya wonders what argument could take 51 minutes, which is how long Rusty was at her house.

Mya and Raymond discuss the case separately and they agree to not let Rusty get on the witness stand. Meanwhile, Rusty keeps looking into Brian Ratzer while the latter looks Rusty up on the internet.

Once he’s home, Rusty calls Barbara and tries to apologise. But she’s back at the bar sitting across Clifton. He even gives her his phone number. But it’s Rusty that Barbara has sex with later on.

Raymond comes to the prosecutor’s office. He bumps into Eugenia, who tells him she doesn’t want to testify against Rusty. He then meets Nico and Molto, confronting them on their badly constructed case which is mostly circumstantial. He offers a plea deal for the obstruction of injustice charge and therefore save Rusty’s life as well as Nico’s political reputation. Nico then tosses over a file that seems to shock Raymond.

Barbara and Rusty talk about his affair, after they’ve had sex. They admit they drifted apart and even the sex just now was trying to prove they still had something. Just then, Raymond calls. He tells Rusty the jaw-dropping news – his DNA was found under Carolyn’s fingernails. Rusty goes ballistic and at the same time, somebody starts banging on the house’s front door.

As Jaden and Barbara are all in a fluster and Raymond is still on the phone, Rusty realises that it’s Brian Ratzer. He’s seemingly taking revenge for Rusty calling on his house and messing with his family. Raging now, Rusty flings the door open and begins to rain punches down on Brian, leaving his family shocked at the end of Presumed Innocent Episode 4.

The Episode Review

Presumed Innocent Episode 4 moves faster than the previous ones and the focus is equally split between the characters’ relationships and the court case. And Michael’s statement about Rusty and Barbara, despite all of the latter’s desire to do otherwise, they end up sleeping together and actually confronting what went wrong with their relationship. Rusty must face the effect of his affair on his children as well, though he doesn’t do a very good job of it.  

Rusty clearly comes across as that typical archetype of a cheating husband, the one who doesn’t think about his wife while he’s begging his mistress to take him back. And when the time for reckoning comes, suddenly things are ‘complicated’. It’s hard to sympathise with Rusty, even as we see the evidence piling up against him. Raymond is absolutely right when he calls Rusty out for feeling shame, but not guilt, and for being self-centred.

He’s not sorry about the affair as much as he’s sorry about the way it’s blown up now. With the way he lets himself loose on Brian at the episode’s closing seconds, things are just getting worse. Gyllenhaal does a great job playing Rusty’s growing desperation with a frantic energy but the series as a whole doesn’t have the pull that a murder mystery like this should.

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