For Life (2020) s01e02 Episode Script


1 I, Aaron Wallace, am under the permanent custody of the state of New York, serving a life sentence for something I didn't do.
Being a prison paralegal, representing fellow inmates that's my only commodity.
Being a lawyer, proving my innocence that's how I'm gonna get myself out of here.
Every day, every second I'm not there for her for you Are you saying the District Attorney's office is racist? There's no question the system's broke for anybody who doesn't have power or money.
Maskins, who's in a neck-and-neck battle for Attorney General against Anya Harrison.
You didn't tell me Aaron Wallace was going scorched earth on Maskins.
I'm gonna need you to let things cool down till after the election.
That was the deal we made with Maskins.
It's gonna be a blessing, Dad.
But you have to get out of here to be a part of it.
In the outside world, you make all kinds of promises.
Promises you think you can keep.
In here, we don't call them promises.
We call them debts.
And right now, I owe a big one to the wrong kinds of people.
There's gonna be a lot of my fellow inmates who don't like that but if you set everything up just right, play one debt against another, you can sometimes get what you need the most another chance.
We need to upgrade our security checks and surveillance.
Do you need me for this? Uh, no.
Why don't you round up medical staff for a status report? Sure.
And if I'm not there in 20, you can get started.
Sit down.
I didn't know you ate here.
Talk the talk, gotta walk the walk.
I met with the Prison Board yesterday, and my only chance of shutting down solitary is if I can show some extenuating circumstances around Knox and his assault charge.
I told you, repping Joey's gonna cost me big time in my community.
Have a look at this.
Joey walks right up to Lassiter.
No provocation.
Something feels wrong to me.
You know, maybe there's history.
What do you need? My police file.
I'm gonna sue the NYPD to release it.
It'll be litigated outside the Bronx, the DA's office won't be mentioned, and I swear, no press.
You won't be able to control that.
Petition gets filed in Manhattan Criminal Court.
They won't be looking for me there.
Anybody shows, I say, "No comment.
" Without this file, I have nothing.
No mention of Maskins.
And no press.
Look alive, Knox.
You got a visitor.
The hell are you doing here? Wild Bill asked me to come.
I owe the man a solid.
Yeah? What for? Daugherty forged a letter for me which I used in my last case.
Let's just say Jose Rodriguez is walking around a free man right now.
That supposed to impress me? I saw your record.
Six years, no violent incidents, no trouble with custody.
And suddenly you haul off and go after a guard? You see the video of the fight? He provoke you? You afraid to rat him out? I ain't afraid and I ain't no rat.
You know how soft this warden is.
Give me half a shot, I can get you back into gen pop.
Cell, yard restrictions, maybe phone, but there's something to be done here, I'm telling you.
Maybe I'll think about that.
Now get the hell out.
Y me improviso el viento rapido me llevo Y me hizo a volar en el cielo infinito Volaré Oh, oh Cantaré Oh, oh, oh Nel blu dipinto Di blu Felice Di stare lassu - Hey, you mind turning that down? - Y volando, volando feliz - Henry Roswell.
On the visitor list.
- Yeah? To see who? Boy, you really get off on that miniscule piece of authority.
You know I'm here for Wallace.
Volaré Oh, oh Cantaré Yo, Aaron, you seeing that Roswell dude again today? What is it to you, Bobby D? Mind ya business.
I'm just sayin', maybe he can sponsor me, too.
No reason I can't be a lawyer.
All you gotta do is spend the next seven years getting your degree and passing the bar.
By the time that happens, I'll be out.
Maybe I can sponsor you.
First you gotta learn how to read.
Submitting requests to access your files from the DA's office is one thing.
Suing the NYPD that's a whole different beast.
Well, last I checked, I was in here for life.
What do I care about rattling cages? Because you're still new at this and you're already two strikes down because of who you are.
You get a reputation for frivolous litigation, judges are gonna start denying you without even reading your arguments.
Well, I looked it up.
A writ of mandamus is appropriate here.
Aaron, this is like demanding that the commissioner of baseball force the New York Yankees to fire their manager.
It's just not done.
Not until now.
Don't you understand everyone's watching you? You made sure of that already by talking to the press.
I've been in here nine years.
Nine years, they've been denying me information I got a right to see by law.
