Bellows' Twisted Sense of Justice
Gore Bellows was the best kind of villain: a guy who did horrendous things for what he believed to be excellent reasons. Bellows was committed to justice, but his refusal to believe he could ever be wrong was his undoing. Not only did he waste time and money pursuing Madeline for a murder she didn't commit, but he did countless other unethical things in his quest to see justice be served.
Its Spotlight on Problems In the Criminal Justice System
Proven Innocent addressed the need for criminal justice reform regularly. One of the most moving episodes was Proven Innocent Season 1 Episode 9, where Madeline tried and failed to stop an innocent man from being put to death. This show also addressed the mass incarceration of brown and black people, corruption in various parts of the justice system, the intersection between immigration laws and criminal justice, and more.
The greater the odds against winning, the more determined Madeline was to win. She was not only dedicated to getting justice for wrongfully convicted persons, but inspired her team to go the extra mile too. For example, on Provent Innocent Season 1 Episode 11, she refused to give up on the case of a woman accused of shaking her baby to death even though there was almost no evidence the defense could use and winning seemed impossible.
Madeline's Relationship with Wren
Proven Innocent turned the stereotype of "gay for the stay" on its head by developing a relationship between Madeline and her fellow prisoner Wren. While Wren was still incarcerated, the relationship was difficult to maintain and was little more than a booty call, but Madeline came out as bisexual to her parents when she learned Wren would be released and Wren ended up being an important part of the Proven Innocent family.
The Weekly Podcast
Violet's podcasts opened and closed each episode of Proven Innocent, summarizing the issues in the current case and highlighting some of the ways that the criminal justice system dehumanized prisoners and destroyed relationships. Violet loved her job so much that she turned down the opportunity to work for NPR on Proven Innocent Season 1 Episode 8 and now we will miss her weekly commentary.
Easy's Family Troubles
At work, Easy was a soft-spoken yet passionate attorney who had an impressive win record. But his personal life was messy. His wife resented how much time he spent at the office and his teenage son was rebellious and headed for trouble. Easy tried marital counseling, but he ultimately lost his marriage to the desire to get justice for strangers.
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