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Bones: The Verdict in the Story (2008)
someone needs to learn how to write courtroom scenes
* * * contains spoilers * * * I love this show, but every time they have a courtroom scene, I just cringe. I have rarely watched a show that gets legal procedure so wrong. First, since Brennan's dad was in custody, he would have received a trial date quite soon--not just before the case was going to trial. Second, this no-nonsense judge would not have allowed the attorneys to argue during opening statements--you can't do that until the end of the case. Third, unless the Jeffersonian team has been declared hostile witnesses, the prosecutor cannot lead them through their testimony. She must ask open ended questions, not ones that can be answered yes or no. She also cannot ask argumentative questions. Conversely, the defense attorney, when he has Booth on the stand, opts for the strange strategy of asking openly worded questions that allow him to discuss Brennan's character, when he's trying to get out the possibility that she had time to commit the murder. Dr. Sweets' testimony about psychological capacity to kill is not admissible evidence.
Fourth, restrictions on witnesses talking about the case seems unheard of. Judges often issue gag orders to keep people connected with high-profile cases from talking to the press, but I've never seen witnesses barred from conversing with each other, as Brennan and Booth are admonished. Jurors are the ones required not to discuss the case until time to deliberate.
What isn't realistic is that the witnesses would be allowed to sit together in the courtroom and watch each other testify. Witnesses, except experts and designated investigators, would be excluded. (So Brennan's brother, at least, should have been waiting outside for the whole trial.) When Dr. Clark discovers evidence that rules out the original murder weapon, the proper procedure would have been for him to take the stand to testify--not be admitted "pro hac vice" as a lawyer (which he isn't) to question Zach.
Finally, when Angela tells Brennan that the prosecution will be gunning for the death penalty, that should not come as a surprise to anyone since, if the prosecutor wants to seek the death penalty, a formal notification process is required in advance of trial, and juries are questioned about their views of capital punishment during the jury selection process.
In fact, given that the prosecution presumably is seeking the death penalty and that Brennan's father admits that he committed the murder, it's surprising that there's even a trial at all. Normally, faced with that situation, his defense attorneys would seek a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty.
The one thing that I did like about the courtroom drama was when Angela refused to testify based on the First Amendment, since that protects freedom of association, and therefore, in her mind, protects friendship. That's so Angela! And, at least there, the writers get it right that her refusal lands her in jail.