Proven Innocent doesn't shy away from anything!
Proven Innocent Season 1 Episode 2 took on the issue of survivors needing to be heard and believed in a way I've never seen before.
It explored a ton of problems with the legal system, introduced Easy's troubled marriage, set up a new mystery about why Bellows' wife hates his new hire and delved deeper into the mystery behind Rosemary's death -- all without being the slightest bit overwhelming!
Tamara's case was partially about rape survivors not being believed and partially about how cops, judges, and others with power often believe what they want to irrespective of the evidence.
Maddie: Prior to that night, she had never been arrested, then all of a sudden she commits multiple violent crimes miles apart from each other?
Judge: It's possible.
Maddie: Why do you refuse to see the truth when it's right in front of you?
Judge: Truth is subjective. I need facts.
Tamara's public defender refusing to give her a proper defense was bad enough, but the judge's refusal to dismiss after he had proof she slashed her rapist and not Tim was unconscionable.
The judge's theory that she slashed both men seemed like a stretch to me.
I couldn't help wondering whether he was a racist who believed that Tamara was likely to suddenly and randomly become violent because of the color of her skin.
There's also the problem that when a defendant comes to court from jail, it makes it more likely that judges and juries will presume guilt.
At least Tamara wasn't in shackles during her hearings, which would make it seem even more like she was a dangerous person!
In any case, this was the second time a judge made a ruling that seemed at odds with reality, underscoring the fact that the entire system is stacked against defendants.
Judges, DAs, and cops all contribute to convictions, and removing any one person won't necessarily solve the problem.
That's an important message, especially on a show like this where Bellows could easily be portrayed as the entire problem.
I'd like to know what happened to the missing evidence, too.
Obviously, there was some corruption somewhere along the line, but after it disappeared and Maddie cried foul, the lost evidence never got mentioned again.
Easy: Let the record show that I did not break this seal. The tape on this box was broken when I received it.
Tracey: I am confirming that the seal is broken. I am opening the box now. [opens box] The evidence box is empty.
Maddie: Someone stole that evidence and is probably destroying it to keep an innocent woman in jail!
Tracey: You have no evidence of that!
Maddie: We have no evidence at all.
Ultimately, it didn't matter, since losing the evidence just made Maddie that much more determined to prove her client was innocent. But it still bugged me that nobody so much as reported the theft to the judge or tried to investigate what had happened.
The only other weak point was that Chad confessed far too readily to his part in the murder!
He was a total idiot. Everyone who's watched any cop show ever knows better than to fall for what he did.
That's a minor problem, though. The hour had to get wrapped up somehow, and it was nice to see Tamara get the justice she deserved.
I need to know more about Bellows' relationship with Isabel and why his wife is unhappy that she's on staff.
When he was talking to her in his office, I thought she might have been his daughter and didn't understand why his wife seemed so jealous.
But that's not who Isabel is, at least not if Bellows is telling the full truth about her backstory.
Bellows can't be trusted, and it's too convenient politically that the daughter of the unfortunate murder victim that made him feel so guilty showed up at his firm just as his numbers were tanking thanks to Madeline's campaign to prove he cared more about convictions than justice.
Could Bellows have had an affair with Isabel's mother and tried to get the woman's husband put away for a crime he didn't commit so he could get him out of the way only to have his plan backfire when Dwight was acquitted and lashed out violently?
That seems way out there, but with Bellows anything is possible!
Campaign manager: Every time Madeline Scott speaks, your numbers go down.
Mrs. Bellows: So you have to go negative on her.
Bellows: She isn't even my opponent! The last thing I want is for my campaign to be about Madeline Scott.
It's also interesting that Bellows refuses to touch Maddie.
Some of it is political expediency, I'm sure. Bellows has a rare gift for understanding the importance of optics and how to manipulate them, at least so far.
He has to know that going after Maddie will look like retaliation for her criticism of him and that can't be good for his campaign.
But what does Bellows know about what happened the night Rosemary died that he doesn't want coming out?
Something tells me he is sitting on far more of the truth about that murder than he admits.
It seems like Bellows is heading to retrying Maddie and Levi's case, judging from the non-subtle clues dropped in every episode.
Maddie asking Easy if they could be tried separately seemed like a flashing neon sign announcing that will happen sooner or later.
I'm not sure how good that would be for his campaign, though. Wouldn't the same appearance of retaliation come into play if he attempted to retry Maddie?
Of course, he could retry Levi or use the threat of doing it as leverage against Maddie.
I have to admit that the Levi drama is my least favorite part of this show. All signs point to Levi being guilty, which means that he most likely isn't. But either way, I'm not finding his spiraling down entertaining, and I'm eager for the mystery to move past Maddie's doubts about her brother.
Maddie's mother comes off as selfish, too, and Maddie's not giving up on finding out who killed Rosemary, so she can give up trying to convince her to stop "for Levi's sake" already.
Easy's Wife: I know you don't want to hear this, but I think you need to see someone.
Easy: Absolutely not.
Easy's Wife: Well, you'd better do something, cause what we have here isn't working.
The best side story was Easy's family life.
Easy's workaholism isn't good for his marriage, and his wife's comment that he needed help made me wonder if there was more to their backstory that's still to come.
Their argument touched on the issue of mass incarceration of people of color without making that the primary focus.
I thought this was a great way to bring up the issue because Easy's wife had a point, yet that didn't seem to be what made her very angry.
She resented Easy's choosing his job over his family, period, and his working closely with Madeline was part of that.
Easy made the case that working long hours allowed him to do things most black lawyers weren't able to do, but the one thing that struck me is something he didn't say.
So far, all of the cases we've seen on air have involved defendants of color, so he was fighting directly against mass incarceration with his job.
I'm sure that wouldn't assuage his wife's pain, but I was surprised he didn't point it out.
What's your verdict on "Burden of Truth"?
What's the story with Isabel, and why does Bellows' wife hate her?
Can Easy salvage his marriage?
And am I the only one who's impatient for the Rosemary mystery to move past this Levi drama?
Weigh in below, and don't forget you can watch Proven Innocent online if you missed anything!
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.