Now, you got any better ideas on how I can fight this? If so, I'm all ears.
No, I don't.
Look, I know it's a Hail Mary.
But I really need your help.
There's not gonna be a lot of precedents out there, but I'll get you what I can.
Thank you, Henry.
At your service.
As always.
I got Henry running down some research for me.
Hopefully, he finds something.
If not, I'm gonna have to wing it.
Wing it? Well, not really, but let's just say I'm a bit more motivated to get all this moving.
Oh, must have been a ton landing on you.
She's 17, Marie.
We're gonna be grandparents.
Do you think if you were here, it wouldn't have happened? Not on you.
On me.
Don't do that to yourself.
I've already had enough sleepless nights over this for the both of us.
I think it's about time I met Ronnie.
I'll talk to Jazz about getting him up there.
Aaron? Aaron.
A guard just walked by.
I better go.
Good luck in court.
Let me know how it goes.
Yeah, I will.
Bye, Marie.
The blue one.
Surprised to hear you took Joey Knox's case.
I am prisoner rep.
Are you? Or is it warden rep? I get on this bus, that's an "order to produce" from the court.
Warden's got no jurisdiction over this.
Come on.
One notation in your file that you're a disciplinary problem What's your point, Captain? Point is you oughta be more concerned about how my boys are gonna feel with you defending that Nazi dirtbag than gettin' favors from the warden.
Make sure he gets to court on time.
Suing the police, huh? Good luck.
A writ of mandamus? Used to compel a government agency Yeah, I understand what a writ does, counselor, but whipping it out here's like using a sledgehammer to drive a finishing nail.
The great writ is supposed to be a last resort.
Which it is, Your Honor.
Nine years, a dozen requests Of the District Attorney's office, not the NYPD.
You're all working together.
I'm not wasting any more time asking.
Well, I'm sorry you're feeling inconvenienced, but filing a writ for this particular file is totally premature since the information relates to ongoing investigations.
What investigations? Can you name a single conviction, - even one indictment? - Mm.
He's fishing, Your Honor, which one might conclude has something to do with the drug operation he's probably conducting from within the prison.
Probably? Is that the best you got, or do you have some evidence? Do you? - Nothing substantive, Your Honor.
- Right.
But the man was sentenced to life in prison as a drug kingpin.
Which has nothing to do with my right to due process.
So, I'm gonna ask you again.
Have there been any additional indictments based on this supposed investigation? Not that I'm aware of.
Velarde, I understand the sensitive nature of these files, but after nine years, you best come back here with detectives and some substance regarding the nature of this investigation.
I'll give you three more days.
Good? Done.
Nah, it was huge.
If I can see all the evidence they used, what they didn't use, - this could open up everything for me.
- That's amazing, Dad.
I mean, Mom said you were killing it.
- Oh, she did? - Yeah.
She saw what you did for Jose.
Just wish I was there.
Me too, sweetheart.
Maybe next time.
Anyway, how you feeling? I've been fine.
No morning sickness or anything.
That's good.
And Ronnie? - He coming up here? - Uh not sure exactly when.
But go easy on him, okay? I'm just gonna talk to the kid.
See, that's what I mean when I say "go easy on him," Dad.
He's not a kid.
Give him the respect he deserves.
You always were the smartest person in the family.
So, you're gonna be chill, right? I'll be chill.
Listen there's a few things I gotta take care of over here, so, um, I'm gonna run, okay? Well, I'm happy about your case.
And I really do hope you pissed off the District Attorney.
Well, I think I did.
How the hell could this have gone down without my office being notified? No, I-I am not coming to you.
You send counsel for the NYPD to my office.
One hour.
And he'd better have some answers for me.
I promise, no more depositions.
Yeah, no, no.
I hear you, but that's not 'til the hearing next week.
Come in! Listen, someone just walked in my office.
Gotta call you back.
Thought your license was suspended.
11 more months.
Consulting 'til then.
Three DUIs in two years.
Sponsored Wallace before anyone noticed.
Good thing they can't rescind his Character and Fitness just 'cause it turns out I don't have any.
I just find it hard to believe you didn't call me, find out the real story about this guy before sticking your neck out for him.
Well, I was pretty drunk.
Now that you're sober? Seems like an even better decision.
