Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter)
Eddie Cahill (CSI: NY)
Shawn Ashmore (Smallville)
Merrin Dungey (alias)
Emily Kinney (The Flash)
Manny Montana (Graceland)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Daniel Franzese (Mean Girl)
Bess Armstrong (Jaws 3D)
Cassandra Freeman (Inside Man)
Mike Doyle (Green Lantern)
Teri Polo (Meet The Parents)
Tim Guinee (Stargate SG.1)
Susan Hayward (Powers)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Richard Thomas (IT)
Jordan Hayes (Helix)
Shawn Parsons (Containment)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Mark Moses (Platoon)
In Conviction Hayley Atwell plays Hayes Morrison, a complex character with obvious flaws. She is the daughter of an ex-President and a politician running for Senator. First an attorney, then a law professor, she was always a rebel and a liability for her parents due to her “extremely controversial lifestyle” and run-ins with the law. She is blackmailed into heading the CIU, a new department in the DA’s office dedicated to investigating possibly wrongful convictions. She has all of the necessary tools, including a dedicated staff, but she lacks the Conviction.The pilot moves quickly, allowing Hayes to experience many emotions. You will not see a finer job of acting in a pilot. Atwell is remarkable. Her character is uncaring, self-indulgent and the product of years of political posturing (by her family) and being in the spotlight. She knows how to paint on a smile, but she shows us so many levels beneath it. Her character might seem unlikable and this might look like just another crime solving drama, but the writers have given the viewer plenty of hints at how this show might develop, along with the characters in it.
The supporting actors are also excellent, including Shawn Ashmore, Merrin Dungey, Emily Kinney, Eddie Cahill, and Manny Montana. Her team of investigators have diverse backgrounds and very different perspectives.
The twist is that they only have five days to investigate each case–a factor that sounds contrived but it fits the story. In the first episode, they investigate an 8-year old conviction and Hayes has a crisis of conscience, proving she has one. Other Episode Highlights are(2) Bridge and Tunnel Vision
Hayes decides to go after one of Wallace’s career-making cases, the Prospect 3. They were three boys charged with raping and assaulting a woman, Zadie Daniels, on her way from work. Zadie was hit in the head by a brick, so she does not remember the attack, but the media called her a hero. None of the members of the group—Mike, Brian, and Seamus—was a DNA match for the semen in the rape kit, but they confessed after exhaustive interrogations, each one blaming the others. After learning that the timelines did not match up, the CIU discovered that Zadie had sex with a married man the night of the assault, the source of the semen. They also learn that Brian had previously attacked other females, including his foster sister, which is why Wallace was sure that the three boys were the culprits. Hayes gets Brian to admit that he was the only person responsible for the assault, freeing Mike and Seamus. Although she proves two people innocent, Hayes feels depressed, as Zadie’s reputation is now ruined.
(3) Dropping Bombs
To spite Wallace after his comment about “the new Hayes Morrison,” Hayes digs up the case of bigoted activist Rodney Landon, convicted of planting a bomb in a mosque office and killing four men, including the Imam. The CIU team finds Landon was primarily a suspect because of an illegal search by the Counter-Terrorism Unit and that, although he didn’t plant the bomb, he was planning a far more deadly attack. Because the illegal search would throw out most of the evidence against Landon and get him released, Sam talks to a skinhead in prison. Hayes is notified that Landon was attacked due to rumors of his being a snitch and stabbed his attacker with a shiv. By committing a felony on camera, he will remain in prison. The actual bomber turns out to be the wife of the Imam, who was angry because of his multiple affairs. Hayes’ cocaine arrest becomes public when a video of her in jail is released to the media.(4) Mother’s Little Burden
The CIU works on the case of Penny Price, a stay-at-home mom who vlogged about taking care of her violent autistic son, Owen. Penny was charged with second degree murder via leaving a bottle of soy sauce outside, which Owen drank in its entirety. However, Frankie finds out from the case’s toxicologist that Owen did not die from a sodium overdose, but from a lack of sugar due to a deliberately administered insulin shot. They go to Penny’s husband, Greg Price, a pharmacist who was having an affair, as well as Owen’s caretaker, Eduardo, whose sister had dangerously low insulin levels on the day of Owen’s murder. Hayes realizes that the only person with means and motive was Penny’s daughter, Emily. Penny tells Emily to keep quiet and says that she will take the blame, telling Hayes that her daughter deserves a life. Meanwhile, Hayes must juggle solving the case and working with her brother, Jackson, to prepare for a “mea culpa” television interview. Jackson drills her on what to wear (the right suit and her mother’s pearls), what to say, and how to say it. During the interview, she uses her charm and the rehearsed responses, but eventually her lies and the pearls begin to choke her. She then candidly explains that she got her do-over and job as a result of her privilege and that she is now attempting to use some of it to free innocent people. Although this decision earns her immediate public approval, it severely hurts her mother’s campaign and throws Wallace under the bus. The night after solving the case, Hayes goes home to Jackson’s apartment, only to find that he has kicked her out.(6) #StayWoke
