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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A drug dealer is scheduled for execution, and only a command from the White House can stay his death. Defense lawyers try to get to Toby through his rabbi (David Proval), and to the President through Sam. Jed calls the Pope, and arranges for a visit from his old priest (the wonderful Karl Malden, in the last role of his life). Searing, powerful scenes are offset by the comedic arrival of uber-beloved character Joey Lucas (Marlee Matlin - CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD, THE L WORD). One of the things that sets the first season apart from the rest of the run is how they generally focused each episode on one particular issue - in this case, capital punishment. In that sense, the show in general (and the first season in particular) was always much more than just drama. It was a primer for all the controversial public issues that we as a society face.
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