We knew going in that nothing about this case would be easy.
Aaron and his team dove right into Andy’s wrongful death case on For Life Season 2 Episode 8, and the gloves were off.
Interestingly enough, it was Aaron who waded into the deep end and got his hands dirty.
Without question, Andy’s death changed Aaron, and his motivation to get justice for him is unparalleled. He also has the weight of public opinion and perspective and that of his peers within the system.
Aaron was already making some noise, and he garnered quite a reputation, but this is the defining case of his new career.
It could make or break him in the eyes of many. He’s bound to make some friends and allies, sure, but also some enemies.
It’s scary when you think about it; something is terrifying about your life and family up for public consumption.
Everyone is working on an angle or has an agenda with this case, and something as simple as obtaining justice is more complicated than it should.
Aaron assembled the right team for the task. For Life is excelling at putting Safiya to use outside of the prison.
Her relationship with Aaron is one of the best of the series, and they’ve only found new ways of unlocking layers to it.
Safiya is his voice of reason, and he needs that. Aaron presented Henry and Masry as if they’re the little devil and angel on each shoulder, but their combined efforts are what it takes to keep Aaron balanced.
It’s an emotional case, and Aaron has too much investment in it. His involvement doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but Masry was right to remind him of how it clouds his judgment.
To win this case, Aaron will have to rein in the emotions and disperse them strategically.
Fifteen miles from the Bronx may as well be 1500. These cases do tend to tear at the fabric of our community.
Emotions are high across the board. When applicable, they are what will make or break this case. In some ways, we need to keep the passions out of it to get to real justice, but compassion and empathy pave the way to justice and change.
Aaron walked a tight rope the entire time, but it was surprising to see how he slipped into the same underhandedness as his opponents. He did it with ease, and it seemed the video footage of Andy getting shot is what fueled him.
Henry said Staten Island plays ball differently, and they also were a pro-police area who didn’t take kindly to who they deemed as heroes getting dragged through the mud.
As conflicting as it was for viewers and certainly Safiya, Aaron probably did have to get down to their level, speak their language, and use it against them the way he did.
Masry was disgusted by the backdoor deal and meeting Aaron had with the Staten Island judge, but it’s hard to say if he would’ve gotten far playing things the way she wanted. Masry is so good, just, and idealistic in her methodologies.
However, it’s tough to good things done exclusively on the high road.
The hour did a fantastic job of showing how strategic prosecutors have to be with cases like this. It’s so easy for the public to jump to conclusions and feel unsatisfied by prosecutorial choices.
But there’s only one real shot of indicting with the right set of charges. If you go too high and extreme, and you can’t prove the charge, then that’s the end of it, but if you lowball, then it doesn’t feel like justice.
Sherwin, there is no justice in this world without sacrifice.
The NYPD was already doing everything to cover their tracks. Henry bluntly pointed it out when breaking down why no one could speak to the cops 48 hours after a shooting, or he mentioned that the department buried the offending officer’s complaints.
Aaron’s plan was a risk that could’ve gone awry. He was right, though. They were not going to get a fair trial in Staten Island, so they needed to change venues.
By charging the officers with criminal negligence, it appeased those in Staten Island, and then using the “new” evidence to get the location changed was slick.
It was awful that he had to keep his strategy under wraps. Elaine thought he had screwed her and Andy’s memory with the initial charge. And the Black community was outraged and quick to label Aaron another sellout.
Careful what you promise, Jazz. Whatever you say now, you’re speaking for him, and he’s in the hot seat.
It doesn’t put some things into perspective, no? We’ve sadly seen too many of these cases to count. In this capacity, it makes you consider how you may have reacted during all the real instances.
We’re all so quick to temper and judgment during these situations; it’s hard not to be, but we don’t always know the full extent of what’s happening behind the scenes.
Eventually, Elaine figured out what Aaron was doing and appreciated the strategy. Unfortunately, others felt their pressure was the only reason Aaron made a bold move.
The reactions by many of those around him were interesting, too. Jasmine is well on her way to becoming a legitimate grassroots activist, and she was laying on the pressure and dealing with the blowback from every move Aaron made.
Jazz: What’s wrong?
Ronnie: They’re calling Andy a “thug,” like we don’t know what that’s code for.
Ronnie, affected deeply by his experience, looked to Aaron for justice for Andy, Aaron, himself, and all the other Black men Andy represented.
Scotty was interesting, too. We haven’t seen him in some time, and it felt as if he fell off the face of the earth.
Scotty was flexible and accomodating with Aaron regarding the extension of his curfew. However, you sensed the conflicting emotions he had about Aaron’s role in the case.
