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- TV Show Ended -
There is no Next Episode of The Guardian planned.
While Nick and co-workers are unwinding after work at a bar (although Nick is reviewing some papers), he is propositioned by an attractive young woman. What seems like an innocent tryst, however, could turn Nick's career upside down. Meanwhile, Nick's boss at Children's Legal Services must present his proposal to renew the annual contract for the non-profit agency, and this is the first year he has any competition. Will CLS receive the needed funding again this year?
Since Child Legal Services is now also assisting adults, Nick's first client is a mentally challenged young man whose mother is certain he's being taken advantage of by his neighbor, a drug dealer. However, there is not enough evidence for the court to decide the young man must move back home, until . . . something catastrophic happens. Meanwhile, Nick's friend at his dad's firm, Jake, is facing legal issues of his own, following a disturbing auto accident.
One of the most heart-wrenching episodes I have ever seen on TV; how surprising it's in the first half of the freshman season for this show. I love when writers name an episode, and it relates in more than one way, as we see in the simple word "Heart." First, Nick represents a 12-year-old ("going on 40") girl who needs a heart transplant. And Nick's father struggles with an almost ironclad contract he wrote 30 years ago, and watches while the terms are used against a good friend.
Barbara, the secretary at Legal Services of Pittsburgh, as well as Nick's co-worker/friend, needs his help. Her 16-year-old son is found with drugs in the vehicle he is driving, which leads to a tragedy. But her son won't divulge where he obtained the drugs, so he's facing hard times. Also, one of Fallin & Associates' clients is trying to sell his toy company, but the creator of a popular children's character doesn't want to give up his rights to the intellectual property. Also, Nick's African American friend, James, at Legal Services of Pittsburgh, is called upon to defend a Neo-Nazi whose landlord is trying to evict him on any possible cause, as the landlord is Jewish and is offended by the free paper his tenant publishes. James defends the man, but it also arouses his own feelings about the client's offensive beliefs.
Nick interviews Louise Archer for his father's firm, but she announces she's already accepted position elsewhere. Fallin and Associates loses a lawyer to a competitor, Kirk & McGee, who then proceeds to try to poach other staff from Fallin's firm. Nick is assigned to work on a case with a new staff member at Legal Services of Pittsburgh, which involves an Arab American shopkeeper who used a bat against a vandal who broke into his store. Nick's father marathons sweet-talking all his clients that might be leaving due to the staff upheaval. As always, surprises ensue.
Nick's first CLS case is now up for the lawsuit against the drug company, which Burton negotiates, as well as where Hunter will live. Alvin's ex-wife appears, asking for his help as she wants to bring a wrongful termination suit against her former employer, which she claims is retaliation for whistle-blowing. And, we learn for the first time, that Nick has been involved in an illicit affair with a married woman.
This episode begins on Friday night during a birthday celebration, and then we see the days leading up to the events of that night. Nick starts his new position at Kirk & McGee, but things are not going as well as he planned. He is assigned to represent a father/son business transaction, where he squares off with his own father at the negotiating table. At the new firm, Nick sees an unwelcome figure from his past. Alvin also faces his past during a mother's request to keep her young boy, and Lu makes a surprising discovery.
Nick and his father attend a funeral for a client's daughter, unsure if she was murdered for her trust money or not. Nick accidentally witnesses disturbing behavior by the decedent's sister, and many questions arise. Amanda dips her toes into pro bono work at Legal Services of Pittsburgh, and represents an older woman who claims her doctor is taking advantage of her financially; however, Amanda gets a surprise revelation during the hearing.
Nick's Aunt LIz and her son, Jeremy, come to ask for assistance as she negotiates a deal to sell her business, since she has been diagnosed with cancer. Nick learns his cousin's secret, and encourages him to admit his problem to Liz. Nick shares some words of wisdom with the teen, since Nick watched his mother fight cancer when he was about Jeremy's age. At LS/Pittsburgh, James Mooney has a new client from Thailand, who is supposedly looking for her uncle living in America.
Another gut wrenching episode from this company of writers. Lu represents a crack addicted woman recently out of rehab for a custody hearing, and has second thoughts about her client's ability to care for her children, so Nick is added to the defense team. The situation escalates to involve SWAT and a negotiator. At LS/Pittsburgh, James is asked to represent a 17-year-old young man who claims he did not consent to give up his parental rights for his girlfriend's baby. Burton asks Nick for a ride home after a surgical procedure on his eyes, but refuses to give specifics to Nick, except that he has had multiple operations.
A mother seeks Nick's help to block her 17-year-old son's request for emancipation. Turns out, while he can't take her case, she has information that can help in a Fallin & Associates union contract negotiation. We meet James' nephew, sister and grandmother when the teenager goes to his mother's aid and events turn tragic. And a former girlfriend of Nick's shows up to see how he's doing, and whether he has room for her in his life.
Interpersonal relationships between the main characters get strained in some ways, and deepened in others. Nick represents two brothers who don't want to be separated, but only one has an immediate adoption offer, which forces Nick and Lu to face each other in court. Jake helps his parents out when his father's personal and business debts threaten the family home, and Jake finally meets a mutually interested lady friend. Nick's NA sponsor challenges Nick about his commitment to his recovery.
Nick runs into an important person in both his and his father's lives, which may have a significant impact on both their futures. A woman asks for Nick's help, as a trust was set up for her young daughter who disappeared about 7 years ago, and she needs the trust money to save her home. Nick asks the detective who was on the case, and things get complicated from there. And Alvin and Laurie Solt, the social services worker, discover a mutual passion for helping juveniles who fall through the cracks when they need psychiatric evaluation and not just detention.
This episode has multiple subplots, and it appears Nick feels like his entire world is spinning out of control. (1) His parole officer threatens to report some technical violations to the judge, if Nick won't assist him with legal services while he tries to purchase and renovate a gentleman's club with his girlfriend, and the situation ends very badly for some parties involved. (2) A friend of a close friend asks Nick to bail him out of jail, but keep it all a secret. (3) Nick's father is being looked at for a federal judgeship, and Nick's legal problems could hinder this appointment, putting additional pressure on Nick. (4) At Legal Services, Nick represents a recent parolee whose ex-wife is trying to get his parental rights severed. (5) Lu personally invites Nick to her upcoming engagement party. (6) And, James' new guardianship with his nephew is already being challenged by the young man.
While visiting the house where Lu and Brian have placed an offer, Nick and the couple meet two homeless teens who need much help and guidance; Nick and Lu are assigned to represent these teens' interests in court. Nick's father divulges that he would like to leave the firm in Nick's hands, if he is appointed to the federal judgeship, and suggests Nick assist on of Burton's personal clients as a stepping stone, but it reveals to Nick some of his weaknesses. And Lu and Nick's friendship begins to move along a new path.
Burton surprises the firm with a new senior partner: a former senator, and his unscrupulous aide. Nick is advised he needs to drop one of his big clients, where there could be a conflict of interest with the senator, which is where the episode pulls its name from: "Chinese Wall." Lu is pulled into her grandmother's life when she falls in her nursing home and breaks a leg under questionable circumstances.
Alvin is concerned about James' use of boxing to discipline his nephew; James ask Nick to represent him regarding parenting classes. Dr. Reed visits Nick again, concerned about his son's trust. With a new managing partner at the firm, Nick discusses starting a new firm with some of his colleagues. Mandy Gressler shows up unexpectedly, and threatens to jeopardize Nick's probationary status. Alvin attempts to support Nick in a difficult situation, but Nick shuts him down. And we are left with a suspenseful cliffhanger for the first season.