I've seen the court records.
Smells like you were playing footloose and fancy-free with witnesses, discovery, snitches Then let him prove that.
Hard to, without seeing what you and the cops are withholding.
'Course, that's what you count on.
Dragging your feet with your limitless resources, grinding people down Holy smokes, pal, what happened to you? Moral clarity.
You oughta try it some time.
So, you're helping him? Not exactly a law library at Bellmore, no Internet.
I run down some case law from time to time.
Ah, you're his paralegal.
How cute.
I'd beware, Glen.
He's out for blood and he's already a better lawyer than I ever was.
Doesn't make him innocent.
Of course, you have to say that, especially after you got elected off those splashy headlines nine years ago.
I thought we were friends.
We were never friends.
We used each other.
Oh, for God's sake.
Grow up.
Get off your cross.
All those pleas we made, the wheeling and dealing with people's lives You were a public defender.
It's part of the job.
Then the water I carried for you and the other law-and-order bastards when I was in the Senate, the legislation we passed protecting police misconduct? We ruined people's lives.
How many lives, Glen, while we were doing our jobs? Yo, Phil.
I heard you used to bunk with Joey Knox.
Not for a while, but yeah.
He's been thrown in the hole for smacking the CO.
He ever have a beef? - With custody? - Yeah.
Not with custody.
With who, then? Why don't you ask Wild Bill? I'm asking you.
Something about what went down doesn't fly.
You give me something, you know I can hook you up.
I saw him the morning of the fight, in the cafeteria.
He was spooked about something.
And how do you know? He say something to you? You spend three years in a cell with somebody, you can read them from across the room.
And he was spooked.
We're gonna need to review some video footage from last Thursday.
Here's the order from the superintendent.
He shouldn't even be in here.
He's the prisoner rep.
Now cue it up.
He's asking for help.
He's scared.
I need to see Knox.
He's not interested.
Said you should take a hike.
A hundred brothers wanting you to take their case and you working for Adolf.
You having trouble protecting your people these days? Now, why would you say something like that? I saw some security-cam footage.
Looked to me like Joey was begging a guard to pull him out of gen pop.
Joey say that? He'd never admit to wanting protection.
The guard never put in to help him.
An hour later, he assaulted Lassiter.
Only one reason that could be he wanted to be put in solitary.
No, I-I know that Joey got into some trouble on the side, but he never mentioned anything to me.
And why wouldn't he? If you're his "Daddy.
" You're the one he's afraid of.
Listen, your job was to get Joey out.
I don't care what your theory is.
That was our arrangement, so just fulfill your obligations, okay? You all right? Yeah.
That happen in school, too? Don't know why they call it morning sickness.
It's so much worse in the afternoons.
Well, it's different for everybody.
And I know it feels like your stomach doesn't want to, but you gotta eat some crackers or some small snacks throughout the day.
It'll help.
- Okay.
- Mm-hmm.
How are you feeling about how it went with your father? Good.
Ronnie next up? I just found out he never told his parents where Dad actually is.
It never came up when you were over there? It's not exactly something I'm dying to talk to people about.
Especially not them.
Well, what do they think? That he's in Sacramento and just doesn't come around much.
Guess it was early on before Ronnie knew we were gonna be serious, then he didn't know how to come clean.
- Well, now would be the time.
- I know.
But he's just so nervous about going up there to see Dad.
Didn't need his parents furious at him on top of it.
You want me to give him a ride? I'm sorry all this extra stuff ends up on your plate.
It's life, right? Come here.
I'm gonna get ready for bed.
Don't forget to brush your teeth, honey.
Both of you.
- Got it.
- Thank you.
Love you.
I got a call from Maskins today.
He considers Aaron Wallace's appearance in Manhattan a violation of our agreement, threatened to call the Post Oh.
if you didn't get Wallace to stand down.
That's ridiculous.
And what'd you say? I said I'd get back to him, but part of me thinks if Maskins is this scared, we should just let Wallace go.
You've only been at the prison less than six months.
Roswell is the one who sponsored him.
At the end of the day, I can't see how we're that exposed.
It's a risk.
It's all a risk, no matter which way we play it.
As long as you have that job, people are going to point to nepotism, conflict of interest.
