Hello, Conviction fans! Have we all recovered from last week’s episode? Are we ready for "A Simple Man"? Last week, we left off with Hayes witnessing Naomi and Wallace in an intimate moment after their client was released from jail.
Although we may have recovered from last week, Maxine’s struggling and goes to a meeting. She’s been sober for 19 months and counting.
If anyone thought Hayes would be crying over Naomi and Wallace hooking up, they were wrong. Wallace personally delivers Hayes her next case after the pair exchange a little flirty banter, and she tells him that she knows he was with Naomi.
Why would Wallace personally deliver the case to the Conviction Integrity Unit? He needs Hayes to sign off on the camera crew that comes with this particular case.
"A Simple Man"
Leo is in jail for setting a fire to his family’s restaurant. One man was injured during the fire, and another was killed. Despite having a low IQ, which is where we're assuming the "simple man" title comes from, the judge wouldn’t let them argue diminished capacity.
The filmmaker, Paul, is thrown after the team debriefs the case and they scatter in different directions because he only has one camera. He decides to stick with Hayes since she plans to visit Leo. Hayes isn’t convinced that Paul’s interest in the case has to do with Leo but that he’s more concerned about selling his story.
Hayes takes every opportunity she has to interfere with the filming, which is both amusing and annoying. She gets Paul’s access to film in prison revoked and visits Leo, along with Leo’s brother Vince and Vince’s wife, Rita. They’re both estranged from their other brother, Anthony. Leo’s says he didn’t start the fire and that he always follows the rules.
Frankie discovers that the fire didn’t originate in the fryer with a dishrag but that it started in a barrel.
The first suspect is the good Samaritan that rushed in the restaurant because he has a record of being in the right place at the right time. When he’s later questioned by Frankie and Tess, he informs them that Leo confessed to him.
However, Leo apologizing in a letter isn’t exactly a confession. He felt bad that Carl was hurt and reiterates that you apologize when you feel bad. He pinky swears with Hayes that he didn’t start the fire or play with the stove.
Each member of the Conviction Integrity Unit has a one-on-one interview with Paul, and he’s not interested in discussing the case. When Sam won’t discuss Hayes taking his job, Paul brings up the last case. Sam slips up and mentions that Maxine was too aggressive with the suspect.
In an effort to fix his mistake, Sam hacks into Paul’s computer and deletes the file. He discovers a file of Vince in the trash and shares it with Hayes.
It seems that Leo previously set a tree house on fire when he was angry. Hayes is livid that Paul is suppressing evidence, and Wallace ends up having to play referee. She likens Paul to a whore for being more concerned with what he can get from the case than the truth. When Wallace won’t let her drop the case, she calls him a whore, too, and breaks Paul’s camera.
In his one-on-one, Frankie reveals that his interest in forensics began when he was locked up for grand theft auto. He started watching Forensic Files with his cellmate and reveals it saved his life.
Haley wonders if Vince set the fire since he had substantial gambling debts. Tess explains that, instead of cashing his insurance check, Vince signed it over to a firm that is known for money laundering. The associate that Hayes meets with can’t reveal anything due to confidentiality, but Hayes tricks him into admitting they money laundering and pressures him to learn where Vince’s money is.
During his one-on-one with Maxine, Paul wants to know what kind of cop Maxine is and repeats what Sam said. In her usual no-nonsense way, she tells Paul has zero interest in helping him make last week’s case into entertainment.
Now that Maxine knows what Sam said, they naturally have to work together right away. They question Vince again, and he denies burning down the restaurant. His wife gives him an alibi, which later checks out with the doorman.
Maxine wastes no time in letting Sam know that she knows what he said. Sam doesn’t want to have this conversation on camera, but she doesn’t care. She’s not interested in his apology or his pity. Later, Maxine takes a pill.
Wallace’s one-on-one is about Hayes. He speaks admirably about her being a wildcard and insists that the investigation against him won’t derail any potential plans he has to run for office.
Frankie adds vegetable oil to numerous substances found in the restaurant to see if any of them will trigger a reaction. The winner is kitty litter, and the newest suspect is the third brother when they find out he bought it.
Anthony maintains his innocence and realizes that Leo dumped the kitty litter in the wrong bin and accidentally started the fire.
Last up for a one-on-one is Tess. She confesses that she’s ashamed -- not because she hasn’t taken the bar but because she wanted to be a prosecutor. Right before she took the bar, the man she helped put in jail was released, and it messed with her head during the exam. Maybe now that’s she’s said that out loud, she can ask for forgiveness like Frankie suggested last week.
Hayes can get Leo’s conviction overturned if he admits he mistakenly dumped the kitty litter in the wrong bin. Leo won’t admit to making a mistake because he followed the rules and won't say that he didn’t.
Hayes is upset that she can't get Leo out of jail despite uncovering the truth. She destroys a candy dish that was undoubtedly left there by Paul to get a reaction out her, and he catches it on camera from the next room over. It’s hard to have privacy when the walls are made of glass.
In a last-ditch effort to get Leo out of jail, Hayes discovers that bin order was changed on the night of the fire, and that was why Leo dumped the kitty litter in the wrong bin. Rita was responsible for making the chore charts, and she immediately confesses to doing it on purpose to save Vince. He’s horrified, and he’s done with her.
The three brothers share an emotional reunion when Leo (our simple man) is released, and Paul shares a behind the scenes clip with Hayes. It’s a clip of Wallace talking about Hayes. It’s practically a love letter, as he rattles off a list of her qualities that others would probably list as problematic, but it’s clear he respects her for them.
Final Thoughts On "A Simple Man"
Overall, this week’s episode of Conviction was little tame compared to last week. But last week’s episode was intense, so I didn’t mind a more low-key episode.
Is anyone else concerned that kitty litter was dumped in a restaurant kitchen? I have no clue if that’s a health code violation or not, but I was distracted with this throughout most of the episode.
I was thrilled with the one-on-ones because they revealed a little more about each character. I feel like, every week, we listen to Tess talk about her past over and over, but we still know next to nothing about Sam. When is Conviction going to dive into Sam’s backstory?
I am worried about Maxine’s sobriety! 19 months gone!
We didn’t see Naomi at all this week, and I’m curious if her being with Wallace was a one time thing or if they stopped after a kiss -- or if it turned into something more. Either way, I’m looking forward to Hayes and Naomi crossing paths, not because I think Hayes will get into a cat fight with Naomi but because she’s competitive. On some level, she’s upset that Wallace was with Naomi when she wanted her for herself.
Lastly, I love that Hayes’ secret service code name was changed from Halo to Houdini. It seems appropriate.
Next week on Conviction, someone is in jail for killing a young woman. But, when they discover she’s alive and he didn’t kill her, do they get him out of jail -- or should he stay there for abducting her?