After a black teenager is killed by a cop which causes an argument among the team, Hayes decides to choose the case of Porscha Williams, a black activist who was convicted of the shooting murder of Sergeant Kelsey Blake during a protest. Maxine feels conflicted as she is both black with a son and an ex-cop. Meanwhile, Hayes meets with Naomi, Wallace’s lawyer, who flirts with Hayes. Tess tells Frankie about being an eyewitness to her aunt’s murder at age 12 and identifying the wrong man. The man, Matty Tan, was cleared by DNA after five years in prison and that she has been going to his coffee-cart frequently without him knowing her connection. The team finds that one eyewitness lied under oath and that other witnesses may have confused Porscha with another woman. Then they discover that the Medical Examiner’s van was near the scene longer than necessary, and that the entry and exit wounds may have been mixed up, meaning that Kelsey may have been shot from behind. Using the new angle, the team discovers that one of the other witnesses, George Stayner, was responsible. George, when confronted, says it was an accident and then commits suicide. After Porscha is released, Hayes finds Naomi and Wallace kissing each other.(7) A Simple Man
The CIU team investigates the case of a man with a low IQ, Leo Scarlata, who was convicted of setting a fire in his family’s restaurant. The fire killed one man and injured another. Wallace approves a documentary film crew who have been working on Scarlata’s case, to follow the team around. The investigation finds that the fire didn’t start the way previously believed and that, although Leo was responsible, he just “followed the rules”. Those “rules” had been deliberately altered to cause the fire for the insurance payout. Leo is released.(8) Bad Deals
The CIU team takes on the case of Josh Fleck, a teacher convicted of kidnapping and murdering his high school student, Sierra Macy, ten years before. The reason for the case is because Sierra is alive and had just escaped from her basement prison only to find her captor dead. Sam was the prosecutor on the case and though the murder conviction will be dropped, he still insists that Fleck was involved in the kidnapping. The team finds that the waitress eyewitness lied, that the blood evidence could be explained away, and that Sierra was hauled away in a car trunk while Fleck drove a pickup. When Sam visits the waitress, Melissa, he hears the chimes that Sierra remembers. Melissa points a gun at him but the police burst in and rescue him. Fleck is released. The Justice Department drops its case against Wallace after Hayes provides information.(9) A Different Kind of Death
Wallace gives the CIU the case of Earl Slavitt (Richard Thomas), a death-row inmate who was convicted of the murder of Tom Simon, a federal prosecutor and Wallace’s friend. Earl was originally prosecuted by Tom for embezzling money from his job. After he was released from prison he made threats against Tom. Wallace asks Hayes to review the case, as Tom was against the death penalty and Earl is to be executed in five days. While the CIU reviews the case in New York, Hayes and Wallace go to Indiana to try and stop Earl’s execution. They have to deal with Bill Newton, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who was on the prosecution’s side for both cases and who gets in their way. The team finds that an ex-con was hired to kill Tom, and that Earl’s boss was the actual embezzler. Someone in the U.S. Attorney’s office was taking bribes. Hayes, after talking to Earl’s former co-worker, Nina, learns that Bill ordered the hit on Tom to cover his tracks. Hayes tries to contact Wallace to stop the execution but is too late. After hearing the news, Sam catches Maxine taking pain-killers.(10) Not Okay
The team takes the case of Sophie Hausen, convicted of murdering Travis Carter, the college student whom she claimed raped her. Retesting the DNA on the murder weapon shows only a partial match and a recreation of the crime shows a potentially hazardous exit. While checking out other possible suspects the team finds out there were other victims who hadn’t reported the rapes because of Sophie’s treatment by officials. But they had all talked to a rape counselor, Elyse Salmon, who had decided to take matters into her own hands. Elyse confesses and Sophie is released. On a personal angle, Tess finally tells Matty about their connection and he doesn’t take it well. Plus Hayes, with a boost from Jackson, and Wallace decide to attempt their relationship again(11) Black Orchid
A current case ties back to an old one. A woman is found beaten to death. Her physical description, the manner of death, and the “Black Orchid” lipstick smeared on her mouth match the M.O. of a convicted serial killer, Clark Sims, from ten years before. The CIU team doesn’t know if Sims is innocent or if there is a copycat. They are able to explain away the fingerprint evidence against Sims. They also find that the man arrested for the recent murder couldn’t have done it. Figuring in the ten-year hiatus between crimes they speculate the killer was in prison. A search of inmates fitting the parameters locates a suspect, Donald Cutler, who was in the vicinity of the recent murder. Cutler goes after the woman who survived his attack years ago and she kills him. Sims is released.(13) Past, Prologue & What’s to Come
Hayes takes on the case of Gerald Harris, a man she unsuccessfully defended in Chicago nine years earlier against charges that he murdered his wife, Claire. Wallace prosecuted the case. As the team struggles to find a suspect who could have committed the murder, Hayes learns that Sam will be forced to testify during a trial for Rodney Landon, which will effectively discredit the CIU and subject all of its cases to review. Sam informs her that he intends to take the fifth, ending his career but keeping the CIU intact. Frankie eventually confirms that Claire died from a heart attack before she fell, the evidence of which was not found at her original autopsy. Although the subpoena against Sam is dropped, Wallace orders Hayes to fire him for going “rogue”. But she deliberately kisses Sam, committing sexual harassment in view of a witness, meaning he can’t be fired without her being forced to resign.
With all 13 episodes aired, this could be the end of the show, with the ratings not doing so hot, the show was not given a back order of episodes. It’s a shame as I really enjoyed the show, Hayley Atwell is as brilliant as ever and the cases were interesting, some were a little political but that was okay. It will certainly be missed if this is truly the end of the show.