We can't let them push us around.
If you think you have a handle on Wallace, you just have to do what you feel is right.
Get in here.
Show you how this thing is done.
Give me Give me a minute, all right? Don't touch my choice.
What? Huh? What, what, what? Wild Bill wants Joey out the hole so he can off him.
All right, well All right, well, get him out.
Serve him up.
That's one less Nazi.
I might be able to sell that to my side.
That wouldn't exactly be consistent with my oath.
Listen, man, you already got a problem with the guards and the brothers.
You fail Wild Bill, you done hit the trifecta.
Yeah, I gotta find some way to thread the needle.
- Yeah.
- Got any Intel for me? Uh nah, you so radioactive, I shouldn't even be rocking with you right now, man.
But I need this, Jamal.
All right, let me let me let me let me poke around, - all right? - Thanks, man.
All right, but next time, let me find you first.
Huh? Ah! Ah, man, get away with that, man.
So, you want to play like that, huh? Telling you, it's enough, man.
Let it go! - So, that's how it is, huh? - I ain't got nothing for you.
You gonna play me like that now? Yeah, that's that's that's how that's going.
All right, forget you, man.
All right, we got the doubles.
Y'all need some knuckles? All right, Jamal.
You was waiting on me, huh? Jazz said he's going to court soon, try and get his police file.
If he wins, then he's going to get a new trial? I wouldn't count on that, Ronnie.
And I wouldn't get her hopes up about it, either.
It's gonna be a long process, no matter what.
- Hey, Jen.
- Hey! How you doing? How's your son? Oh.
Eight months 'til he graduates.
- Yay! - Oh.
We're still waiting to hear from some colleges.
Where's Jasmine? It's just this one.
I'm gonna wait out here.
ID, please.
Oh, yeah.
Ronnie? Hey, Mr.
I-I was able to get up here a couple days early.
- Hope that's okay.
- I asked you.
You're here.
I appreciate it.
Take a seat.
I'm sure you have a pretty good idea why I want to talk to you.
Well I want you to know I love Jasmine.
I always planned to marry her and have a family.
We're just a little bit ahead of schedule now.
Just a little bit.
We're still going to college.
Only change is now we'll both be close to home.
And my parents are gonna help take care of the baby, and Marie and Darius, of course.
You know, she always wanted to go to California for school.
I know.
And now she's giving up on that dream? - Yeah.
- Well, I don't want this to become the beginning of a pattern, her giving up on things she wants.
- It won't be.
- Well, you say that now, but you have no clue what it's like to be a parent.
And I know my daughter.
She's gonna want to be there for that boy.
So, I need you to remember what I'm saying.
Any sacrifices to be made, you make them with her.
Any load to be carried, you carry it with her.
You will not leave her holding the bag.
I understand, sir.
I won't.
Then you and me will get along just fine.
Jamal says check your client's medical records.
You a damn sellout.
Get out of my face, Walter.
Hey, Walter, what's up? We gonna have a problem? Hey, I'm cool, yo.
He's a damn leech.
But I'm cool.
Prison politics.
No reason for Jasmine to hear anything about this, you hear me? But I-I don't even understand what just happened.
- I told them I don't want to see you.
- Yeah, yeah, I got it.
I need you to sign this.
It says you're forgoing a right to a hearing.
Now I know what was really going on between you two.
Now, I can keep it on the down-low if you testify at the hearing.
His life's at stake, Phil.
Now, I swear, the warden can protect you.
Where did you get these? Well, you signed a release for 'em.
- You mo - I'm not gonna make you testify about it.
I got Phil Lee to do that for you.
Are you crazy? I can't have a hearing.
What if I told you that I can get you transferred? Somewhere out of state, where they don't even know Wild Bill.
- You can't get that done.
- No, you're right.
I can't.
But the warden can, and she'll listen to me.
And I have to sit there? Well, I can't have a hearing without my client.
Seven months ago, Joey was admitted into the infirmary after being attacked in the shower.
While in the infirmary, prison doctors discovered that he had syphilis, which he had contracted a few weeks earlier.
Now, my client won't testify, but we have Phil Lee, Inmate 01-C-439, to shed some light on all this.
Now, Mr.
Lee, you used to share a cell with Joey Knox? Yes.