He didn’t like that Aaron let them off easy with the initial Criminal Negligence, but he also recognized that getting any charge to stick was a task. When Aaron asked him about Scotty’s hardships as both Black and Blue, the P.O. shut down on him.
It felt as though things were leaning in Aaron’s favor more than expected, but that was before Veronica showed up. It’s honest to goodness shock that the ACLU is representing the cops.
Victoria had no problem handing Aaron his ass in the courtroom with the new judge. And you know what? She isn’t wrong about the things she called out.
Aaron is a man who was unjustly held for a whole year without bail before his hearing, so he shouldn’t be the person requesting the same. Aaron is a victim of underhanded tactics and backroom dealings and grudges, so he isn’t the person you’d expect or want to perpetuate these things.
It must be hard being black and blue, especially these days.
You cannot advocate for all of this behavior and way of doing things when it’s convenient. As someone who fell victim to a Just-less system, he, of all people, should know that justice for all even applies to men like those cops.
Veronica is already a fascinating character and adversary for Aaron. Based on how Masry described her, she’s not some villain here to screw everything up. She’s a moral, principled woman who follows the letter of the law and only wants to ensure it’s applied fairly.
Honestly, she’s exactly how you hope and want all attorneys to be. Veronica will give Aaron a run for his money, but oddly enough, it’ll be in the best way.
Aaron is still a fledgling lawyer taking on a pivotal case, and the hour showed that he still has a lot to learn, too. Aaron won’t always be the smartest person in the room.
I loved that the judge took a moment to speak to him one-on-one, and she told him that she was familiar with what Maskins did to him. The road Maskins took to become the overzealous ass that he was — it was a long, slippery one comprised of small, seemingly insignificant decisions along the way.
It took both the judge and Safiya to humble Aaron in that regard. No one wants to see Aaron lose sight of his set of morality and principles. It’s what makes him such a phenomenal lawyer in the first place.
I’m glad that he recognizes that Masry is his true north and moral compass. It doesn’t mean he has to follow all of her advice, but he should consider what she says more often.
She certainly has a point about putting Marcel on the stand. He’s the only one who can attest to the real reason the officers supposedly pulled Andy over.
Aaron: All of those would’ve been submitted to the NYPD?
Henry: At least the six that were substantiated. What the department did with them, we still don’t know.
Aaron: They buried them. Otherwise, that scumbag wouldn’t still be on the streets.
Henry: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the price of unchecked power.
Their reports are vague and riddled with mistruths. Their report claims it was because of cell phone use while driving, but Marcel recalls the cops claim it was over a U-Turn.
Aaron can build his case around those little things. Sherwin’s corroborating the video footage helps, too. Unfortunately, despite Masry’s promise and best intentions, she was unable to protect him though.
Masry laid the pressure on Sherwin thick, and I wasn’t mad at her for it. But it was hard not to sympathize with the man. He’s an immigrant, business owner, and he has a family of his own.
It’s easy to say that he should’ve done the right thing and shared the footage despite the police’s best intentions to intimidate him, but his livelihood was on the line.
Sherwin, there is no justice in this world without sacrifice.
Sherwin telling the truth came with grave risk, and you can’t undermine that.
The case is getting all too real, and the key to getting ahead is probably the younger cop. The rookie is the one who came to apologize to Elaine, and he seemed genuine.
Andy mentioned before that the youngest cop treated him well, and he was fine. The footage suggests that he wasn’t at the car with Andy when the shooting happened, so he knows more of the story.
He may be the type of cop who is too afraid to turn on his superior or go against the blue line, but he knows what happened was wrong. It’s only a matter of how Aaron can use this to his advantage.
Masry: Aaron, if the judge thinks you’re playing fast and loose, she’ll throw out the charges.
Aaron: I’m not leaving any arrows in the quiver.
On the home front, poor Ronnie was suffering emotionally from the harrowing moments leading up to his arrest. He can’t shake it, and everyone knows it.
His anger and fear are palpable, and it had him snapping at everyone around.
Marie was the perfect person to support him through such a difficult time. She is such a maternal figure, but she’s not his parent, so there’s safety in that.
She also isn’t his spouse, so he didn’t feel the need to uphold strength in front of her. It was heartbreaking when he broke down in her arms.
His confrontation with the officer who violently arrested him was such a tense scene. All he wanted to know was why that man treated him so terribly, and he wanted the cop to explain it to his face.
The cop didn’t even remember him or necessarily recall what he did. He was speechless, really. I don’t even think he knew the reason why. It was such a great scene.
Over to you, For Life Fanatics. What are your thoughts on this case and the ACLU’s involvement? Hit the comments below!
You can watch For Life online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.