And the two of you were in a sexual relationship? We were.
Lee's medical records shows he also has syphilis.
Now, is it a coincidence that Joey got beaten up shortly after contracting the venereal disease? No.
So, what happened? He started to get sores.
People saw him in the shower.
They knew we shared a cell, they put it together.
When you say "they"? I can't say for sure, but everyone knows the tattoos Joey has and how men with those tattoos feel about people like me.
So, Joey got a beating? As a warning.
And after that, the COs changed your cell assignment? We both asked for it.
For his safety.
And in the seven months since then? We stayed away from each other.
Until last week.
He never wanted to be part of that gang.
He told me he only joined it so he could be protected here.
I guess that's the irony.
And when Joey Knox approached you, what happened next? He said, "What the hell are you looking at me like that for?" I said I wasn't looking at him and that he'd better watch his mouth and keep walking.
And then he jumped you? Then he jumped me.
Ever have a problem with Joey Knox before? No.
Talk to him much? Once or twice.
And when he came at you, where'd he hit you? Went for my chest, kind of pushed me, you know? Your face looks pretty clean.
Not too banged up.
I handled him pretty easily.
Then Bromell came running in.
And did he resist much at that point? Nah.
I think he realized what was good for him.
So, you were working on Joey Knox's pod - the day of the alleged assault? - That's right.
Do you remember what he said to you on that day? About what? This is footage recorded at 2:13 p.
the day of the fight.
54 minutes before, to be exact.
Now, looks to me like Joey's in some kind of distress.
I'm not trying to get anybody into any trouble here.
All I'm trying to do is figure out why Joey Knox would start a fight with a CO he barely knew after being in Bellmore six years without any kind of violent incident.
I think my guard would probably like to speak to his union rep at this point.
Henderson is not being charged with anything, and my client will waive all complaint.
We just want to get to the truth here.
He said he wanted to go to solitary, that he needed protection.
And what did you tell him? I said I'd look into it.
But why didn't you remove him right away after he just told you he was afraid for his life? I wasn't sure about the protocols with solitary.
I figured I'd check with my shift commander.
Now, is that the real reason, or was it because you know what gang Joey's in? You don't have to answer that.
I'm just wondering if it would have gone down differently with a different inmate.
No, we understand what you're implying.
Did you go to your shift commander? I started the paperwork, then I got sidetracked with an incident in the rec room.
Sidetracked? After he just told you he was afraid for his life? - Man, don't put this on me.
- I won't, unless you earned it.
Now, wait a minute here.
You did go to your shift commander, didn't you? I went, but by the time I got there, Joey'd already attacked Lassiter, and he was in the hole.
So, where's this paperwork you supposedly started to fill out? Figured it didn't matter much anymore, so I tossed it.
Now, that is not the proper protocol, and you know that.
I think we both know what this means, Captain.
The violation is dismissed, and the inmate is discharged from disciplinary sanctions.
I will leave it to the prisoner rep and the superintendent to determine how Mr.
Knox can best be protected.
Thank you.
I didn't do this for you.
And I don't care what you think about those tats.
You wear 'em you one of 'em.
I didn't think you were going there, given your "community.
" I did what I had to do.
I'd really like to go after Wild Bill.
We can't hang Phil Lee out to dry.
Anyway, his testimony is all hearsay, and Joey will never roll.
We've got to get him out of here, that's for sure.
Yeah, somewhere Wild Bill can't touch him.
Saves his life, your reforms, and my rep.
How's that? As long as my community see I wasn't Wild Bill's bitch, then I'm cool.
My bigger problem might be with the COs.
I'll give Henderson a slap on the wrist.
That'll help you and buy me a bit of good will.
Slow and steady wins the race.
That's not exactly your motto.
So, what's going on with your own case? Big day's tomorrow.
And if I win, I'm gonna need to get back out there.
And it'll be the Bronx.
Going after Maskins again.
That's not what we talked about.
What changed? Like you said, Maskins wins the election, he'll take away my license.
If all I've been doing is sitting around here waiting, then I'd be a fool.
I thought you said you had nothing without your file.
So why are we even talking about this now? Hmm I thought I kind of had you at a good moment.
Come back to me if you win.
Whoa, whatchu doing, Wallace? It's my daughter.
Well, this isn't visiting time.
The judge ain't even here yet.
What, you want me sitting at my table, looking over at her? Come on, man.
Three minutes.
Don't get up.
What you doin' here? You're supposed to be in school.
All I had was PE and music at the end of the day.
I told people I wasn't feeling well, which they're inclined to believe.
I met Ronnie.
Seems like he really loves you.
He was pretty wigged out about going all the way up there.
But I guess it'll just take time.
For him to get used to it.
All rise! Upon deeper review of the files in question, it became clear that no witnesses would be required for today's proceedings.
- Really? - Mm-hmm.
Uh, section 82, subdivision E of the Public Officer's Law allows the police department to withhold these records if they will identify a confidential source.
You got a new source? What's he saying? Been rotting in prison for nine years.
What's he got to add? Well, this is unrelated to Mr.
Wallace's original arrest, but it is someone identified more recently as part of the ongoing investigation.
What? Who? Mine's completely redacted.
Well, that's the crux of it, Your Honor.
We cannot disclose who.
Where did this new source come from? He didn't mention this the last time he was here.
Did the DA's office invent him? I don't appreciate that insinuation, Mr.
Wallace, unless you have some kind of proof I'd have proof, Your Honor, if I could have my file.
If I may continue.
Under subdivision F, the state believes that the disclosure of these records could endanger the life of this source.
Now you're saying I'd have this person killed? Please address your arguments to the bench, Mr.
Wallace, not to opposing counsel.
Given Mr.
Wallace's history and access to the criminal elements - of a maximum security prison - History?! I I've never been accused or convicted of violence at any time.
This is all a smokescreen, Your Honor Detectives were supposed to show up here today.
Instead, we get this new piece of paper Your Honor, it's perfectly clear the defense has no legitimate argument to make here.
I know he has his law license, but he's still a convicted felon.
Given this new set of circumstances, I see no reason to grant access.
I'm sorry, Mr.
Let me see my daughter.
Come on, man.
Hey, sweetheart.
Don't worry about it, all right? It'll be okay, sweetheart.
I promise you, I'm gonna get out of here.
Don't cry, please.
Hello? It's Aaron.
Is she all right? Wish she wouldn't have gone there today.
Yeah, I know.
Me either.
She was so shook, I had to go to the court to get her.
She had to wait an hour and a half for me to get over there.
Marie texted me she was all right.
She will be.
She's upstairs resting.
You there now? Of course I am.
Thank you.
And for reaching out.
Very responsible.
You know, I thought about what you said to me when I was up there about what she's given up.
Nobody wants to tell you these things, but you should know she let go of California last year.
So she could be near you.
She never told me.
You know how much better her grades would be, how many more after-school activities she'd have on her record if she didn't spend so much time going up there to see you? You're talking to me about her making sacrifices you have no idea what she's already given up for you.
She's not gonna like it, but I'm gonna tell her I don't want her going up there every week.
She doesn't need to be on the road like that, five hours round trip.
Pregnant, exhausted, trying to keep up with her schoolwork.
It's not right.
It's just not right.
Tell her to get her head straight, all right? I will, too.
I-I'm sorry about your case, and I hope you're staying safe in there.
Thank you, Ronnie.
You spend most of your time in here paying off debts to prove your worth, trying to keep your promises to the people on the outside.
In the end, no matter what you do, they're all gonna judge you.
They're gonna gather evidence to decide who you are.
You just hope they can still see what's good in you, because your life may depend on it.
You wanted him out, I got him out.
Look, I don't control what the warden does.
You miss Joey so bad, why don't you see if she can transfer you? To be continued, boy.
Let him go.
I saw it as my civic duty to sponsor someone as intelligent as Aaron Wallace.
And clearly, he proved in his first case last week he has what it takes to run circles around Glen Maskins and his people.
I guess that's why the police refused to give Mr.
Wallace the records from his case.
They're afraid.
When we made that deal you help me with Joey Knox, I let you sue the police in Manhattan you already knew you weren't gonna settle for that.
You were planning on asking for more.
So why didn't you say it then? I thought I had to prove myself first.
And now you didn't get your file.
So, how would you even fight your case? I don't know.
But I'd find another way.
Go ahead then.
Do what you gotta do.

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